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The following stories from the January 1, 2009, edition of AOPA ePilot were provided to AOPA members who expressed an interest in the particular subject areas. Any AOPA member can receive information tailored to their areas of interest by updating their preferences online.


Finish-up resolutions

Happy new year! An excellent New Year’s resolution for any student pilot is to assess your flight training program’s progress, and then take positive steps to move it forward. Or, if you’re close enough to the goal, resolve to get the certificate project finished.


Start by taking inventory of your training needs with your instructor. (That’s the goal of AOPA’s Flight Path program, which guides you through all the stages of training and lets you track your progress with a personal My Flight Path page.) Your list of finish-up tasks may include polishing off a few hours of solo, cross-country, or night flying. You also may need to complete your knowledge test or log the three hours of test prep required “within the preceding two calendar months from the month of the test,” according to FAR 61.109.


Perhaps it’s not a time requirement that needs more attention, but a specific piloting task. Schedule a lesson focused on that task—but don’t wait until you’re on the ramp preflighting before you think about it again. Devote some ground study to reviewing your past work in the task well beforehand. Does your landing flare need work? Does your crosswind technique need more practice? Then check your understanding of the task against the plentiful reference material available on AOPA Online, and acquire the “Crosswind confidence” described in the Nov. 27, 2009, “ Training Tip.”


Is scheduling holding you back? Be your own advocate! Get commitments from your CFI and your flight school that finishing your training is their top priority, too. If necessary for a serious push, propose bringing a second instructor into action. (An added benefit of this idea is that it provides you with finish-up insurance in case that flying job your CFI applied for ages ago comes through just when you need her most.)


Some people need deadline pressure to get the job done. If that sounds like you, with your finish line in sight, scheduling your checkride a few weeks out may provide the needed spark.


Taking charge to conquer delays was the subject of an August 1994 AOPA Pilot feature, and many pilots have shared their stories since then. Learn from their tales, and then make 2010 the year you add your experience to the pool of knowledge.


Free ‘Airspace and Communications Cockpit Card’

King Schools is offering a free Airspace and Communications Cockpit Card with every order. The card includes pertinent information in a quick-reference format. The laminated card includes airspace rules and memory aids to keep users safe and legal in the complex world of airspace. The flight training provider also is offering its course on risk management for free when your order exceeds $450. Visit the Web site for more information.


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: My instructor and I hit a bird while flying in the practice area. We landed safely, but I am wondering if we need to report this.


Answer: Pilots involved in a bird strike are urged to report it to the FAA on form 5200-7. If the strike happened near the surface of the airport, you should also advise the tower or other pilots as well as the airport manager so that the remains can be removed from the runway or taxiway. Read more about bird strikes in AOPA’s subject report.


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.

Topics: AOPA, Cross Country, Safety and Education

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