The following stories from the August 10, 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
FUEL SCHOOLS OF THOUGHT
Do you always fly with full fuel on board? What's your school's policy about refueling after flying? It's cheap insurance to depart with full fuel on training flights-especially solos-but not always possible. When it isn't, can you determine precisely how much fuel is on board? (See the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's Safety Advisor Fuel Awareness .) After flight, one school of thought is to top off the aircraft immediately to prevent water vapor from condensing in fuel tanks. Another is to leave fueling until the next flight to avoid exceeding weight or balance limits, or because the aircraft might launch on a mission requiring more restrictive loading, as explained in the March 19, 2004, Training Tips article "A Categorical Explanation of Flying."
Whichever policy your school, fixed-base operation, or aircraft owner follows, you must skillfully track fuel burn. "Experience also teaches that the best fuel quantity gauge is a clock. Once you learn the fuel consumption habits of a particular airplane in climb, cruise, and descent, you can use a clock to accurately determine fuel used and fuel remaining-provided that you know how much fuel was in the tanks when you started the engine," wrote Mark Twombly in "Continuing Ed: Fuel School" in the September 2002 AOPA Flight Training. ( Fuel exhaustion was the subject of the July 6, 2007, Training Tip.)
Avoid traps: Such details as how you park the aircraft may hint that the fuel on board isn't as advertised. Check the vent. Is fuel-and precious training funds-dripping out? "Even on relatively cool days, it's not recommended to park an airplane in the sun with full tanks. As the fuel heats up, it expands and has nowhere to go, except out the vent and onto the ground. Some airplanes (Cessna 210s come to mind) when topped off can spit out several gallons of fuel on a warm day. Some other Cessnas also are particularly prone to venting fuel if they are parked left-wing low. The fuel vent is on the left side and if parked left-wing low with the selector valve in Both, fuel can slowly dribble out of the vent," Peter Bedell wrote in a September 2006 AOPA Pilot feature "Facing Down Fuel Costs."
Fueling policies differ. Know which applies-and understand its safety pros and cons.
My ePilot - Training Product
PILOTWORKSHOPS.COM EXPANDS INTERNET TRAINING OPTIONS
Looking for more training opportunities for those days when you can't fly? Pilotworkshops.com is waiting for you. Creator Mark Robidoux founded the site in 2005 out of his dissatisfaction with the amount of training available on the Internet for instrument-rated pilots. As you might imagine, the site contains a large number of workshops and seminars aimed at various aspects of instrument flying, but there are topics that pertain to any level of training, including go-arounds, aviation insurance, and airmanship principles. You can try two workshops free of charge, or sign up for a free weekly tip culled from a full-length workshop. A monthly $19.95 subscription gets you complete access to the 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: Unfortunately, I recently had a DUI traffic violation. Do I need to report it and to whom?
Answer: Yes. You need to report it to the FAA's Internal Security and Investigation Division (formerly the Civil Aviation Security Division) within 60 days of the date it occurred, according to FAR 61.15, "Offenses involving alcohol or drugs." It doesn't matter if the charges are later dismissed or reduced to a lesser charge. If your driver's license was suspended for an alcohol or drug action in any form, you must report it, even if your driver's license was suspended for only a few hours (for example, withheld by law enforcement, which includes not letting you drive home or requiring another person to drive you home). Additionally, at the time of your next FAA medical exam/review, you are required to report the DUI to the FAA's Aerospace Medical Certification Division. More information is available on AOPA Online.