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Wily winter weather
You have the day off, and it only took a glance outside to know that it may be a good winter day for a short practice flight. There’s an overcast, but it looks fairly high—and there isn’t a breath of wind. The trainer is free for a flight at 1700Z, so you are in business.
A glance out the window is not a weather briefing, however, so now it’s time to examine the details. The most recent aviation routine weather report (METAR) confirms your kitchen-window weather observation:
00000KT 10SM BKN048 OVC060 M16/M18 A3030.
Calm winds. Visibility comfortably above your solo limitations, at 10 miles, and the lowest clouds at 4,800 feet agl. It is a cold day (minus 16 degrees Celsius converts to 3 degrees Fahrenheit), but preheating the engine should help.
But as you scan the latest terminal forecast, you are surprised at the not-so-rosy picture emerging for the time interval that includes your proposed departure time: FM181500 17005KT P6SM OVC020.
Not only does the forecast show that the ceiling is expected to drop, but that the ceiling is also expected to thicken from broken to overcast. Visibility—while still good—will be on the way down, too. The lowered ceiling scraps your plans for anything more than a flight in the pattern; that was also a limitation that your flight instructor entered into your logbook for solos.
The next section of the terminal area forecast (TAF) casts the planned flight in an entirely different light: FM181800 18004KT 2SM -SN OVC015 FM182000 16004KT 1SM -SN OVC010. This section tells you that only an hour after your planned launch, there’s an expectation of instrument meteorological conditions with light snow. And it goes downhill from there.
What looked like a good day from the kitchen window can quickly turn into something else. Take nothing for granted; deteriorating weather is the subject of the February 2011 Flight Training’s “ Accident Report.” Better to find out the bad news from the warmth of home than from a cramped cockpit with visual references fading from view or ice forming on the wings.
Are your weather skills as sharp as they could be? Take the Air Safety Institute course WeatherWise: Precipitation and Icing for more useful tips on knowing what the weather has in store.
YOUR PARTNER IN TRAINING
So what kind of gear do you really need to learn to fly? Check out “ Getting the gear you need” for the best tips on stocking your student-pilot flight bag. You'll learn how to find what you need at the right price. And don't forget, our Pilot Information Center specialists at 800/USA-AOPA are available to give you advice as well, every weekday from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern time.
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.
Gobosh Aviation, which imports the Polish Aero AT-4 light sport aircraft under the name Gobosh (“Go Big or Stay Home”), has been sold to three Denver-area investors. The new owners expect to have a sales and support system up and running by late February. Read more >>
Pilots around the world introduced 1,647 girls and women to flying in 2010, the centennial of the first certificated female pilot, the Centennial of Women Pilots campaign announced. The introductory flights took place in 29 countries on four continents—in balloons, sailplanes, ultralights, airplanes, floatplanes, and helicopters. Read more >>
What it takes to be an ‘earthrounder’—twice
What’s it like to circle the world in your own airplane—not once, but twice? Bob Gannon has flown 2,200 hours in 10 years, making 1,200 landings in 155 different countries, on every continent. Read more >>
FIT names new aviation director
The Florida Institute of Technology’s flight training operation has appointed a new leader. Retired U.S. Air Force Col. Glenn Vera began his new post on Jan. 17. Vera has more than 25 years experience in the Air Force and had been involved in cadet flight training at the U.S. Air Force Academy. His appointment comes approximately three months after the school’s flight program experienced a fatal crash of a Piper Seminole in which a flight instructor, two enrolled students, and a passenger died.
Did you know the Air Safety Institute has its own brand-new Facebook page? This page replaces the former AOPA Air Safety Foundation Facebook page, so join Air Safety Institute fans today and plug into safety seminars, online courses, quizzes, Real Pilot Stories, Accident Case Studies, blogs, and more. Have fun writing on the wall. Become a fan today >>
Fla. flight school to host Young Eagles rally
Orlando Gateway Sport Pilot Flight School at Kissimmee Gateway Airport in Kissimmee, Fla., will host a rally to promote children’s involvement in aviation on Saturday, Feb. 12. The EAA Young Eagles Rally will enable children ages 8 through 17 to take a free flight, and participants will be given certificates to verify their status as Young Eagles and a logbook to commemorate the occasion. Lunch will be provided. Preregistration is required by sending an e-mail.
