The following stories from the January 23, 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 - Student Interest, Training Tips TIEDOWN TECHNIQUES
What happens to your trainer between flights? Is it towed from the cold, gritty ramp into a warm, safe hangar? More likely, it sits outside, parked where space permits, only as well secured as the last pilot left it. How does the next pilot find the trainer after you have flown it?
Ground handling skills such as moving an airplane by hand, and tying it down, are not part of the training curriculum or flight test. But learn both tasks well. Safety is compromised by improper ground handling such as incorrect use of a towbar, as Mark Twombly explains in "Tow Limits"
in the July 2003 AOPA Flight Training
. Use a towbar whenever possible; pushing on a prop spinner or on the wrong airframe surface could be harmful. Twombly advises: "Next time you preflight the airplane, make it a point to closely examine the nose strut to determine the configuration of the steering mechanism and the condition of the tow-limiting components. Check the pilot's operating handbook for specifics on tow limits, and make sure that anyone who tows the airplane is aware of the limits and observes them."
Failing to securely tie down an airplane can lead to extensive, expensive damage if the wind kicks up. Never been coached on this? For some suggestions, take a look at "The Tiedowns that Bind"
from the October 2000 AOPA Flight Training
. Note this tip: "Keep three nylon lines of suitable length in your airplane for those times when you visit an airport with permanent anchors but no lines to lend to transient pilots."
Caring about these details of aircraft care reflects your professionalism and pride-whether you own, rent, or belong to a flying club. Also always verify that such gadgets as towbars or cowl plugs are removed before flying, especially if someone else has towed the aircraft into position for you. Your preflight inspection should cover this, but airplanes have become airborne with odd accessories attached, as a "Pilot Counsel"
column by John Yodice in the June 1996 AOPA Pilot
makes painfully clear.
The ideal arrangement for your trainer is a private hangar, as explained in Mark Twombly's April 2002 AOPA Pilot
column "T-hangar Tales."
But the reality is that for most training craft, a tiedown space is home, and it is the sense of community shared by all users that keeps the machinery ready for its next mission. My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Products INTRODUCE A FRIEND TO FLYING WITH ASA DVD
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or by calling 800/426-8338.. My ePilot - Student Interest, Final Exam Question:
Can I fly while taking medication for depression? Answer:
No. None of the selective seratonin reuptake inhibitors like Paxil, Prozac, or Zoloft is permitted for use while flying. Pilots cannot exercise their airman privileges while taking any of these medications. For more information, search AOPA's online database of acceptable medications
using "depression" as a search parameter.