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Only an option
When you began learning to land your training aircraft, someone may have offered the observation that landing “is only an option.” What did that mean?
It means that in most cases it’s not mandatory to plop the aircraft onto the ground if you just aren’t ready. If a landing approach has gone well and you are in a position to land, do so. But if not, there are alternatives.
The most obvious alternative is to go around. To fully accept the idea that landing is only an option, a pilot must be well-practiced and comfortable with go-around (balked landing) procedures. “Go-arounds are telltale about technique and reactions. When a landing goes awry, punch it up and get out of there. Don’t bungle the maneuver by raising the flaps all at once, or uttering irate commentary on the radio, or hauling back on the yoke in alarm. Hit that throttle, close the carb heat. A nose-down swipe at the trim and some instinctive forward yoke will prevent excessive pitch-up as the engine comes alive,” Dan Namowitz wrote in the June 2009 AOPA Pilot feature “ Technique: Instinctive response.”
Another alternative, if smaller pre-landing adjustments are needed, is to delay touchdown, runway length permitting. Add a touch of power and level off in ground effect (see the Jan. 31, 2003, “ Training Tip: Playing the float.”) Then complete your roundout and flare. Many landing difficulties reside in a pilot’s flare. Thomas A. Horne identified its elements in the September 2003 AOPA Pilot article “ Touchdown!”: “This stage begins just a few feet—say, 10 feet or so—from the runway. Using aft stick pressure, further reduce the descent rate. Then progressively increase the aft stick pressure. This bleeds off airspeed, increases angle of attack to stalling values, and keeps the airplane's nose well off the runway. In the flare, many instructors tell their students to try to ‘prevent’ the airplane from landing—to hold it off the runway—to achieve the desired result.”
At a towered airport, you must make and transmit any decision to abandon a landing early so that ATC can manage the traffic flow. Above all, don’t become discouraged if landings seem temporarily unconquerable. It’s a rite of passage. Smooth sailing lies ahead.
YOUR PARTNER IN TRAINING
Safety is an integral part of the flight training process. It’s why we cover so many of the subjects we do in training. The AOPA Air Safety Foundation has numerous resources to make you a safer student and pilot. To get at the raw safety data, try the Air Safety Foundation’s accident database, a resource that ties in the government database with general aviation search capability. To help interpret the data, the foundation publishes the Nall Report , which describes the various categories of accidents and where the trends are. Knowing where others have erred can be a great learning process.
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.
Accelerated Flight and Instrument Training (AFIT) said this week it has launched a 14-day course leading to a private pilot certificate. The course is being held in Concord, Calif., and Boulder, Colo. AFIT has long specialized in short and intensive instrument training, but with this course the company is trying to get people from no flight time to private pilot in only two weeks. The cost of the course is $595 per day.
Dowling College announced last week it was halting its flight operations major and canceling all flight training, only to overturn the decision a few days later. According to school officials quoted in Long Island Business News , the decision was intended to allow more focus on the school’s nonflying aviation majors. But after announcing the move, school officials backtracked on the decision, and said only that they were trying to outsource the training. At this point the flight program’s future remains somewhat uncertain.
Heli Success is hosting a helicopter job fair and career seminar on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1 in Las Vegas. The fair will feature a number of different companies who are looking for helicopter pilots on site, as well as two days worth of seminars intended for those in helicopter career schools or helicopter flight instructors. Topics include networking, what it’s like to work in various parts of the industry, career survival, resume preparation, and more. The cost starts at $150.
Get an insight with IFR charts online course
So you’ve decided to go the next step and get your instrument rating. Congratulations! On your journey to become a safe, capable IFR pilot, you need a solid understanding of how to use and fly with instrument charts. And the AOPA Air Safety Foundation’s IFR Insights: Charts online course provides just that. With many practical tips on how to use the charts, from departure procedures to instrument approaches, this course will get you up to speed with NACO and Jeppesen products. So don’t wait, take the course.
Navigate the airport safely with runway flash cards
If you are preparing for your first cross country flight to an unfamiliar airport, make sure to review the Air Safety Foundation’s Runway Safety Flash Cards before takeoff. Formatted to be printed and folded—the front displays an airport sign or pavement marking, while the back provides a description and the required pilot action—these cards are also incredibly useful when you’re cramming for the checkride! The cards are supported by a grant from the FAA Office of Runway Safety. Download your free set.
Fuel safety Web poll with your opinion
Do you rely on memory to switch fuel tanks? Or do you deploy some other device to remind you? The Air Safety Foundation wants to know! Share your thoughts and see how others voted.
