The following stories from the May 11, 2007, 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 – Student Interest, Training Tips
How long has it been since your last solo? Do you solo more than one type of aircraft? If you switched flight instructors after your original CFI endorsed your student pilot certificate authorizing your solos, can your new CFI pick up where the other left off?
When a student pilot solos, he or she accepts responsibility for keeping track of recency of experience. Throughout your future flying as a private pilot (or beyond), you will have to know whether you require any additional authorizations, or recurrency training, before flying as pilot in command or with passengers.
Don't just lay the responsibility at your flight instructor's door. This is your flying. At some point you will be soloing in accordance with conditions stated in your logbook without asking for the CFI's permission each time. So check your status carefully.
Suppose your first few solo flights were in a Cessna 152, but the aircraft was sold. So you continue training in a Piper PA-28-161. After several hours of dual instruction in the Piper, your new instructor tells you that you may proceed with solo flying. He checks your logbook and sees that it is less than 90 days since your last solo endorsement. Are you good to go?
No. Although you satisfied requirements to fly solo in the Cessna 152, you must take a second pre-solo knowledge test that asks questions about "flight characteristics and operational limitations for the make and model of aircraft to be flown." For each type of aircraft that you solo, the Federal Aviation Regulations require that your student pilot certificate be endorsed and that you have a current logbook endorsement (see the June 4, 2004, Training Tips).
This repeated checking of your skills by a flight instructor keeps you safe and learning. For advanced pilots, the biennial flight review can prevent skill erosion and the development of bad habits. Indeed, when something goes wrong on a flight, a pilot's recent flying experience is scrutinized by accident investigators. For example, check out this 222-hour pilot's landing mishap in a Cessna 172.
You have probably heard student pilots complain that time away from training dulled their proficiency and reduced their confidence. Stay sharp by staying active, and make sure that your records reflect the facts.
My ePilot – Training Product
GLEIM OFFERS MULTIENGINE RATING ADD-ON COURSE
Once you achieve your private pilot certificate, learning doesn't stop there. You'll want to continue your flying education by adding new certificates and ratings. And if you aspire for the airlines, a multiengine rating is a must for building time. Gleim Publications, known in the aviation community as the publisher of the "red books," also has a selection of online courses intended to prepare the user for a particular certificate or rating. Gleim's Multiengine Add-On Rating Course is a make- and model-specific ground school self-study program delivered via the Internet that gets you ready for the practical test. You can try a lesson free, or purchase the entire program for $29.95. 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: I just plotted my long cross-country, required for my private pilot certificate, and see that my course line tracks straight through an oddly shaped blue box with blue dots running along the inside of it. What does this represent?
Answer: The area you are describing is a special conservation area. This includes national parks, monuments, seashores, lakeshores, recreation areas, and scenic riverways administered by the National Park Service; national wildlife refuges, big game refuges, game ranges, and wildlife ranges administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; and wilderness and primitive areas administered by the U.S. Forest Service. While the airspace above these areas is not prohibited or restricted, pilots flying above these areas are requested to maintain a minimum altitude of 2,000 feet above the surface to reduce potential interference with wildlife and complaints of noise disturbances. FAA Advisory Circular AC 91-36D, Visual Flight Rules (VFR) Flight Near Noise-Sensitive Areas , defines the surface of these noise-sensitive areas as "the highest terrain within 2,000 feet agl laterally of the route of flight or the uppermost rim of a canyon or valley."