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New year, new goals
Your New Year’s goals for flight training—unlike those New Year’s resolutions to lose weight or pay off the mortgage, or both—don’t have to be grand to be gratifying.
Since it is an obvious time of year to assess where your training is headed, spend some holiday time forming a plan of action that you can put into effect as soon as the flight school opens for business.
Goals can be general reminders such as “Fly more,” or an exhortation to “Finish up!” Goals can be specific: “Need night flight.” Or “Improve my crosswind landings.”
They can be organizational: Audit your logbook; sometimes adding up the hours you have achieved toward your training requirements results in the pleasant realization that you are closer than you thought to being ready. The audit might catch an item which, had it gone undiscovered, might have sent you home from a checkride as ineligible. That’s one reason why reviewing logbook entries is part of this Flight Training lesson plan for flight-test preparation.
Have a heart to heart with your flight instructor in the coffee shop about your training program. Review your solo limitations, discussed in the Jan. 27, 2006, Training Tip. Should they be adjusted?
Not sure how to pick up again after a layoff from flying? Start the year with a stage check—it’s the aeronautical equivalent of a medical second opinion, as Flight Training Associate Editor Jill W. Tallman explained in the June 2004 “Aviation Speak” column.
Maybe you have been considering replacing your instructor. The time to make resolutions is also a good time to bite the bullet on a tough decision. Be methodical when making the call. “The best way to begin evaluating the instructor-student relationship is to assess the instructor's professionalism. The list of qualities is long, but it can be pared down to a few basics,” wrote Flight Training Deputy Editor Ian J. Twombly in the April 2008 feature article “Bad instructor or bad match?” See his list of the most important clues to a CFI’s professionalism.
Still need an idea to jump-start the program? Then here’s the best one of all: Get out there and fly!
YOUR PARTNER IN TRAINING
Is 2011 the year that you will become a certificated pilot? Let AOPA help you reach your goals. Whether you’re just starting out in flight training and looking for an instructor, finishing up your solo cross-countries, or prepping for a checkride, we can help you! See the Resources tab on the Flight Training website for specific tools crafted to your phase of training.
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.
Seattle Avionics and DTC DUAT have teamed up to offer a free flight planner that does not infringe on patents. The product is being made available as some free online sites are being shut down in the wake of a patent enforcement action by another company. Read more >>
Jacksonville, Fla.-based Airline Training Solutions has introduced a professional flight training program directly aimed at meeting new, tougher training requirements for airline first officer candidates. The curriculum includes multi-pilot, high altitude, and poor weather training, and all training is delivered in a two-pilot cockpit concept that simulates the airlines, according to the company. Read more >>
The DirectFly Alto from the Czech Republic is the latest light sport aircraft to receive approval for the U.S. market. The airplane will be distributed by Corbi Air in Salem, Ohio, and is aimed at flight schools. Read more >>
Congress passes veterans’ training assistance
A bill that would provide legislative assistance to veterans who seek flight training was on its way to President Barack Obama after the House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to approve it. The bill would broaden provisions of 2008 legislation by allowing veterans to pursue educational programs including flight training, certificate programs, apprenticeships, on the job training, and correspondence training. Read more >>
FAA clarifies commercial pilot training requirements
The FAA has clarified a letter of interpretation on commercial pilot training rules, indicating that properly logged hours of instrument training in pursuit of the rating may count toward the commercial certificate. AOPA says the agency’s response indicates pilots and flight instructors need to be sure that these hours are clearly recorded in logbooks. Read more >>
Single pilot IFR, anyone?
Whether you’re contemplating an instrument rating or ready to take the checkride, take the Air Safety Institute’s Single Pilot IFR (SPIFR) course to help you understand the complexity of flying solo in the IFR system: It can be a challenge for even the most experienced pilots. This interactive course asks the right questions to coach you before launching SPIFR. You’ll learn about risks and how to manage workload with no co-pilot or flight instructor aboard. Most important, it helps you to recognize how to stay safe. Check it out >>
Are your insurance policies overdue for their annual inspection?
As another year comes to a close, it’s the perfect time to review your insurance policies. A lot can happen in a year, and your coverage needs may have changed. You may even find that it’s time to shop around for better rates. AOPA offers great rates on term life, accidental death and dismemberment, aircraft, auto, and motorcycle insurance. And since these programs are AOPA certified, you won’t have to pay higher rates just for being a pilot. For more information, visit the website.
The cold truth
There have been numerous avoidable accidents on takeoff as a result of wing contamination by snow, frost, and ice. A few simple steps during preflight could have easily prevented these accidents. So what do you look for? Download the Air Safety Institute’s Cold Facts: Wing Contamination Safety Brief for life-saving tips. The two-page safety brief is a quick but important read. Stow it in your flight bag during cold season operations. Download it now.
AppStation iPad kneeboard
If you fly with an iPad, you’ll quickly learn it requires something to hold it in place while you fly. The AppStation iPad kneeboard is curved to sit comfortably on your leg, and its design includes a cubby that can hold a miniature flashlight, iPad stylus, or a pen or pencil. The AppStation sells for $69.99 from Pilotmall.com.
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 heard the term “category” used to describe both airplanes and pilot ratings and am confused about which is correct. Can you give me a definition of “category”?
Answer: Actually, “category” is correctly used in the context of both aircraft and airmen, though with different meanings for each. When referring to “airmen” certification, category means a broad classification of aircraft; for instance, airplane, rotorcraft, glider, lighter-than-air, or powered lift. A pilot could be certificated for "airplane single-engine land," with "airplane" being the category of aircraft. When describing "aircraft certification," category refers to the way aircraft are grouped, based on operating limitations or intended use. For instance, aircraft are certificated in these categories: transport, normal, utility, acrobatic, limited, restricted, or provisional. For more on aircraft certification read the Flight Training article “Form and Function.”
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.
AOPA Career Opportunities
Ever dream of turning your passion for aviation into a career? We’re looking for a vice president of new product development and interactive marketing, business analyst, financial analyst, and IT project architect. To learn more about other AOPA career opportunities, visit AOPA Online.
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