The following stories from the March 24, 2006, 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 - Multiengine Interest ICY ENCOUNTERS
Flight training often focuses on how to avoid icing conditions and how to get out of them quickly, but various factors (such as low fuel or inaccurate weather forecasts) can pile up as quickly as the ice and limit your options for getting out of the situation. One pilot recounts a harrowing experience of how he and a student picked up nearly 2 inches of ice, including an iced-over windscreen, on a Piper Geronimo in the December 2004 AOPA Pilot
column "Never Again: Unavoidable ice." My ePilot - Professional Pilot Interest CAREER CHANGE: IT'S NOT TOO LATE TO MAKE A SWITCH
Ever thought about a career change but dismissed the idea because you thought it was too late? Maybe you should consider it again. "By some reports as many as 30 percent of today's starting airline pilots have begun a career in another field and then chucked it all because when you love to fly, no other job will do," writes Thomas B. Haines in "Dream Job,"
in his monthly "Waypoints" column in the March 2006 AOPA Pilot
. Haines features pilot Anjea White, who took a risk, turned down a well-paying pharmaceutical sales job, began flight training, and ultimately started flying for the airlines. My ePilot - Owner Interest TIME TO SELL?
For many pilots, the thought of selling their aircraft is like abandoning a trusted, longtime companion. First, you must decide if it is time to sell your beloved aircraft. Take an honest look at the type and amount of flying you do. Do you need a smaller, slower aircraft that has a lower operating cost, or do you need to step up to a higher performance aircraft? In the April 2004 AOPA Pilot
article, "Selling Your Airplane: Sentimental farewell or business transaction?"
Steven W. Ells recommends calculating the operating cost of your aircraft with AOPA's online worksheet
. Ells also provides tips on how to clean up your aircraft, organize its records, and successfully advertise it. My ePilot - Light Sport Aircraft Interest FLIGHT DESIGN USA UP AND RUNNING AT NEW HEADQUARTERS
Flight Design USA announced last week that it has completed its move from its Ellington, Connecticut, headquarters to about 35 miles to the east in South Woodstock and is operational. "Our sales, flight operations, and service facilities are now located within the same building, making the efforts of our staff more productive," said Tom Peghiny, president of Flight Design USA. It will serve as the facility for the company's import operations as well as home to its sister companies HPower Ltd. and Flightstar Sportplanes. Parts storage for the Flight Design CT also will be on the field. For more information about the company or aircraft, see the Web site
. My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Tips SOLO CROSS-COUNTRIES
The solo cross-country phase of flight training is an exciting time, during which you begin to experience an aircraft's utility in traveling. You will fly farther afield than ever before, without a flight instructor aboard to guide your decision making. This means staying alert to changing or unexpected weather conditions and conducting operations at unfamiliar airports all by yourself.
What is a cross-country flight? The term has different meanings to different pilot-training requirements, as explained in the "Legal Briefing"
column from the May 2004 AOPA Flight Training
. For a student pilot, a cross-country is a flight "that includes a point of landing that was at least a straight-line distance of more than 50 nautical miles from the original point of departure." This definition is found in the Federal Aviation Regulation 61.1(b)(3)
How many cross-countries will you fly? Enough to log at least five hours of solo cross-country time. One of those flights (generally not the first one you fly) must be "at least 150 nautical miles total distance, with full-stop landings at a minimum of three points, and one segment of the flight consisting of a straight-line distance of at least 50 nautical miles between the takeoff and landing locations," according to the regulations.
Even on a short solo cross-country, don't underestimate the level of skill you are already putting to use. Your destination could be a different kind of place than your home field. Terrain characteristics could be unusual, giving surface winds an odd character. Airport elevation could differ significantly. While en route, be alert for changing altimeter settings or a closing temperature-dew point spread, especially in late afternoon. The importance of the dew point was discussed in the March 21, 2003 Training Tips
. After you obtain surface winds, visualize entering the traffic pattern for the appropriate runway. Know from your preflight planning all available runways' lengths and obstructions on the approach paths.
Spring is the time of year when better weather and more hours of daylight help training programs move forward-especially those all-important solo cross-countries! My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Products FREE WEATHER EDUCATION SITE FROM UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS
Is weather theory giving you a headache? Can't tell an altocumulous cloud from a nimbostratus? The next time you're grounded by the weather, spend an hour on the Internet perusing WW2010 (weather world 2010)
. This expansive site was created by the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Combining educational modules with current weather products, it was designed for high-school and undergraduate students, but its plain-language explanations and multimedia format are perfect for the student pilot who is grappling with weather concepts. And when we clicked on "classroom activities," we found an exercise in converting local time to Coordinated Universal Time, or Zulu time, with links to appropriate resources. 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:
When should I make a pilot report (pirep)? Answer:
A pilot report (pirep) (download the advisory circular
) provides valuable information on actual conditions for other pilots, weather briefers, and even air traffic control. There isn't any specific time where you are required to make a pilot report, but here are some suggestions of when you should. If you notice the weather conditions are not what they were forecast to be, make a report. Consider making a report if the weather conditions are what was forecast; that helps, too. Other good times to make reports are in turbulent conditions, or lack thereof. Pilots will often report cloud tops and bases and icing conditions as well. Try and think of what information would be helpful to you in your flight planning and remember to make pilot reports when you can. Take the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's free SkySpotter online course
and learn how to make an effective pirep. For additional information on pireps, see the January 2003 issue of AOPA Flight Training