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Access is everything
The traffic you are following in the pattern is in sight. Separation looks good; by the time you turn base, the other aircraft should be down and off. The other pilot knows your position. The system for coordinating operations at a nontowered airport is working exactly as designed.
Abeam the numbers, you check the traffic and observe that the other aircraft is still airborne as it floats past the lone taxiway to the ramp, usually easily “makeable” after a normal final approach. No problem. You also know from personal experience that if you miss, a short back-taxi is all it takes to get clear promptly.
The other aircraft, unfortunately, has missed badly—we all have our off days—and now you wonder just how all this is going to work out. You suddenly realize that a go-around has become a real possibility (for which you may not have prepared mentally). The other pilot is apologetic and promising to hurry. Suddenly everyone is a little bit stressed!
The lesson? Complacency in one cockpit combined with a surprise dished out from the other can eat up a safety margin that is usually adequate.
Don’t forget that limited taxiway access isn’t just a problem for a landing aircraft. That logistical challenge can prolong a departure, too. If a flight is taking the active runway as you are flying into the area, give it plenty of time to get rolling—and stay ready for the unexpected, such as an aborted takeoff.
Two related tips: Before flying to a new destination airport such as this one with limited access and egress, review the airport layout. Ask yourself how you would clear the runway under various scenarios. Check airport remarks or comments. Surface irregularities may make it impossible to see another aircraft on the ground near the runway’s far end.If things get hectic, don’t express frustration; the other guy probably feels as bad about the situation as you do. (Your indignation could also become distracting.) You may even find out from an observer or the other pilot that there was a good reason for the long landing—an outbound aircraft blocking the way onto the ramp, perhaps—making you glad that you didn’t pass judgment without knowing all the facts!
YOUR PARTNER IN TRAINING
Did Hurricane Irene’s howling winds and driving rain keep you indoors last weekend? Don’t forget that if you find yourself grounded by weather, your schedule, or other intrusions, you can keep your head in the game by reading every aviation article you can find, or using a desktop simulator to practice basic and instrument flying skills. Research and plan trips to future destinations with AOPA Airports, the association’s airport directory, and the AOPA Internet Flight Planner. Also, be sure to visit the Air Safety Institute home page for free interactive courses, Safety Advisors, quizzes, and a schedule of safety seminars in your area.
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.
Tell FAA to count sport time toward private
The FAA has opened for public comments a petition urging that flight instruction from sport pilot instructors logged by sport pilot applicants be eligible to be counted toward higher pilot certificates. Pilots are encouraged to submit comments in support of the petition that, if granted, would give sport pilots greater incentive to pursue further flight training, and recognize the cumulative value of their aeronautical experience. Read more >>
A bill that would exempt California fight training organizations from onerous fees and reporting requirements imposed by a 2009 post-secondary education law took a major step toward enactment Aug. 30 with approval by the state Senate. Read more >>
Aerodynamics made easy
Do you know why an airplane stalls at a higher airspeed during maneuvering flight? Or what it means to be on the back side of the power curve? If not, check out the Air Safety Institute's free online course Essential Aerodynamics: Stalls, Spins, and Safety. Using simple, plain-language explanations, the course walks you through basic aerodynamic concepts while emphasizing important connections with real-world flying. Get started >>
Crew for a day, ‘fans for life’
What’s it like to be part of airshow pilot Mike Goulian’s crew? Student pilot Dan Mattes found out this year when he secured the winning bid in the AOPA Foundation’s 2010 Night for Flight Auction. Mattes got to spend an entire day with Goulian, and discovered how much work goes into putting together a perfectly choreographed airshow routine. Read more >>
Kansas State University-Salina’s professional pilot program has received renewed accreditation from Aviation Accreditation Board International (AABI). The renewed accreditation is good for another five years. AABI is the only professional, specialized accrediting organization approved by the Council on Higher Education to accredit university aviation programs. Only 26 of more than 100 universities and colleges with aviation programs in the nation have earned accreditation, K-State said.
