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Sooner or later, it’s bound to happen during the runup or aloft on a training flight: Some piece of equipment will fail, leaving you wondering whether to continue the flight. And if this never happens to you for real, count on the question being asked on the practical test: What must you do if a particular gauge or instrument is found to be “inoperable”?
Start by researching the question in regulatory language that addresses instrument and equipment requirements for day VFR flight. But that’s not the only source of guidance. An aircraft’s type certificate data sheet may list required equipment, as will the manual or pilot’s operating handbook. And some aircraft may be operated under a minimum equipment list, as explained in another rule. This regulation states whether defective equipment must be removed before flight, or whether it may simply be deactivated and marked with an “inoperative” placard.
What if a piece of required equipment quits in flight? That situation was addressed in John Yodice’s “Pilot Counsel” column from the AOPA Pilot magazine archives.
Clearly there’s a lot to know about equipment that doesn’t work—and it may not be possible to remember it all on the spot. As always, erring on the side of safety is the best approach. A student pilot and instructor opted to do just that, and their experience became the subject of the July 17, 2009, AOPA ePilot Flight Training Edition “Final Exam” question.
Something could even quit on a checkride, as a pilot who faced a defective equipment dilemma with an examiner aboard recounted. “My mind went blank. This wasn't supposed to happen; mechanical failures don't happen on checkrides, they happen in briefing rooms with my instructor. But there I was, faced with a real mechanical failure and two possibilities: Either we're legal to fly or we aren't. I remembered that this aircraft operated with a minimum equipment list (MEL). I told the examiner that I would need to check the MEL before I could give a definite answer to his question. With his approving nod, I shut the aircraft down and proceeded to verify if we could continue the flight,” wrote David Wright in the March 2003 Flight Training “CFI to CFI” column titled “Can we go?.”
Did they fly? Check out the column to see how it went from there!
YOUR PARTNER IN TRAINING
Can’t get enough training information? In addition to AOPA’s Flight Training magazine that you’re probably already familiar with, the association publishes AOPA Pilot , a magazine dedicated to certificated pilots. But the magazine also covers continuing aviation education in the form of technique and other training-related stories. Browse through the magazine’s archives for categories such as technique and Answers for Pilots. There’s a wealth of information in the archives if you spend a little time to do the searching.
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.
U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan heaped praise on Aviation High School in Des Moines, Wash., during a visit there last week. During his visit Duncan drove a student-designed robot, discussed the math and science curriculum, and asked students about their education. “Everyone knows you’re on to something extraordinary here,” he said. Aviation High School is near Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in Washington. Read more >>
Consider this a cautionary tale for putting money down upfront for flight training. Wells Fargo Bank filed suit last week against Langa Air and its principals for breach of contract after the school went out of business almost a year ago and took student deposits with it. Before it closed Langa Air employed a traditional tactic of asking students to put down money first in exchange for discounted aircraft rental prices. When the school closed without warning, many students were out tens of thousands of dollars, and now Wells Fargo is suing on their behalf for more than $172,000. Read more >>
Tecnam introduces four-seat single
Tecnam has announced a new four-seat single-engine model called the P2010. Known mostly as a light sport aircraft manufacturer in the United States, Italy’s Tecnam has also recently rolled out a twin and other LSA models. The P2010 will be the company’s first certified single. The aircraft will be a high-wing with carbon-fiber construction over the fuselage and metal wings. It will feature a Lycoming IO-360-M1A rated to 180 horsepower. It is expected to cruise 133 knots at 75 percent power. Read more >>
Scholarship honors memory of student pilot teen
Courtney Anne Diacont never got the chance to fulfill her goal of earning her private pilot certificate, but her love of aviation lives on in a scholarship that gives another young person a chance to further his flight training. The Courtney Anne Diacont Memorial Foundation has awarded a $2,500 scholarship to 20-year-old Steven Henry, a private pilot who took his first flight through the Young Eagles Program, to work toward his instrument rating. The scholarship is in memory of Diacont, who had been working toward a private pilot certificate but whose life was cut short at the age of 18 from colorectal cancer. Read more >>
Mountain flying can be beautiful and exhilarating. But you’ll need extra skills to be safe. Enter the AOPA Air Safety Foundation’s Mountain Flying online course, packed to the brim with tips and helpful video clips to navigate terrain safely. While it offers practical advice, the foundation recommends hands-on mountain flight training with an experienced instructor. Even if you’re not flying around peaks and foothills, pay attention: Summer’s high temperatures and humidity can turn a zero-foot elevation airport into a 3,000-foot high-density-altitude condition, robbing your aircraft of crucial climb and cruise performance. This course qualifies for AOPA Accident Forgiveness and FAA Wings Program. Take the course >>
Who is liable for your CFI?
It is not unusual for an aircraft owner to ask the AOPA Insurance Agency to add a CFI to his or her policy when instruction is taking place in the owner’s aircraft. Simply adding the name of the flight instructor to the aircraft owner’s policy provides no coverage for the instructor. None. What’s wiser is for a CFI to also secure his or her own liability coverage from the AOPA Insurance Agency, and today coverage is more affordable than ever. Read more >>
Real Aviation Heroes PSA
Checkride behind you, you’re itching to show off your new talent. But before you do watch and share “Real Aviation Heroes,” an amusing short video produced by the AOPA Air Safety Foundation to raise awareness of the dangers of complacency and overconfidence. While you may chuckle at the content’s wit, the serious nature is no laughing matter. See why >>
Hero digital video camera
Video training can be a great way to retain information, and the GoPro HD HERO Digital Camera from Marv Golden is a great way to do it. Simply mount the camera and capture the flight for review purposes later. The GoPro runs $299.99.
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: Can I fly while I am pregnant?
Answer: The short answer is yes—there is no FAA restriction. Of course, you should always talk with your doctor about it and consider his or her advice. Also, an aviation medical examiner (AME ) should have no problem issuing you a medical certificate as long as there are no complications with the pregnancy. There have been very few studies done on the risks of flying to the fetus—but those that have been completed found that flying while pregnant has no higher risk of miscarriage than staying on the ground. One of the greatest challenges you might encounter while flying during pregnancy is staying comfortable. For more on piloting while pregnant, see the Flight Training article, “Flying for two.”
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.
what’s new online
‘Barefoot Bandit’ caught
By now most people are familiar with the twenty-first century outlaw Colton Harris-Moore and his alleged theft of a number of cars, boats, and airplanes. Is Harris-Moore a hero, as his Facebook page suggests, or a common criminal? “Who cares?” says Ian J. Twombly this week on the Flight Training blog. “No matter how you feel about him, we can learn something about aviation from his exploits.” Read more >>
aopa career opportunities
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 5,500 photos (and growing). Photos are 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 in your region to make 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 Pittsburgh, Pa., July 24 and 25; Atlanta, Ga., and Fort Worth, Texas, Aug. 7 and 8; Champaign, Ill., Aug. 14 and 15; Costa Mesa, Calif., and Reno, Nev., Aug. 21 and 22; Allentown, Pa., Aug. 28 and 29. 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 Oshkosh, Wis., July 28, 29, and 30; Germantown, Tenn., Aug. 30; Nashville, Tenn., Aug. 31; and Maryville, Tenn., Sept. 1. Topics vary—for details and a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.
Got news? Contact ePilot. Having difficulty using this service? Visit the ePilot Frequently Asked Questions now at AOPA Online or write to [email protected].
Editorial Team: ePilot Flight Training Editor : Ian Twombly | ePilot Editor: Sarah Brown | Contributor: Alton Marsh