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The Nov. 18, 2011, issue of 'AOPA ePilot: Flight Training Edition' newsletter

AOPA ePilot Flight Training Edition Volume 11, Issue 46 — November 18, 2011  

In This Issue:
Skyport’s grand experiment open for business
SunState Aviation gets Skycatchers
Engine failure in the clouds




Know the ‘hot spots’

Click to view a larger image A pilot planning a cross-country from Frederick, Md., to New York’s Syracuse Hancock International Airport acquired a lot of route knowledge—and raised a stumper of a question—during a ground planning session a few days before the 229-nautical-mile flight.

From making sure to avoid a prohibited area close to the route, to safely overflying rapidly rising terrain starting about 100 miles along the course (vividly depicted graphically by the profile view in the AOPA Internet Flight Planner), to noting airports that could serve as emergency fields, there were many details to consider.

The destination airport’s location within Class C airspace prompted the pilot to review communications procedures and equipment requirements. To be even better prepared, the pilot went online and listened to some air traffic control broadcasts to get a feel for local arrival and departure operations.

Studying the diagram of Syracuse’s two-runway airport with its network of parallel and intersecting taxiways, the pilot did not know what to make of two areas designated on the diagram as HS 1 and HS 2. What did those symbols mean?

Checking sources of airport information, the pilot found out that the symbols refer to hot spots on the airport—as explained in the FAA’s airport/facility directory, which contains a section with legend, supplemental, and airport hot spot information. Hot spots also are shown on airport listings in AOPA Airports.

A hot spot is “a runway safety related problem area on an airport that presents increased risk during surface operations,” explains the airport/facility directory. “Typically it is a complex or confusing taxiway/taxiway or taxiway/runway intersection. The area of increased risk has either a history of or potential for runway incursions or surface incidents.”

Hot spots “are depicted on airport diagrams as open circles or polygons designated as ‘HS 1,’ ‘HS 2,’ etc.”

This report of a collision of two taxiing aircraft in Syracuse on March 31, 1989, is a good example of the kinds of problems known to occur in hot spots.

Asking for progressive taxi instructions can help you avoid trouble at an unfamiliar towered airport, or under conditions of limited visibility. Staying alert and taxiing at a safe speed should offer safe passage until you are ready to take off again on your way home.


As a member, you get much more than a magazine—you have access to all of the benefits that AOPA offers. That means you can scour our website for information on flight planning, weather, airports, and much more. You also can stop by our forums and connect with other pilots.


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.


Skyport’s grand experiment open for business

The Redbird Skyport officially opened on Nov. 8 in San Marcos, Texas. The flight school, built by Redbird Flight Simulations, is a new approach to flight training; students will use simulators to become proficient in maneuvers or tasks before ever touching an airplane. Read more >>

SunState Aviation gets Skycatchers

SunState Aviation at Kissimmee Gateway Airport in Kissimmee, Fla., has added the first of three Cessna 162 Skycatchers to its rental fleet. Another will be delivered in November, and a third is anticipated in January 2012. The flight school says it is offering sport and private pilot training in the Skycatchers, and the wet rental rate is under $100 per hour.

Engine failure in the clouds

When you hear the word “emergency” in an instrument-flying context, what comes to mind? If you’re like most of us, it’s probably something like a vacuum pump failure, or an encounter with freezing rain. But as Robert Schapiro discovered, sick engines pay no heed to the weather. Climb in the co-pilot’s seat as a simple proficiency flight becomes a harrowing search for a landing spot in the latest installment of the Air Safety Institute’s Real Pilot Stories series.

Guidance Aviation offers turbine transition course

Guidance Aviation at Ernest A. Love Field in Prescott, Ariz., now offers a turbine transition course for rotary-wing pilots. The program utilizes a Robinson R66 turbine helicopter. Guidance CEO John Stonecipher said the R66 “not only offers the power and reliability we are looking for here at high altitude, but it is fast becoming what our graduates will most likely fly on the job as their first turbine helicopter.” Guidance also offers fixed-wing flight training.