When you first looked at an instrument chart, did you feel as though you were looking at a cryptic map? If you did, then you're not totally wrong. While VFR charts are depictions of what’s below you, IFR charts can be viewed as maps to get you from one place to another when you can't reference any landmarks on the ground. And each type of instrument chart serves a different purpose. Let the Air Safety Institute help you decipher the mystery of instrument charts with the IFR Insights: Charts online course.
A Summit must-see: The AOPA Member Pavilion
If you’re headed to AOPA Aviation Summit 2011 Sept. 22 through 24 in Hartford, Conn., the AOPA Member Pavilion is a must-see. Visit AOPA-certified partners in the AOPA Member Pavilion to learn more about the association’s financial, insurance, and pilot services. You could walk away with great prizes, including an Apple iPad 2. Read more >>
Enjoy a free weekend day car rental
Receive your first day free on a three-day weekend car rental at the airport through Hertz when you include PC# 159784 in your reservation of any vehicle type. This offer is valid for pickup Aug. 15 through Oct. 31. Reserve online. 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.
Discount deadline extended to Sept. 9
To accommodate those affected by Hurricane Irene, AOPA has extended the AOPA Aviation Summit pre-registration discount through Sept. 9. We hope that this extension affords those still dealing with massive cleanup efforts and loss of power the opportunity to register for Summit without the burden of additional costs. Featuring a world class exhibit hall, more than 60 hours of educational seminars, and exciting aviation social events, AOPA Aviation Summit provides a firsthand look at all that AOPA does on behalf of general aviation and its members. Those wishing to register may do so online or by phone at 800/872-2672.
‘Flying the Cessna Skycatcher’ from King Schools
Is a Cessna Skycatcher in your aviation future? If so, King Schools’ new DVD course, Flying the Cessna Skycatcher, may be just the ticket for getting you up to speed. The course is designed for pilots making the transition to the Skycatcher, and includes in-flight video and a tutorial on the airplane’s Garmin G300 avionics. It sells for $149. Order online or call 800/854-1001.
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 are the right-of-way rules for aircraft operating on water?
Answer: In general, federal aviation regulation 91.115 states that individuals operating aircraft on the water should, if possible, keep clear of other vessels and avoid getting in their way and/or impeding their navigation. They should also yield the right of way to any vessel or aircraft if instructed to do so under this regulation. Some circumstances are addressed specifically by the regulation. If on a crossing course with another aircraft or vessel, the entity on the right has the right of way. Approaching head on, alter your course to the right. If a vessel or aircraft is being overtaken, the vessel or aircraft being overtaken has the right-of-way and the one overtaking should change course to remain well clear. If a collision threat exists, consider the limitations of the vessel or aircraft involved, and choose appropriate actions. For right-of-way rules while on the ground or in the air, read “Who has the right of way?”
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.
Have you ever been really scared in an airplane? Chip Wright has, and he shares that memory 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 an associate editor–Web, associate editor–Web/ ePilot, application support engineer, .Net developer, aviation technical specialist, and manager of airspace and modernization. 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 8,500 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 Phoenix, Ariz., and Bellevue, Wash., Sept. 10 and 11; Sacramento, Calif., Colorado Springs, Colo., and Richmond, Va., Sept. 17 and 18; Baltimore, Md., Sept. 24 and 25; and San Jose, Calif., and Nashville, Tenn., Oct. 1 and 2. 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 Wichita, Kan., Germantown, Tenn., Fort Worth, Texas, and Houston, Texas, Sept. 12; Bethany, Okla., Nashville, Tenn., Addison, Texas, and San Antonio, Texas, Sept. 13; Fayetteville, Ark., Maryville, Tenn., and Austin, Texas, Sept. 14; Little Rock, Ark., Sept. 15; Rochester, Minn., Sept. 19; Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Sept. 20; Bellevue, Neb., Sept. 21; Hartford, Conn., and Olathe, Kan., Sept. 22; and Hartford, Conn., Sept. 23 and 24.
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].
Editorial Team: ePilot Flight Training Editor : Jill W. Tallman | ePilot Editor: Sarah Brown | Contributor: Alton K. Marsh