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It takes just a glance at an airport’s symbol on a sectional chart to get a sense of its layout and complexity or simplicity. Color is a clue: A blue symbol tells you there’s a control tower; magenta is for nontowered airports. Then there’s runway length: An airport with no runway longer than 8,069 feet is depicted within a colored circle. The circles vanish as runways lengthen. But there could be a catch: Airport symbols show “all recognizable runways, some which may be closed,” according to the Aeronautical Chart User’s Guide .
“Many airports have two or more runways. There's typically one longer runway that faces into the historically prevailing wind, and a second so called crosswind runway that's used when the wind is blowing from an unusual direction. It's not uncommon to find that the crosswind runway is grass, while only the main runway and taxiways are paved. In other cases, the larger runway serves airline traffic, while the smaller runway serves general aviation (GA) operations,” explains the article “How it all works” on the Flight Training website.
Multiple-runway airports present a variety of planning considerations to pilots. If your home base is a simple one-runway field, the more experience you can get coming and going at more complex airfields, the better. Using such airports (especially towered) will teach you the skills of visualizing multiple traffic patterns, and being able to change your plans on short notice. Being alert to runway incursions and collision avoidance—crucial training concepts—takes on immediacy when the runway you’re using crosses other runways. See the AOPA Air Safety Foundation’s “ Anatomy of a Runway Incursion,” which includes an animation recreating a particular event of that type. Then click the link to take the foundation’s Runway Safety online course.
Remember, even at a nontowered airport, more than one runway may be active. Know its convergence points and taxi routes. Check how much of any runway with a displaced threshold is available for landing. Will it bring you close to an intersection?
A good example of displaced thresholds and intersecting runways appears in the satellite photo of the Orange, Mass., airport in AOPA Airports.
Researching your destinations carefully tells you whether what you see is what you get!
YOUR PARTNER IN TRAINING
AOPA has nearly unlimited resources to help you through training. But once you become a member, your dues go toward keeping flying fun, affordable, and safe. Advocacy is what AOPA was chartered to do, and the association advocates for general aviation on everything from airspace to GPS. You can read all about the association’s efforts online. There, you’ll learn what AOPA is up to in Washington and close to you, and how to get involved.
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.
The FAA said last week in a Safety Alert for Operators (SAFO) that pilots should be vigilant about operating at nontowered airports at night. According to the SAFO, there have been a number of incidents recently where the pilot hasn’t activated the pilot-controlled lighting, prompting the agency to remind instructors to teach students about such operations. Additionally, the SAFO said, no ground operations should be conducted without the pilot-controlled lighting being illuminated.
AVSeminars said last week it has been granted official approval from the FAA to conduct flight instructor refresher courses through Webinars. The Webinar courses will be conducted once a month, and participants only need to have an Internet connection, a webcam, and a computer headset. According to the company, the seminars allow for the flexibility and comfort of a computer-based program, but with the personal interaction of a live course. The first course takes place June 26 and 27, and the cost is $169, including paperwork processing.
If your idea of fuel management is getting close enough to glide the rest of the way to the runway threshold, consider what it would be like if the airline captain for your next commercial flight took the same approach. “ Would you fly this airline?” a Pilot Safety Announcement from the AOPA Air Safety Foundation, presents the scenario in a video designed to address an issue that causes some of the most preventable accidents in general aviation. Find more fuel management resources in the foundation’s safety spotlight.
AOPA Leatherman perfect for home, office, or hangar
The AOPA Leatherman is as rugged as its name implies. This marvelous implement packs 12 separate tools into its compact size—measuring less than 5 inches when folded and weighing just 5 ounces. There’s no reason to keep a tool box in your airplane or hangar when so many of the everyday fixes you need can be accomplished with the AOPA Leatherman. Read more >>
Connect with Air Safety Foundation through Facebook
The AOPA Air Safety Foundation has all kinds of unique, award-winning courses and resources to give you the full story on everything from aircraft engines to the weather. Connect with the foundation and become a part of its safety community on Facebook. There you can stay on top of the foundation's newest offerings, learn about what's coming up next, and interact with a large community of other pilots.
ASA Aviation Dictionary application
If you’ve ever wondered what an aviation term meant and didn’t know how to find it, try ASA’s Aviation Dictionary application for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. The application contains 10,000 terms and 500 illustrations to help you sort through the confusion. It costs $9.99, and is available at the iTunes App 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: I’m just starting to work on my instrument rating, and I’m curious about how to do precision approaches. I’ve talked with my flight instructor briefly about the localizer and glideslope needles and how to interpret what they display. What are the technical names for the needles?
Answer: The needle that swings left and right is called a course deviation indicator (CDI). It receives signals from a localizer antenna that is located beyond the end of the runway to which you are doing the approach. The localizer provides the aircraft with lateral guidance to the runway. The needle that shows the aircraft’s vertical profile (glideslope) is the vertical deviation indicator (VDI). It receives information from a glideslope transmitter usually located off to the side near the approach end of the runway. It will provide the aircraft with adequate clearance over the threshold as well as any objects or terrain on the approach path.
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
What route to fly?
The days of the airline pilot flying between the same cities for months on end no longer exists, says Chip Wright in his new blog post on the Flight Training blog. Instead, life on the line is one big grab bag. Read more >>
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 Columbus, Ohio, and Ashburn, Va., June 12 and 13; San Jose, Calif., and Charlotte, N.C., June 26 and 27; Memphis, Tenn., July 10 and 11; Jacksonville, Fla., and Newark, N.J., July 17 and 18; Pittsburgh, Pa., July 24 nad 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