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There you are, flying final approach after a well-executed traffic pattern, relishing a chance to practice in smooth, calm air. So it’s a bit of a surprise when you level off above the runway and float beyond your intended touchdown point. You make a nice landing when the wheels chirp onto the surface, but you are perplexed that this nice landing had such a flaw. You must correct it before you demonstrate landings on your checkride. For example, the short-field landing task in the Private Pilot Practical Test Standards requires touchdown “at or within 200 feet (60 meters) beyond a specified point, with no side drift, minimum float and with the airplane's longitudinal axis aligned with and over the runway center/landing path.” Another task, the forward slip to a landing, also stresses minimum float.
A familiar dilemma? Think of it as a rite of passage in flight training. “I can land in crosswind conditions but seem to float down the runway in calm weather. My instructor has to take over every time. Any suggestions would be appreciated,” wrote a student pilot in the March 2000 AOPA Flight Training “Since You Asked” column.
Here’s a two-step remedy: First, try to visualize what happens when a landing aircraft flying a little too fast encounters the reduced drag of ground effect. “On landing, ground effect can exact penalties for excess airspeed because the same drag reduction may create or prolong ‘floating’ caused by an excessively fast approach,” explains the Jan. 31, 2003, “Training Tip: Ground effect: Playing the float."
Combine that insight with a sharpened focus on your own airspeed management. Here’s what flight instructor and aviation humorist Rod Machado specifically advised in response to the student pilot’s question: “Unless the airplane's manual suggests otherwise, try a final approach speed of 1.3 V SO—that's 30 percent above the stall speed for the flap configuration used. Now the airplane is operating close to the bottom of its drag curve. Increasing the angle of attack for the roundout and flare results in an increase in induced drag, which minimizes your chance of floating.”
With a little practice, this solution will produce the minimum-float result you want.
YOUR PARTNER IN TRAINING
Scholarships and grants aren't just for college tuition; they also can provide financial assistance for flight training. AOPA Flight Training Online has a section devoted to scholarships that offers handy tips on completing the all-important applications. Be sure to read the aviation subject report on loans and scholarships on AOPA Online for more information.
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.
Even in these tough economic times, the Aviation Management and Career Pilot Technology Program at Lenoir Community College in Kinston, N.C., has seen a 50-percent increase in enrollment from August 2007 to January 2009. Program head Richard Corman attributes the success to longstanding tradition and an articulation agreement with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University that allows students to transfer after earning an associate’s degree in applied science. Read more >>
The slumping economy has forced some student pilots flying in Dayton, Ohio, to put their dreams of flying on hold: The Associated Press reported that flying lessons are down 50 percent from a year ago at the New Flyers Association, a flying club at the Ohio State University Airport in Columbus. At Moraine Airpark in suburban Dayton, the pool of students has dropped from 30 to 10. And many prospective students can’t get loans to fund their training, according to Bill Kronenberg, manager of the flight school at the Dayton-Wright Brothers Airport.
Women in Corporate Aviation offers scholarship
Men and women interested in pursuing a career in any job classification in corporate/business aviation are encouraged to apply for a $1,500 scholarship offered by Women in Corporate Aviation. The award can be applied toward flight training, upgrades in aviation education, dispatcher training, or NBAA Professional Development Program courses. Applications must be postmarked by Aug. 1. The scholarship will be awarded at the NBAA annual meeting, Oct. 20 through 22 in Orlando, Fla. Guidelines and applications are available on the Web site. E-mail additional questions to Sandra Clifford.
Louisiana flight school gives lessons to art students
A flight school in New Iberia, La., surprised participants in a middle-school art contest with the news that they’ll get a free flying lesson. The students, who attend Evergreen Junior High School, had drawn pictures of airplanes for a contest sponsored by the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development. Flight school owners Robert and Debbie Viatur said they had planned to give flight lessons to the top winners in the contest, but decided after seeing the drawings to offer lessons to all involved, according to a report in the LaFourche Parish Daily Comet.
Flash cards are a great way to learn about complex topics and to test your knowledge. Now, increase your knowledge of aircraft speeds, profiles, systems, and emergency procedures with the AOPA Air Safety Foundation’s updated Aircraft Flash Cards. The flash cards, which are designed to help new, seasoned, and transitioning pilots, now have expanded tips on the back, offering suggestions and guidance for operating your aircraft safely.
AOPA Online Travel helps to make vacation more affordable
A family vacation doesn’t need to break the bank. AOPA Online Travel has removed booking fees for all flights through May 31—and you’ll be guaranteed that if a customer books the same flight for less, the difference automatically will be refunded to you. Plus, a portion of all revenue generated is returned to AOPA, which allows us to continue our efforts to maintain the freedom, safety, and affordability of general aviation. Book your vacation today.
Follow 'The Finer Points' on Twitter
The Finer Points flight instruction video and podcast series, hosted by certificated flight instructor Jason Miller, has expanded to Twitter. Just how much flight training wisdom can be dispensed in 140 characters? Plenty, it seems. Here are a couple excerpts: “When landing in a crosswind you sideslip the airplane. This exposes the fuselage to the relative wind and increases drag. Watch your speed.” And, “Using the autopilot can be an AWESOME tool for learning, making it much easier to understand complex operations under IFR in the airplane.”
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: What is the difference between Part 61 and 141 flight schools?
Answer: Part 61 and Part 141 refer to the parts of the federal aviation regulations (FARs) under which the two different types of flight schools operate. The most common distinction between them is the minimum flight time required for the private pilot certificate—40 hours under Part 61 versus 35 hours under Part 141. However, the national average time for earning a private pilot certificate is 60 hours to 75 hours, so this difference isn’t really significant for initial pilot training. It does make a difference for commercial pilot applicants: Part 61 requires 250 hours, whereas Part 141 requires 190. The predominant differences between the two are structure and accountability. Part 141 schools are periodically audited by the FAA and must have detailed, FAA-approved course outlines and meet student pilot performance rates. Part 61 schools don’t have the same paperwork and accountability requirements. Read more about flight schools online, and use these resources for choosing a flight school and a flight instructor.
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.
What's New Online
Assuming that a new airplane’s fuel gauges are infallible can put you in a bad spot, as a pilot learned in the latest installment of Never Again Online.
Pilots love to take photos, and they love to share them with other pilots. Now you can upload your flying photos to our 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!
AVIATION EVENTS & WEATHER
Want something to do this weekend? Planning 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.
Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics
The next AOPA Air Safety Foundation Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics are scheduled in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Albany, N.Y., May 16 and 17; Sacramento, Calif., and Kansas City, Mo., May 30 and 31; San Jose, Calif., Charlotte, N.C., and Ashburn, Va., June 6 and 7; Phoenix, Ariz., and Minneapolis, Minn., June 13 and 14; Orlando, Fla., and Columbus, Ohio, June 27 and 28; Newark, N.J., July 11 and 12. 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 Madison, Wis., May 11; Milwaukee, Wis., May 12; Manitowoc, Wis., May 13; Morristown, N.J., May 18. Topics vary—for details and a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.
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Editorial Team : ePilot Flight Training Editor : Jill Tallman | ePilot Editor: Alyssa Miller | Contributor: Alton Marsh