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Epilot (40)Epilot (40)

AOPA ePilot Flight Training Edition Volume 9, Issue 40 — October 2, 2009  

In This Issue:
Aviation program reaches out to rest of campus
California FBO drops flight training
Safety seminar lessons could save your life

  FT News  |   Inside AOPA  |   TRAINING PRODUCTS   |   FINAL EXAM   



Positioning the ‘CG’

You performed a weight-and-balance calculation for your trainer’s next flight, pleased that weight was below max and the center of gravity (CG) within limits. Good work—but don’t consider the matter closed yet. Did you think about the loading arrangement you chose in terms of the aircraft handling to expect? That’s especially important if you’ll be practicing maneuvers involving flight at high angles of attack (slow flight, stalls) or high load factors (steep turns).

Heading out with an unusually aft CG could produce aircraft behavior that you have never seen from the trainer whose predictable handling you have come to trust. What could yield an unusually aft CG position? A rear-seat observer, extra weight in the baggage compartment, or a lower-than-usual fuel supply, to name a few possibilities.

"Because the CG’s location determines in part how an aircraft flies, manufacturers set forward and aft CG limits that ensure safe, predictable flying qualities. It’s every pilot’s responsibility to ensure the CG falls within these limits. Ignoring this responsibility can be disastrous. Even when the CG is within limits, handling characteristics can vary depending on the location of the CG," Ed Kolano explains in the April 1997 AOPA Flight Training " Form and Function: Center of gravity."

Handling differences may not become apparent until maneuvering practice commences. "Some pilots are genuinely startled when performing stalls in an adversely loaded airplane. A few have confessed that they were shocked at how unexpectedly their airplanes behaved," Barry Schiff writes in the January 2007 AOPA Pilot column " Proficient Pilot: CG at the aft limit."

So, what happened? "The recovery from a stall in any aircraft becomes progressively more difficult as its CG moves aft. This is particularly important in spin recovery, as there is a point in rearward loading of any aircraft at which a ‘flat’ spin develops," according to Chapter 4 of the Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge .

Convinced? Then be sure to positively position your CG appropriately before flight. Don’t just check the chart and take what you get. Then tackle the questions on weight and balance, and aircraft stability, on the Private Pilot Knowledge Test with new appreciation for this critical aerodynamic topic.


The most common error by pilots that leads to runway incursions is entering a runway without clearance, meaning the pilot moves into a takeoff position prematurely or crosses a runway without clearance. To help you better understand runway signage, the AOPA Air Safety Foundation offers a free online Runway Safety Program . Using active motion and 3-D graphics, the Runway Safety Program takes pilots through real-life situations involving operations with high potential for runway incursions.


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.


Aviation program reaches out to rest of campus

In an effort to reach out to students on the University of Illinois campus and perhaps bolster enrollment in the aviation program, the school’s Institute of Aviation will host a Fun Flights program in October. Participants will experience a one-hour aerial tour of the campus and surrounding area in one of the program’s 18 Piper Archers. The aviation program has lost 30 students since last year, out of a total of 230 students. The enrollment drop has been attributed to the economy and a decline in financial aid for students, according to the Daily Illini .

California FBO drops flight training

The depressed economy has caused a Lincoln, Calif., fixed-base operator to discontinue the flight training portion of its business. Ken Atkin, owner of Atkin Air at Lincoln Regional Airport, said the business was hit especially hard because clients who had paid for charters and flight training "aren’t anymore. The money they use for that, it’s recreational. They’re going to pay their house payments before they go flying," he told the Lincoln News Messenger . Charter and aircraft management services will still be available.

ERAU student wins trade group scholarship

The Florida Aviation Trades Association has awarded a scholarship to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University senior Wayne Williams. Williams, of Atlanta, Ga., is a senior at the Daytona Beach, Fla., campus. He is a single- and multiengine commercial pilot with instrument ratings and is working on a flight instructor certificate.

Brothers bring flying business to Texas hometown

Two brothers who own and operate a fixed-base operation in Texas recently moved the business to their hometown of Athens, Texas, and have added flight training to the mix. Wayne and Gaylon Adkisson own Athens Jet Center, which they moved to Athens Municipal Airport earlier this year. A new hangar is planned, and the business is working on an agreement with Trinity Valley Community College to offer flight and ground school classes, according to the Athens Daily Review .

