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AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content -- Vol. 7, Issue 27AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content -- Vol. 7, Issue 27

The following stories from the July 8, 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 - Instrument Interest
Preparing for a successful instrument approach should start well in advance. You need to have all of your instrument charts and other materials prepared before flight, but you also should use a system, whether it is a checklist or mnemonic device, to ensure that you are set up for the approach. "As you will see, there is no standardized way to set up a cockpit for an instrument approach. The best one for you is the one that works," writes Alton K. Marsh in "Approaching the Approach" in the June 1996 AOPA Pilot. Marsh explains eight different systems used by flight schools across the country. Some use mnemonic devices, others use the approach plate, instrument panel, or audio panel itself, and others use checklists.

My ePilot - Professional Pilot Interest
Perhaps you are not earning as much as an ATP in the flying profession you chose-you might be happy with your profession, although more money would be nice. "But flying a business jet or turboprop for a company or individual owner still can be a pretty good gig, especially when that career coexists with a second professional life," explains Mark Twombly in "Continuing Ed: Corporate pilot plus" in the August 2003 AOPA Flight Training. Whether you are a flight instructor, corporate pilot, or somewhere in between, you might consider adding a side profession that you are just as passionate about-it could even focus on aviation. Twombly describes how entrepreneur Rich Harris started an "online business-aviation pilot-employment service" on the side of his corporate job.

My ePilot - Helicopter Interest
Duke University's Pratt School of Engineering has purchased a Bell JetRanger that researchers will use to gather environmental data that can't be collected by other aircraft. The $1.3 million helicopter was fitted with specialized sensors attached to its nose and in belly pods. They can measure such things as water and carbon dioxide concentrations and very-high-frequency, three-dimensional turbulence at low flying speeds. The equipment enables the helicopter to perform environmental observations that would be missed by high-flying or faster airplanes, satellites, balloons, and sounding rockets. Duke will make the JetRanger available to researchers from other universities and institutions.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Tips
These days, aviation and delays go hand in hand. But that's not only true of the airlines. The various tasks and logistics that must be attended to before you throttle up and take off on your training flights can set the stage for delays. Your attitude about this will determine what kind of flight you have. Stay positive; be flexible. If your flight has been set back for any appreciable amount of time, the first thing to do is get a new weather briefing-not just to get new winds aloft data for revising fuel and groundspeed calculations, but also to check destination surface reports. Make sure your original go/no-go decision hasn't become stale.

What could make that happen? Converging temperatures and dew points could raise the possibility of fog at your new estimated time of arrival. A pilot report about visibility or turbulence could discredit the forecast or reveal conditions exceeding your endorsed limitations for solo flight. If your training in gathering and using aviation weather products has been thorough and creative, you will never view updating weather as an unnecessary chore. "Some flight instructors encourage their students to study the weather, plan flights that they never intend to fly, get a full weather briefing, and make the go/no-go decision. Then, when enough time has elapsed to complete the flight, they can call Flight Service again, obtain current conditions along the route and at the destination, and learn whether they made the right call. This is a great way to begin developing a weather curiosity that can lead to weather wisdom," wrote AOPA Flight Training Editor Mike Collins in his November 2002 commentary "Preflight: Weather Analysis." Another veteran pilot, AOPA Flight Training columnist Mark Twombly, reflected in a July 1999 "Continuing Ed" column on the lasting educational benefits of a long-ago mission that required reevaluating decisions. "It taught me the value of caution, of planning, and of changing the plan when necessary," he wrote.

All right, delays have been resolved, weather updated. The trip is on. Be sure that any airports you have identified as alternates in case a diversion is needed (diverting was the subject of the June 28, 2002,Training Tips) are still available and that you've checked notams for the flight. Now you are ready to launch, armed with good information and an appreciation of the need to keep your options open when flying!

My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Products
Consistently good, safe takeoffs and landings are the result of preparation, according to John and Martha King. The first step in making critical decisions is learning to manage the risks. Next is the consistency and steadiness that come from informed confidence. Practical Risk Management for Takeoffs and Landings, the latest interactive course from King Schools, aims to teach pilots how to apply superior decision-making and perceptual skills with each takeoff and landing. The Kings also share insights on crosswind mastery, tips for good landings, and "the key to passenger-pleasing takeoffs and landings." The course consists of three CD-ROMs that run 93 minutes before interactive questions. It sells for $49 and can be ordered online from King Schools or by calling 800/854-1001.

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 previously registered with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) through the Alien Flight Student Program (AFSP) for my private pilot certificate and have already started my flight training. Unfortunately, I need to change flight schools and want to know if I need to register, again, with TSA.

Answer: Yes. Anytime a candidate makes a change to his flight training request through the AFSP, which in your case is a change of your flight training provider, he needs to register, again, with TSA. The flight training provider will also need to register with TSA if it hasn't already done so. All of your background information (with the exception of the fingerprints) and processing fee will need to be resent to TSA. For complete guidance on the TSA rule, please see AOPA's Guide to TSA Alien Flight Training Rule .

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