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As your flight training progresses, repetition of tasks makes familiar procedures out of new and novel operations. Using checklists and standardized communications and traffic pattern procedures helps you become confident in the cockpit. Developing good habits is introduced on day one in flight training, and then reinforced at every stage. “The underlying purpose of flight training is to develop skills and safe habits that are transferable to any airplane. Basic airmanship skills serve as a firm foundation for this,” says the introductory chapter of the FAA’s Airplane Flying Handbook .
When cross-country training begins, it’s reassuring to know that the procedures you learned work in unfamiliar places. But other airports aren’t identical to your home field. One new pilot was unprepared for an important difference and related his experience in the AOPA Aviation Forum: “I now have 106 hours and some questions are now haunting me because I am going to new airports. At one of them I was doing my run-up near the departure runway and a pilot in another plane kind of asked me why I was doing it, and if anything was wrong. I was just doing what my instructor and I did for every flight. I was a bit flustered and told him to go ahead of me.” The new pilot asked how to find out where to do runups, adding, “I noticed it is never depicted on any maps, layouts, or charts in the A/FD ( Airport/Facility Directory).”
This question was addressed in the March 6, 2009, “ Training Tip: Rules of the runup.” But it’s not the only question that could arise. To learn of important airport features, consult the airport listing in the AOPA Airport Directory . Look up airport notes; you might see something like this excerpt for the Frederick, Md., airport: “Prohibited Area P-40 is lctd NW of airport. Its size may expand at any time. Consult current NOTAMS bfr flying in vcnty.”
Research also will turn up any displaced runway thresholds, obstructions, wildlife hazards, and nonstandard traffic patterns. Scrutinize sectional charts for helpful items such as visual reporting points and air traffic control frequencies to use when reporting.
If questioned by another pilot, don’t get flustered. Remember the advice this pilot received from the forum: “Don’t let others rush you. You might make a mistake.”
YOUR PARTNER IN TRAINING
Have you checked the weather? Because aviators spend all their airtime actually in the weather, most become obsessed with checking it on a regular basis—flying or not. It’s a good practice for students as well because the best way to learn this complex subject is by observing it often. AOPA is here to help. Your AOPA membership gains you entry to the members section of AOPA Online, which includes tons of great weather resources. You can get full route briefings, check all the popular aviation weather maps, and look at weather by region. Check it out today to start your journey to becoming a weather expert.
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.
For the past two years a group of seven California high school students has gathered at a small hangar on Flabob Airport at Riverside, Calif., to restore a 1963 Skycoupe. Designed by Ray Stits, the Skycoupe was one of the earliest designs offered to homebuilders and members of the Experimental Aircraft Association. The Skycoupe had to be dismantled, cleaned up, repaired, and then brought back to the original configuration. The students have re-covered the tail group, readied the wings for re-covering, and are putting the hardware and wooden stringers back onto the fuselage in anticipation of re-covering. Read more >>
Cessna Skycatcher customers have learned in a letter from Cessna Aircraft Co. that deliveries will be delayed six to 10 months from promised dates. The factory in Shenyang, China, must be retooled to accommodate changes made to the aircraft to improve spin recovery performance. The airplane suffered two accidents during the spin testing process. “The situation was made more complicated by the redesigns resulting from what we learned as a result of the two spin accidents,” said Cessna spokesman Doug Oliver. “This airplane is going to be around for decades, and we’d prefer to get it absolutely right rather than rush it into production to save a few months.” Read more >>
The scope of pilot training could change in the future, according to an FAA report issued last week. Following the crash of Colgan Air Flight 3407 in February of last year, the FAA embarked on a long program to address deficiencies in the regional airlines. Among its many points, the FAA noted that industry participants said basic piloting skills are lacking and need to be improved. The FAA said further study is necessary to determine how best to address the pilot training shortfall. Read more >>
Universal Helicopters teams up with ERAU
Helicopter training is now being offered at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Prescott, Ariz., campus thanks to a partnership with local operator Universal Helicopters. The deal allows Embry-Riddle students to enroll for classes on helicopter-specific topics, such as low-level flying, night vision goggles, and helicopter aerodynamics, while concurrently taking flight training through a certificated flight instructor with Universal. The school is celebrating the new agreement with an open house Feb. 11 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
They call it the impossible turn. It’s every pilot’s worst nightmare, the engine failing soon after takeoff. Instructors rightly teach us not to take the seemingly easy route out and turn back toward the airport. Instead, we’re supposed to land ahead, knowing that most airplanes and pilots can’t make the turn in less than 1,000 feet. The AOPA Air Safety Foundation examines the issue, and presents an incredible video of one man’s attempt in the latest installment of the Real Pilot Stories series. Keep in mind while you watch that the statistics were stacked heavily against the pilot, and that your instructor is giving the correct advice.
