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Props and safety
One sure sign of a well-trained pilot is how he or she observes propeller safety practices. Prop safety comes in three flavors: your safety when your duties bring you near the prop; the safety of others when your propeller is turning; and the prop’s own safety—that is, its airworthiness.
Have good examples been set for you about prop safety? Resolve to set good examples for others, including pedestrians on the ramp and your future passengers. They’ll be placing their trust in you to keep them from harm.
That’s why your prop awareness is critical and will be closely evaluated. “One way to make a quick appraisal of a pilot's safety consciousness before ever leaving the ground is to watch how he behaves in the vicinity of the propeller. Does he use it as a leaning post while posing for a photograph or when chatting up the line crew during fueling? Does he horse the airplane around by the prop hub rather than dig the towbar out of the baggage compartment? Does he really look at the prop during preflight, and know what he's looking for?” wrote Dan Namowitz in the October 2003 Flight Training Accident Analysis column, which profiled mishaps associated with prop-safety lapses.
You’ll find pointers on working safely around the propeller, plus tips on spotting prop problems in the AOPA Air Safety Foundation’s Safety Advisor, “ Propeller Safety.”
For example, can you diagnose a hot mag during engine checks? The term refers to an ungrounded magneto—a condition you check for during every runup. Don’t defer action if you detect the problem. “You need to report this to an airframe and powerplant (A&P) mechanic as soon as possible because this is a dangerous situation. If someone happened to turn the propeller by hand, it’s possible the engine would start,” explains the answer to the Final Exam question in the Feb. 13, 2009, ePilot Flight Training Edition .
This may surprise you, but a well-maintained prop is not only safe and efficient—its smoothness can reduce pilot fatigue (see the Feb. 13, 2004, “ Training Tip”). So don’t just holler “clear prop” and start the engine. Observe every variety of prop safety on every flight.
YOUR PARTNER IN TRAINING
If you’re receiving the newly redesigned Flight Training magazine, you’ve likely heard about the new Flight Training Web site. The site offers everything from expanded magazine content to maneuvers guides, information on weather resources, and pretty much everything else a student may need. Check it out for all your flight training needs, and come back as we continue to add to the site and update it.
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.
Pilots taking certain types of common antidepressants may soon return to the air, thanks to a change in FAA policy announced April 2. Following a multi-year evaluation, the FAA announced that it will allow special issuance medical certification for pilots who take four common medications for certain types of depressive disorders. They are Fluoxetine (Prozac), Sertraline (Zoloft), Citalopram (Celexa), and Escitalopram (Lexapro). For several years, AOPA has advocated for allowing pilots with conditions well-controlled by this type of medication to fly. Read more >>
Fifth-grade students at a North Carolina elementary school who achieve certain academic goals are rewarded not with candy but with an introductory flight. The Wright Flight program at John Small Elementary School in Beaufort County rewards children who have raised a grade in a subject they’re struggling with by seven points. They learn about aviation history, take a test on what they’ve learned, and pledge not to do drugs or drink alcohol, according to a CBS affiliate Eyewitness News report.
FltOps.com and Rancho Aviation Academy have joined to bring prospective pilots the FltOps.com career fair in Las Vegas on April 23. Whereas recent job fairs have focused mostly on foreign airlines, domestic airlines are now in the hiring mix, said Louis Smith, president of FltOps.com. Many regional carriers will be on hand, as will new information on flying careers for students, thanks to Rancho Aviation Academy’s involvement. The full-day job fair and seminar is $119, including lunch.
Join along April 10 through 13 as we fly the AOPA 2010 Sweepstakes Remos GX to Sun 'n Fun in Lakeland, Fla. This year we're pairing the Remos with a Smart car in a rally that pits Team Wilbur versus Team Orville. The teams will take on fun challenges along the way, and one rally participant will even get some initial flight training. Read more >>
Maneuvering flight: Not just for daredevils
When they think of maneuvering flight, many pilots think of challenging tasks such as formation flying or aerobatics, or even hazardous operations such as buzzing. But maneuvering flight takes place every time you go flying, and flying low to the ground warrants extra precautions. Take the AOPA Air Safety Foundation quiz “ Maneuvering flight,” underwritten by the AOPA Insurance Agency, to make sure you’re staying safe through this important part of flight, whether you’re canyon flying or in the pattern.
Shop the AOPA store
You are no doubt aware that AOPA has shirts and caps with the AOPA Wings on them, but you may not know that there is an entire collection of items with the AOPA logo. A wide range of products from ties and T-shirts to tire gauges—all with the AOPA Wings—is available through AOPAStore.com. These products were selected by pilots for pilots, and the proceeds from every sale benefit AOPA’s work. Read more >>
Bose headset sale
If you’ve ever wanted a Bose X headset, now is the time. Marv Golden is offering the high-end headset new for $845 with free shipping. That’s a savings of more than $150.
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: What is wind shear, and how can it affect me during flight?
Answer: Wind shear is a rapid change in wind speed and/or direction. There are several causes, including temperature inversions, frontal zone passages, and thunderstorm activity. Wind shear can happen at any altitude; however, one of the most dangerous times to encounter this phenomenon is during the landing or takeoff phase when the aircraft is at a low altitude and low airspeed. An extreme type of wind shear is a microburst. Microbursts are small-scale intense downdrafts that spread out in all directions once reaching the ground. This causes both vertical and horizontal wind shear that can be particularly dangerous to aircraft, especially at low altitudes. An encounter like this during landing might exceed an aircraft’s ability to maintain a stable descent rate, causing it to impact terrain short of the runway. To learn more about this potentially hazardous weather condition, read “ The Weather Never Sleeps: Ill Wind.”
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 5,500 photos (and growing). Photos are 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 in your region to make 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 San Diego, Calif., Cincinnati, Ohio, and Ashburn, Va., April 10 and 11; Denver, Colo., Boston, Mass., and Salt Lake City, Utah, April 17 and 18; Tampa, Fla., Atlanta, Ga., and Indianapolis, Ind., April 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 Lynchburg, Va., April 13; Chavies, Ky., April 14; Lakeland, Fla., April 15 and 16; West Lafayette, Ind., and Timonium, Md., April 21; Blacksburg, Va., April 26; Danville, Va., April 27; Morris Plains, N.J., and Richmond, Va., April 28; Hampton, Va., April 29; Morganton, N.C., May 1; Jamestown, N.C., and Poughkeepsie, N.Y., May 3; Smithfield, N.C., and Cohoes, N.Y., May 4; New Bern, N.C., and Rochester, N.Y., May 5; Newton, Mass., and Madison, Wis., May 10; Windsor Locks, Conn., and Milwaukee, Wis., May 11; Manitowoc, Wis., May 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].
Editorial Team: ePilot Flight Training Editor : Ian Twombly | ePilot Editor: Sarah Brown | Contributor: Alton Marsh