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‘Bracketing’ the course
You’re on a solo cross-country flight when conditions aloft make you decide to switch to Plan B. The weather is not bad enough to make you turn around, but it would be helpful to have better forward visibility (see the June 25 “ Training Tip: Restrictions to visibility”). You opt to descend, hoping to see your checkpoints more clearly in the haze. Now, what other factors must be considered as your flight proceeds at the new altitude?
Obstacle clearance should now be reviewed. Winds aloft will likely be from a different direction, at a different speed. Those changes follow certain rules of thumb, but not always, so make an estimate as soon as possible. Calculate your new groundspeed and fuel requirements. Also, if you had planned to overfly any airspace controlled to the surface, ensure that you will not penetrate it. That possibility does not necessarily require a course change. Frequently, a call to the Class D control tower or Class C approach control facility will win you permission to proceed through the area. Student pilots must adhere to special rules governing operations in Class B airspace. Review airspace in the AOPA Air Safety Foundation’s interactive course Know Before You Go .
If you picked quality visual checkpoints, you won’t need to change them now in the cramped cockpit. You’ll have made things easier for yourself if you selected checkpoints designed to “bracket” your course, as explained in Chapter 15 of the Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge : “The checkpoints selected should be prominent features common to the area of the flight. Choose checkpoints that can be readily identified by other features such as roads, rivers, railroad tracks, lakes, and power lines. If possible, select features that make useful boundaries or brackets on each side of the course, such as highways, rivers, railroads, and mountains. A pilot can keep from drifting too far off course by referring to and not crossing the selected brackets. Never place complete reliance on any single checkpoint.”
The most important tip is to act promptly once you decide to make a change. Then evaluate the situation again, keeping open all options you considered during planning for concluding the flight in the safest possible manner.
YOUR PARTNER IN TRAINING
Do you love your weekly edition of AOPA ePilot Flight Training Edition so much that you find yourself longing for even more? Luckily AOPA keeps all the back issues of both the flight training edition and our other electronic newsletter, ePilot. Just visit AOPA Online to find all the old issues arranged by date. Maybe you’re looking for a particular topic? If so, try the search engine on the top right of the page, which will also search the archives.
Did you know that 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.
Girls With Wings began accepting applications July 1 for its 2010 scholarship program. This year’s scholarship will provide $1,000 for continued flight training. Applications consist of an essay with a photo stating why the applicant believes she is a role model for Girls With Wings, and she should discuss her motivation, inspirations, and plans. Applicants must not have received a private pilot certificate but must have completed a solo. The recipient will be notified on Oct. 1. See the website for complete details.
AVSeminars, a company specializing in live and Webinar-based flight instructor refresher courses, has cut its prices on renewals considerably. According to CEO Bruce Micek, “We're hearing from growing numbers of CFIs who simply aren't renewing their CFI licenses because of renewal costs versus anticipated income. Whether or not they're active in the profession, each CFI loss represents one more significant step backward in the rebuilding process of general aviation. We're doing our best to cut renewal costs to the bone to keep all CFIs in the game.” For a limited time, renewals for either format are $96, down from $169. The price includes paperwork processing.
Arizona-based students working toward an aviation degree at a college or university are eligible to apply for the Angel MedFlight Scholarship of Excellence in Aviation. The award is $3,000, and the deadline to apply is July 16. Learn more online.
Decoding the weather
FA, UA, TAF, METAR—it can be difficult enough learning the types of textual weather that are available to pilots, but trying to decode them can seem like deciphering a foreign language. See if you can get a clear picture of what’s going on outside from the acronyms and abbreviations in textual weather reports. The AOPA Air Safety Foundation puts your skills to the test in this safety quiz brought to you by the AOPA Insurance Agency.
Phone a friend
Pilots have numerous resources available to them, both before and during flight. One of the best, and certainly one of the most reliable, is flight service. One phone number (800/WX-BRIEF) is your gateway to get all the weather and notam information you could want. You probably know that number, but do you know how to contact flight service from the air? Or all the services they offer? Try the AOPA Air Safety Foundation’s online course A Pilot’s Guide to Flight Service to learn the ins and outs of this valuable tool.
AOPA members get free first step for renters insurance
All AOPA members who do not own an aircraft and have no renters insurance now have $100 coverage toward aircraft damage available to them at no charge. This $100 may be used toward the deductible in case of an accident. "We have found that AOPA members who rent aircraft are often unaware of their insurance needs, so this $100 is a way to call their attention to the financial risk of being uninsured when they rent an aircraft," said AOPA Insurance Agency President Janet Bressler. Read more >>
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Editorial Team: ePilot Flight Training Editor : Ian Twombly | ePilot Editor: Sarah Brown | Contributor: Alton Marsh