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Too many lakes
An account of cross-country flying gone wrong appeared recently in the AOPA Aviation Forum, attracting much reader response. Student pilots can learn from the experience of the aviator who braved much criticism—not all constructive—to share the details in a quest for insight.
The 41.2-nautical-mile outbound leg, originating at an airport beneath a shelf of Class B airspace, quickly deteriorated. The VOR that the pilot planned to track in the absence of GPS in the aircraft seemed not to work. (How do you check the status of VORs and related equipment? Review Chapter 14 of the Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge .) The air was rough. The many Minnesota lakes did not match charted water bodies. (Picking quality checkpoints was discussed in the April 10, 2009, Training Tip.) When the destination airport failed to materialize, a time check suggested that it had been overflown. The pilot “got lost and (was) wandering around.”
When an airport appeared, confusion arose. “It was windy and no one was on the radio. No one was flying. I was expecting RWY 33 MKT, but it said RWY 34! I was wondering if the Airport/Facility Directory was outdated, but it was published for 2009! I must have been flying over a wrong airport!” The pilot landed at the unknown airport, took off again, established contact with air traffic control, and returned home safely with ATC’s assistance—without an airspace incursion, fortunately.
What are the lessons? Complacency can be ruinous; even a short flight can go bad, sometimes quite close to the destination. (A checkpoint the pilot had identified visually was only 13.1 nm from there.) Another lesson: Make sure you know how to interpret the effect of wind on groundspeed and drift. Also, don’t let unanticipated problems—such as the one that arose when the comm radio being used to contact ATC worked poorly—frazzle you or impair your decision-making judgment.
YOUR PARTNER IN TRAINING
As a student pilot, you are closely supervised to ensure your safety. But once you receive your private pilot certificate all the decision-making rests on you; growing complacent or losing proficiency in some aircraft operations is dangerous. For example, pilots with private and commercial pilot certificates are most likely to suffer fatal stall/spin accidents. Read the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's special report on such accidents and be sure to visit AOPA Online to learn about free safety seminars in your area.
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.
Summer is just around the corner, so peak thunderstorm season is nearly upon us, too. These convective beasts can produce airframe-shattering turbulence, damaging hail, sudden and dramatic wind shear, blinding downpours, and strong, gusty winds—sometimes as much as 20 miles from the edge of a cell. Understanding thunderstorms is the key to avoiding them. Witness their power while putting your knowledge to the test in the latest graphics-rich interactive safety quiz from the AOPA Air Safety Foundation.
Build A Plane, the nonprofit aviation education organization, will sponsor Teachers Day on July 28 during AirVenture 2009 in Oshkosh, Wis. Teachers from around the nation are expected to participate in the program, which will expose educators to programs and curricula focused on aviation. Free take-home materials will be available. “There are some truly remarkable programs out there for absolutely all grade levels,” said Build A Plane Executive Director Katrina Bradshaw. “Not only can teachers use aviation to motivate kids to learn science, math, technology, and engineering, but this is a chance to allow their students to start a lifelong love affair with aviation!”
Kansas State University in Salina has acquired a Paradigm CRJ 200 flight training simulator. The simulator initially will be used in the department of aviation’s crew resource management class. The department also may develop a class specifically on the CRJ 200 systems for training pilots and maintenance students in turbine aircraft ground operations, including engine start and taxi procedures.
Indiana flight school adds light sport aircraft
New Horizons Aviation Inc. at Goshen Municipal Airport, Goshen, Ind., has added a Jabiru J170-SP light sport aircraft to its fleet for rental and flight training. The J170 joins two Diamond Eclipses and a Diamond Star, a Bellanca Super Viking, and a Piper Aztec. New Horizons Aviation provides flight training for sport through airline transport pilot certificates. See the Web site for more information.
“Frugal Student,” appearing monthly in the “Training Notes & News” department of AOPA Flight Training magazine, needs your input. Each month we share strategies and tactics on saving money during flight training. Send your ideas to help other student pilots economize. E-mail your suggestions to Associate Editor Jill W. Tallman or share them on the AOPA Flight Training page on Facebook.
CFIs: Protect yourself and your livelihood
As a certificated flight instructor, you can be held liable for incidents of your students, even if you weren’t on board the aircraft at the time. This startling fact makes having the right insurance policy a necessity. The AOPA Insurance Agency understands that your needs as a CFI are unique—and that without the right policy, you could be putting your livelihood on the line. That’s why, when you get a CFI policy through the AOPA Insurance Agency, you can rest assured of being protected during flight instruction. Read more >>
Free airport diagrams for mobile phones, personal digital assistants
Approach Systems Inc. is offering a free download of its EasyTaxi application, which can be used to geo synchronize the location of aircraft on all airport diagrams from the National Aeronautical Charting Office (NACO). The program uses a detailed NACO database to dynamically render maps of all U.S. airport diagrams and, through the use of GPS technology, show pilots their positions on the airport surface, the company says. EasyTaxi works with all Microsoft-based platforms. See the Web site 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: When approaching a nontowered airport, should you ask on the common traffic advisory frequency (CTAF) or unicom, “Any traffic in the area, please advise”?
Answer: No, that is not an acceptable radio transmission. The Aeronautical Information Manual (4-1-9 g.1) states that the phrase “any traffic in the area, please advise” should not be used under any condition. If all pilots responded to those calls, the frequencies would be jammed. You should monitor the CTAF or unicom frequency as soon as possible and begin building a mental picture of the traffic at the airport. Read more about operations at nontowered airports in the AOPA Air Safety Foundation’s Safety Hot Spot.
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.
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 2,000 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 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 Oshkosh, Wis., July 29, 30, and 31; Germantown, Tenn., Aug. 31; Nashville, Tenn., Sept. 1; Maryville, Tenn., Sept. 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].
Editorial Team : ePilot Flight Training Editor : Jill Tallman | ePilot Editor: Alyssa Miller | Contributor: Alton Marsh