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The latest January storm has exited the area. Now there’s sunshine, blue skies, and bare runways. You’ve been watching the weather improve, keeping tabs on the latest airport conditions, notices to airmen (notams), and pilot reports (pireps). It all adds up to an opportunity to take on that next cross-country.
Your CFI affirms your “go” decision. But surprises are still possible. Don’t let the upbeat moment keep you from pondering the vital question: “What will I do if I cannot reach the planned destination?”
If you are heading toward the departing bad weather, destinations in that direction may still be digging out from the storm. When aloft, keep monitoring surface conditions up ahead, and watch for obstacles on the ground after landing. “Check notams and monitor ATIS (automatic terminal information service) broadcasts for closures and delays coded PPR: prior permission required. Snowdrifts created by plowing may be waiting to snag a wing tip; use care especially when maneuvering in confined areas such as on the ramp or while turning at intersections of runways and taxiways. Residual surface ice and refrozen melted snow is a concern even during stretches of good weather,” explained the December 29, 2006, “ Training Tip: Snow, ice, and airports.” If it’s windy with blowing snow, removal operations might have to resume.
A trip flown by pilotage could prove challenging. You’d be surprised at the visual transformation a blanket of snow can impose on the landscape. Throw in some lower-than-expected cloud layers and you might face some quick decisions. “Flight planning, in theory, handles the foreseen challenges but diverting from the plan should become a reality when circumstances change. Descending to remain VFR as the ceiling lowers, or proceeding on a heading when you are uncertain of location, could result in the need for a flight assist from ATC,” said the AOPA Air Safety Foundation’s Safety Advisor, Say Intentions… When You Need ATC’s Help .
That scenario will be easier to manage if you note the airports you will pass, and know their approximate distance and bearing as you proceed along your route. Doing that also satisfies key elements of the diversion task on your practical test.
Often the best alternate airport is the one from which you departed. If it’s time to make that prudent 180-degree turn, doing so without hesitation is the responsible choice.
YOUR PARTNER IN TRAINING
Bitter cold over much of the country brings concerns of aircraft icing in locations where students maybe haven’t considered it before. But if it’s cold enough, even the skies above southern Texas and Key West can contain liquid that freezes upon impact with an airframe. Brush up on your icing knowledge with an abundance of AOPA resources. The AOPA Air Safety Foundation’s Safety Advisor, Aircraft Icing contains information about the various types of ice and when you’ll find them. For some rules of thumb check out Editor at Large Tom Horne’s article in AOPA Pilot . And there’s more where that came from. Simply go to AOPA Online and search “aircraft icing” for a more complete list of resources.
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.
The requirements to report certain types of accidents and incidents to the National Transportation Safety Board will soon change, thanks to a final rule recently published in the Federal Register. Effective March 8 of this year, operators will have to report the loss of a propeller in flight, and the loss of an electronic primary flight display. Both apply directly to general aviation, and students will be expected to learn them for operations going forward. The NTSB said it enacted the new requirements as a way to improve aviation safety. Read More >>
Delta Connection Academy bought out
Sanford, Fla.-based Delta Connection Academy has a new owner. Flight Training Acquisitions, a new company comprised of Lincolnshire Management, GTI Group, Delta Air Lines, and management from Delta Connection Academy and Aerosim Technologies, purchased the career aviation school and flight simulation provider Aerosim Technologies for just under $50 million. Delta Connection Academy operates 73 aircraft and has an enrollment of roughly 550 students. According to new CEO Dave Rapley, both Delta Connection Academy and Aerosim Technologies plan to continue operations under their current names. Read More >>
Fifty high school students from the Detroit area got a sampling of aviation careers this week as part of Aviation Day. The students, from Davis Aerospace Technical High School, visited Pentastar Aviation’s Waterford, Mich., facility, where they learned of a number of different aviation opportunities. The keynote speaker for the event was retired Air Force Col. Harry T. Stewart, one of the original Tuskegee Airmen. But the highlight of the event for most was a short flight in an airplane from Western Michigan University, which co-sponsored the event.
Flight Design USA, distributor of CTLS light sport aircraft, has partnered with Pilot Journey to provide its participating network of flight schools with student pilot leads. People who are interested in learning to fly can go to the Web site and get a discovery flight certificate that includes an informational DVD, a logbook, and a referral to one of the more than 400 flight schools that work with Pilot Journey. Read more >>
Jeppesen Webinar to explain VFR+GPS charts
With a different look and feel from the FAA’s sectional charts, Jeppesen’s VFR+GPS aeronautical charts offer an alternative that is meant to dovetail with the use of GPS for navigation. The charts are designed around common VFR flight plans and local operations, and they include features such as GPS waypoints. Pilots can find out more about the charts and how they differ from FAA sectionals in a Webinar, “Getting to know Jeppesen VFR+GPS charts,” on Friday, Jan. 22, at 4:30 p.m. Dave McLean of Jeppesen will explain the features of and technology behind the charts and answer questions in the 30-minute Webinar. Register to participate on the AOPA Webinar page.
Pireps: By pilots, for pilots
Some information only comes by word of mouth. When the weather takes a turn that wasn’t in the forecast, pilot reports (pireps) can provide critical flight information that other sources don’t. The AOPA Air Safety Foundation interactive online course SkySpotter: Pireps made easy guides you through the process of reviewing pireps as part of your preflight planning and while en route to get reports of actual conditions from the people who have flown through them. Also learn how to add to the body of knowledge for other pilots by giving your own. Just be aware that pireps are like a Wikipedia for aviation weather: Information comes from a community of users, and the quality of that information depends on the person supplying it. So trust, but verify.
New quiz takes on radio communication
Are you making the most of your time on the airwaves? Test your knowledge of radio communication with a quiz from the AOPA Air Safety Foundation. The quiz, underwritten by the AOPA Insurance Agency, challenges you with questions about everything from announcing your position in the pattern on the CTAF to what to do in an emergency if you’re on frequency with ATC. If you find you need a refresher, take the online course Say it Right: Mastering radio communication to get back up to speed.
Scheyden offers free lenses with frames purchase
Now through Jan. 31, buyers of any of Scheyden’s Dual Rx frames will receive free prescription lenses. The deal is good for bifocal, progressive, single vision, and trifocal prescriptions. Scheyden glasses are unique in the aviation marketplace because of their quick flip-up lenses. Visit the company’s 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: I will soon be moving to a different state and need to find a new flight school to finish my private pilot training. Does AOPA have any resources that can assist me in choosing a new flight school?
Answer: AOPA can help you in your search for a new flight school. You can search for a school on AOPA Online, and here is a helpful article to help you evaluate different schools to determine which one is the best fit for you.
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 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 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