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The following stories from the September 18, 2009, 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.


Glides: Real and simulated

The Sept. 11 Training Tip encouraged student pilots to become thoroughly proficient in power-off flight, even though glides comprise a small component of a powered pilot’s time aloft. Doing so requires understanding that safety necessitates practicing maneuvers such as forced landing drills.

There may be differences in aircraft performance between a simulated power-off glide and the real thing. In the May 2003 AOPA PilotTest Pilot,” Barry Schiff challenged readers to judge the following statement true or false: “A propeller that has been stopped creates more drag during a glide than a windmilling propeller.” What’s your answer? (See Question 12.)

Your aircraft’s pilot’s operating handbook tells you how far your ship glides from a given altitude. But how well do you judge distance? No use gliding toward a runway that’s out of reach! In cruise flight, use a GPS to test your skill estimating distance. Here’s how, as Alton K. Marsh relates in the August 2006 AOPA Pilot feature “ Proficiency: The prop stops here”: “On a recent cross-country I first estimated the gliding distance, which for my altitude above mountainous West Virginia terrain was 4.5 miles, then waited until I saw an airport and selected the Nearest button, which brought up the airport name and distance. That particular airport was 4.3 nm. I then knew how far 4.3 miles looked on the ground and made a mental note of where the airport intersected my wing. Want more airport options? Climb.”

And if your POH provides glide data based on zero wind, keep headwind or tailwind effects in mind—plus other considerations. “When taking advantage of a strong tailwind to reach an emergency landing spot, remember to allow room to perform an upwind turn prior to landing. Also remember that some private airports may not be in the GPS database, so look around a bit before fixating on the airport the GPS says is closest,” says the AOPA Air Safety Foundation’s Emergency Procedures Safety Advisor.

Gliding to a landing may not be by choice—but you’ll have many choices to make on the way to touchdown.


Free sport pilot addendum, syllabus for ‘Complete Private Pilot’

Bob Gardner, author of the The Complete Private Pilot textbook and syllabus, has created a companion sport pilot curriculum and syllabus available for free download. The materials provide information needed for flight schools, flight instructors, and students to follow the private pilot course modified to meet the sport pilot requirements. For more information and a link to the PDF file, see the ASA 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.


Question: I was reading through a list of notams and noticed that many included the phrase “wie until ufn.” What exactly does this mean?


Answer: The contraction “wie until ufn” means “with immediate effect until further notice.” The notam that you are reading would be in effect immediately and remain so until further notice. Notam contractions are listed on the FAA’s Web site. Pilots can view current notams online through the FAA’s NAIMES PilotWeb NOTAM System or listen to them by calling Flight Service at 800/WX-BRIEF. AOPA members can view current security notams, including graphics and plain-English translations, on AOPA Online.


Got a question for our technical services staff? E-mail to [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.

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