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AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content -- Vol. 8, Issue 7AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content -- Vol. 8, Issue 7

The following stories from the February 17, 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 - Personal/Recreational Interest
Can't get enough of flying? Branch out into some areas of aviation that you haven't explored: aerobatics, soaring, taildraggers, helicopters, or floatplanes. Each of these can give you the sense of joy that comes with being in the air but provides a different perspective of aviation. For example, with soaring you can experience the peaceful sound of air flowing over the wings of the glider-something pilots of powered aircraft don't experience. (Plus, landing without an engine will become second nature.) You'll also be able to go places that might otherwise have been off limits. Learn about these different types of flying in "Expand Your Horizons" on AOPA Online.

My ePilot - Instrument Interest
Simulated instrument flying is good practice, but actually spending time in the soup with a CFII will go a long way toward keeping you safe during IFR journeys. "Even a few minutes in nice, wet, bumpy cumulous will teach more than a thousand crosschecks under simulated conditions," wrote Brett Justus in the December 2003 AOPA Flight Training article "Not Seeing is Believing." Justus recounts how he learned a lesson about spatial disorientation in IFR conditions. Check out the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's Safety Advisor, Spatial Disorientation, and online courses to learn more about instrument flying.

My ePilot - Other Interest
On January 7, Frank Graves, AOPA 1060179, made 53 skydives to celebrate his fifty-third birthday. Since he was 20, Graves has wanted to make the same number of jumps as his age on his birthday. "I should have done it then," he joked. He completed the jumps in 5.5 hours thanks to an efficient team that helped him in and out of his parachutes, repacked the chutes, and got him in the air again. He used a total of eight parachutes during the day. Graves has been skydiving since 1972 and flying since 1976. Graves decided to turn the day into a jumpathon to raise money for cancer research and donated $3,500 to Jump for the Cause, a nonprofit organization that helps raise money for breast cancer research. Does he plan to do this again? "I don't think I'll be doing this on my eightieth birthday," Graves said, "but I might on my sixtieth."

My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Tips
You've heard it said that learning to fly starts with a foundation of knowledge on which new blocks of learning are built. First learn basic flying skills, then apply them in various combinations. Flying the traffic pattern at the right speed, altitude, and configurations, for instance, combines numerous aircraft-control skills. And by maintaining the aircraft at the correct distance from the runway while flying the traffic pattern in the wind, you are applying skills learned during past practice of ground-reference maneuvers.

Suppose that last traffic pattern did not go so well-what went wrong? Chances are you were only off on one element. Was the wind stronger than you thought, so you drifted too close to the runway during the downwind leg, causing you to overshoot the turn from base to final? What's needed here isn't just more practice in the traffic pattern. Go back and work briefly on ground-reference maneuvers such as the rectangular course. Download Chapter 6 of the Airplane Flying Handbook.

Especially after you have soloed and can practice maneuvers alone, use what your growing experience teaches you about your piloting strengths and weaknesses to shape your training. Tell your instructor what you are seeing. "A good way to organize your study and preparation for each lesson is to build your own lesson plan for the next lesson's objective-or FAA task-and use this as a study guide before you meet with your instructor at the airport. You'll save time and money by being prepared for what's to come," Joel Stoller suggested in the May 2004 AOPA Flight Training article "Preflight Prep: Five Steps to Efficient Flight Training."

Stage checks, formal or informal, help keep previously learned skills fresh. Other methods of review include riding as an observer on another student's dual training flight, or going on an occasional outing with a pilot/mentor. All these methods are described in the November 15, 2002, Training Tips article titled "Measuring Your Pilot Skills."

Don't save the review for the end of training under the three hours of "test prep" you must log within 60 days preceding the date of your flight test. Dedicate some quality time to revisiting the basics, keeping your foundation of learning rock solid and your flying sharp.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Products
WEATHER INFO, DIRECT TO YOUR CELL PHONE is a free weather service that sends METAR and TAF weather reports to an e-mail address or cellular phone. Pilots also can sign up for a "wake-up" service that is programmed to call a cell number at a preset time, or to send updated METARs when the report hits selected weather minimums. 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: I'm a student pilot and currently rent airplanes from a fixed-base operator for my flight training. Should I have insurance to protect me while flying?

Answer: While learning to fly in an airplane you do not own, you may need and/or want additional insurance above and beyond the coverage provided by the fixed-base operator (FBO). AOPA's Pilot's Guide to Aircraft Insurance describes the different types of insurance available to a pilot, including non-ownership aircraft insurance or renter's insurance. The FBO or flight school usually has insurance that covers damage to the aircraft; the owner of the aircraft, if other than the FBO, probably has aircraft damage and rental liability coverage. Neither policy may include coverage for you, anyone in the aircraft with you, or any potential property damage that you or the aircraft may cause while you are operating the aircraft. Also, if the FBO's policy has a subrogation clause, the insurance company might be able to come after you, the renter, for any payment it has made to the FBO on a claim. A renter's insurance policy can provide you with liability coverage as well as additional aircraft hull insurance to protect you in these situations. Be sure to check with the FBO or flight school where you rent to find out what kind of coverage is provided. To obtain additional information and a quote on renter's insurance, see the AOPA Insurance Agency Web site.

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