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AOPA ePilot Flight Training Edition Volume 10, Issue 12 — March 19, 2010  

In This Issue:
FAA forecasts dwindling student numbers
General Aviation Awards announced
Flight Design develops LSA syllabus





Alert and informed

The March 12 “ Training Tip” discussed how to deal with changes of plans during your arrival at a busy airport. That need may exist on the ground, too. For example, temporary disruptions of normal runway and taxiway operations can make it challenging to get around correctly at an airport.


You’ve probably overflown airports with permanently closed runways. You look down and see a big yellow X painted at each end and at 1,000-foot intervals. Other runway markings are obliterated, as described in the Aeronautical Information Manual (2-3-6). How are runways marked when closure is only temporary? Here is an excerpt from the AIM´s guidance: “To provide a visual indication to pilots that a runway is temporarily closed, crosses are placed on the runway only at each end of the runway.” However, “a visual indication may not be present depending on the reason for the closure, duration of the closure, airfield configuration and the existence and the hours of operation of an airport traffic control tower. Pilots should check NOTAMs and the Automated Terminal Information System (ATIS) for local runway and taxiway closure information.” Also see the chapter’s guidance about closed taxiways.


These are the real-world conditions that challenge your ability to function in dynamic airport environments, as designated pilot examiner Dave Wilkerson emphasized in his “Checkride” column in the March 2009 Flight Training: “Judgment applies to airport markings in an extra-special way when those markings are temporary, and temporary markings exist for many reasons.” He cautioned against complacency, counseling, “When pilots are in situations that take them regularly to familiar airports, they may not even notice when changes are made—even when those changes are anything but subtle!”


Here’s an example: A pilot researching runway information for the Pittsfield, Maine, airport (2B7) one day last week would have seen this information in the Airport/Facility Directory: “RWY 01–19: H4000X100 (ASPH) S–38, D–49 MIRL 0.6% up N.” But a check of NOTAMs the same day would have revealed this item: “RUNWAY 1/19 NOW RUNWAY 18/36.” Reviewing your cross-country planning for a flight there, it wouldn’t take an examiner long to find out whether you had done your homework.


Your safety in the air and that of your passengers should be your No. 1 priority. It’s the reason we practice flying fundamentals so much. It’s also the reason the AOPA Air Safety Foundation exists, and the reason it creates wonderful resources, such as online courses. You can learn about airplane systems, weather, air traffic control, and more. Try them all today.


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.


FAA forecasts dwindling student numbers

The FAA’s 20-year forecast issued last week predicts a decrease in student pilots in the short term, followed by very slow growth in the mid- and long term. It is estimated that slightly more than 72,000 student pilots were registered with the FAA in 2009, down from almost 81,000 a year before. According to the forecast, the number won’t again reach 2009 levels until 2013; next year is expected to be the worst with the forecast bottoming out at roughly 69,000 student certificates. Read more >>

2010 General Aviation Awards announced

The General Aviation Awards program has named the recipients of its government- and industry-sponsored awards that each year recognize flight instructors, maintenance and avionics technicians, and FAA Safety Team representatives. The CFI of the year is Jeffrey Moss of Los Angeles, Calif. He offers Cessna Corvalis and Cirrus training, and is an independent instructor and mentor pilot on the Cessna Citation Mustang and CJ series, Eclipse 500, Embraer Phenom 100/300, and Hawker Beechcraft Premier IA. A Master CFI, he specializes in training piston pilots for their initial single-pilot jet type rating. Read more >>

Flight Design creates syllabus for transitioning pilots

Flight Design USA, the distributor for the Flight Design CTLS light sport aircraft, has created a new syllabus aimed at pilots who are accustomed to flying heavier airplanes. The transition syllabus is meant to assure standardization and thorough training for all CTLS buyers, but much of it can apply to any pilot learning or transitioning to LSA.

