The following stories from the January 7, 2005, edition of AOPA ePilot were provided to AOPA members who expressed an interest in the particular subject areas. Any AOPA member can receive information tailored to their areas of interest by updating their preferences online.
My ePilot - Renter Interest AVOIDING UNPRODUCTIVE RENTAL CHECKOUTS
Differences in personalities and flying techniques can cause tension among pilots. That's why it's a good idea to find a flight instructor whose teaching philosophy matches your flying style. But when you are getting checked out to rent an aircraft at an FBO, you probably will fly with the first available flight instructor. You and the flight instructor might have significantly different flying styles, but instead of butting heads, be open and flexible to new suggestions. Some suggestions may concern safety issues in the area that you are not aware of (if you are getting checked out at a vacation or business destination), and you might learn something helpful. "Holding a debate while flying is counterproductive and unsafe," concluded one pilot after an unpleasant checkout. Learn from this pilot's experience in the December 1996 Flight Training
article "In Training: Rental Checkout." My ePilot - Turboprop Interest MAXIMIZE SAFETY DURING AN EMERGENCY TAKEOFF
Losing an engine during takeoff can make every pilot's heart skip a beat, whether he or she is flying a single-engine or business jet. An engine failure in a turboprop requires precise emergency decision-making skills. Whether to abort or continue the takeoff largely depends upon whether you have reached V 1
, takeoff decision speed. You need to be able to react instantly. "From the time it takes to recognize an engine problem at V 1
until the first action is taken, several seconds may pass. At a forward speed in excess of 100 feet per second, time is everything," writes Chip Wright in the March 2004 AOPA Pilot
article "Half-Fast: Maximizing safety in an extremely dangerous situation."
It is essential to practice proper response techniques for your aircraft until they become automatic. My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Tips CHECK THE SOCK
Inbound for landing, you monitor an automated weather station or an automatic terminal information service (ATIS) broadcast, noting the wind speed and direction. Next you receive your landing instructions from an air traffic controller (at a towered airport) or enter a traffic pattern at a nontowered airport. Either way, there may still be a surprise lurking-as you discover when the landing turns out to be less than satisfactory because the wind was not as advertised. What happened?
"Too many pilots rely solely on the tower, ATIS, AWOS, or ASOS reported winds to tell them what the wind is doing," Ralph Butcher wrote in the September 2001 AOPA Flight Training
column "Insights: False Assumptions."
"On-the-scene indications are far more meaningful. Windsocks, smoke, steam, dust plumes, flags, and the smoke generated by a jet's tires smacking the runway are all good indicators."
Especially when arriving at an airport for the first time, it's tempting to rely on whatever wind information is available from many miles out. You may also worry about being able to locate the windsock. Usually, windsock installations are placed "in a central location near the runway" and may be surrounded by a segmented circle. Windsocks and other wind indicators are discussed and illustrated in Chapter 12
of the Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge
When planning your arrival based on an ATIS broadcast, note the time it was prepared, stated at the beginning of the report. On a gusty day the broadcast may include variations in wind direction and speed. (ATIS broadcasts are described in Chapter Four
of the Aeronautical Information Manual
Windsocks date almost to the dawn of flying but have not outlived their usefulness. "I've been in the cockpit of Boeing 747-400s-those flying apartment complexes loaded with avionics-where the last thing the captain looked at prior to releasing the brakes for takeoff was the windsock," wrote Dave English in an August 1996 Flight Training synopsis of the history and use of "wind cones."
Nobody likes surprises, especially when the information you need most is right before your eyes. So get the winds, get your landing clearance or announce your traffic pattern-and check the sock! My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Products LOGBOOK SOFTWARE ORGANIZES FLYING HOURS
It's hard to beat the cachet of a logbook, but many pilots like to keep an electronic record of flying hours just in case. (Logbooks can get lost or stolen, after all.) Logbook Pro organizes and keeps a running total of flight time, which allows the user to extract whatever data are needed in various formats. Logbook Pro is available from Sporty's
in three versions: Standard ($69.95), Professional ($99.95), and Enterprise ($149.95). An optional add-on for the Palm personal digital assistant or Pocket PC is $24.95. 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. My ePilot - Student Interest, Final Exam Question:
I'm currently working toward the instrument rating. Lately, I've come across some approach charts that are annotated with the words "radar required." Does this mean that my aircraft has to be equipped with radar in order for me to legally fly the approach? Answer:
The words "radar required" do not indicate that the aircraft has to be radar equipped; rather, they tell the pilot that he or she must be receiving radar services from air traffic control in order to fly the approach. The annotation is typically included because of the absence (or outage) of a navaid that a pilot would need to determine a fix using only the navigational equipment in the cockpit. More information on the various ways that ATC uses radar is available on AOPA Online