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The following stories from the January 9, 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.


Winter solos

Do student pilots solo during the winter? Frequently! All that’s needed is a methodical approach to meeting the demands of the season. Adopt that method and there’s no reason why winter should slow down your training schedule. How do the major training academies handle wintertime flight training? See the December 2008 AOPA Flight Training “Annual College Aviation Review.”


Your dual flights in winter are building your experience in managing the chores that accompany winter solos. Preparedness always starts with a good weather briefing. Make note of braking action reports, height and location of snow banks, any snow or ice on runways, taxiways, and ramps—all as described in the Nov. 28, 2003, “ Training Tip.” If you are authorized to make repeated solos to nearby airports for landing and takeoff practice, be sure to get accurate reports on field conditions there before departing.


Dress for winter conditions. Take gloves and a hat even on local flights. You know that frost removal is a critical safety item for a winter preflight. Also, you may now need to allow time for engine preheats for your winter flights. Always file and activate a VFR flight plan. Learn how to taxi slowly, with a minimum of brake use and avoiding snow or slush, to help avoid brake lock-up caused by melted snow refreezing on brake linings.


After engine start, some training airplanes’ instruments may not tell you whether warm-up has been sufficient for you to initiate flight. Know your pilot’s operating handbook (POH) and its recommended procedure. For example, the POH for a 1980 Cessna 152 advises, “After a suitable warm-up period (2 to 5 minutes at 1,000 rpm) accelerate the engine several times to higher rpm. If the engine accelerates smoothly and oil pressure remains normal and steady, the airplane is ready for takeoff.” What does your trainer’s POH recommend?


With so much to know, you may be thinking it would be nice if there were an all-around guide to winter flying available in portable format. There is: the AOPA Air Safety Foundation’s “ Safety Hot Spot: Winter Weather Safety Checkup.” From planning to preflight, airport operations to in-flight weather, it has the answers you need for optimizing winter flying.


‘The Pilot’s Manual: Access to Flight’

Does the thought of earning a private pilot certificate while training for an instrument rating intrigue you? Many flight schools are adopting this integrated approach, particularly with regard to students training in technologically advanced aircraft. Access to Flight, the latest entry in the Aviation Supplies and Academics The Pilot’s Manual series, presents such an integrated curriculum with the goal of helping aspiring pilots maximize the utility of their aircraft. The hardcover book is 816 pages, including more than 800 illustrations and review questions at the end of each chapter. It sells for $74.95 and will ship Jan. 20. Go online to view a chapter or order the book, or call 800/ASA-2FLY for more information.

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 passed my private pilot checkride more than a month ago and still have not received my permanent private pilot certificate. How long can I use my temporary certificate, and when can I expect to receive my permanent certificate?


Answer: Your temporary airman certificate is valid for 120 days. Getting your permanent certificate from the FAA can take anywhere from one month to more than three, depending on the agency’s workload. You can track the FAA’s progress by visiting the Web site and seeing the current date of applications that they are processing.


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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