The following stories from the July 7, 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.
What are your flight instructor's personal career goals in aviation? If the airlines or charter pilot employment are where their sights are set, and instructing is providing the experience needed to qualify, they'll be "out of there" when the right opportunity appears. There's nothing wrong with learning to fly from them in the meantime if they are dedicated teachers. (See Julie Summers Walker's tabulation of desirable qualities in a flight instructor in her April 2001 AOPA Pilot article "The Right Stuff: Choosing a Flight Instructor.") But you certainly have a right to know the situation, so you can look after your own needs. Ask about it when you begin the relationship. Even if your CFI has no immediate plans to make a job change, getting a sense of the general turnover rate of flight instructors at the school where you train can help you guard against a sudden disruption.
Something else you can do is to take note for possible future reference of the other flight instructors on hand at your school (or elsewhere). Do this either through your casual contacts, word-of-mouth evaluations by your fellow students, or these CFIs' occasional participation in your training program. Perhaps they have answered a question for you about the weather, or checked your cross-country planning, or given you a formal or informal stage check, a process described in the November 15, 2002, Training Tips. Did they seem like people you could do business with?
It's a cold fact that many working CFIs will move on when opportunity beckons. Take preventive measures now to keep this known reality of aviation from slowing you down!
My ePilot - Training Product
INSTRUMENT COVERS: HANDY TOOLS FOR PARTIAL-PANEL WORK
If you are an instrument student, you can be sure that plenty of partial-panel practice is on your syllabus. That's when your instructor "fails" one or more of the instruments by covering it up to see how you'll compensate in your scan. This is a good time to use an instrument cover of some type-such as a round piece of paper with a sticky side to keep it in place. Instrument covers also come in handy if one of your instruments should fail in VFR flight-cover it until you land so that you won't reference the faulty display. Aviation Supplies and Academics' instrument covers are white with a pale-blue ASA logo, sold in four packs of 25 notes each for $6.95. Order online or call 800/272-2359.
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: How do I determine which questions I missed on a FAA airman knowledge test?
Answer: The test results you receive after completing an airman knowledge test will have a list of codes, which represent a specific topic, for any questions you answered incorrectly. Advisory Circular 60-25G contains the material subject matter codes for the airman knowledge tests and a list of reference materials where you can review information on a particular subject. For example, if the code H963 is listed on your test results, it would indicate you incorrectly answered a question on weather charts. To review airman knowledge test guides and sample knowledge test questions, see AOPA Online. AOPA members receive a $10 discount at a CATS testing center for any FAA airman knowledge test.