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The Oct. 30 “ Training Tip: Expecting a Call” pointed out that the predictability of aviation radio transmissions helps pilots learn communications skills. Predictability also helps you sense when ATC might want to contact you. But what about times when you have something to say that doesn’t fit the mold?
Returning to the airport from the practice area, your flight instructor says, “Tell the tower that we’d like a stop-and-go landing on Runway 4, then we’ll re-enter the pattern for crosswind landings on Runway 35, traffic permitting.”
You press your push-to-talk switch to initiate contact. Are you going to say that mouthful on your first call?
There’s a better way. Contact the tower, state your N number, as you would on any inbound flight, and then add one word: “Request.” Now you have the tower’s attention, and you have let the controller know that something’s on your mind. Having heard that one key word, the controller can decide whether to solicit your request immediately or deal with other chores first.
What should you expect to hear? “The response will be ‘Stand by’ or ‘Say request.’ Your prime objective is to fly the airplane, while the controller's task is to separate traffic. Help them to do their job by being professional on the radio,” Joel Stoller explained in the February 2003 AOPA Flight Training article “ Great expectations.”
When it’s time to say your request, boil it down to the basics. Once the request is granted, listen for specifics, such as an assigned heading to fly after your stop-and-go, or for you to “make right closed traffic” to Runway 35 during your crosswind circuits. (Jill Tallman explained the term "closed traffic" in the August 2004 AOPA Flight Training’s “Flying Smart” column.)
Stating requests this way has other applications too. For example, in cruise flight in a one-radio aircraft, you might need to leave an ATC frequency on which you are receiving radar traffic advisories to contact Flight Watch.
Sometimes an air traffic facility you have contacted en route will ask you to “say your request.” Be prepared and state your needs tightly—knowing that your thoughtful technique is appreciated by the voice in your ear, and by all your fellow pilots on the frequency.
YOUR PARTNER IN TRAINING
Fall is a perfect time to take a friend or a flight instructor on a sightseeing trek, whether to enjoy the changing colors of the foliage or to enjoy the view from the clear, crisp mornings that autumn can provide. But all of that low-level sightseeing requires you to be extra vigilant as you scan for other traffic that could be in your area, perhaps taking in the same sights as you. Review the suggestions in Budd Davisson’s article from the December 2009 issue of AOPA Flight Training, and then follow up with this article from the July 2001 issue of AOPA Pilot.
Did you know that student pilots who join AOPA are three times more likely to complete their flight training? Membership includes unlimited access to aviation information by phone (800/USA-AOPA, weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern time) or from AOPA Flight Training Online or AOPA Online. If you’re not already a member, join today and get the pilot’s edge. Login information is available online.
Kansas State University at Salina has opened its new Student Life Center. The 33,000-square-foot, $6 million facility houses the campus's recreational services and student life divisions, as well as the Cessna Lounge, a student lounge area complete with big screen televisions; video game consoles; and pool, ping-pong, and air hockey tables. “We love K-State’s aviation program,” said Roger Whyte, Cessna Aircraft’s vice president of sales and marketing. “They have a strong program and we have hired many of their graduates over the years.” Cessna’s commitment to the Student Life Center, made several years ago, helped the university realize a long-term goal to enhance the university experience for its students. The center also offers basketball and racquetball courts, an indoor running track, an aerobic/fitness area, and exercise equipment. Kansas State’s Salina campus is located on the grounds of the Salina Municipal Airport.
The New York City Class B Hudson River exclusion zone became a special flight rules area (SFRA) on Nov. 19. While this may change how some pilots operate in the area, the airspace is open for general aviation pilots to get a bird’s-eye view of the famous skyline and Statue of Liberty. AOPA had advocated for GA pilots’ continued access to the airspace while it participated on the New York Hudson River Task Force. The SFRA incorporates the group’s recommendations as well as input from pilots who participated in the AOPA Air Safety Foundation’s “Tight Spots: Collision Avoidance in the Hudson Corridor” safety seminar that took place shortly after the fatal August accident between a helicopter and fixed-wing aircraft that thrust the corridor into the national spotlight. Read more >>
Purdue University and Able Flight are teaming up for a joint flight training project for 2010. Beginning in May or June, two to four Able Flight scholarship recipients will live in university housing and will be trained at Purdue University Airport in West Lafayette, Ind., according to Able Flight, whose mission is to help people with disabilities challenge themselves through flight training. The student pilots will have an opportunity to earn a sport pilot certificate within a month. “Purdue’s Department of Aviation Technology is not only one of the premier aviation programs in the country, it is an innovative leader in the training of pilots and aeronautical engineers,” said Able Flight Executive Director Charles H. Stites. “During their time there, our student pilots will be immersed in flying in a demanding but supportive setting, and have the chance to explore opportunities for future undergraduate and graduate degrees in aviation.”
