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In the glide
Precious little of a powered-aircraft pilot’s flight time is spent in true power-off gliding flight. Don’t let that fact obscure the need to become completely at home with your aircraft’s handling and performance in a glide as you train. Many pilot trainees first experience brief glides during normal landing approaches, when they idle the throttle after the runway is “made” and before roundout, flare, and touchdown. You can sample more extended glides when descending from cruise flight, but take care to avoid shock cooling of your engine. In any glide, use carburetor heat (see the July 10 “ Training Tip”) as recommended for your aircraft.
Another chance to learn about your trainer’s behavior in glides is to experience some power-off approaches early in training. Power-off approaches can help improve all your landings, as was explained in the Jan. 5, 2007, “ Training Tip,” which also reviewed the control coordination requirements of glides, compared to powered flight. “Yes, it's just as easy to make power-on approaches at this stage. Nevertheless, judging the airplane's power-off glide potential is a valuable skill for students to have, especially if they must make an emergency landing someday. A second benefit is that this clears any lingering question students have about what would happen in the event of a powerplant failure, thus making for a student who is more confident and at ease,” flight instructor and aviation humorist Rod Machado explained on AOPA Flight Training Online.
That “second benefit” he refers to will come in handy when you begin practicing simulated emergency landings in preparation for demonstrating the emergency operations task on your private pilot practical test. If it’s necessary to glide a distance to reach your landing site, be sure to set up the recommended best-glide airspeed to satisfy the practical test task.
Power’s off, but you’re still too high on approach? Gliding may be combined with another maneuver, such as a forward slip. (See Chapter 8 of the Airplane Flying Handbook .)
Make learning how to get maximum gliding performance out of your trainer a goal as you work toward your pilot certificate.
YOUR PARTNER IN TRAINING
Got a checkride in your future? Make sure you are studying from the current volume of the Federal Aviation Regulations/Aeronautical Information Manual FAR/AIM). Heaven forbid you walk into the oral portion of your practical test with an outdated copy for the examiner to spy. Did you know the complete FARs are available on AOPA Online? They are, along with AOPA’s Handbook for Pilots , another useful resource.
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.
Student pilots would have the option of simultaneously applying for the private pilot certificate and instrument rating. Pilots going for their commercial certificate would need 10 hours of advanced instrument training instead of 10 hours of training in a complex aircraft. These are a few changes to flight training that the FAA is proposing. Another change would revise the definition of a “complex” airplane to make aircraft equipped with a full authority digital engine control (FADEC) system count the same as one with a controllable-pitch propeller. Read more >>
Chu Lee is fully deaf. He doesn’t read lips. His instructor, Dominick Moyer, doesn’t know sign language. But the two have a natural communication style that allows them to work together seemingly effortlessly in the cockpit. A quick thumbs-up, a nod, a note, or a finger point translates flawlessly into a takeoff, heading change, slip, or other maneuver. Through an interpreter, Lee says that the two have a system. “It’s like we’re sharing a brain cell. … We can really read each other’s minds.” Read the complete story and view a video of Lee and Moyer on a cross-country flight at AOPA Online >>
Women pilots: Two scholarship opportunities are available, but the deadlines are rapidly approaching. The Cape Cod Foundation of Yarmouth, Mass., offers the Michele Marks-McCormick Memorial Scholarship, which provides $1,500 toward a seaplane rating for a woman who holds at least a private pilot certificate. The application deadline is Sept. 23. Applications are available from the Web site. Girls With Wings is accepting applications for its 2009 scholarship program. Applications consist of an essay with photo stating why the applicant believes she is a role model for Girls With Wings, and she should discuss her motivation, inspirations, and plans. Applicants must not have yet received a private pilot certificate. The recipient, who will be announced on Dec. 1, could receive up to $1,000 for flight training. The deadline is Nov. 1.
