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You planned your solo cross-country flight in every last detail, flew it with precision, and know how to get where you’re going on the ground at your destination airport. Cleared to taxi, you have the parking ramp in sight. But what’s this? Someone is waving his arms to get your attention. Now he seems to be pointing with one hand and gesturing with the other. Back at your home airport there’s nothing like this. You realize there was one more thing you should have reviewed before flying.
If there’s a common gripe among line crewmembers, it is that many pilots do not understand the signals used during the marshalling of aircraft to parking. If you fly mostly from an airport without much traffic, this operation may be unknown to you. It’s routine in busier places. At some airports it may be most efficient to park transient aircraft in a designated portion of the ramp, separate from larger or based aircraft. Different fixed-base operators may control different parking areas. Their employees direct you to the right spot. How did they know you were taxiing to the ramp? By monitoring ground control or CTAF.
Hand signals are the basic language of communications between ground crew and pilots. Mark Twombly reviewed the code in the December 2005 AOPA Flight Training column “What it looks like.” “Most hand signals are intuitive, such as the overhead crossed arms. Others are not so easily discerned. Do you know the hand signals for slow down, and the one for cut engine? You can and should study the rather rudimentary drawings for these and 10 other basic hand signals found in the Aeronautical Information Manual, Chapter 4-3-25,” he wrote.
Knowing the procedures speeds parking and keeps everyone safe. Complying starts with knowing where to look. “Normally the flagman will stand in front of the airplane and to its left side so as to be conspicuous in the pilot's field of view,” wrote Jeff Pardo in the February 2005 AOPA Flight Training feature “ Traffic signals: Do you understand aviation’s sign language?” See his discussion of how it’s done and how to avoid misunderstandings.
Knowing the signals is also a requirement for satisfactory completion of taxiing on the checkride. So be prepared to work with crewmembers at airports where you pay a visit.
YOUR PARTNER IN TRAINING
Did you know that in most cases the flight school's insurance policy will not cover you in the event of an incident or accident? While the school probably has coverage to get its airplanes repaired and to protect it from liability, in most cases the student will be responsible for the deductible, and the insurance may even come back and try and recoup the full cost of the claim. Protect yourself with AOPA Renter's Insurance. Renter's insurance is an inexpensive, convenient way to make sure you won't be left with a hefty bill after damaging an airplane. Call 800/622-AOPA today for more information and to sign up.
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.
Is your flight school looking for new customers? Try parking an airplane in a mall during the busy holiday shopping season. That’s what Denton, Texas-based US Aviation did, and it proved to be very successful. The school said it sold nearly 170 introductory flights and gathered leads on 130 possible aircraft partnerships. “What we learned was that many people think about aviation, but fail to act on the impulse,” said Justin Shelley, director of aircraft sales for US Aviation. Shelley was optimistic that a few dozen introductory flights would be converted into student pilots, and perhaps a dozen others would become involved in partnerships or flying clubs. Read more >>
Reports indicate former students of defunct Silver State Helicopters will be offered a settlement for loan forgiveness. According to a report in The New Braunfels (Texas) Herald-Zeitung , students who obtained loans through Student Loans Xpress, which are estimated to be around 3,000, will be given relief on up to 75 percent of the balance. Citibank has already forgiven 100 percent of loans for its customers, which were about 100. Key Bank, another major lender for the school, has yet to reach an agreement. Thousands of students were left stranded when Silver State abruptly closed its doors in early 2008, leaving most students with tens of thousands of dollars in loans.
Book on first flight school published
Although much is made about the Wright brothers’ first flight in North Carolina in 1903, not as much is known about the first civilian flight school. It was set up by the brothers in Montgomery, Ala., in late 1909 on the site of the current Maxwell Air Force Base. A new book by Julie Hedgepeth Williams, “Wings of Opportunity: The Wright Brothers in Montgomery, Alabama in 1910,” details the new school and what went into creating a successful group of students. Walter Brookins, the first civilian pilot the Wrights trained, soloed in only two and a half hours. The book is available from New South Inc.
When you take the controls of your trainer as pilot in command, you’ll be responsible for familiarizing yourself with all available information concerning each flight. Even if you haven’t soloed yet, prepare for each flight by getting the latest information from flight service at 800/WX-BRIEF. Briefers schooled in the specifics of your region can interpret available weather data, go over notams and temporary flight restrictions (TFRs), and advise you of any known air traffic control delays. You also can contact briefers via radio for in-flight weather updates, to check TFRs, or to activate a flight plan. Find out more about how to get the most from the flight service system in the AOPA Air Safety Foundation’s free online course A Pilot's Guide to Flight Service .
