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AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content -- Vol. 8, Issue 52AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content -- Vol. 8, Issue 52

The following stories from the December 29, 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 - Renter Interest
Is it time for you to make the transition from aircraft renter to owner? Consider these key questions when thinking about buying an aircraft: How often do you fly? Would you fly more if you had your own aircraft? What kind of budget do you have to allocate toward the purchase of an aircraft? Read the tips in AOPA's Guide to Reducing the Cost of Flying to find out if it would be more beneficial for you to own rather than rent.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Tips
There's nothing like snow season to change the daily routine at a familiar airport. Whether your planned flight is local or a cross-country, once snow hits the surface, pilots must stay on the alert for so-called contaminated runways, taxiways, and ramps. After a storm, plowing and clean-up operations could continue for a long time. Check notams and monitor ATIS broadcasts for closures and delays coded PPR: prior permission required. Snowdrifts created by plowing may be waiting to snag a wing tip; use care especially when maneuvering in confined areas such as on the ramp or while turning at intersections of runways and taxiways. Residual surface ice and refrozen melted snow is a concern even during stretches of good weather.

"Even if the runway is available there may still be, in notam language, PSR (packed snow on the runway), SLR (slush on the runway), or LSR (loose snow on the runway). If you land off the centerline to avoid ice, or when taxiing, watch out for SNBNK (snow banks caused by plowing). There could be snow-removal equipment in proximity. Some of these vehicles are huge; most have flashing lights. Occasionally someone doesn't get the word that it's time to let the aircraft land again, so be ready to make that out-of-the-flare go-around," was some of the advice you'll find in the December 2006 AOPA Pilot feature "Flying Seasons: Winter Wonderland?" It continued, "If braking advisories are in effect, monitor whether runways have BRAG, BRAF, BRAP, or BRAN-notam contractions telling you that braking action is good, fair, poor, or nil." See Chapter 5 of the Aeronautical Information Manual for a full discussion of the notam system and a list of notam contractions.

Treacherous conditions have been the cause of numerous mishaps. Learn from what has happened to other pilots as described in the "Accident Analysis" column in the December 2006 AOPA Flight Training.

Winter surface conditions can even make runways-or entire airports-hard to find from the air. Just as cold-weather operations require special methods of preparing and flying your aircraft (see the November 10, 2006, Training Tips article "The Cold Facts"), airports require special "handling" in wintertime too. Do it right, and reap the rewards.  

My ePilot - Training Product
Gleim Publications Inc. has released a new version of its online ground school. The new version features up-to-date information in a new format that offers flexible study options. Existing customers may access either version, but Gleim advises that if you choose to begin the new course, you will not be able to retain your course history from your current course or receive credit for questions already answered or sections previously completed. You begin the course as a new user. If you choose to continue using the current course, you will retain all current programs. The expiration date of either version is two years from original date of purchase. Online ground school programs are available for sport, private, instrument, commercial, CFI, and ATP. Each costs $99.95. For more information, see the Web site.

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: Does AOPA have resources to help me better understand and prepare to fly with a glass cockpit panel?

Answer: Yes. AOPA's subject report, "Glass Cockpit Technology," offers links to numerous AOPA Pilot articles that will give you the insight needed to feel more comfortable flying behind the glass. Glass cockpit aircraft, also referred to as "technically advanced aircraft" (TAA), are not manufactured to a one-size-fits-all standard like the VOR navigation system installed in older aircraft and require specific training from one unit to the next. To help with this, the AOPA Air Safety Foundation publication, Technically Advanced Aircraft Special Report , gives an outline of the challenges of TAA training and an analysis of some TAA accident reports. Finally, you can also contact the glass cockpit manufacturer to obtain a computer-based simulator software program (for a nominal cost) to help practice the skills you'll need in the cockpit.

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