The following stories from the June 25, 2004, 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 KING OFFERS ONLINE DRVSM COURSE
King Schools is now offering an online solution for pilots who will be flying under new rules in the flight levels. King developed the one-hour online course as domestic reduced vertical separation minima (DRVSM) rules are set to take effect on January 20, 2005. The course meets FAA requirements and covers domestic and international rules. The course costs $199. For more, see the Web site
. My ePilot - Other Interest SEAWIND AMPHIBIAN INCHES TOWARD CERTIFICATION
The Seawind 300C amphibian has reached the halfway point in the company's efforts for type certification. The work is being done in Canada with the FAA approving each of the steps, according to company officials. Advanced Aero Inc. expects to begin deliveries in 2005. The airplane started out as a kit in 1991. It is said to have a cruise speed of 165 knots, a climb rate of 1,250 fpm, and a useful load of 1,150 pounds. For more, see the company's Web site
. My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Tips PREDICTIONS, NOT PROMISES
Guaranteed weather forecasts-pilots can only dream of them. Envision never having to abort a mission or divert to an alternate airport for weather or never having to make an uncertain go/no-go decision. Farewell to inadvertent encounters with instrument meteorological conditions and unexpectedly severe surface winds.
For now it's science fiction. Meanwhile, pilots must train for weather that fails to live up to its notices, carefully assembling and assessing weather information before flights. In all cases, some of that information will be of high quality, some will not. As a rule, the fresher the information, the better. On a cross-country, the weakest link may be forecast conditions for the return leg, hours hence. Recognize this and hold surprises to a minimum.
Airborne, you can update your earlier weather briefing using Flight Watch, the En route Flight Advisory Service (EFAS) as explained in Chapter 7
of the Aeronautical Information Manual
, or by calling flight service on the locally designated frequency. Radio frequency congested? Consider this suggestion offered by Mark Twombly in his April 1997 Flight Training
column, "Continuing Ed: The Weather Ahead"
: "If the Flight Watch frequency is really cooking and you've been told to 'stand by, you're number four,' take a moment to listen. There's a good chance you'll hear someone in your general vicinity posing the same question you'd like answered-'What's the weather ahead?'"
While flying, compare reported surface conditions-wind speed and direction, cloud layers, temperature/dew-point spreads-to those predicted earlier by monitoring recorded terminal information or automated weather reporting broadcasts at airports adjacent to your route. Check for hazardous in-flight weather advisory service (HIWAS) broadcasts (discussed in the August 22, 2003 "Training Tips"
) over navaids. If the forecast remains unchanged when you update your briefing, seek out any recent pilot reports (pireps) in your area for early signs of inconsistency. During preflight planning, of course, you arm yourself with notices to airmen (notams) at potential alternate airports by clicking on "notams and TFRs"
in the pull-down menu under the "Flight Bag" tab of the redesigned AOPA Flight Training Web site.
Aloft, many valuable resources are available, as Thomas A. Horne describes in his November 1998 AOPA Flight Training
article "Weather on the Fly."
As long as weather deals surprises, pilots need to know how to minimize them. My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Products SHARPEN SKILLS WITH 'MENTAL MATH FOR PILOTS'
There's no getting around math when you're learning to fly, and sooner or later you might need to perform a math equation while in flight. The second edition of Mental Math for Pilots
by Ron McElroy is aimed at getting you to rev up your brainpower so that you can perform a wide range of practical math problems frequently used in flight. The book provides quick recall and retention aids for such tasks as calculating temperature conversions, crosswind components, time-speed-distance problems, reciprocal headings, visual descent points, and others. Mental Math for Pilots
sells for $24.95 and may be ordered online
from Aviation Supplies and Academics Inc. My ePilot - Student Interest, Final Exam Question:
I'm a student pilot and will be going for my medical exam soon. I have some trouble with allergies and would like to know what the medical questions are and whether there will be any problem with the allergy medication I'm taking. Is there a way to find out this information before the exam? Question:
I'm taking early morning flight lessons this summer. On several occasions, we've had fog, and I've been asked to check the dew-point temperature before driving to the airport. Is there some easy-to-understand information on what dew point is and how to anticipate a foggy morning? Answer:
Dew point is a measure of the actual water vapor in the air. It is the temperature to which air must be cooled in order to become saturated and, therefore, reach 100 percent relative humidity. At this point, fog or clouds are almost certain to form. When the temperature/dew-point spread is less than 5 degrees Fahrenheit (3 degrees Celsius), be on the lookout for fog. This rule of thumb is important to remember, but there is a lot more to know about how dew point and other moisture measurements influence aviation weather. A search of AOPA Online, using "dew point" as the key word, will list many weather articles. Start with a "Dew Point Review."