Training half a world away
Usually it’s American citizens who call on Marines in times of distress. But this time the Marines called on AOPA. Capt. Gabriel Glinsky, a V-22 Osprey pilot deployed to Afghanistan, is an AOPA member and flight instructor. When he found out many of his squadron mates wanted to learn how to fly, he reached out to AOPA for help starting a ground school. The association contacted author and AOPA Flight Training contributor Rod Machado and pilot training book publisher Gleim Publications to help. Both sent multiple copies of training materials to get the troops on their way to learning the ins and outs of civil aviation back home. “The amount of support that we have received is way more than anything that we could have hoped for,” Glinsky said. “We will do our best to keep GA strong, even halfway around the world.” Read more >>
New AOPA life insurance program meets your needs
Finding quality, affordable insurance can be challenging. That’s why AOPA has done the legwork for you and shopped the insurance market, negotiated group rates, and developed a comprehensive offering of life insurance products to meet your needs. Unlike most other insurance plans, AOPA’s products have no aviation exclusions, which make them a great option for pilots. Choose from AOPA Group Term Life Insurance, AOPA Group Level Term Life Insurance, and AOPA Senior Term Life Insurance to get coverage that’s right for you.
What other pilots do wrong
An impatient pilot rushes out onto the runway with an aircraft on short final. A chatterbox treats the CTAF like a party line. Some lost soul announces he’s ten miles out when he’s really about to enter the downwind. We all have our pet peeves about other pilots. And behaviors that drive pilots crazy aren’t just breaches of etiquette; they can cause safety hazards. Air your grievances, and get a new perspective on your own imperfections, at the new AOPA Air Safety Foundation seminar “10 Things Other Pilots Do Wrong.” Find out when the seminar will be coming to a location near you.
A small price to pay for peace of mind
Protecting your pilot certificate is a wise investment. For as little as 10 cents a day for most pilots, you can protect yourself in case of an unforeseen emergency by enrolling in the AOPA Legal Services Plan. Most pilots don't think they'll need legal assistance because they're careful and experienced, or because they don't fly frequently. But the fact is the FAA initiates thousands of enforcement actions annually. With today's ever-changing and complex aviation regulations, violations can result from a simple miscommunication or misunderstanding. Enroll or renew your coverage online or by phone at 800/USA-AOPA (872-2672) to protect your certificate. See the plan description for complete coverage and exclusion details.
Sporty’s DVD/online course combo
Sporty’s Pilot Shop is offering those pilots who want both the hard copy DVD and online course a discount on the second course. For pilots looking for the flexibility of an online course and the ownership of a DVD course, they can now buy both and save 50 percent on the second course. The deal is good for private, recreational, and instrument courses. Prices range from $149.95 for the recreational courses to $379.95 for the instrument courses. Find out more at Sporty’s online store.
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 draining the fuel samples from the tanks, I noticed the samples sometimes contain water. Knowing this isn't good, I want to learn more about fuel systems and contamination, particularly how to keep water out of the fuel tanks. Do you have any information online that would be helpful?
Answer: The AOPA Air Safety Foundation has a Fuel Awareness Safety Advisor. It includes information on fuel management, fuel systems, fuel contamination, and much more. Water can get into the fuel system several ways, but probably the most common problem is the condensation that can collect inside the fuel tanks when they are only partially full. A good practice is to keep the fuel tanks filled after each flight, and especially after the last flight of the day.
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 Costa Mesa, Calif., Jackson, Miss., and Charlotte, N.C., Jan. 16 and 17; San Antonio, Texas, and Seattle, Wash., Jan. 23 and 24; Rochester, N.Y., Portland, Ore., and Sevierville, Tenn., Jan. 30 and 31; 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, Teaxs, and Ashburn, Va., Feb. 27 and 28. 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 Mesa, Ariz., and Reno, Nev., Jan. 11; Tucson, Ariz., and Sacramento, Calif., Jan. 12; Milpitas, Calif., Jan. 13; Santa Rosa, Calif., Jan. 14; San Diego, Calif., Jan. 25; Costa Mesa, Calif., Jan. 26; Ontario, Calif., Jan. 27; Burbank, Calif., Jan. 28; Little Rock, Ark., Feb. 1; Oklahoma City, Okla., Feb. 2; Wichita, Kan., Feb. 3; Ocala, Fla., Feb. 8; Tampa, Fla., Feb. 9; Melbourne, Fla., Feb 10. 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