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Turbulence on tap?
The latest storm has moved out. The airport is cleared of snow—watch out taxiing near snowdrifts!—and it looks like good flying weather. The wind is brisk from the northwest, and the air has a cold bite, but visual conditions prevail. Turbulence is forecast. How much is too much? How do you decide?
The first clues emerge in your preflight weather briefing. Aviation weather expert Jack Williams explained how to look for them in “The weather briefing” on AOPA Flight Training Online. Most forecast elements, such as sigmets, are of interest to all aviators; but others are especially directed at light-aircraft pilots. “An airmet alerts pilots to weather dangers that are more likely to affect smaller aircraft than large ones, such as moderate turbulence or icing, and widespread areas of low clouds or poor visibility,” he wrote.
Forecasts sometime miss the mark. That’s when pilot reports (pireps) along your route—the more recent the better—prove helpful. Item six in the Aeronautical Information Manual’s format for reporting turbulence (see Chapter 7-1-23) notes that pilots should state the type of aircraft involved; light turbulence reported by a Boeing 737 may not be so light to a Cessna 172. Also helpful is reviewing the chapter’s turbulence reporting criteria table for the characteristics of various levels of turbulence or chop. Consider this definition of moderate turbulence: “Turbulence that is similar to light turbulence but of greater intensity. Changes in altitude and/or attitude occur but the aircraft remains in positive control at all times. It usually causes variations in indicated airspeed.”
Your previous lessons also can help you evaluate today’s weather data—especially if you made and recorded estimates of turbulence on prior flights. You also learned from those flights that flying in turbulence responds best to smooth but sufficiently assertive control inputs. Rod Machado described the process in his September 2009 AOPA Flight Training “ Since You Asked” column for a pilot who’d been rattled by a bumpy approach: “They're not called flight controls for nothing. Use them to control something, such as the airplane. If the airplane is being battered around by turbulence during landing, then immediately return the wings and nose to the attitude you want. If the airspeed varies, then do something immediately to return it to the target value. Accept nothing less.”
Good advice, if the ride gets rough.
YOUR PARTNER IN TRAINING
VOR, CTAF, VFR, CFI, NDB. Did you get all that? If not, don’t worry. Aviation is full of acronyms, some of which even experienced pilots stumble over. AOPA has resources to help. First check out the AOPA Pilot Information Center’s Student Glossary for General Aviation. Once you figured out what the acronym stands for, click on the Pilot/Controller Glossary for a list of definitions to many of the terms, as well as an explanation of things ATC (that’s air traffic control) might tell you to do sometime in the future.
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.
Piper Aircraft announced Jan. 21 that it is entering the light sport aircraft category with the PiperSport, a rebranded aircraft built in the Czech Republic that was formerly known as the Sport Cruiser. Piper CEO Kevin Gould hearkened back to the company’s origins and the legendary J-3 Cub when introducing the PiperSport during a press conference at the U.S. Sport Aviation Expo in Sebring, Fla. The company will offer three models of the airplane with different levels of instrumentation and range in price from $119,900 to $139,900. Deliveries are scheduled to begin in April. Read more >>
Western Michigan University’s (WMU) aviation program has selected the Avidyne Entegra Release 9 integrated avionics package for its fleet of Cirrus SR20 aircraft, the avionics manufacturer announced. WMU’s fleet of 26 aircraft will feature dual displays, the Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS)-capable flight management system, and datalink weather. David Powell, head of the College of Aviation, said that since the college’s goal is to train future commercial pilots, the transition between general aviation airplanes and the more complex transport-category aircraft must be as seamless as possible. “We try to equip our general aviation Cirrus fleet so that they are configured as much as possible like the commercial cockpits our students will use in the future,” he said. On the same day of WMU’s announcement, Purdue University said it was ordering 16 new SR20s, each equipped with the Garmin Perspective G1000 cockpit. Read more >>
Minnesota State University Mankato may soon cut its aviation program because of a significant budget shortfall. The state is expected to be $5 billion short this year, $6 million to $10 million of which needs to be cut from the school in Mankato. According to the university, aviation is a program with relatively few students and total credit hours, making it a prime target. The department still has time to appeal the decision, according to a report in the Mankato Free Press .
Go to school, win a flight lesson
Does your son or daughter go to school every day like a good student? If you lived in the English seaside town of Brighton, it could win you an introductory flight. Express.co.uk is reporting that in an effort to raise its dismal truancy numbers, the school district in Brighton recently began a raffle for both parents and students. Of the many prizes is a half-hour sightseeing and introductory flight. But not everyone is an aviation fan, apparently. Some politicians are calling the raffle a stunt.
Get a checkup on your aeromedical knowledge
Would you recognize the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning? If you stop a climb and feel as if you’re tumbling backward, will you trust your instruments or your inner ear? Knowledge of aeromedical factors—health factors and physiological effects that can be linked to flying—keeps pilots from succumbing to spatial disorientation or flying while impaired, and it could prevent in-flight emergencies. Test your knowledge of aeromedical factors in this quiz from the AOPA Air Safety Foundation, underwritten by the AOPA Insurance Agency.
DRE 1000W low-cost headset
Aircraft Spruce and Specialty is now selling the low-cost DRE 1000W headset. The headset features a locking wire boom microphone, steel adjustable headband, headset volume control, and more. Prices range from $109.95 to $120.95, depending on options. 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 understand that I need to have a flight review every two years to remain current as a private pilot. I recently passed my checkride. Do I also need to complete a flight review to maintain my currency?
Answer: Since you have successfully passed your practical exam within the past two years, you do not need to complete a flight review. FAR 61.56 outlines the requirements for a flight review. Paragraph D states that pilots who complete a practical exam for a pilot certificate, rating, or privilege need not complete a flight review in the same two-year period. There is one exception. It doesn’t apply to your situation, but you may find it interesting: Passing a CFI checkride does not satisfy the requirement because it is an instructor certificate, not a pilot certificate. Read the FAA’s letter of interpretation on the topic.
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 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; 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