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The following stories from the February 27, 2009, edition of AOPA ePilot were provided to AOPA members who expressed an interest in the particular subject areas. Any AOPA member can receive information tailored to their areas of interest by updating their preferences online.


Appropriate taxi speed

Recent “Training Tips” have focused on the dos and don’ts of taxiing at busy airports, and airports with tricky surface routes. Knowing when you must hold short, when it is OK to cross runways and taxiways, and what should be read back to the ground controller, and understanding your route are all duties the pilot must perform, as discussed in the Feb. 13 “ Training Tip: Taxi tactics.


With all these challenges facing the taxiing pilot, it might surprise you to learn that the most common taxiing error seen by instructors at airports large and small isn’t the problem of incursions or pilot disorientation. The most frequent infraction—you’ve probably observed it too—is excessive taxi speed.


That’s worth remembering while you’re out there intently trying to comply with all the other demands of proper taxiing. What a shame to strike a taxiway sign or the wing tip of an opposite-direction aircraft out of distraction, inattention, or impatience with a long taxi route. Maintaining moderate taxi speed is one of the six objectives of the taxi task in the Private Pilot Practical Test Standards. The objective also calls on the pilot to use correct technique: This means employing minimal power to maintain correct taxi speed, and minimal braking for turns and stops. No destructive riding of brakes allowed! Objective No. 4 requires that the pilot control direction and speed “without excessive use of brakes.”


What is the “correct” taxi speed? As always, pilot judgment provides the answer. “It is difficult to set any rule. What is safe under some conditions may be hazardous under others. A good practice is to avoid taxiing faster than a brisk walk. Remember that in congested areas, the safe taxi speed will be much slower. The primary requirement of safe taxiing is positive control—the ability to stop or turn where and when desired. You should taxi at a speed that is slow enough so that the aircraft can be stopped promptly and safely,” Christopher L. Parker said in the November 2003 AOPA Flight Training feature “ Power walking: The tricks you’ll need to taxi straight.”


Knowing the big picture is important while taxiing. But so is successfully navigating that next turn in the taxiway!


Pilot achievement plaque from

The checkride is one of the biggest milestones in a pilot’s career. Want to mark that milestone in a different way? offers a “pilot achievement plaque” that can be personalized to display your name; your certificate number; the date of your accomplishment; your home airport, city, and state; and the names of your flight instructor and examiner. The faux mahogany plaque measures 9-by-12 inches and sells for $29.99. Also available is a faux marble “first solo” plaque for $24.99. Order it online.

Note: Products listed have not been evaluated by ePilot editors unless otherwise noted. AOPA assumes no responsibility for products or services listed or for claims or actions by manufacturers or vendors.


Question: I dread taking tests, and am worried that I may not pass the knowledge test to get my private pilot certificate. Can I retake the knowledge test?


Answer: Yes, you can retake the FAA knowledge test (or the “written exam”) as many times as you need. If you fail the test, you will need to receive some extra ground training from your instructor on the topics that you missed. Your instructor will then give you a new endorsement saying you are ready to retake the exam. You can prepare by studying the actual questions and answers that the FAA will use on your test. The entire private pilot knowledge exam question bank is available online.


Got a question for our technical services staff? E-mail to [email protected] or call the Pilot Information Center, 800/872-2672. Don't forget the online archive of "Final Exam" questions and answers, searchable by keyword or topic.

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