Lakeland College program off and flying

A new aviation minor at Lakeland College in Sheboygan, Wis., is off to a good start, with 11 students enrolled in ground school and five in flight training. The program, announced in January, has already seen its first solo. Ryan Graves soloed on Oct. 27 in a Cessna 152.

Inside AOPA

Stay ahead of the weather

Low ceilings and poor visibility often catch unprepared pilots off guard. And those flights usually end badly. But understanding the bigger weather picture and knowing what to expect can arm you with the information you need to stay out of trouble. Take the WeatherWise: Ceilings and Visibility online course from the Air Safety Institute and learn how to avoid these weather-related killers.

Need a holiday gift? Try the AOPA Store

There’s no better way to get into the holiday spirit than with AOPA’s Holiday Ornament. Now in its second year, the AOPA ornament features a 1940 Waco. The 2011 ornament is available for $24.99. You also can start an AOPA ornament collection by purchasing the 2010 holiday ornament. Read more >>

AOPA Medical Services Plan keeps professional pilot flying

Gould “Stretch” Ryder, a professional helicopter pilot who flies in and out of Manhattan and the northeast corridor, isn’t fazed by the complex airspace he works within—but he needed a little help when he was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. He turned to AOPA Medical Services to help him navigate the complex world of medical certification. Read more >>


Little Pilot Logbook helps to capture flying memories

If you have a young aviator in the family or know of a youngster who’s interested in aviation, how do you help to nurture that enthusiasm? AOPA member Asavri Gupte designed a flying keepsake journal specifically for children. The Little Pilot Logbook is an 8.75-by-5.75-inch spiral-bound book with flight log pages, but it also features places to record memorable stories and display photos, including on the front cover. The Little Pilot Logbook sells for $24.95. For product and purchasing 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: What is a TRSA?


Answer: TRSA stands for terminal radar service area and is depicted on VFR charts with a solid black line (see Wilmington International Airport and Harrisburg International Airport for examples) with altitudes for different segments. The airspace works similarly to Class C airspace; however, from a regulatory standpoint it is not considered controlled airspace because it was not subject to the rulemaking process. Because of that, TRSAs do not really fit into any of the U.S. airspace classes. That is also why you will not find any operating rules for them in Part 91. You will likely find a TRSA around a Class D airport that has relatively high traffic yet does not qualify for Class C or Class B airspace. TRSA service provides radar sequencing and separation between all participating VFR aircraft and all IFR aircraft operating within the airspace defined by the TRSA. Although participation is voluntary, VFR pilots are encouraged to use the services provided by the TRSA. For more, check out the Air Safety Institute’s Know Before You Go: Navigating Today’s Airspace online course.


Got a question for our technical services staff? Email [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 communications coordinator, manager of flight training programs, online product manager, AOPA Live producer/videojournalist, Web business analyst, associate editor–Web, associate editor–Web/ ePilot, aviation technical specialist, and manager of airspace and modernization. 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 8,500 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 also can 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 Albuquerque, N.M., and Austin, Texas, Nov. 19 and 20; Denver, Colo., Orlando, Fla., and Northbrook, Ill., Dec. 3 and 4; Baltimore, Md., Ypsilanti, Mich., Portland, Ore., and San Antonio, Texas, Jan. 7 and 8; Long Beach, Calif., Jackson, Miss., and Charlotte, N.C., Jan. 14 and 15; and San Jose, Calif., and Bellevue, Wash., Jan. 21 and 22. 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 Mesa, Ariz., and Jacksonville, Fla., Dec. 5; Tucson, Ariz., and Daytona Beach, Fla., Dec. 6; Tampa, Fla., Timonium, Md., and Albuquerque, N.M., Dec. 7; Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., Dec. 8; Mesa, Ariz., and Reno, Nev., Jan. 9; Tucson, Ariz., and Sacramento, Calif., Jan. 10; Milpitas, Calif., and El Paso, Texas, Jan. 11; and Santa Rosa, Calif., and Albuquerque, N.M., Jan. 12.


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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Copyright © 2011 AOPA.

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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, William Rockenbaugh, Mitch Mitchell

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