The following stories from the October 12, 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
SERVICING YOUR TRAINER
If you fly from an airport where the line staff attends to the needs of your trainer before and after every flight, landing at your destination on a solo cross-country may present you with your first opportunity to take responsibility for refueling or aircraft servicing. Before that day arrives, make it a habit to watch refueling, aircraft towing, and cold-weather preheating operations carefully. Ask the line staff to explain safety procedures used in each operation.
For example, you may never have connected a grounding line before in preparation for refueling. What is its purpose? To prevent the hazard of static electricity from creating a spark in the presence of vaporized fuel. There's a right way and a wrong way to attach a grounding line from its source—your lineman's fuel truck for instance—to the aircraft. "Connect the grounding wire to unpainted metal on the aircraft; if it's not brittle the engine exhaust is often a good choice, otherwise try the metal lugs on the nosewheel strut where the towbar attaches. Just as important, don't forget to disconnect the grounding line before you try to taxi away," Dale Smith advised in the August 2003 AOPA Flight Training feature "Think tank: Be well grounded in proper fueling procedures." Note his reminder to remain with the aircraft any time it is being serviced. You might see something you don't like in the way the aircraft is handled, or even catch a misfueling incident before it becomes an accident cause.
You know from studying your sectional navigational chart against airport symbols in the VFR chart user's guide that your destination airport offers fuel. Now make sure that your arrival won't take place at a time when that fuel is unavailable. A look at the entry for the Ames Municipal Airport (AMW) in Ames, Iowa, in AOPA's Airport Directory Online shows hours when service is available. A note also gives contact information for making arrangements at other times.
Include this level of research in your study of potential emergency airports that lie along your cross-country routes. En route, know your position relative to these alternates at all times in the event that you must divert for weather or a mechanical repair.
My ePilot – Training Product
LEARN AIRSPACE WITH WHERE IN THE AIR'S 3-D MODELS
Learning airspace can be a daunting and demanding task in the quest to become a pilot. Teaching the concept of 3-D airspace with a 2-D chart only compounds the problem. Where In The Air is a new company that is seeking to make the airspace learning process easier with large 3-D airspace models. Though only available for certain California airspace, the models could potentially be useful for teaching the concepts anywhere in the country. The models are priced from $92.99 to $735.25. 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: The aircraft I fly for my flight training has a burnt-out wing-tip strobe. Can I fly the airplane or must I delay my scheduled flight until the strobe light is fixed?
Answer: The anti-collision light system must be fully operational per FAR 91.205 (c) and (d) during both day and night flight operations, so the airplane is grounded until the bulb is replaced. Additional information on this subject can be reviewed in the Pilot Information Center's online subject report, Aircraft Lighting.