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Custom content for the March 11, 2011, issue of 'AOPA ePilot' newsletterCustom content for the March 11, 2011, issue of 'AOPA ePilot' newsletter

The following stories from the March 11, 2011, edition of AOPA ePilot were provided to AOPA members who expressed an interest in the particular subject areas. Any AOPA member can receive information tailored to their areas of interest by updating their preferences online.

training tips

‘Clear of the runway’

The March 4 “Training Tip: An instructive arrival” reviewed an incident in which a pilot did not realize that a tower controller who instructed him to taxi clear of the runway “when able” was expecting him to exit the runway at the next available point after landing. 

Precise compliance with air traffic control terms has both procedural and safety implications. If your instructor asked you to “taxi clear” of the runway, how would you comply?

Despite variations sometimes observed at airports (especially nontowered airports), the FAA prescribes only one way to comply. “An aircraft is considered clear of the runway when all parts of the aircraft are past the runway edge and there are no restrictions to its continued movement beyond the runway holding position markings. In the absence of ATC instructions, the pilot is expected to taxi clear of the landing runway by taxiing beyond the runway holding position markings associated with the landing runway, even if that requires the aircraft to protrude into or cross another taxiway or ramp area. Once all parts of the aircraft have crossed the runway holding position markings, the pilot must hold unless further instructions have been issued by ATC,” explains Chapter 4 of the Aeronautical Information Manual.

A lapse could expose you and other aircraft to a runway incursion, several examples of which are reviewed in the Air Safety Institute Runway Incursion Analysis. Perhaps you have already had to execute a go-around because an aircraft ahead of you landed but delayed exiting the runway.

Good reason to keep checking on that traffic taxiing clear to ensure that it is not still a hazard when you land. Once you clear the runway, it is also time to manage your postflight procedures. On a flight test, this is an area that may come in for special scrutiny.

“The Federal Aviation Administration collects statistics on nearly every imaginable aspect of how pilots use or abuse airplanes. Statistics reliably reveal that traditionally neglected areas like postflight procedures hold hidden and significant threats for the unwary,” wrote Dave Wilkerson in the article “Postflight procedures” on the Flight Training website. Stay sharp and safe by taking the Air Safety Institute’s interactive runway safety course before your next flight.

training products

Eight-day CFI renewal Webinar

Certificated flight instructors can renew their CFI credentials via AvSeminars’ new eight-day Webinar that begins March 28. With a webcam, headset, and high-speed internet connection, CFIs can participate in a flight instructor renewal course Monday through Thursday between 8 and 10 p.m. Eastern. Each two-hour nightly module may be taken consecutively or spread out over several weeks or months. The cost is $96, and class sizes are limited to 24. For more information, see the website.


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. 

final exam


Question: I’m going on my first night flight this weekend. What can I do to improve the effectiveness of my vision at night?


Answer: There are a few things that can help maximize your night vision. It is always a good idea to allow time for your eyes to adjust to the darkness. If possible, give your eyes 30 minutes to make the change. Set the cockpit lighting low enough to optimize your night vision and avoid using any bright lighting. Also, when looking at an object try not to look directly at it but use off center viewing since this allows better visual perception. Be mindful, too, that depth perception at night is reduced because of the lack of visual cues. You should pay extra attention to your instruments especially down low when approaching an airport. For more on flying at night, including what visual illusions to look out for, read AOPA’s subject report on night flying.


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.

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