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AOPA ePilot Flight Training Edition Volume 9, Issue 11 — march 13, 2009  

In This Issue:
Frasca, Embry-Riddle debut training device
Steer clear of collisions with latest safety quiz
Vinyl gives ‘Let’s Go Flying’ Cirrus new look

  FT News  |   Inside AOPA  |   TRAINING PRODUCTS   |   FINAL EXAM   



Controlling crosswind takeoffs

The call has come. You are cleared for takeoff. The clearance includes an assigned heading to fly after liftoff—another detail to add to your list of departure tasks. You complete the “lights, camera, action” items discussed in the March 6 “ Training Tip,” give the windsock a last glance, and taxi out on the yellow line to the runway centerline. Aligned with the centerline for takeoff, you give your directional instrument a glance (and if necessary a final twist) before adding power for takeoff. Remember to bring the power up gradually! Gentle throttle inputs and a squeeze of right rudder will keep your takeoff run straight and true.


What did you see when you checked the windsock just now? How you answer that question will determine how you manipulate the flight controls as you commence your takeoff run. If there’s a crosswind, ailerons come into play in an important way. “As the airplane is taxied into takeoff position, it is essential that the windsock and other wind direction indicators be checked so that the presence of a crosswind may be recognized and anticipated. If a crosswind is indicated, full aileron should be held into the wind as the takeoff roll is started. The control position should be maintained while the airplane is accelerating and until the ailerons start becoming sufficiently effective for maneuvering the airplane around its longitudinal axis,” explains Chapter 5 of the FAA’s Airplane Flying Handbook . Simultaneously applying firm, accurate rudder will keep your aircraft rolling straight ahead.


When the ailerons develop some “bite” from the increasing airflow, reduce control deflection—but don’t relax it entirely. That’s a common error. (See how a soloing student pilot faced down this problem in “ Why We Fly” in the May 2005 edition of AOPA Flight Training.) Seek and maintain the aileron deflection that keeps the upwind wing down, but does not raise the other prematurely.


Once airborne, don’t relax your focus. That crosswind on takeoff reminds you that drift correction will be a prime concern during the initial climb. (See the Feb. 23, 2007, “ Training Tip: Up and Away” to keep you tracking correctly until you are ready to attend to that other detail: the turn to your assigned heading.)



During your initial flight training, you have different avenues that you can take to become a certificated pilot. You can train for the sport, recreational, or private pilot certificate. The sport and recreational certificates require fewer hours than the private but also limit the type of aircraft and flying available to you. Check out this chart for a comparison of the costs, hours, requirements, and limitations of each certificate. Then talk to your flight instructor to see which is best for you. More information about these certificates is available through AOPA Project Pilot.


Did you know that student pilots who join AOPA are three times more likely to complete their flight training? Membership includes unlimited access to aviation information by phone (800/USA-AOPA, weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern time) or from AOPA Flight Training Online or AOPA Online. If you're not already a member, join today and get the pilot's edge. Login information is available online.



Frasca, Embry-Riddle to debut new training device

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and Frasca International next week plan to unveil a new flight training device that uses virtual air traffic control commands. The Synthetic Automated Flight Training Environment with Virtual Air Traffic, or SAFTE/VAT, will be demonstrated at the National Training Aircraft Symposium, March 16 through 19 at ERAU’s Daytona Beach, Fla., campus. The system incorporates simulated flight plans with voice recognition technology to allow a student pilot to fly in a simulated situation and receive specific commands from a virtual air traffic controller.

Steer clear of collisions with latest safety quiz

Whether in the air or on the ground, collision avoidance is one of the most basic pilot responsibilities. Yet every year, a significant number of airplanes manage to collide with obstructions, terrain, and each other. Avoid separation anxiety and put your knowledge to the test with the latest interactive, Flash-based safety quiz from the AOPA Air Safety Foundation. Using graphics and scenario-based challenges, the quiz goes beyond see-and-avoid, highlighting useful tactics and simple procedures that can reduce the risk of hitting anything other than air molecules on your next flight.

New Zealand University chooses Diamond Aircraft

Diamond Aircraft Industries has struck a deal with Massey University School of Aviation in New Zealand to replace its existing training fleet with Diamond airplanes. The university has ordered two twin-engine Diamond DA42s and 12 single-engine DA40 airplanes. The fleet will operate at Palmerston North Airport. The first four aircraft of the order are expected to arrive in May, and the entire fleet will be delivered by the end of the year, Diamond said. In addition to Garmin G1000 cockpit display systems, the aircraft will be outfitted with Spidertracks, a device that enables real-time tracking of aircraft position from the school’s flight operations center. Spidertracks was developed with the assistance of Massey University graduate James McCarthy, who said the system enhances safety by allowing instructors to follow students in real time and know where they are.

Animation shows dangers of lost attention

When workload demands are high, busy pilots and controllers must stay focused on the tasks at hand. But what happens when things slow down? Loss of attention during idle periods can have potentially tragic consequences. On a foggy December day in 2007, an airport ground vehicle was cleared onto a runway in Moline, Ill., to work on the lights. Nearly half an hour later, a Citation asked to depart. Focused on the request and the changing weather, the controller forgot about the truck. What happened next is the subject of the latest runway incursion animation, complete with actual radio communications, from the AOPA Air Safety Foundation and the FAA Office of Runway Safety.