Inside AOPA


The questions that run through your head while you’re talking to air traffic control can be critical to the safety of your flight: How do controllers handle my situation differently if I declare "minimum fuel" versus a "fuel emergency"? Or, the questions may simply be driven by curiosity: How can I get a tour of an ATC facility? Get the answers in the AOPA Air Safety Foundation Ask ATC resource. Learn from others’ questions and ask your own to find out everything from how controllers handle a stuck microphone to what happens if you bust an altitude. Answers come straight from the National Air Traffic Controllers Association.

Safety seminar lessons could help save your life

The tips and practical techniques you learn from an AOPA Air Safety Foundation Safety Seminar just might save your life, said one pilot who attended a "Takeoffs and Landings" seminar. The pilot said the safety preparation techniques she learned helped her instantly and successfully respond to an engine failure, safely making the runway. All of the seminars qualify for the FAA Wings program and AOPA Accident Forgiveness and Deductible Waiver Enhancements. More than 40,000 pilots a year attend the foundation’s free seminars. Find out when the latest seminar, " What Went Wrong?," will be in your area.

AOPA Member Products aisle is a must-see at Summit

AOPA Aviation Summit, a new look and feel for AOPA Expo, will offer many exciting exhibits, products, and events. While you’re there, be sure to visit the AOPA-certified partners in the AOPA Member Products aisle to learn more about our financial, insurance, and pilot services. You could walk away with great prizes just for stopping by! Read more >>

Show your support for GA

Want everyone to know you’re an AOPA member who supports general aviation? Sign up for an AOPA checking account through Bank of America and receive checks, check cards, and statements all printed with the AOPA logo. Each time you write a check or use your check card, you can display that you’re a proud pilot and AOPA member. Plus, you’ll be supporting GA with every debit card purchase. As an AOPA partner, Bank of America will return a portion of all revenue generated back to AOPA, which will be reinvested to fund our mission to maintain the freedom, safety, and affordability of GA. You’ll also receive key features like free online banking with bill pay and mobile banking. You can even participate in the Keep the Change service. To open your AOPA checking account, visit your neighborhood Bank of America, or go online.

5 weeks until:

Register today!


Sporty’s Garmin G1000 online course

Looking to make the leap from analog cockpits to an aircraft equipped with a Garmin G1000 panel? You can now get your transition training online with Sporty’s Garmin G1000 checkout course. The course features nearly two hours of streaming video, a detailed flight training syllabus, a flight instructor syllabus, a digital G1000 cockpit poster, and a free download of G1000 simulator software. The course costs $89.95; order online.


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 interested in performing an owner-assisted annual to help save some money and learn more about my aircraft. Does AOPA have any resources to assist me in this process?


Answer: An owner-assisted annual is a great way to save a little money and learn more about your aircraft. While only an airframe and powerplant mechanic with inspection authorization (IA) privileges may perform the inspection, the owner can help with maintenance functions and provide general assistance. To learn more about the owner-assisted annual inspection, watch this AOPA Air Safety Foundation Safetycast. You can also review this article from AOPA Flight Training magazine.

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.


Ever dream of turning your passion for aviation into a career? We’re looking for an AOPA Air Safety Foundation 2010 Spring Intern and an Aviation Technical Writer. To learn more about other AOPA career opportunities, visit AOPA Online.

Picture Perfect

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!



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.

To submit an event or to search all events in the calendar, visit AOPA Online. For airport details, including FBO fuel prices, see AOPA’s Airport Directory Online.

Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics

The next AOPA Air Safety Foundation Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics are scheduled in San Jose, Calif., and Nashville, Tenn., Oct. 3 and 4; Wichita, Kan., and Corpus Christi, Texas, Oct. 10 and 11; Columbia, S.C., Oct. 17 and 18; Windsor, Conn., Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Indianapolis, Ind., Oct. 24 and 25. 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 Bolingbrook, Ill., Ypsilanti, Mich., and Blacksburg, Va., Oct. 5; Northbrook, Ill., Danville, Ky., Cleveland, Ohio, and Danville, Va., Oct. 6; Rockford, Ill., Henderson, Ky., Whitehall, Ohio, and Richmond, Va., Oct. 7; Peoria, Ill., Indianapolis, Ind., and Hampton, Va., Oct. 8; Poughkeepsie, N.Y., and Madison, Wis., Oct. 12. Topics vary—for details and a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.

Got news? Contact ePilot. Having difficulty using this service? Visit the ePilot Frequently Asked Questions now at AOPA Online or write to [email protected].

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Editorial Team : ePilot Flight Training Editor : Jill Tallman | ePilot Editor: Alyssa Miller | Contributor: Alton Marsh

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