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Practical pattern politics
If you were one of the lucky student pilots who logged your early lessons during the unpredictable winter months, quite a surprise may await as spring gets its footing and your airport comes alive. Gaps appear in the tiedown rows of seemingly orphaned aircraft. New faces appear in the FBO, and new, unfamiliar N numbers are heard joining the flow.
Speaking of the flow, this abrupt change in your airport’s character will put you to the test. Flying leisurely traffic patterns as you did on those quiet winter days may not be an option. It may be necessary to extend pattern legs—or, a better idea, to slow down earlier—to maintain spacing behind another aircraft. Avoid any radical maneuvers.
If there’s traffic to follow you, get down and off promptly—but never allow yourself to be rushed by an impatient voice in your headset (or your own!).
Standardization is the goal (see the July 14, 2006, Training Tip), but in the real world pilots perform differently, as the vigorously debated January 2011 AOPA Pilot article “Dogfight: Pattern Entry” dramatized. Be ready for unexpected styles of approaches and departures. Use your landing light, even in daylight, not to see but to be seen. (A preflight review of the Air Safety Institute’s Nontowered Airport Operations Safety Advisor will be helpful, too.)
Increased traffic means increased traffic variety, from hot air balloons to gliders and helicopters, as aviation blossoms in all its manifestations. It’s time to review the right-of-way rules in FAR 91.113. And because the simple answer isn’t always the right one, read more, starting with this November 2008 Flight Training article.
One of the gaps in the flight line is the spot where a no-radio taildragger was holding up its share of snow. The pile of snow is still there, but where’s the Waco? In the pattern, possibly. Remember, it’s still see-and-avoid out there.
Occasionally someone does something so objectionable that it’s tempting to not let yourself get elbowed out of the way. Don’t give in to temptation to be “dead right.” If the need is strong to discuss matters later with the impolitic pilot, start with a handshake and a cup of coffee. Chances are you’ll make your point—and a friend—while learning something and making your airport a safer and friendlier place.
YOUR PARTNER IN TRAINING
It’s airshow season! And just because you’re a student pilot doesn’t mean you need to miss out on the fun. Ask your flight instructor if you could visit a fly-in, airshow, or pancake breakfast as part of your cross-country training. You’ll get real-world experience on how to watch for traffic during your approach to the airport as well as exposure to safe ground operations. See the Air Safety Institute’s special fly-in resources page for additional information.
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 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.
Judy Phelps, a flight instructor in Santa Paula, Calif., has been named the 2011 CFI of the Year by the General Aviation Awards program. Phelps and her husband, Clay, own CP Aviation at the Santa Paula Airport. She has conducted more than 5,000 hours of flight training including primary, instrument, and commercial instruction as well as tailwheel endorsements and spin and aerobatic training. The General Aviation Awards program is a cooperative effort between more than a dozen GA industry sponsors and the FAA.
Georgia flight school gets Alto LSA
Atlanta Sport Flight at Fulton County Airport in Georgia has acquired an Alto light sport aircraft. The low-wing, all-metal Alto is made in the Czech Republic and distributed in the United States by Corbi Air. Paul Volle, owner of Atlanta Sport Flight, said he chose the Alto as a trainer for its flight characteristics, saying it is stable and easy to fly. He also praised the Alto’s vertical power system, which has an integrated runaway trim suppressor and flap overspeed protection.
Creating a community atmosphere for student pilots is an important part of helping them to succeed, and Sporty’s Academy at Clermont County Airport near Cincinnati offers several tips on how to do just that. The flight school hosts Saturday hot-dog cookouts year round, regularly updates a Learn to Fly blog, and celebrates each student’s milestones such as cutting the shirt tail at solo. Find out more tips for customer retention at the Sporty’s website.
These days, GPS is so common that many pilots barely give it a second thought. Be that as it may, there’s more to using GPS well than just punching “direct” and following the magenta line. Before your next cross-country, be sure to check out the Air Safety Institute’s free GPS for VFR Operations course. You’ll get plenty of helpful tips on flight planning, learning your receiver, potential “gotchas,” and lots more. Get started >>
Understanding the airspace alphabet
You may be able to rattle off communication requirements and weather minimums associated with the various airspace areas in the United States, but do you know why these provisions exist? The Air Safety Institute’s Airspace for Everyone Safety Advisor opens your eyes to why and how different areas affect your VFR flight planning. It explores airspace history and depicts the current structure, explaining how you are expected and required to operate within it. Clip the handy “Airspace at-a-Glance” chart and stow it in your flight bag for future reference.
