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New season, new procedures
The coming of winter calls on pilots to make many operational changes, with seasonal weather trends changing and aircraft in need of being readied for the frigid flying season.
The weather now comes under the influence of such big-picture seasonal changes as the southward migration of the jet stream, with its capacity for producing strong winds aloft or low-level turbulence.
The easy engine starts of summer—and worries about overheating air-cooled powerplants—give way to morning preheats and careful warm-ups once the prop is turning.
“Warm up the engine at 1,000 to 1,200 rpm unless it’s necessary to reduce rpm to keep from exceeding the oil pressure redline. As the oil warms up, the rpm can be increased. Allow plenty of time for the engine to warm up,” Steven W. Ells advised in this edition of the AOPA Pilot magazine series “Airframe and Powerplant.”
Many aircraft use less-viscous engine oil in winter. What is the oil recommended for your trainer, and under what temperature conditions should the conversion come? Why is the switch recommended? See the article cited above, and your trainer’s pilot’s operating handbook.
Does your aircraft have a winterization kit installed? (See the Jan. 2, 2004, “ Training Tip: Engine TLC.”)
Dress warmly. A good cabin heater is a blessing for those cold mornings flying the traffic pattern. Most trainers harness exhaust-system heat to keep the cabin comfortable.
“The system, although simple, does have one major downside. In most light aircraft installations, because the residual heat from the exhaust is what powers the cabin heater, a leak in the exhaust system could mean exhaust coming into the cockpit. And that means carbon monoxide could be entering as well. Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas that can incapacitate pilots and passengers,” Alton K. Marsh said in the November Flight Training's “What it looks like.” That’s a good reason to check that your aircraft is equipped with a carbon monoxide detector.
Whether you are visiting a cold climate or the cold is coming your way, inspect your aircraft wings and tail for frost accumulations. Remove any frost before flight. Review wing-contamination avoidance strategies in this Safety Brief by the Air Safety Institute.
Fly through winter with some care and preparation!
YOUR PARTNER IN TRAINING
Now that you’ve been given a thorough introduction to cold weather operations, take a look at the many other resources on this topic available from the Air Safety Institute. For starters, you can register for a “Cold Weather Ops” Webinar with four presentations in December. If that doesn’t fit your schedule, take your time and review safety briefs and advisors on cold-weather topics like wing contamination, braking action, and much more. Or, challenge yourself with a safety quiz on wing contamination, weather, or in-flight icing. It’s all available at the Air Safety Institute website.
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 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.
What are some of the barriers that keep women away from flight training? A new study suggests that cost is a major factor, but other barriers include lack of mentors and a support system, as well as lack of confidence. The study’s author says the findings helped her to create a list of ideas that flight schools could employ to attract and retain female students. Read more >>
Five college students have been named recipients of the National Business Aviation Association’s Janice K. Barden Aviation Scholarships. Awards totaling $5,000 were given Oct. 20 to Erin Coulter (University of North Dakota); Trevor Halvorson (Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University); Jared Platt (ERAU); Austin Roberts (Western Michigan University); and Zachary Waller (UND). For more information on NBAA’s scholarship opportunities, see the website.
Proficiency training school holds open house
The National Instrument Proficiency Academy, a flight school that specializes in instrument proficiency, held an open house at Norwood Memorial Airport in Massachusetts on Nov. 30. The flight school offers workshops on advanced training in weather, communications, and flying instrument approaches. For more information, see the website.
Florida school offers federal loan/grant programs
Aerosim Flight Academy in Sanford, Fla., has obtained Title IV funding, meaning it can offer financial aid through federal student grants and loans for those enrolling in its professional pilot program. Options include Pell grants, Parent Plus loans, and Stafford loans. Additional financial options are available for veterans and those looking to obtain recreational pilot training. For more information, see the website.
The ultimate cause of many (if not most) aircraft accidents is poor judgment. That’s why the Air Safety Institute developed Do the Right Thing: Decision Making for Pilots, an innovative online course to help you make better choices in the cockpit. Starting from the premise that good decision making boils down to a few simple steps, the course offers a wealth of practical advice, as well as video scenarios that let you “choose your own adventure,” making choices for fictional pilots and seeing where they lead. Take the course >>
Icing: Am I legal, am I safe?
Unless you are an instrument-rated pilot and your particular airplane model and system has been certificated for flight in icing conditions, the answer is “No.” Read more about ice protection systems in the Air Safety Institute’s Aircraft Deicing and Anti-icing Equipment Safety Advisor and find out what the difference is between FAA-certificated systems for flight in icing conditions and so-called “non-hazard” systems. Download the advisor >>
Save on ski vacations with AOPA Travel
In the mood for some downhill action? Book a ski vacation by Dec. 5, and save up to 40 percent. Cruise the slopes at Breckenridge, experience the powder at Crested Butte, or hit the après-ski scene at Aspen. A portion of all revenue generated is returned to AOPA, allowing the association to continue its efforts to maintain the freedom, safety, and affordability of general aviation. Book your vacation today >>
Car rental deals available to AOPA members
Save $10 per day, up to $40 on a weekly or weekend rental at the airport when you include PC#151034 in your reservation of an economy or higher class car with Hertz. This offer is valid for pickup Nov. 1 through Jan. 31, 2011. A portion of all revenue generated will be returned to AOPA and reinvested to support the association’s daily efforts on behalf of general aviation. Reserve your car >>
Sporty’s 2010 Christmas ornament is a DC-3
Sporty’s Pilot Shop’s crystal tree ornaments are a holiday tradition and collectible for many pilots. This year’s entry is a DC-3 in honor of the airplane’s seventy-fifth anniversary. (By the way, did you see the December 2010 AOPA Pilot article on that very topic?) Order your ornament online for $24.95, or call 800/SPORTYS.
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 the difference between best rate of climb speed and best angle of climb speed?
Answer: The best rate of climb speed, also known as V Y, provides the greatest gain in altitude in the least amount of time. The best angle of climb speed (also known as V X) provides the greatest gain in altitude over a given horizontal distance. The different airspeeds that either limit or result in specific aircraft performance are known as “V speeds”—V for velocity. The different V-speed abbreviations are listed in the federal aviation regulations under Part 1: Definitions and Abbreviations. For more information on all the V speeds and their effect on aircraft safety and performance, read the Flight Training article “ Airspeed.”
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
Rinker Buck’s Flight of Passage is an iconic story of two brothers flying a Piper Cub from New Jersey to California. The brothers, aged 17 and 15 at the time, made national news. Their fascinating story is also a cautionary tale for student pilots, Jill W. Tallman says in this week's Flight Training blog.
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 7,000 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 Air Safety Institute Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics are scheduled in Northbrook, Ill., Dec. 11 and 12; Long Beach, Calif., and San Antonio, Texas, Jan. 8 and 9; Jackson, Miss., and Portland, Ore., Jan. 15 and 16; Baltimore, Md., Detroit, Mich., and Charlotte, N.C., Jan. 22 and 23. For a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.
Can’t make it in person? Sign up for the CFI Refresher Online.
Air Safety Institute Safety Seminars
Air Safety Institute Safety Seminars are scheduled in Tampa, Fla., Dec. 7; Lake Worth, Fla., and Timonium, Md., Dec. 8; Mesa, Ariz., and Reno, Nev., Jan. 10; Tucson, Ariz., and Sacramento, Calif., Jan. 11; Milpitas, Calif., Jan. 12; Santa Rosa, Calif., Jan. 13. 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 : Jill W. Tallman | ePilot Editor: Sarah Brown | Contributor: Alton K. Marsh