An airport doesn’t have to be at the center of Class B airspace to have a challenging mix of traffic. Moderately busy airports in Class C or D airspace can be host to a thriving general aviation community as well as an air-carrier destination. Many nontowered airports also have regional airline service or commercial operations based on the field.
Whether your home airport is lively or laid back, eventually your flying may cross trails with larger, faster, or unfamiliar aircraft. Learning how to blend in seamlessly is a fun challenge of flight training.
Checking a busy destination’s published listing is always a good start. Another useful step is to contact the FBO where you will park or refuel and ask some questions—especially if you plan to change locations on the airport or go into town. AOPA “strongly recommends that pilots flying to an airport that offers any type of airline service check the hours of operation, call the FBO for transient pilot security procedures, and plan ahead if an escort is needed after-hours,” says this AOPA regulatory brief.
Coming and going, expect to hear callouts about a variety of traffic. You might be instructed to follow that traffic as part of your landing clearance. That will put your textbook knowledge of wake turbulence avoidance into practice for real. Don’t forget to consider effects of surface winds on wake movement. Will the reported wind dissipate wingtip vortices, or move them into your path?
Your ability to recognize the types of aircraft flying nearby—by sight and as identified in radio calls—will help you manage wake-turbulence risk. Stay especially alert for the word “heavy” after an aircraft call sign.
Making an accurate landing and exiting promptly at the next available taxiway will earn you ATC’s gratitude—but aircraft control remains your top priority. Don’t resort to excessive braking and risk possible loss of control.
Progressive taxi instructions are a gift at a busy, unfamiliar airport. Explain that you are a student pilot if you become confused or uneasy.
Looking over this sectional chart excerpt for Tucson International Airport’s Class C airspace, you see the unfamiliar letters AOE below the airport information. What does that mean? The abbreviation tells you that Tucson is an airport of entry to the United States.
Flight Training News
Tecnam, Mechtronix to develop P2006T simulator
Tecnam is teaming up with Mechtronix Systems to develop a simulator for Tecnam’s P2006T twin-engine aircraft. The project includes a simulator and a conversion kit for existing simulators. The new training platform will be marketed as the P2006T Ascent Flight Trainer and will feature Garmin G1000 avionics and instrumentation needed to conduct instrument training.
Cessna announces safety initiative for older airframes
Cessna Aircraft Co. has begun a safety initiative aimed at educating the owners of 100- and 200-series single-engine piston aircraft about new, supplemental aircraft inspection procedures that will be added to Cessna service manuals. The inspections cover single-engine piston aircraft produced between 1946 and 1986. Inspections will be incorporated into the service manuals for the 200-series aircraft in December. The change for the 100-series aircraft will be made in April 2012. View a video on the supplemental inspections online.
Hamburger hop at night
Once you have your certificate, a night flight with friends to your favorite airport restaurant can be a breathtaking experience for everyone. Your passengers will love the city lights unfolding below them and the thrill of taxiing up to the restaurant on the field. But are your skills and credentials up to the flight? Take the Air Safety Institute's quiz, sponsored by the AOPA Insurance Agency, to find out about night currency requirements and weather considerations before you venture into the night sky. Take the quiz >>
With this issue of ePilot Flight Training Edition, you’ll notice some changes to the look of your weekly electronic newsletter. We’ve revamped the design to bring you additional content, while keeping the popular features you look forward to receiving in your inbox each week. Some of the new items include “Plane Spotter,” a quick guide to airplanes you’re likely to see at your airport (as well as some more exotic examples); news for the career pilot; and a brand-new instrument flying tip. We hope you enjoy these additional features in your ePilot Flight Training Edition.
Find out what IFR GPS is all about
You’ve probably used GPS during your flight training, but for pilots who fly under instrument flight rules (IFR) there’s a whole different world of satellite navigation out there. Thinking about getting an instrument rating someday? If so, check out the Air Safety Institute’s free GPS for IFR Operations online course. It’s a great introduction to a new way of thinking about navigation. Get started >>
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.