Airshow stars, career opportunities on AOPA Live
Pilots from across the country converge on Lakeland, Fla., each spring for the Sun ’n Fun Fly-In, and you can get a taste of the action by tuning in to educational seminars and inspiring interviews on AOPA Live April 1 and 2. Meet the Navy's Blue Angels flight demonstration team on April 1; learn about career opportunities in general aviation on April 2. See the full schedule online. If you tune in during the live stream, you can connect with fellow aviators using AOPA’s Facebook chat feature. If you miss the live broadcast, check back after the show for archived videos.
Go west, young man
When traveling, do you remember to take all of your medications with you—as well as dosage requirements and properly labeled bottles? Dr. Jonathan Sackier describes other issues that pertain to traveling with medications. Read more >>
Spread out your premium payments
Are you interested in paying your aviation insurance premium throughout the year instead of at policy inception? The AOPA Insurance Agency has an option for you. Under a new partnership with US Premium Finance, you can use the company’s user-friendly, Web-based technology to create quotes in minutes. Payment options include ACH (automated clearing house), wire transfer, money order, ePay (by online check, fax check, or check by phone), credit cards, and debit cards. Learn more >>
Zuluboard Mini Economy kneeboard
Zuluworks, creator of the Zuluboard kneeboard, has released a smaller version that measures just 5.5 inches by 7.5 inches by 1.5 inches when closed. It is constructed of the same material as the traditional Zuluboard, but comes only with a blank pad. The Mini Economy sells for $24.99 and may be ordered from Pilotmall.com.
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: What does LAHSO mean and can a student pilot accept one?
Answer: LAHSO (Land and Hold Short Operations) is a procedure that requires a pilot who is landing to hold short of an intersecting runway, an intersecting taxiway, or some other designated point on the runway. Air traffic control sometimes implements these operations when increased capacity is necessary to maintain efficient movement of traffic. Pilots who accept a LAHSO clearance should be absolutely sure that they can comply with the operation. If there is any uncertainty, the pilot should decline the clearance by simply stating “unable” to the tower. A student pilot, while soloing, should never accept a LAHSO clearance. Check out the Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM) Chapter 4-3-11 for the most current information on LAHSO; and to test your knowledge take the Air Safety Institute quiz.
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
More and more of us are turning to electronic logbooks for convenience. But computers have been known to crash. What happens then? Chip Wright’s recommendations appear in the latest Flight Training blog.
AOPA Career Opportunities
Ever dream of turning your passion for aviation into a career? We’re looking for an aviation technical specialist, manager of aviation security, application support engineer, IT department coordinator/help desk, administrative assistant—marketing, and administrative assistant—office of the president. To learn more about other AOPA career opportunities, visit AOPA Online.
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 7,500 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 Air Safety Institute Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics are scheduled in San Diego, Calif., Denver, Colo., and Salt Lake City, Utah, April 9 and 10; Tampa, Fla., Cincinnati, Ohio, and Ashburn, Va., April 16 and 17; Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Pensacola, Fla., May 14 and 15; Sacramento, Calif., Kansas City, Mo., Albany, N.Y., and Houston, Texas, May 21 and 22. For a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.
Can’t make it in person? Sign up for the CFI Refresher Online.
Air Safety Institute Safety Seminars
Air Safety Institute Safety Seminars are scheduled in Pittsburgh, Pa., April 4; Harrisburg, Pa., and Lynchburg, Va., April 5; Allentown, Pa., April 6; King of Prussia, Pa., April 7; Russellville, Ky., April 12; Cynthiana, Ky., April 13; West Lafayette, Ind., and Timonium, Md., April 20. Topics vary—for details and a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.
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Editorial Team: ePilot Flight Training Editor : Jill W. Tallman | ePilot Editor: Sarah Brown | Contributor: Alton K. Marsh