Going IFR? Take the Air Safety Institute’s latest quiz
An instrument rating significantly expands your flying realm, but IFR privileges also carry with them increased responsibilities and meticulous flight preparations. A review of the federal aviation regulations reveals stringent requirements for pilot currency and proficiency and chapters devoted to IFR minimums: alternates, fuel, weather, equipment, and the list goes on. Be prepared! Review the regs and take this latest Air Safety Institute quiz before launching IFR. Take the quiz >>
FAA aircraft re-registration under way
Aircraft owners: The massive FAA project to re-register all U.S. aircraft is going on now. In fact, the program is in its third month, and if your airplane was registered in the month of March in any year you have until the end of January 2011 to apply for re-registration. AIC Title can help you get through the process and protect your airworthiness certificate and N number. Read more >>
Save up to $40 off weekly car rentals
Save $10 per day, up to $40 on your weekly or weekend Hertz rental at the airport when PC#151034 is included in your reservation of an economy or higher class car. This offer is valid for pickup now through Feb. 13. A portion of all revenue generated will be returned to AOPA and reinvested to support the association’s daily efforts to maintain the freedom, safety, and affordability of general aviation. Reserve your car today >>
Sporty’s Private Pilot Study Buddy app
Got a knowledge test on the horizon? Study on the go with an iPhone or iPad using the Sporty’s Study Buddy application. The program uses three modes—learning, flash card, and test—to help you prepare for the private pilot knowledge test. The app is priced at $9.99. See the website for more information.
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 am very interested in learning to fly but have diabetes. Is it still possible for me to obtain a medical certificate so that I can get my private pilot certificate?
Answer: It is possible, depending on your individual circumstances. The FAA considers how your diabetes is controlled and goes from there. Pilots with a diagnosis of diabetes mellitus controlled by diet and exercise alone are considered to meet the medical standards and are eligible for medical certification under the revised Part 67 medical standards. Medical documentation is required at the time of the FAA medical examination. Use of oral diabetes medication is disqualifying for medical certification under the regulations, but the application will be forwarded to the FAA, which will review the case under the special issuance provisions of the federal aviation regulations. For more, see AOPA's subject report, Endocrine System—Diet and Oral Medication. Individuals with insulin-treated diabetes mellitus may also be considered for certification under the special issuance provisions for a third class medical. See AOPA's subject report, Endocrine System—Diabetes, Insulin Treatment.
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
Go/no-go decisions involving the mechanical side of things don’t become magically easier when you start flying bigger aircraft. Airline pilot Chip Wright describes two recent tough calls he had to make in the latest installment of the Flight Training blog.
AOPA Career Opportunities
Ever dream of turning your passion for aviation into a career? We’re looking for an aviation education program developer, business analyst, financial analyst, IT project architect, program specialist—communications, and vice president of new product development and interactive marketing. 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 Sacramento, Calif., Louisville, Ky., New Orleans, La., and Fairfax, Va., Feb. 12 and 13; Melbourne, Fla., Nashua, N.H., and Las Vegas, Nev., Feb. 19 and 20; Oklahoma City, Okla., and Fort Worth, Texas, Feb. 26 and 27; Ontario, Calif., and Virginia Beach, Va., March 5 and 6. 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 Little Rock, Ark., Jan. 31; Springfield, Mo., Feb. 1; Bethany, Okla., Feb. 2; Wichita, Kan., Feb. 3; Frederick, Md., Feb. 5; Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Feb. 7; Tampa, Fla., Feb. 8; Ocala, Fla., Feb. 9; Melbourne, Fla., Feb. 10; Huntsville, Ala., Feb. 15; Decatur, Ga., Feb. 16; Greenville, S.C., Feb. 17; Northglenn, Colo., Feb. 21; Colorado Springs, Colo., Feb. 22. 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]aopa.org.
Editorial Team: ePilot Flight Training Editor : Jill W. Tallman | ePilot Editor: Sarah Brown | Contributor: Alton K. Marsh