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AOPA ePilot Flight Training Edition Volume 10, Issue 22 — May 28, 2010  

In This Issue:
High school receives airliner donation
Scholarship winners to work at Socata
FAA changes chart covers





Aeronautical knowledge—and solo

The May 21 “ Training Tip: Interactive test practice” described the different forms of knowledge testing that a student pilot encounters on the way to earning a pilot certificate. Some test hurdles stand as mandatory steps before a new stage of training can commence. For example, students working on the recreational or private pilot certificate in a powered aircraft must pass a medical exam before soloing. Other hurdles, such as the FAA knowledge test for the pilot certificate you seek, simply must be passed before you can apply to take your practical test.


Then there’s the specially designed knowledge test composed and administered by your flight instructor that is prerequisite for your first solo. This test is made up just for you—tailored to the aircraft you’ll solo and the flight environment for your solos.


Why doesn’t every pre-solo student pilot take the same test at this stage? “Before soloing, a student must demonstrate that they understand the regulatory and operational information that is pertinent to the solo phase of their flight training. This test helps assure this by addressing information appropriate to the solo flight, including regulations, local airspace, procedures, and aircraft operations and limitations,” explains the Pre-Solo FAQ page on the Flight Training website. The flexibility granted to your CFI to design the appropriate test is written into the aeronautical knowledge requirements of FAR 61.87. Note that the regulation also ensures that your knowledge of general pilot certification and flight regulations must be tested. An important additional mandate is that your instructor review any incorrect answers with you before he or she authorizes you to solo. (See the AOPA Air Safety Foundation’s publication Instructor’s Guide to the Pre-Solo Written Test .)


And here’s a detail not to be overlooked. Since the pre-solo test includes questions on “flight characteristics and operational limitations for the make and model of aircraft to be flown,” any switch to a different make and model means taking another test for that aircraft. Switching aircraft partway through training isn’t ideal, but it can happen. In the long run, you’ll be grateful for the variety and added experience. For now, just make sure that the change doesn’t cause you to overlook procedural details that keep you in compliance with the regulations!


Communicating with air traffic control is a constant source of hardship for student pilots. Learning the language, and broadcasting it for everyone to hear, can be scary. The AOPA Air Safety Foundation can help with a number of resources. Through a partnership with the air traffic controllers’ union, you can ask controllers questions and read the answers of others. Or take the interactive course Say it Right: Mastering Radio Communication . Finally, take a quiz on radio communications to brush up on your knowledge.


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.


Aviation high school gets old airliner

The students at George T. Baker Aviation High School in Miami, Fla., have a new addition to the campus this week, thanks to American Airlines. The airline donated a retired MD-80 to the school for use in its various aviation maintenance programs. It took three hours and a massive crane to move the airplane from Miami International Airport to the school adjacent to the airport. Principal Sean Gallagan said, “Thanks to this incredible donation from American Airlines, I can say with confidence that our students are getting some of the best training in the country.”

Scholarship recipients will work with aircraft manufacturer

The Experimental Aircraft Association and Daher-Socata have chosen Kylie Fencil and Cory Ravetto as recipients of a 2010 scholarship in which the two will intern at the aircraft manufacturer’s Tarbes, France, headquarters. Fencil is a student at Fox Valley Technical College in Grand Chute, Wis., while Ravetto is at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Ariz. They will spend five weeks in Tarbes, followed by a week at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wis., assisting Socata at its display.

FAA chart covers to get new design

AeroNav Services (formerly NACO), the division of the FAA responsible for development and distribution of aeronautical navigation charts and products, will introduce new chart cover designs beginning in July. The changes include more readable effective dates and coverage areas and better use of color to highlight important information; all of the same data will still be available to pilots. Read more >>

Know your aero

Perhaps no other flight training subject is so grossly misunderstood as aerodynamics. Between chord, camber, and critical angle of attack, it’s no wonder we sometimes get mixed up. Brush up on your knowledge and take the AOPA Air Safety Foundation’s quiz on aerodynamics, underwritten by the AOPA Insurance Agency. The quiz tests theory and real-world practical decision making. Take this week’s quiz, and all the others, to expand your knowledge and understanding of aviation.

UND wins sixteenth national Safecon championship

The University of North Dakota (UND) Flying Team won the National Intercollegiate Flying Association’s 2010 Safety and Flight Evaluation Conference, better known as Safecon. The win marked UND’s sixteenth national Safecon championship in the 25 years that the university has participated in the annual competition. Jim Higgins, coach of the UND flight team, was recognized as Coach of the Year. Read more >>

Inside AOPA

How well are you managing your health?

Staying healthy is an important part of being a pilot, and the AOPA Medical Services Program has numerous tools and a robust assortment of resources to help you do just that. One of those valuable resources is WorldDoc, a secure heath education site that provides the tools and education you need to better manage your health. Start by spending a few minutes taking a health risk assessment to get personalized recommendations on how to best improve your health. Read more >>

Planning a trip? AOPA helps you save

Whether your idea of the perfect vacation involves sun and sand, mountains and lakes, or exotic islands, AOPA Online Travel can help you make the most of your trip. AOPA Online Travel offers great rates on airfare, hotels, and cruises. You can even save on your car rental from Alamo, Avis, Enterprise, and Hertz with special AOPA discounts and members-only coupons for free rental days, dollars off, and free upgrades. Read more >>


Sporty’s E6B app

Sporty’s Pilot Shop’s electronic E6B has gone 21st century with a new iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch application. The application features 23 aviation functions, 14 conversions, and a timer. The app is only $4.99, and is available from the iTunes 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 was looking at various sectional charts recently and I noticed that sometimes there is a letter “H” or “T” inside a blue circle in the upper right-hand corner of a VOR identifier box. What do they mean?


Answer: The "H" stands for hazardous in-flight weather advisory service (HIWAS). A "T" stands for transcribed weather broadcast (TWEB). HIWAS is a continuous broadcast of in-flight weather advisories that is transmitted over selected VORs. They cover a relatively broad geographic area and inform pilots of any hazardous weather such as icing, thunderstorms, or strong winds. They also include airmets, sigmets, convective sigmets, and urgent pilot reports. TWEB (Alaska only) is a continuous broadcast of weather and aeronautical information, generally covering an area approximately 25 miles on either side of a specified route, such as a Victor airway. These prerecorded broadcasts include in-flight advisories, winds aloft, weather reports, and notams. For more information on TWEB or HIWAS, take a look at the Flight Training article " Weather on the fly" or sections 7-1-8 to 7-1-9 of the Aeronautical Information Manual .


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

Flying right seat

One of the joys of earning your pilot certificate is taking up your first passenger. Chances are among the first passengers you fly with will be another pilot. But flying with your spouse or your parents is quite different than flying with another private pilot. The Flight Training blog discusses strategies to deal with this often overlooked issue. Read more >>

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 Airports.

Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics

The next AOPA Air Safety Foundation Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics are scheduled in Phoenix, Ariz., Orlando, Fla., and Minneapolis, Minn., June 5 and 6; Columbus, Ohio, and Ashburn, Va., June 12 and 13; San Jose, Calif., and Charlotte, N.C., June 26 and 27. 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].

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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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