Wichita man receives FAA’s Master Mechanic award
Noel Gary, director of aviation technologies at Wichita Area Technical College, was awarded the FAA’s Charles Taylor Master Mechanic Award on Aug. 28. The award is given to select aviation mechanics who have worked in aviation for at least 50 years and meet standards of excellence in work and character. Gary has worked in the aviation industry since 1957. In addition to an airframe and powerplant certificate, he holds commercial and rotorcraft-helicopter flight instructor certificates, instrument and multiengine ratings, and a ground instructor certificate.
AOPA to unveil 2010 sweeps airplane at Summit
What will AOPA’s 2010 sweepstakes airplane be? A twin or single, a trainer or family hauler, a sleek high-performance airplane or fun light sport aircraft? Find out at AOPA Aviation Summit, Nov. 5 through 7, in Tampa, Fla. Be one of the first to inspect the airplane up close and personal! Read more >>
Check out AOPA’s Aircraft Financing Program
The AOPA Aircraft Financing Program, brought to you by Bank of America, is committed to making your aircraft purchasing experience as easy as possible. Whether you are financing a new or used aircraft, or refinancing or upgrading your existing aircraft, we have a team ready to assist you. We encourage you to read through the information online. The Web page includes links to frequently asked questions, "10 Tips to Aircraft Financing" for first-time buyers, a loan calculator to assist you in figuring out what loan fits into your monthly budget, and financial information needed after applying for your aircraft loan. And best of all, you can apply right online. Once you have submitted your application, an associate from the Aircraft Financing Program will contact you the next business day. If you have any questions after reviewing the information online, call 800/62-PLANE or 800/627-5263.
‘Practical IFR Flying’ CD
Instrument-rated pilots are invited to view a CD that focuses on methods and techniques to make single-pilot IFR flying simpler, easier, less stressful, and safer. Practical IFR Flying by Chuck McGill also discusses helpful things your instructor never taught you, and how using current technology can reduce your risk in IFR flight. McGill is the 2009 CFI of the Year for the Western Pacific Region, and has more than 11,000 flight hours in more than 85 different makes and models of general aviation aircraft. The CD sells for $39.95 and may be ordered online from Aircraft Spruce & Specialty Co.
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: Are the traffic pattern altitudes listed in the Airports/Facilities Directory compulsory? In other words, is it a violation of the regulations to fly higher or lower than the traffic pattern altitude?
Answer: Traffic pattern altitudes can range between 600 and 1,500 feet agl. Chapter 4-3-3 of the Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM) states that 1,000 feet agl is the recommended pattern altitude unless the airport recommends otherwise. Sometimes airport management decides to set or change a traffic pattern altitude (within the parameters of 600 to 1,500 feet) for obstruction clearance, noise abatement, and the like. While the AIM is not regulatory, it is recommended that you follow its guidance and the traffic pattern altitude shown in the Airports/Facility Directory. AOPA's Airport Directory Online keeps this information updated through airport surveys and questionnaires.
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 calender 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 Baltimore, Md., and Richmond, Va., Sept. 19 and 20; Colorado Springs, Colo., and Seattle, Wash., Sept. 26 and 27; San Jose, Calif., and Nashville, Tenn., Oct. 3 and 4; Wichita, Kan., and Corpus Christi, Texas, Oct. 10 and 11. 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 Wichita, Kan., and Morristown, N.J., Sept. 14; East Hartford, Conn., Newark, N.J., and Oklahoma City, Okla., Sept. 15; Rogers, Ark., Austin, Texas, and Newton, Mass., Sept. 16; Little Rock, Ark., and Manchester, N.H., Sept. 17; Rochester, Minn., Fort Worth, Texas, and Reno, Nev., Sept. 21; Sacramento, Calif., Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and Houston, Texas, Sept. 22; Milpitas, Calif., Bellevue, Neb., and San Antonio, Texas, Sept. 23. 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: Alyssa Miller | Contributor: Alton Marsh