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March 25, 2011, issue of 'AOPA ePilot: Flight Training Edition' newsletterMarch 25, 2011, issue of 'AOPA ePilot: Flight Training Edition' newsletter

AOPA ePilot Flight Training Edition Volume 11, Issue 12 — MARCH 25, 2011  

In This Issue:
Flight school opens scholarship competition
How much do you know about datalink radar?
Diamond protests Air Force Academy contract




Control effectiveness

The March 18 Training Tip discussed problems that a student pilot may encounter from not being confident enough to manipulate the controls as needed to complete a maneuver. The opposite problem—overcontrolling, typically as over-rotating on takeoff—also is cured through correlating knowledge gained during slow-speed flight drills with operating in the low-speed realm of everyday flying.

Over-controlling also may be a sign of stress masquerading as a lack of understanding of flight fundamentals. Lick both problems by developing a good feel for your trainer’s range of control effectiveness.

Start by associating the physical sensations of flight with timing of your control inputs. As you begin a takeoff run, sense the increased responsiveness of the flight controls to acceleration. It’s said that the controls seem to “come alive” through the yoke and pedals as air flows ever faster over ailerons and elevator, and around the rudder. It will take less yoke or pedal pressure to produce any given aircraft response as airspeed increases.

By the time you reach normal rotation airspeed, expect aircraft response to be firm and unhesitating. Pitching to the desired attitude should take modest, gentle physical effort, not a mighty tug on the yoke.

Be patient. If the aircraft does not leave the ground immediately, it doesn’t mean that you must haul back more. In a few seconds the accelerating aircraft should ease away from the ground. Then you can focus on establishing and trimming for best rate of climb speed (V Y).

A mechanical item to check on any well-used trainer that may be preventing your best efforts from being fully rewarded is control cables that have become slack.

“One of the most irritating control-system characteristics is slack, a condition where initial control movement does nothing but cause a wiggle in the wheel,” wrote AOPA Pilot columnist Barry Schiff in his June 2003 Proficient Pilot column. “You can determine the amount of play in the cables when on the ground by having someone hold a control surface firmly in place while gently attempting to move the control wheel or stick against the applied force. If slack is present, it might be eliminated by having the turnbuckles in the control path tightened during the next annual inspection.”

Learn the feel, and then get a smooth, predictable aircraft response every time.


First solo? Congratulations! Have you stopped smiling yet? Now it’s time to focus on the next phase of training: flight planning and cross-countries. For a comprehensive look at what you can expect, see the Flight Training website and enhance your learning with quizzes, topic briefs, and answers to frequently asked questions.

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.


Flight school opens scholarship competition

Tailwheels Etc. of Winter Haven, Fla., has launched a scholarship competition for high school students, and the recipient will receive ground and flight training to obtain a private pilot certificate. Read more >>

How much do you know about datalink radar?

For pilots who fly cross-country, datalink weather radar can be a godsend: It shows the location and strength of precipitation, and that’s usually enough to steer them clear of danger. Simple as it seems, though, there’s a little more to understanding datalink radar than just “red = bad” (though that’s certainly a good start). Do you know what radar is really telling you? Find out by taking the Air Safety Institute’s latest safety quiz.

Diamond protests Air Force Academy contract

Diamond Aircraft officials are protesting the award of a contract to Cirrus Aircraft for 25 Cirrus SR20s to be used by the U.S. Air Force Academy. The protest is based on past performance by a fleet of Diamond training aircraft already in use for Air Force training, operating cost, environmental impact, and safety. Read more >>

Western Michigan to get FedEx Boeing 727

FedEx Express plans to donate a Boeing 727 to Western Michigan University College of Aviation later this year. The Boeing 727 will be used primarily in the college’s aviation maintenance program, where students can work on its engines, brakes, and hydraulics systems, according to the Kalamazoo Gazette. FedEx has donated aircraft to other college programs in the past, including a Boeing 727 that went to the Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics.

Experience flight at the AOPA Learn to Fly Center

Students and prospective pilots alike can get help and inspiration at the Learn to Fly Center, inside the AOPA tent at Sun ‘n Fun in Lakeland, Fla., March 29 through April 3. “For someone who is dreaming of learning to fly or already in flight training, the Learn to Fly Center is here to help,” said Jennifer Storm, AOPA director of flight training initiatives. “AOPA staff members will be available to answer prospective pilots’ questions and help them try their hand at the controls of a full-motion flight simulator thanks to Redbird Flight Simulations’ generous support.” Read more >>

Inside AOPA

Are you a Sky Spotter?

Pireps, or pilot reports, are a great source of real-time, in-flight weather filling in the gaps between forecasts and ground-based weather observations. Do you like to get a preview of what to expect, but clam up when asked to provide one? SkySpotter: Pireps Made Easy has a cure for that. This interactive course covers essentials such as reporting sequence, estimating cloud heights and visibility, and reporting turbulence and icing. And an added bonus: The course qualifies for AOPA Accident Forgiveness and the FAA Wings program. Ready to copy? Take the course >>

AOPA Facebook page gets a facelift

The pilot community is converging on the new AOPA Facebook page, and AOPA wants you to join the conversation! The association has consolidated its Facebook pages to make it even easier for you to connect with your fellow pilots and engage in some high-tech “hangar talk.” While you’re there, take a sneak peek at upcoming content for the association’s magazines and get the latest on what’s going on in aviation. (You can still connect with your fellow student pilots at Flight Training’s Facebook page.)

Learn about AOPA’s ownership services at Sun ’n Fun

Be sure to learn about AOPA’s ownership services in the AOPA tent at Sun ’n Fun. If you need aircraft owner, renter, or CFI coverage, the AOPA Insurance Agency will provide you with the best advice on aviation insurance, as well as a quick, no-obligation way to get quotes on policies. Member Products can help you perform a title search, finance your purchase, and insure your aircraft all in one location. And, if you have questions about the FAA re-registration process, AOPA Title Services can answer those and help you through the entire process. If you are not going to Sun ‘n Fun, check out the services online.


‘The Aviators’ first season on DVD

If you’ve been hunting for The Aviators on your local public television station and have been unsuccessful at finding this show on all things aviation, Sporty’s has the first season on DVD. The collection includes 13 episodes on two DVDs. Purchase it online for $29.95.

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 should I do if I get lost on a cross-country flight?


Answer: First, don’t panic. Many of us have not been sure of our position once or twice during our flying careers. Staying calm and doing what you’ve been taught is the key to a successful outcome. Make sure you fly a specific heading in the direction you believe is correct. If you have been diligent about staying on course, you’re probably not too far from where you should be. Look around and try to identify features on the ground like rivers, mountain ranges, or major highways. Also, if there are several VORs in the area you can use them for a cross-bearing to locate your position on the sectional chart. There is also the option of flying to the station. At least then you’ll know exactly where you are. Of course, if you have a GPS hopefully you know how to use it. The direct-to button and/or the nearest button are great features when you’re lost. If you still can’t figure out your location, follow the “four Cs”: climb, communicate, confess, and comply. For more procedures to keep you safe, read “In-Flight Safety Review” from the January 2000 Flight Training.


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

If you have a laundry list of people who want to go flying with you, that’s great. But if not, now may be the perfect opportunity for you to start grooming passengers, AOPA Associate Editor Jill W. Tallman suggests in this week’s Flight Training blog.

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, 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 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; Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Pensacola, Fla., May 14 and 15. 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 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; Russellville, Ky., April 12; Cynthiana, Ky., April 13. 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: Lezlie Ramsey, William Rockenbaugh, Melissa Whitehouse, Mitch Mitchell

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