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AOPA ePilot Flight Training Edition Volume 9, Issue 20 — may 15, 2009  

In This Issue:
New quiz sparks insight into electrical fires
Dad helps student-pilot son earn his wings
AOPA turns 70

  FT News  |   Inside AOPA  |   TRAINING PRODUCTS   |   FINAL EXAM   



Abeam the numbers

Timing is everything. That’s certainly true if a landing approach is to work out perfectly and avoid such problems as floating before touchdown, as the subject of the May 8 “ Training Tip” explained. But timing isn’t important only during the final approach, roundout, and flare. Precise timing is required throughout the entire pattern, with the payoff coming when you finish with a great landing. Timing is especially important when you transition from straight and level to a descent when you are abeam the numbers.


“This leg should be approximately 1/2 to 1 mile out from the landing runway, and at the specified traffic pattern altitude. During this leg, the before-landing check should be completed and the landing gear extended if retractable. Pattern altitude should be maintained until abeam the approach end of the landing runway. At this point, power should be reduced and a descent begun,” explains Chapter 7 of the Airplane Flying Handbook . Then what happens? “The downwind leg continues past a point abeam the approach end of the runway to a point approximately 45 degrees from the approach end of the runway, and a medium bank turn is made onto the base leg,” the chapter continues.


That’s the basic idea, and it’s a time-tested way to learn traffic pattern procedures. But airport operations may require a modified method, as flight instructor and aviation humorist Rod Machado explains in a discussion of “When to descend” on the AOPA Flight Training Web site.


The term abeam has other uses too. “When landing at a towered airport, you may be asked to report your position abeam the tower,” Elizabeth A. Tennyson wrote in the September 2000 AOPA Flight Training’sAviation Speak.” “Your aircraft is abeam a given point when that point is approximately 90 degrees off your left or right side.”


Add “abeam” to your aviation glossary. It will add quality to your flying!


Carburetor ice. What causes it? What conditions are prime for carb ice formation? What are the signs of carb ice build-up in your training aircraft's engine? Get the full story on this potentially hazardous condition and learn how to deal with it by taking advantage of AOPA's wealth of resources, including an article from AOPA Flight Training and the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's Safety Advisor WeatherWise . Don't forget to search the archives of AOPA Flight Training and AOPA ePilot Flight Training Edition for even 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.


New quiz sparks insight into electrical fires

In-flight electrical fires are relatively rare, which means many pilots never even think about them. But being prepared could mean the difference between surviving a minor mishap and perishing in a flaming cockpit. How much do you know about your aircraft's electrical system? Test your knowledge of circuit breakers, aircraft wiring, maintenance of aging aircraft, and emergency procedures in the event of an in-flight electrical fire with the latest interactive safety quiz from the AOPA Air Safety Foundation. Then check out the related resources on the foundation's "Electrical System Know-How" Safety Hot Spot page.

Dad helps student–pilot son earn his wings

Randall Colthorpe flies Southern Railroad executives all over the East Coast, but his most recent aviation challenge lies closer to home. Colthorpe is teaching his 17-year-old son Ellis to fly. The two have been training in a Cessna 152 at Hampton Roads Executive Airport in Norfolk, Va. Ellis soloed in January while his proud father waited on the ramp. “He looked scared and nervous because he was letting his son fly by himself, but he was excited because he knew how much it meant to me,” Ellis said. “When it was over, he was proud of me. It was such a good feeling.” Read more >>

N.C. community college defends aviation program

An aviation program at Robeson Community College (RCC) in Lumberton, N.C., is trying to turn itself around after it came under the scrutiny of state auditors, who questioned the program’s value because of low enrollment and a $300,000 price tag. Since RCC began partnering with the University of North Dakota four years ago to offer the program, only 28 students—about five per semester—have signed up for aviation classes, according to the Fayetteville Observer . Nine students dropped out. The college has hired a commercial pilot to work 20 hours a week as a recruiter and instructor. RCC President Charles Chrestman said the program has been beneficial to the state, citing $5.5 million in airport improvements made since the program started.

Daniel Webster College to sell to for-profit ITT

Officials at Daniel Webster College (DWC) in Nashua, N.H., have agreed to sell the college to ITT Educational Services, a chain of for-profit schools, according to the Nashua Telegraph . ITT operates more than 100 technical schools across the nation. The organization said it would keep the Daniel Webster name, curriculum, and staff, but DWC would no longer be a nonprofit institution. ITT is said to be considering branding DWC into a national chain of four-year schools. The sale is subject to approval.

Inside AOPA

AOPA turns 70

May 15 marks a milestone for AOPA—its seventieth anniversary. The association was formed in 1939 because of general aviation’s lack of effective political representation. At the time, GA was called “miscellaneous aviation” in government circles. After its formation, AOPA helped create legislation that established the Civilian Pilot Training Program, allowing thousands to earn their pilot certificates in those tough economic times, stimulating GA aircraft sales, and boosting flight activity. The association also secured a reduction in pilot medical examination fees (from $10 to $6) and urged the Civil Aeronautics Authority to build more airports to serve GA’s growing needs. Read more and watch a video message from AOPA President Craig Fuller >>

AOPA Aviation Summit: A pilot's paradise

Making vacation plans? You will find a pilot’s paradise in Tampa, Fla., at AOPA Aviation Summit from Nov. 5, through 7. Come for Summit, and stay for everything Tampa has to offer—fabulous beaches, art museums, and dinner cruises. Extend your stay to Sunday, Nov. 8, and attend a Tampa Bay Buccaneers game. Be sure to plan a visit to the Fantasy of Flight, where you can experience the fun and adventure of flight at the world’s greatest aviation attraction. Climb into the cockpits of vintage aircraft, take a ride, or watch vintage aircraft roar to life at the daily airshow. Tampa has something to offer for every member of your family. Make your vacation one the entire family will remember for years to come.


Powerful Learning offers IFR review study

Powerful Learning has introduced a new study software: the “IFR Pilot Review System.” The software is designed for pilots who already have an instrument rating but want to prepare for an instrument proficiency check or flight review. It includes a full IFR library, a database of FAA knowledge test questions, virtual flashcards, and more. The program is available on CD for $75 or as a download for $65.


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 was practicing touch and goes at a nontowered airport last weekend when I heard a pilot on the radio ask for a radio check. Someone replied, “Five by five.” What does this mean?


Answer: The quality of a radio check is measured in two ways. The first number represents the strength of the signal. The second number represents the readability or audio quality of the transmission. Both measurements are made on a scale of one to five, with one being low quality and five being excellent quality. For additional insight into radio communications, take a look at this AOPA Flight Training article.


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

If you weren’t among the 55,000 spectators at last week’s Red Bull Air Race in San Diego, you can still view our online slide show to get a taste of the excitement.

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 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? 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.

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 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 Newton, Mass., May 19; Windsor, Conn., May 20; Manchester, N.H., May 21; Oshkosh, Wis., July 29, 30, and 31; Germantown, Tenn., August 31; Nashville, Tenn., September 1; Maryville, Tenn., September 3. 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 Flight Training Editor : Jill Tallman | ePilot Editor: Alyssa Miller | Contributor: Alton Marsh

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