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AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content --Vol. 5, Issue 51AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content --Vol. 5, Issue 51

The following stories from the December 19, 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 - Jet Interest
A congressionally ordered FAA mandate that turbojets be equipped with emergency locator transmitters (ELTs) will go into effect on January 1, but a shortage of available ELTs combined with avionics installation shops that are already at capacity are creating headaches for many business jet operators. The ELTs can be either the traditional 121.5 MHz or a newer 406 MHz type. AOPA has contacted the FAA to discuss options, and will take part in an industry meeting with the head of the FAA's flight standards office next week. See AOPA Online.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Tips
Flight instructors love oral quizzes. They especially enjoy asking questions that make their students sift through what they have learned to find a solution to a hypothetical in-flight problem. Questions like, "What's the first thing you would do if the engine quit just after liftoff?" Or, "What would you do if you looked at the gauges right now and noticed that you had no oil pressure?" Or, "What's the first thing you would do if the passenger-side door popped open on takeoff?"

Yes, there are checklists to follow in such cases, and emergency procedures to memorize (see AOPA's Handbook for Pilots and your aircraft's pilot operating handbook). But that's not the response the instructor is looking for. The answer to the above questions-and many more like them-is the same: "The first thing I would do is fly the airplane." With that task (and your aircraft) under control, go about solving the problem posed in the instructor's question.

The purpose of this particular oral quiz is to provide a "memory cue" so as not to let any kind of problem or emergency distract you from basic aircraft control. Distractions can make bad situations worse or prevent a pilot from seeing the real problem. See Bruce Landsberg's "Safety Pilot" article in the September 2001 AOPA Flight Training. Also see Rod Machado's discussion of using memory cues at the next step-solving the problem-in "A Rhyme for the Time" in the December 2003 AOPA Flight Training.

A close kin to distraction is disbelief that something has gone wrong. "I stared, stupefied and unmoving, hoping for the bad dream to pass. But as the gauge sat there on zero, my rational mind grabbed hold and I began to take control of the situation," recalled one pilot in "Never Again," as published in the July 2003 AOPA Pilot. Also see the "Learning Experiences" article in the December 2003 AOPA Flight Training. It recounts how the simple reminder to fly the airplane helped a soloing student pilot to deal with deteriorating weather that required him to divert to another airport-and emerge from the experience as a safer, more confident aviator.

So, fly the airplane! And let these pilots' shared insights about safety work for you.

My ePilot - Training Products
Rod Machado, aviation humorist and columnist for AOPA Flight Training and AOPA Pilot magazines, has published a collection of aviation stories and articles that first appeared in those magazines. Rod Machado's Plane Talk: The Mental Art of Flying an Airplane is by no means a random assortment. The 100 columns and anecdotes are organized by topic-Chapter Two deals with managing and assessing risk, Chapter Three is titled "To Help You Make Better Decisions," etc. The book, packed with the author's original artwork, sells for $29.95 and may be ordered online or by calling 800/437-7080.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Final Exam
Question: I have an infant whom I would like to take flying but would like to protect her ears. Children's headsets are too big; do you have any suggestions?

Answer: AOPA has an article with instructions on how to make a "flying cap" for our youngest aviators. It states, "The flying cap is easy to make, and is surprisingly effective at reducing noise. The fact that it is in the form of a cap with the cups inside is an advantage with a youngster. With the cap securely tied on, little fingers are not as likely to remove the hearing protectors." You'll find instructions for the "flying cap" on AOPA Online.

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