The following stories from the April 28, 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 - Professional Pilot Interest
GETTING BACK TO THE BASICS
For some professional pilots, general aviation is simply a steppingstone to the airline industry. But for others, who love their day job flying airliners or business jets with all of the bells and whistles, there's still nothing as enjoyable as piddling around in the air with a GA aircraft-no deadlines, no cranky passengers. "General aviation is my lifeblood. I loved it then, and I love it more now," writes Chip Wright, in "Flying a 172: An airline pilot's GA dream" in the April 2004 AOPA Pilot. "It's pure, intimate, much more hands-on. It represents a freedom and a joy that are so hard to find elsewhere. Not just in flying, but also in life."
My ePilot - Renter Interest
LESSONS LEARNED: LANDING AT THE WRONG AIRPORT
You might be current and be able to carry passengers, but how sharp are your cross-country skills? AOPA recently updated its Pilot Skills: Currency vs. Proficiency subject report, with AOPA Pilot Senior Editor Alton Marsh's April 2006 article "Proficiency: Oops, Wrong Airport." Marsh discusses how 22 of 50 pilots who e-mailed him got lost-even though they had GPS. His article contains a link to other AOPA members' personal accounts of how they landed at the wrong airport. You also can learn from others' mistakes in AOPA's Never Again Online forum. (You may need to sign in.) Use AOPA's subject report as a guide for fun ways to stay proficient-even when time and money are tight.
My ePilot - Helicopter Interest
HELICOPTER LEGEND DIES
American helicopter pioneer Stanley Hiller Jr. has died. He was 81. Hiller, who founded Hiller Aircraft Corporation, first flew the coaxial XH-44 "Hiller-Copter" in 1944. It was the first successful helicopter flight in the western United States. Hiller also was the youngest person to receive the coveted Fawcett Aviation Award for major contributions to the advancement of aviation. The Hiller-Copter is on display at the Smithsonian's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center at Washington Dulles International Airport in northern Virginia.
My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Tips
NIGHTS AND LIGHTS
The April 21, 2006, Training Tips focused on the skills and thrills associated with learning how to fly and navigate cross-country at night. When doing your preflight research on the airports you will visit on night training flights, make careful note of their lighting systems and how to use them.
A small nontowered airport may have only modest lighting facilities consisting of a rotating beacon and pilot-controlled runway lights. Many smaller airports do not have taxiways, which are usually illuminated by blue edge lights, so be sure to know the layout of runways, intersections, and ramp areas for your ground operations. There may be an illuminated wind sock, and perhaps an approach lighting system such as a visual approach slope indicator (VASI) on one or more runways. See the June 13, 2003, Training Tips on "Glidepath Guidance." There may also be the very helpful REIL (runway end identifier lights) system. Remember that not all runways may be lighted. The magnetic bearing of illuminated runways can help you to spot the airport from a distance after you activate the lights. A backup radio is even more important equipment at night because a radio may be your only means of activating airport lighting. See the June 20, 2003, Training Tips.
By contrast, a tower-controlled airport or a nontowered airport with instrument approaches can have an impressive array of lighting systems. At larger airports these may include such amenities as runway centerline lights, taxiway lead-off lights, illuminated taxiway markings-the works! See Chapter 2, Section 1 of the Aeronautical Information Manual on airport lighting aids for descriptions and illustrations of systems. While on the subject of lighting systems of importance to night flying, be sure to give the AIM discussion of aviation obstruction lighting a review, then look over the elevation and lighting features of all such hazards along your route. Check notams-it's not uncommon for some obstruction lights to be temporarily out of service or for new obstructions to appear after the publication of aeronautical charts.
And now that spring has sprung, hours of daylight are increasing, so don't overlook the need to get your required night flying done while it is still possible to coordinate schedules for student, instructor, and aircraft.
My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Products
MAKE FLIGHTS MORE FUN FOR PASSENGERS
Few things are more disappointing to a pilot than the inability to share his or her passion for flight with a friend or loved one. And if you've tried to do that and had less-than-successful results, a new interactive course from King Schools may be just the ticket. Practical Risk Management for Reluctant Passengers and Their Pilots is designed to allow passengers and pilots to work together to create meaningful preflight and in-flight roles that lead to shared enjoyment and roles in the risk management of the flight. "The passenger will become engaged as the pilot shares control, and both of you will gain immense satisfaction that will make your flying fun," King Schools says. The course includes two CD-ROMs with a run time of 53 minutes before the interactive questions. It sells for $49 and may be ordered online 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: Are there any special requirements for me, as a student pilot, to fly into Class B airspace for my solo cross-country?
Answer: Yes. In addition to the solo cross-country flight requirements stated in FAR 61.93, FARs 61.94 and 61.95 detail student pilot requirements to operate both within Class B airspace and at an airport within Class B airspace. Keep in mind, the flight training you are required to receive must be conducted within the Class B airspace in which you plan to fly solo. If you intend to operate at an airport within Class B airspace, you must receive both ground and flight training at that specific airport. Also, many Class B airports do not allow student pilot operations, so be sure to check Section 4 of Appendix D of Part 91 for a complete list of those airports. For additional information, see AOPA Online.