Flying with cardiovascular disease
Heart disease in the United States affects more than 81 million people and is one of the most prevalent illnesses affecting Americans. Each year, the FAA evaluates thousands of medical applications from pilots who report that they have received treatment for coronary artery disease. At first glance, those numbers sound bad, but from an epidemiological standpoint, those numbers are actually a good thing, because they have provided a continual large sampling of case data that has allowed the FAA, over many years, to develop reliable protocols for assessing incapacitation risk among aviators. By using a cardiovascular evaluation, the FAA analyzes both objective and subjective test results to determine the appropriate safety threshold for issuance of medical certificates. For more information on certification with a cardiac condition, check out the AOPA Pilot Information Center subject report or speak with one of AOPA’s medical certification specialists at 800/872-2672. Read more >>
Learn from aviation legends at AOPA Summit
AOPA Aviation Summit, general aviation’s premier event, will offer you the opportunity to learn from aviation experts and legends. With more than 70 hours of forums to select from, you’ll find what you are looking for, whether you wish to refresh your pilot skills or are considering taking that first step to earning your certificate. Jason Blair, executive director of the National Association of Flight Instructors; Dick Rutan, commander of the famous 1986 flight of Voyager; and Mike Melvill, test pilot for SpaceShipOne, are just three of the speakers taking part in Summit at Long Beach, Calif., from Nov. 11 through 13. It’s an event you won’t want to miss. Read more >>
AOPA debit card helps support GA with every swipe
The AOPA debit card from Bank of America comes with many benefits for you and general aviation. For you, programs like Keep the Change ® make building your savings a snap. On top of that, you can earn up to 20 percent cash back at top participating online retailers with the Add It Up ® program. For general aviation, a portion of the revenue generated as a result of using your AOPA debit card is returned to AOPA. That revenue that is reinvested to fund our daily efforts to help keep flying safe and affordable. If you don’t already have an AOPA debit card, join the thousands of AOPA members already showing their support. Learn more >>
Sporty’s iPhone/iPad Flight Review app
Already have your pilot certificate and coming up for a flight review? Check out Sporty’s Pilot Shop’s iPhone/iPad Flight Review iPhone application. The application breaks down the review into a manageable task with video advice and 3-D animations. It sells for $29.99.
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’ve always wanted to pursue my dream of flying; however, I’m a little concerned about passing the airman medical physical examination because I’m currently taking medication for hypertension. How can I find out if the FAA allows the medication I’m taking?
Answer: The FAA currently allows most FDA-approved anti-hypertension agents, including diuretics, angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, alpha-adrenergic blocking agents, beta-adrenergic blocking agents, calcium channel blocking agents, direct vasodilators, or combinations of these agents. AOPA provides a list of most FAA-accepted medications that you might want to check. In addition, AOPA has a number of medical subject reports on various medical conditions, including hypertension, which provide pertinent medical information for pilots. Finally, before going to your AME (aviation medical examiner), fill out AOPA's TurboMedical. This internet-based, interactive tool will help you prepare to obtain your medical certificate by providing pop-up informative boxes and warnings to guide you as you fill out the form.
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.
what’s new online
Do hours matter?
Congress passed legislation recently that now requires an airline transport pilot certificate to be qualified to fly for an airline. What will that mean for the industry, and do hours really matter? Flight Training blog contributor Chip Wright explores the issue this week.
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 Costa Mesa, Calif., and Reno, Nev., Aug. 21 and 22; Allentown, Pa., Aug. 28 and 29; Sacramento, Calif., and Baltimore, Md., Sept. 11 and 12.; Colorado Springs, Colo., Richmond, Va., and Seattle, Wash., Sept. 18 and 19; Phoenix, Ariz., Sept. 25 and 26. 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 Germantown, Tenn., Aug. 30; Nashville, Tenn., Aug. 31; and Maryville, Tenn., Sept. 1; Newton, Mass., Sept. 7; East Hartford, Conn., Sept. 8; Morristown, N.J., Sept. 9; Wichita, Kan., and Sioux Falls, S.D., Sept. 13; Oklahoma City, Okla.,and Pierre, S.D., Sept. 14; Little Rock, Ark., and Rapid City, S.D., Sept. 15; Rochester, Minn., and Reno, Nev., Sept. 20; Sacramento, Calif., and Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Sept. 21; San Jose, Calif., and Bellevue, Neb., Sept. 22; Olathe, Kan., Sept. 23; Mesa, Ariz., St. Louis, Mo., Pittsburgh, Pa., and Ft. Worth, Texas, Sept. 27; Springfield, Mo., Summerdale, Pa., and Houston, Texas, Sept. 28; Albuquerque, N.M., Allentown, Pa., and San Antonio, Texas, Sept. 29; and King of Prussia, Pa., and Austin, Texas, Sept. 30. 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