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March 11, 2011, issue of 'AOPA ePilot: Flight Training Edition' newsletterMarch 11, 2011, issue of 'AOPA ePilot: Flight Training Edition' newsletter

AOPA ePilot Flight Training Edition Volume 11, Issue 10 — MARCH 11, 2011  

In This Issue:
Knowledge test failures up after changes
Ready for spring? Quiz yourself
Peeps on a plane





‘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.


When daylight-saving time goes into effect March 13, don't forget that the conversion between Zulu and your local time will change. Here's a handy chart that you can keep in your flight bag. The time change also means more evening daylight hours and more time for daytime flying!


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.


Knowledge test failures up after changes

AOPA has engaged the FAA in response to reports that unannounced, significant changes in the question banks of at least three airman knowledge tests have dramatically increased failure rates. AOPA urges student pilots, certificated pilots preparing for advanced knowledge tests, and their instructors to be ready to tackle tests that may significantly differ from their practice tests. Read more >>

Ready for spring? Quiz yourself

When it comes to spring weather, the only constant is change. No other season has such dramatic meteorological mood swings, and that fickle weather can sometimes make for “interesting” flights—especially if you haven’t stayed sharp over the winter months. With warm weather just around the corner, now is an excellent time to test your knowledge with the Air Safety Institute’s latest safety quiz. Get started >>

Peeps on a plane

Peeps—the brightly colored marshmallow chicks and rabbits—are manufactured by the family-owned candy company Just Born Inc. Just Born Co-Chief Executive Officer David Shaffer happens to be a private pilot. If you love Peeps (and airplanes) as much as we do, you’ll want to enter our “Peeps on a Plane” photo contest. It’s simple! Construct a diorama featuring Peeps and an airplane—it can be any theme, as long as an airplane is included—take a photo, and send a low-res JPG to us by e-mail. We’ll put all the entries in a special photo album in the AOPA Online Photo Gallery.

Support for nixing complex time for commercial restated

Removing the requirement to log 10 hours of complex airplane time to earn a commercial pilot certificate would save money and improve safety, AOPA told the FAA March 2. The association wrote a letter to restate its support of an FAA proposal that would eliminate that requirement in changes to Part 61 of the federal aviation regulations. In the same letter, AOPA restated its concerns regarding a corresponding proposal to add 10 hours of “advanced instrument training” in place of the complex airplane time. Read more >>

CFIs: Submit your training ‘best practices’

A training group called the International Association of Flight Training Professionals is collecting examples of the best ways to teach pilots. There may be as many ways to teach flying as there are instructors, and until now it has been nearly impossible for CFIs to share personal training techniques beyond the local flight line. The IAFTP is hoping to change that by building a global database of pilot training best practices covering beginning training through airline instruction. For more information or to submit your own personal training practice, see the website.

Inside AOPA

Weather for the wise

An official weather briefing is indispensable to good flight planning, but can you read between the lines? Skillful interpretation of weather charts depicting frontal movements and associated weather patterns will make a world of difference in effective decision making. Get a clear picture with the Air Safety Institute’s WeatherWise: Air Masses and Fronts online course. Interactive scenes and visual cues explain what to expect. Tackle the subject before your next flight, and complete the course to qualify for AOPA Accident Forgiveness and the FAA Wings program. Take the course >>

AOPA helps owner to refinance his airplane

Seth Jenkins has been a private pilot since 1998. After renting airplanes for a while, he purchased a 1975 Beech Sundowner. Based at Gastonia Municipal Airport near Charlotte, N.C., Seth says his Sundowner has “clean lines, great range and was moderately priced. To me, it’s like riding around in a Cadillac versus a Chevy.” With a panel upgrade completed, he decided to refinance the airplane and contacted AOPA’s Aircraft Financing Program. Read more >>

Take the guesswork out of shopping for insurance

AOPA Member Products has taken the guesswork out of purchasing insurance—whether it’s aviation insurance, term life, or supplemental insurance. AOPA has done the legwork for you, partnering only with A+ rated insurance companies so that you receive the best coverage at the best possible rates. Read more >>


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.


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.

AOPA Career Opportunities

Ever dream of turning your passion for aviation into a career? We’re looking for a manager of aviation security, application support engineer, IT department coordinator/help desk, director of legislative affairs, and administrative assistant. To learn more about other AOPA career opportunities, visit AOPA Online.

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 7,500 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 Air Safety Institute Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics are scheduled in Burlingame, Calif., and King of Prussia, Pa., March 19 and 20; Atlanta, Ga., Indianapolis, Ind., and Boston, Mass., April 2 and 3; 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. 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 Ypsilanti, Mich., March 14; Cleveland, Ohio, March 15; Columbus, Ohio, March 16; Northbrook, Ill., and Indianapolis, Ind., March 21; Birmingham, Ala., and Bolingbrook, Ill., March 22; Marietta, Ga., Rockford, Ill., and Gaithersburg, Md., March 23; St. Louis, Mo., March 24; Lakeland, Fla., March 31; Lakeland, Fla., April 1; Pittsburgh, Pa., April 4; Harrisburg, Pa., and Lynchburg, Va., April 5; Allentown, Pa., April 6; King of Prussia, Pa., April 7. 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 : Jill W. Tallman | ePilot Editor: Sarah Brown | Contributor: Alton K. Marsh
Production Team: Melissa Whitehouse, Lezlie Ramsey, Mitch Mitchell, William Rockenbaugh

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