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Following up on fueling
You landed at your cross-country destination, called in a fuel order on the unicom frequency, and tied down the trainer. Now it’s time to go inside the fixed-base operation, have a snack, and update your flight plan and weather.
Or is it?
Not yet. Yes, it’s cold out there on the ramp this December day, but you have another duty to perform. You’re pilot in command of your aircraft on this solo cross-country, so when the fuel truck comes, it is you who should supervise the refueling.
Misfueling accidents are rare, but they do happen. Eleven occurred over the past 10 years, according to an Air Safety Institute analysis of accident trends. The Air Safety Institute’s Fuel Accident Map shows you where and how they happened.
Preventing misfueling is the reason fuel is color-coded, as you learned when you and your flight instructor performed that very first preflight inspection. But even proper fuel can be contaminated. Checking for that is also part of your inspection. Do you know what contaminated fuel looks like? See the illustrated discussion in the Sept. 15, 2006, “Training Tip: Fuel contamination.”
You’ve probably observed other pilots walking away as the fuel truck rolls up to their aircraft. Don’t emulate that behavior. Keeping an eye on things will assure you that the aircraft is not damaged or mishandled. You can also make sure that the proper amount of fuel goes into the tanks. That could be important someday if exceeding gross weight must be avoided.
Study and follow the checklist for ordering fuel and overseeing fueling that is provided in this Air Safety Institute Safety Brief on misfueling. Note that numerous standard safety precautions are taken to avoid mishaps. They include the color-coding and placarding of fuel trucks that carry 100 low-lead avgas or jet fuel, and designing fuel nozzles to be compatible with the tanks they fill. Pilot scrutiny helps make this safety package work as intended.
Let’s make clear that your overseeing aircraft refueling is no reflection on the line crew. Most line crewmembers are consummate professionals, deservedly proud of their skill and safety consciousness. Many are pilots or student pilots; they love and learn valuable lessons from their arduous line work.
They understand that you are being a conscientious pilot in command when supervising refueling—and they respect your care and caution.
YOUR PARTNER IN TRAINING
Every AOPA member—including those who have accepted AOPA's six-month introductory membership offer—has free, live access to our in-house flight instructors and aviation experts who are standing by to answer your questions. Call the AOPA Pilot Information Center toll-free at 800/872-2672, and check out our online Pilot Information Center subject reports. Topics for these reports are drawn from the real-life concerns of AOPA members who call our staff for help more than 100,000 times every year.
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.
Area pilots became elves for a day on Dec. 4, bringing fresh-cut holly, toys, and other gifts to children on Tangier Island on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. Fifty airplanes and 100 volunteers participated in the forty-first Holly Run, and a Maryland flight school treated them to a hearty breakfast and helped to organize this year’s event. Read more >>
Have you ever wondered about the accuracy of the weather forecast for your route? Or how bumpy it’ll be at the altitude you’re planning to fly? The best way to find out is from someone who’s already been there—which is why timely pilot reports (pireps) are so helpful. But do you know how to interpret them, and how and when to give them? Test yourself with the Air Safety Institute’s Pireps safety quiz.
Upper Limit Aviation, a rotary-wing flight school in Salt Lake City, is offering up to 100 percent tuition coverage for eligible veterans via the U.S. Veterans’ Benefits Administration. The program enables veterans to receive flight training covered under the post-Sept. 11, 2001, GI Bill if they qualify for full benefits. Upper Limit is located at Salt Lake City International Airport. For more information, see the website or call 801/596-7722.
Qref offers instrument instructor’s notebook
The Flight Instructor Notebook is now available for the instrument rating, published by Qref, maker of checklists and training publications. The 160-page companion for CFIIs includes a 42-lesson instrument rating syllabus, 125 instrument rating/proficiency check and study guide questions with detailed answers, 46 practical test standards topic lesson plans, and an instrument rating checkride checklist. The notebook-style publication also includes scenario ideas to enhance student learning. The book was written by Bridgette Doremire and Gene Hudson, who are active Master CFIs. For more information, see the website.
‘Fly it forward’ challenge promotes women pilot centennial
Men and women across the world are celebrating the Centennial of Licensed Women Pilots this year by giving introductory flights to girls and women. As the year draws to a close, Delta Air Lines A330 pilot Karlene Pettit is putting up $100 for a drawing to motivate pilots to take a woman flying before the end of the year. Read more >>
Vexed by a bout of mic fright?
If you’ve been reluctant to talk on the radio, the Air Safety Institute can help you overcome “mic fright.” With Say It Right: Mastering Radio Communication, you’ll develop the confidence to communicate with air traffic control and other pilots. Audio examples cover many specific in-flight scenarios, and video advice from National Air Traffic Controllers Association controllers provides the insight and knowledge you want to communicate effectively. Don’t hesitate to say it right. Take the course >>
Help support AOPA’s mission with the AOPA credit card
AOPA understands the critical role its members play in supporting the association’s mission to keep general aviation fun, safe, and affordable. Without its members, the strong voice of AOPA would be silenced. Support for this mission takes on many forms, from keeping your membership current to utilizing AOPA Member Products. One notable member product, the AOPA credit card from Bank of America, is critical to the association’s mission. Each time a purchase is made with the credit card, vital funding is generated and returned to the association. Read more >>
Have you checked your health insurance lately?
As a pilot, you know where your renter or owner insurance policy is, what it covers, and what it doesn’t. But are you up to speed on what your health care coverage does for you—and, more important, what your out-of-pocket costs could be? Dr. Jonathan Sackier explains why you shouldn’t leave this information to chance. Read more >>
MGL Avionics headsets
A moderately priced headset from MGL Avionics is now available. The MGL-880 offers stereo and mono operation, passive noise suppression (27 decibels), an adjustable open-foam cushioned head band, and ear seals. The MGL-880 is priced at $125. For more information, see the website or call 877/835-9464.
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: When landing at a towered airport, which taxiway should a pilot use to exit the runway, and when should he or she contact ground control?
Answer: The Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM) is a great resource when it comes to answering questions like this one. Chapter 4-3-20 states that after landing and slowing to taxi speed, a pilot should exit the runway at the first available taxiway or at the taxiway instructed by ATC. Remember to taxi clear of the runway unless the tower tells you to do otherwise. You should not exit onto another runway or stop on the landing runway and back-taxi unless ATC authorizes you to do this. Also, keep your radio on the tower frequency until you are told to contact ground control. If you are unfamiliar with the airport layout, request progressive taxi instructions from ground control, who will then guide you to your final destination on the field. For more information on this topic, read the Air Safety Institute's Operations at Towered Airports Safety Advisor.
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
In today’s super-serious security environment, an identification badge is not a nice-to-have—it’s an essential part of an airport employee’s uniform. In this week’s Flight Training blog, Chip Wright says this isn’t likely to change anytime soon.
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 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; San Jose, Calif., Sevierville, Tenn., and Bellevue, Wash., Jan. 29 and 30. 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 Mesa, Ariz., and Reno, Nev., Jan. 10; Tucson, Ariz., and Sacramento, Calif., Jan. 11; Milpitas, Calif., Jan. 12; Santa Rosa, Calif., Jan. 13; San Diego, Calif., and Fort Worth, Texas, Jan. 24; Costa Mesa, Calif., and Houston, Texas, Jan. 25; Ontario, Calif., and San Antonio, Texas, Jan. 26; Austin, Texas, Jan. 27. Topics vary—for details and a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.
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Editorial Team: ePilot Flight Training Editor : Jill W. Tallman | ePilot Editor: Sarah Brown | Contributor: Alton K. Marsh