Inside AOPA

Vinyl graphics give ‘Let’s Go Flying’ Cirrus a new look

Imagine changing your airplane’s look almost as easily as you’d change clothes. We’ve done it with the 2009 AOPA Sweepstakes Let’s Go Flying Cirrus SR22. Our sweeps airplane’s understated white exterior and trim have been transformed with the help of Air Graphics in Middleton, Wis. It’s a process that takes hours, as opposed to the days needed for a traditional paint job. See the new look and read the complete story on AOPA Online.

AOPA can help untangle changes to the FAA medical application

Have you heard about the recent changes to the FAA’s medical application? It’s enough to leave any pilot’s head spinning. You’ll now be asked if you receive any medical disability benefits, and if you have been arrested or convicted on an alcohol-related motor vehicle action. These changes are in addition to the existing questions related to the current use of any medications and personal medical history. How can AOPA help you decipher these new changes? Try AOPA’s TurboMedical, an online interactive planning tool that can help you prepare for your next FAA physical exam. Call the medical certification specialists in AOPA’s Pilot Information Center at 800/872-2672. Also, make sure you’re enrolled in AOPA’s Legal Services Plan, because an inaccurate answer could cost you your pilot and medical certificates. Read more >>


‘Airmanship Series’ now available from, a provider of proficiency training programs, has introduced a new Airmanship Series aimed at helping pilots to improve the fundamentals of flying. Topics include airmanship principles, safety and risk management, night flying, nontowered airports, decision making, personal minimums, and accident analysis and prevention. The lessons are presented in multimedia or audio modules. The series is available in two formats: CD-ROMs and audio CDs ($199 for first-time customers, $99 for subscribers) or as a download ($169 for first-time customers; $69 for subscribers). To order, see the Web site.


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 have been hearing a lot of people talking about the English proficient endorsement. What is it, do I need one, and how can I get it?


Answer: Effective March 5, the International Civil Aviation organization (ICAO) has mandated that all member countries (that includes the United States) issue pilot certificates that state the pilot is English proficient if that pilot plans to use the certificate outside of the home country. All new FAA pilot certificates will automatically be issued with the English proficient endorsement on the back since proficiency in the English language has been a longstanding FAA requirement for basic eligibility for a U.S. airman certificate. If you are planning an international flight and need to get this endorsement, you can request a replacement certificate on the FAA’s Web site or order one through the mail. Get the address and read more in AOPA’s subject report on pilot certificates.


Got a question for our technical services staff? E-mail [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.



Like many of us, Brent Redpath has dreamed of learning to fly since he was a boy. Now age 20, he’s finally realizing that dream, with the help of an instructor who must communicate with him by writing notes on a dry-erase board or using hand signals. Read more about Redpath’s journey as a deaf pilot on AOPA Online.


Picture Perfect

Pilots love to take photos, and they love to share them with other pilots. Now you can upload your flying photos to our brand-new online gallery, "Air Mail." Share your special aviation images, or view and rate more than 1,000 photos and counting. Highly rated photos will get put into rotation on the AOPA home page!



Want something to do this weekend? Wanting to plan an aviation getaway? See your personalized online calendar of events . We've enhanced our calendar so that with one click you can see all of the events listed in the regions you selected when personalizing ePilot . Now you can browse events listed two weeks to a few months out to make your planning easier. You can also bookmark the personalized calender page to check it as often as you want. Before you take off on an adventure, make sure you check our current aviation weather provided by Jeppesen.

To submit an event or to search all events in the calendar, visit AOPA Online. For airport details, including FBO fuel prices, see AOPA's Airport Directory Online.

Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics

The next AOPA Air Safety Foundation Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics are scheduled in Orlando, Fla., and Virginia Beach, Va., March 21 and 22; San Mateo, Calif., March 28 and 29; Atlanta, Ga., Northbrook, Ill., Salt Lake City, Utah, and, Ashburn, Va., April 4 and 5; Denver, Colo., Indianapolis, Ind., and, Cincinnati, Ohio, April 18 and 19; San Diego, Calif., Tampa, Fla., and, Boston, Mass., April 25 and 26. For a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.

Can't make it in person? Sign up for the CFI Refresher Online.

AOPA Air Safety Foundation Safety Seminars

AOPA Air Safety Foundation Safety Seminars are scheduled in Birmingham, Ala., March 16; Marietta, Ga., March 17; Randolph, N.J., March 19; Gaithersburg, Md., March 25; Pittsburgh, Pa., March 30; New Cumberland, Pa., March 31; Bethlehem, Pa., April 1; Plymouth Meeting, Pa., April 2. Topics vary—for details and a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.

Got news? Contact ePilot. Having difficulty using this service? Visit the ePilot Frequently Asked Questions now at AOPA Online or write to [email protected].

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Editorial Team : ePilot Editor: Alyssa Miller | Contributors: Warren Morningstar, Alton Marsh

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