Flight Design adds three schools to network
Three flight schools have joined the Flight Design Pilot Center roster, bringing the total number to 19 schools and 38 instructors. The schools are Northeast LSA in North Hampton, N.H.; Copper City Aviation Services in Bisbee, Ariz., and Pilot’s Choice Aviation in Georgetown, Texas. Flight Design USA is the U.S. importer of the CT light sport aircraft series from Germany.
Online safety courses
Whether you're trying to overcome a case of "mic fright" or make sense of what that approaching cold front means for your flight, the AOPA Air Safety Foundation has interactive courses to help you move forward in your training. Take a free online course today. Most interactive safety courses can be completed in less than an hour, and progress is saved if you need to come back later. Your transcript keeps track of courses started or completed.
Heatsheets survival blanket from PilotMall.com
Do you carry a survival kit when you fly? Many believe it’s a smart thing to do, particularly if you’re crossing rugged terrain. Heatsheets’ two-person survival blanket is fluorescent orange, weighs about a pound, and has survival instructions printed right on it. The blanket sells for $5.49 and may be ordered online from PilotMall.com.
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.
Question: I am planning to purchase an airplane in the near future, and during my research I came across an unfamiliar term. What is specific range, and why is it important to me?
Answer: Specific range is the distance an aircraft will travel on a given unit of fuel. It’s similar to an automobile miles-per-gallon measure, but for airplanes. You can calculate the specific range by dividing an airplane’s true airspeed by the hourly fuel flow in pounds. For example, aircraft A travels 200 miles in one hour while burning 20 gallons (120 pounds) of fuel and has a specific range of 1.7. Aircraft B travels 100 miles an hour while burning 15 gallons (90 pounds) of fuel, giving it a specific range of 1.1. Airplane A's specific range shows it to be more efficient. For additional information on specific range, check out this short article by Barry Schiff.
Got a question for our technical services staff? E-mail [email protected] or call the Pilot Information Center, 800/872-2672. Don’t forget the online archive of “Final Exam” questions and answers, searchable by keyword or topic.
Pilots love to take photos, and they love to share them with other pilots. Now you can upload your flying photos to our online gallery, “Air Mail.” Share your special aviation images, or view and rate more than 2,000 photos and counting. Highly rated photos will get put into rotation on the AOPA home page!
AVIATION EVENTS & WEATHER
Want something to do this weekend? Planning an aviation getaway? See your personalized online calendar of events . We’ve enhanced our calendar so that with one click you can see all of the events listed in the regions you selected when personalizing ePilot . Now you can browse events listed two weeks to a few months out to make your planning easier. You can also bookmark the personalized calendar page to check it as often as you want. Before you take off on an adventure, make sure you check our current aviation weather provided by Jeppesen.
Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics
The next AOPA Air Safety Foundation Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics are scheduled in Denver, Colo., and Orlando, Fla., Dec. 5 and 6; Northbrook, Ill., Dec. 12 and 13; San Jose, Calif., Baltimore, Md., and Detroit, Mich., Jan. 9 and 10. For a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.
Can’t make it in person? Sign up for the CFI Refresher Online.
AOPA Air Safety Foundation Safety Seminars
AOPA Air Safety Foundation Safety Seminars are scheduled in Marietta, Ga., Dec. 1; Birmingham, Ala., Dec. 2; Pensacola, Fla., Dec. 3; West Palm Beach, Fla., Dec. 7; Tampa, Fla., Dec. 8; Towson, Md., Dec. 9. Topics vary—for details and a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.
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Editorial Team : ePilot Flight Training Editor : Jill Tallman | ePilot Editor: Sarah Brown | Contributor: Alton Marsh