AOPA Airports for iPhone gets an upgrade
AOPA Airports, powered by ForeFlight, has been upgraded to version 1.1. The most notable additions introduced with the new version are traffic pattern direction, runway details (accessible from any airport's information page), glideslope indicator information, and runway edge lighting information. ForeFlight made improvements to surface condition information and added more detail for Canadian airport runways. Updated magnetic variation information also has been included. To download the latest version of AOPA Airports for iPhone and iPod touch, visit the iTunes App Store.
Hertz rentals to help Haiti relief efforts
AOPA members who rent their next vehicle from Hertz could help the Red Cross Haiti Relief and Development Fund. Now through Feb. 28, members will save $25 and Hertz will donate $5 to the fund when promotional coupon #140825 is used for weekly rentals. Visit the Web site and click on the “Quote It” button, and your AOPA discount code CDP #10232 along with the offer number will automatically be applied to your reservation. This offer is valid on economy or higher class vehicles. Make your reservation today to take advantage of this offer and help support the relief efforts in Haiti.
New Aircraft Financing site simplifies loan applications
The AOPA Aircraft Financing Program has launched a new Web site designed to simplify the loan application process. Whether you’re purchasing a new or used aircraft, refinancing, or even upgrading your avionics, the Web site will help guide you every step of the way. Still trying to figure out how much you can afford? Use the online loan calculator and see what fits into your monthly budget. Then, start your journey to aircraft ownership by following the directions on the Web site. Read more >>
Pilotmall.com is having a clearance sale. The retailer has marked down more than 300 items by 30 to 60 percent. Sale items include training books, sunglasses, apparel, software, checklists, and more.
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 have heard that a famous theme park purposely builds structures less than 200 feet above ground level to avoid having to put a flashing red light at the top. Where can I find out about required lighting for tall structures?
Answer: Obstruction marking and lighting standards are detailed in the FAA's Advisory Circular 70-7460. Chapters 3 and 4 detail the various options available to builders and architects when it comes to marking or lighting their facilities. Generally speaking, all structures more than 200 feet above the ground must be marked or otherwise lit in accordance with the advisory circular. You can learn more about this process and the options available in the advisory circular.
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 2,000 photos and counting. Highly rated photos will get 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 listed two weeks to a few months out to make your 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 Las Vegas, Nev., Feb. 13 and 14; Sacramento, Calif., Melbourne, Fla., Louisville, Ky., and Nashua, N.H., Feb. 20 and 21; Baton Rouge, La., Oklahoma City, Okla., Dallas, Texas, and Ashburn, Va., Feb. 27 and 28; Orlando, Fla., March 6 and 7; San Mateo, Calif., and Baltimore, Md., March 13 and 14; Ontario, Calif., March 20 and 21. 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 Ocala, Fla., Feb. 8; Tampa, Fla., Feb. 9; Melbourne, Fla., Feb 10; Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Feb. 11; Huntsville, Ala., Feb. 16; Decatur, Ga., Feb. 17; Greenville, S.C., Feb. 18; Puyallup, Wash., Feb. 20 and 21; Northglenn, Colo., Feb. 23; Colorado Springs, Colo., Feb. 24. Topics vary—for details and a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.
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Editorial Team: ePilot Flight Training Editor : Ian Twombly | ePilot Editor: Sarah Brown | Contributor: Alton Marsh