What’s going on under the cowling?
The care and feeding of an airplane’s piston engine can be at once simple—making sure its oil and fuel levels are sufficient—and complex, particularly when it comes to cold weather operations, leaning, shock cooling, and other conditions. If you rent an airplane for flight training, your face time with an engine might be limited to peering through the air inlets or through the oil access door, but there’s much more going on under the cowling. AOPA staff weigh in with their tips for getting to know an aircraft engine and treating it right. Watch AOPA Live® >>
American Airlines parent company AMR filed for bankruptcy protection on Nov. 29. AA is the last of the legacy airlines to seek court protection from creditors. The company also replaced its chief executive officer, Gerard Arpey, who had been CEO since 2003. Thomas W. Horton was named his successor. The filing will likely result in a downsizing of network operations, industry observers predicted.
ASA, ExpressJet merger creates largest regional
SkyWest Inc. announced that its wholly owned subsidiary, Atlantic Southeast Airlines, and ExpressJet Airlines, a wholly owned subsidiary of Atlantic Southeast, received FAA approval Nov. 17 for a single operating certificate, the final regulatory step for the two merging airlines to operate as one. The FAA's approval comes 12 months after SkyWest announced its acquisition of ExpressJet and plans to merge the two airlines. Effective Dec. 31, the combined airline will operate solely as ExpressJet Airlines. SkyWest said it will be the largest regional airline in the world, with more than 400 aircraft operating 2,350 flights each day.
What’s that aircraft? It looks like the other Cessna singles on the ramp, but there are some striking differences. It’s bigger than the Skyhawks tied down around the flight school. It has a three-bladed prop, retractable gear, and unlike most other C-birds, lacks wing struts. The aircraft is a Cessna 210 Centurion. If it has tiny windows, it is a pressurized P210. Someday you may step up to a Centurion and enjoy its high-performance speed and altitude capabilities. A tidbit of 210 trivia: The earliest models had strut-braced wings.
2011 Sporty’s crystal ornament
Looking for a gift for an aviation enthusiast, a biplane aficionado, or a long-suffering flight instructor? Sporty’s 2011 crystal Christmas tree ornament is a Beech Staggerwing—the biplane that gets its name from the fact that the lower wing is farther forward than the upper wing. The ornament sells for $24.95; an ornament display stand is available for $5.99. Order online or call 800/776-7897 (800-SPORTYS).
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.
The AME-assisted special issuance medical
If your medical certificate requires a special issuance authorization, you may be aware that sometimes there is a delay in the issuance or reissuance of your medical certificate. Processing delays have been a longtime chronic pain—not only for pilots, but also for the advocacy groups like AOPA that represent pilots, and, yes, even the FAA. An AME-assisted special issuance, or “six year authorization,” allows an aviation medical examiner to reissue a special issuance medical certificate to a pilot if he or she presents the required medical testing specified under the terms of the authorization letter. Read more >>
The benefits of Emergency Assistance Plus
If you experience a medical emergency while away from home, what will happen to your airplane? Will it sit on a ramp for days or weeks while you are convalescing? If you enroll in AOPA’s Emergency Assistance Plus (EA+) benefit, that need not happen. The program will pay to hire a qualified pilot who can fly your airplane back to its home base. Read more >>
The aviation degree
Chip Wright puts forth some persuasive arguments on why you shouldn’t put all your eggs in one basket when it comes to getting a college degree in this week’s Flight Training blog.
Pat O’Malley’s Jet Room
Evan Krueger, the “Airplane Kid,” skirts the Black Friday shopping crowds to take his sister for some $100 pancakes in this installment of the Let’s Go Flying blog.
AOPA Career Opportunities
Ever dream of turning your passion for aviation into a career? We’re looking for a senior government analyst, director of corporate finance, manager of flight training programs, online product manager, AOPA Live producer/videojournalist, associate editor–Web/ ePilot, and aviation technical specialist. To learn more about other AOPA career opportunities, visit AOPA Online.
AVIATION EVENTS & WEATHER