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AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content -- Vol. 8, Issue 34AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content -- Vol. 8, Issue 34

The following stories from the August 25, 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 - Instrument Interest
Selecting alternate landing facilities before flying in instrument conditions is a standard practice for IFR pilots. Peter A. Bedell provides some additional tips to follow when selecting your alternate airports in “Precise but flexible flying” in the July 1998 AOPA Pilot. Ask a flight service briefer: “Flight service briefers are generally the best source when fishing for an alternative, since they have all of the terminal forecasts in front of them,” Bedell suggests. Also, plan several alternates that have weather reporting facilities on the field and multiple precision approaches, check the weather regularly to see if the forecast is proving true, and plan your fuel reserve accordingly-you might need more than the FARs require.

My ePilot - Renter Interest
As a renter pilot, you don’t have the luxury of flying the same aircraft every time you take a flight. Regardless of the aircraft you fly, you can have the comfort of a familiar cockpit with you at all times. Julie K. Boatman discusses GPS receivers, VHF transceivers, collision avoidance units, personal digital assistants (PDAs), pilot-ready electronic flight bags, and more in “Mobile Cockpit: Portable devices for renter pilots” in the January 2004 AOPA Pilot. Read Boatman’s article to find out what equipment best fits your flying needs.

My ePilot - Owner Interest
Maybe you need to cross out or add a few items to your equipment list; perhaps you need to give that list a major overhaul. Steven W. Ells provides tips on creating, customizing, and updating your equipment list in “Checking your list” in the February 2001 AOPA Pilot. “If the equipment list isn’t up to date, the pilot is subject to the same kind of information dark hole as the citizen who loves his new car because it can go 400 miles between fill-ups but doesn’t know how big the gas tank is,” Ells writes. Ells suggests that you create a spreadsheet with columns for the item’s name, weight, arm, moment, part and serial numbers, and tach time of installation.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Tips
The more convenient, easier to use, and more data-packed electronic navigation becomes, the more important it is for pilots to remember to look outside, not at the panel, while flying under visual flight rules (VFR). It's still a see-and-avoid world out there; visual flight rules remain in effect no matter what kind of nav boxes are on board. It's easy to forget that neither sophisticated electronics in the cockpit, nor radar flight following from air traffic control, should degrade your personal vigilance of the airspace around you. "The see-and-avoid rule applies to all pilots, from the most experienced airline pilot in the most elaborately equipped airliner to the beginning student pilot in a modestly equipped trainer. And it applies in all types of airspace regardless of the ATC services being provided, even when a controller is actively providing separation from other aircraft," attorney Kathy Yodice reminded pilots in the June 1999 AOPA Flight Training Legal Briefing column.

On a flight test, you'll be expected to demonstrate your familiarity with on-board navigation gear. It would not be unreasonable for a designated examiner to take the position that your nav gear's ability to distract you from scanning for traffic is fair game. Remember, collision avoidance is special emphasis area No. 4 in the Private Pilot Practical Test Standards. No matter what task you are demonstrating, this item is part of it! During that test, or during flight lessons (solo or dual) while practicing maneuvers, execute a clearing turn as a matter of routine. How is a clearing turn performed? See Jill Tallman's discussion of various ways to clear an area in the May 2005 AOPA Flight Training Aviation Speak, and the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's Collision Avoidance Safety Advisor.

Navigating via the data displays on a fancy black box is fascinating and fun. Groundspeed, time to destination, course line, time and distance to the nearest airport in case of a diversion-all this is at your fingertips. Knowing that you are on course is comforting when visibility is poor and terrain is unfamiliar. But even under ideal conditions, keep a sharp lookout for traffic, and enjoy the view. After all, if you are like most general aviation pilots, it was that thrilling vista from the cockpit that got you flying in the first place.

My ePilot - Training Product
Aviation Supplies and Academics (ASA) has released an updated version of its Instrument Oral Exam Guide to reflect changes in regulations, procedures, and training. The Instrument Oral Exam Guide is designed for pilots who are training for the instrument rating, as well as instructors preparing for the CFII checkride. Written by Michael Hayes, the guide teaches applicants not only what to expect, but also how to exhibit subject mastery and confidence when flying under an examiner's scrutiny, according to ASA. The 176-page soft-cover guide is $12.95 and may be ordered online or by calling 800/426-8338.

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: What is the purpose of the ground reference maneuvers my instructor makes me practice?

Answer: The ground reference maneuvers are designed to teach you how to divide your attention between several tasks, control the airplane smoothly and safely, see and avoid potential conflicts, and react appropriately to the effects of wind drift. For additional information, read this article from AOPA Online. To review the standards you must meet when performing these maneuvers during your practical test, review the practical test standards for the certificate you are applying for.

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