School briefs

  • Rogers Aviation has opened shop at Flabob Airport in Southern California. The school has six airplanes, including high performance, multiengine, and light sport aircraft.
  • Orlando Flight Training recently purchased a Cessna Skycatcher and will offer LSA training beginning this summer.
  • Purdue University’s new Cirrus training airplanes will incorporate sophisticated flight data monitoring. The devices can record a number of flight parameters for safety, training, and maintenance purposes.
  • North Country Heliflite is expanding. The scenic tour operator and flight school will open a new location at the Rutland-Southern Vermont Regional Airport.
  • Al Palmer, the director of flight operations at the University of North Dakota’s aviation school, recently announced his retirement. Palmer has worked in various positions at the school for many years.

inside aopa

Fly safely to Sun ‘n Fun

When pilots from all over the country make their spring pilgrimage to Lakeland, Fla., for the Sun ‘n Fun fly-in, Lakeland Linder Regional Airport briefly becomes one of the busiest airports in the world. If you’re flying in for the event April 13 through 18—or just want to learn how special procedures help minimize delays and enhance safety at a special event—join AOPA Pilot Editor in Chief Tom Haines and air traffic controllers for a discussion of arrival, ground, and departure procedures April 1 at 8 p.m. Eastern time in the AOPA Air Safety Foundation Webinar “Flying to Sun 'n Fun Safely.” Register now >>

Online buying services cut out paperwork

No matter what your paperwork and document needs when you are buying (or selling) an airplane, AOPA’s partner AIC Title Service can help you. What documents are needed and what procedures must be followed can be confusing and frustrating, especially if this is your first airplane purchase. Read more >>

AOPA Life Insurance offers new low rates

Shopping for life insurance can be a chore, and shopping for life insurance as a pilot can be even tougher. That’s why AOPA developed the AOPA Life Insurance Program. The association’s insurance offers affordable rates with no aviation exclusions. You can choose from a wide variety of options tailored to fit your specific needs. Not sure how much life insurance you should carry? The free seven-point life insurance checklist can help you determine if you have enough to adequately support your loved ones. If you don’t, it can help you determine how much is enough. Call today at 877/432-AOPA or visit online and find out just how easy it is to obtain affordable life insurance.


‘The Student Pilot’s Flight Manual’

The late William K. Kershner’s “The Student Pilot’s Flight Manual” was recently released in a new tenth edition from Aviation Supplies & Academics Inc. The newest edition was edited by Kershner’s son, William C. Kershner. “The Student Pilot’s Flight Manual” is intended as a ground school book, syllabus, and maneuvers guide all in one. ASA sells the popular manual for $24.95.


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 you explain the difference between a sigmet and a convective sigmet?


Answer: Sigmets (significant meteorological information) and convective sigmets are advisories issued to alert pilots of serious weather conditions that pose a hazard to aircraft of all sizes. Sigmets provide information regarding non-convective weather conditions such as severe and extreme turbulence, severe icing, and widespread dust or sandstorms that reduce visibility to less than three miles. A convective sigmet is issued for severe thunderstorms with surface winds greater than 50 knots, hail at the surface greater than or equal to three-quarters of an inch in diameter, or tornadoes. They also are issued to notify pilots of embedded thunderstorms, lines of thunderstorms, or thunderstorms with heavy or greater precipitation that affect at least 40 percent of an area 3,000 square feet or more. Read more in the Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge and the article “ Wx Watch: Sigmet Details.”


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.

Picture Perfect

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!



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.

To include an event or to search all events in the calendar, visit AOPA Online. For airport details, including FBO fuel prices, see AOPA’s Airport Directory Online.

Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics

The next AOPA Air Safety Foundation Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics are scheduled in Phoenix, Ariz., King of Prussia, Pa., and Virginia Beach, Va., March 27 and 28; San Diego, Calif., Cincinnati, Ohio, and Ashburn, Va., April 10 and 11; Denver, Colo., Boston, Mass., and Salt Lake City, Utah, April 17 and 18; Tampa, Fla., Atlanta, Ga., and Indianapolis, Ind., April 24 and 25. 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 Ypsilanti, Mich., March 22; Birmingham, Ala., Northbrook, Ill., and Cleveland, Ohio, March 23; Marietta, Ga., Bolingbrook, Ill., Gaithersburg, Md., and Columbus, Ohio, March 24; Rockford, Ill., and Indianapolis, Ind., March 25; Brooklyn Center, Minn., March 29; Clayton, Mo., and Pittsburgh, Pa., April 5; Springfield, Mo., and New Cumberland, Pa., April 6; Allentown, Pa., April 7; King of Prussia, Pa., April 8; Lynchburg, Va., April 13. 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].

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Editorial Team: ePilot Flight Training Editor : Ian Twombly | ePilot Editor: Sarah Brown | Contributor: Alton Marsh
Production Team: Daniel Pixton, Lezlie Ramsey, William Rockenbaugh, Mitch Mitchell

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