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AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content --Vol. 5, Issue 42AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content --Vol. 5, Issue 42

The following stories from the October 17, 2003, edition of AOPA ePilot were provided to AOPA members who expressed an interest in the particular subject areas. Any AOPA member can receive information customized to their areas of interest by updating their member record file online.

My ePilot - Instrument Interest
Although the AOPA Air Safety Foundation advocates that instrument pilots maintain proficiency, it should be done in accordance with the regulations. On October 27, 2001, a lone Cessna T337G Skymaster pilot showed what not to do when he struck a mountain and was killed while practicing instrument procedures at night over Palmer Lake, Colorado. See the report prepared by ASF, exclusively for ePilot readers, on AOPA Online.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Tips
Some student pilots fly the same make and model of aircraft throughout training. Others switch around, by choice or out of necessity. Whichever description applies to you, make it your business to become thoroughly familiar with the fuel system of the aircraft you are flying today ( click here to download Chapter Five of the Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge).

That is especially true concerning the operation of the aircraft's fuel selector valve. Some aircraft are designed to draw fuel from both tanks at once, or from a single tank, as the pilot chooses. Others do not have the option to set the selector to "both." Attention to this detail now will pay big dividends down the road. Accidents caused by fuel starvation-in which fuel was available but not being fed to the engine-continue to bedevil pilots. "Running out of fuel may be easy, but so is taking the basic precautions needed to avoid the problem," observes Robert N. Rossier in his "Flying Safe" column in the April 2000 edition of AOPA Flight Training.

Staying with one aircraft during training simplifies the process, because learning in a variety of makes and models demands attention to different procedures, operating speeds, and designs. Hedge your bets by studying the appropriate pilot's operating handbooks and using checklists consistently (checklists are discussed in this newsletter's October 25, 2002, Training Tips) in familiar and unfamiliar aircraft alike. "Do You Do Checklists?" asks Amy Laboda in an April 1998 Flight Training column with her question as its title.

As aircraft become more complex, so do their fuel systems. "In fact, when we sign up for primary flight instruction we also enroll in Aircraft Fuel Management," observes aviation writer Mark Twombly in his September 2002 AOPA Flight Training column. Pilots who do not master the material are vulnerable to the problems set forth in the cautionary tale, "Dry Tank Disasters," by AOPA Air Safety Foundation Executive Director Bruce Landsberg in the August 2001 AOPA Pilot magazine. But those who pass the course and become certificated private pilots will go on to safely enjoy the time-honored rite of sampling different models and types of aircraft, as described in Budd Davisson's September 2003 AOPA Flight Training article "Fly It, You'll Like It!".

My ePilot - Training Products
Certificated pilots can now get credit toward the FAA's Wings pilot proficiency program when they take King Schools' Practical Risk Management For Pilots course. The computer-based course can be completed in a little over one hour and King Schools will provide a certificate for the Wings program credit. Pilots may substitute a completed Wings program phase-one safety seminar or course and generally three hours of dual instruction-for a flight review. In fact, the FAA ordered 200 copies of the course for distribution to flight standards district offices. "Practical Risk Management For Pilots" is on CD-ROM, costs $49, and can be ordered by calling 800/854-1001 or visiting King Schools' Web site.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Final Exam
Question: If illness precludes a checkride before 24 months have elapsed since passing the FAA knowledge test, must the test be retaken, or can I obtain an extension?

Answer: Once taken and passed, the knowledge test is valid for 24 months in accordance with FAR 61.39(a)(1). There is no exception for illness; after 24 months have passed, you must retake the test. Read more about the knowledge test in AOPA Flight Training's September 2003 article.

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