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Sept. 16, 2011, issue of 'AOPA ePilot: Flight Training Edition' newsletterSept. 16, 2011, issue of 'AOPA ePilot: Flight Training Edition' newsletter

AOPA ePilot Flight Training Edition Volume 11, Issue 37 — September 16, 2011  

In This Issue:
Flight school celebrates tenth anniversary
Avoid mishaps on the ground
K-State students receive aviation scholarships




Supervision and safety

One of a pilot in command’s most important, but sometimes least tangible, duties is that of supervision. Passengers, line-service technicians, and even total strangers on the ramp must be taken into consideration before, during, and after a flight.

In the definition of passengers we can also include nonflying pilots who have been delegated supporting roles, or who have offered to do them. Your flight instructor makes a good surrogate for a passenger until you earn your sport, recreational, or private pilot certificate. Develop the habit of overseeing the performance of any preflight chores that your instructor offers to perform before dual flights. Don’t let the fact that he or she has more experience than you prevent you from making sure that the CFI has secured a fuel cap or the oil dipstick, or remembered to lock the baggage compartment as promised.

Lack of clarity over who possesses command authority for a flight has caused numerous mishaps. A related precaution—and this too you can take directly away from your training—is to have a clear method worked out for positive transfer of control for the day when you are flying as a certificated pilot, and you ask a certificated-pilot passenger to take over momentarily on the controls.

On checkrides, designated examiners are likely to scrutinize the contents and delivery of an applicant’s passenger briefing. (They have also been known to leave a lap belt or shoulder harness unfastened to see if you catch the lapse before takeoff.)

Briefing your passengers or their surrogates should include explaining that you will adopt a best practice known as a sterile cockpit during workload-intensive phases of flight. It will also be up to you to practice what you preach, which may require your enforcement of the policy if it is unwittingly violated by other occupants.

Safety around propellers is of paramount importance—and that’s when you may have to take responsibility for the well-being of strangers on the ramp. Errors of omission in this area have led to numerous accidents. Review the Air Safety Institute’s Propeller Safety Safety Advisor.

Who’s responsible if precautions and safety procedures are overlooked? The pilot in command. Earning your pilot certificate warrants that you are up to the task—with all its complex human factors!


Scholarships and grants aren't just for college students who need tuition assistance; they can provide financial assistance for flight training. AOPA’s aviation subject report on scholarships provides not only a list of scholarships but also tips for putting together the most comprehensive application.


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 celebrates tenth anniversary

Superior Flight School opened for business on Sept. 11, 2001—the day terrorist attacks devastated the nation. The Atlanta-area flight school hung in, however, and celebrated its tenth anniversary on Sept. 11, 2011. A barbecue brought out 400 visitors and a Civil Air Patrol honor guard to pay tribute to the victims of 9/11. In the intervening years, Superior has gone from a one-airplane operation to two locations with more than 20 aircraft and 15 flight instructors. “We are all very optimistic that general aviation will come out of this tumultuous time and not just survive but thrive,” said Joseph Gravalec, who co-founded the flight school with Bob Kintner. Read more >> to host regional airline job fairs will host regional airline pilot job recruitment fairs on Sept. 24 in Los Angeles and Oct. 28 and 29 in New York City. The job fairs are open to registered members. Accompanying “Focus on the Future” sessions, which will explore careers in aviation, are open to parents, students, and counselors, and are free. For more information, see the website or call 800/538-5627.

Avoid mishaps on the ground

Have you ever made a mistake while taxiing? If so, you’re hardly alone. Getting to and from the runway sounds simple, but there’s plenty that can go wrong, and it’s important to stay alert and understand the rules. How well do you know runway signs and markings? Are you up to speed on the new rules for taxi clearances, or the phraseology that replaced “position and hold”? If not, be sure to take the Air Safety Institute’s revamped Runway Safety online course. Get started >>

K-State students receive aviation scholarships

Twenty-three students at Kansas State University at Salina earned additional ratings this summer after receiving scholarships through the Connor Burton Aviation Foundation. The scholarships were valued at more than $70,000. The purpose of the Burton Foundation is to keep students flying so that they can accomplish their dreams, said Jan Burton, chief advocate for the foundation. “Helping these 23 students focus on earning their ratings rather than how they are going to pay for their flight time exemplifies what the foundation is about.”

Nominate an outstanding helicopter CFI

Do you know an outstanding helicopter flight instructor? If you do, nominate him or her for the Helicopter Association International’s Salute to Excellence Awards. Specifically, the W.A. (Dub) Blessing Certified Flight Instructor of the Year Award recognizes superlative contributions by a helicopter flight instructor in upholding high standards of excellence. Nominations may be submitted until Nov. 1, and the recipient will be named at the 2012 Heli-Expo in Dallas. Submit your nomination online.

Training deals in Night for Flight auction

From private or commercial to recurrent training and special ratings, pilots could get a deal on training packages in the AOPA Foundation’s A Night for Flight online auction. Training packages include a table-mounted Redbird simulator, a seaplane rating, a Saitek Pro Flight Cessna bundle, and a King Schools private pilot kit. Get your bid in before the auction closes Sept. 22. Read more >>

Inside AOPA

Why you should keep an eye on your suction gauge

Pilots learn to fly with a partial panel for a reason: Most of the accidents involving loss of a vacuum pump in instrument meteorological conditions end tragically. As with most emergencies, however, early determination of the problem greatly increases your chance for a safe outcome. But do you know how to recognize the symptoms that your vacuum system is failing? Part of troubleshooting any problem is first understanding how that system works. The Pneumatic Systems Safety Brief from the Air Safety Institute explains how pressure systems work, how to determine early on if one is starting to degrade, and what to do if it does. Download and read the brief.

Is ‘shopping’ on your AOPA Aviation Summit list?

Of course it is! Visit the AOPA store located in the exhibit hall at AOPA Aviation Summit in Hartford, Conn., to see all the products featured in the pages of AOPA Pilot magazine. You’ll find jackets, T-shirts and long-sleeve shirts, watches, flight bags, and AOPA’s 2011 holiday ornament, the 1940 Waco. In addition to having first-class items to use and wear, remember that each purchase helps AOPA in its work to keep flying safe. If you can’t attend Summit this year, you can buy these products all year long at the AOPA Store.

Consider Bank of America for your aircraft loan

When you decide to buy an airplane, you are faced with several decisions, but AOPA has made one decision easy for you. Trust the AOPA Aircraft Financing Program, where Bank of America has been the sole provider of financing of AOPA members for more than 15 years. The association’s aircraft loan specialists handle thousands of aircraft applications a year, giving them the expertise to guide you through the process from start to finish. When you work with Bank of America, you can expect a quick decision, new lower fixed rates and closing fees, terms from five to 20 years, and no penalty for early re-payment. Last but not least, your AOPA dues are paid by Bank of America. Call a loan specialist at 800/62-PLANE or go online.

Airplanes, products, education aplenty

With dozens of aircraft on display at Airportfest, more than 400 exhibitor booths in the exhibit hall, and more than 60 hours of seminars offered over the course of three days, AOPA Aviation Summit is personal aviation’s premier trade show. At the heart of Summit, which takes place Sept. 22 through 24 in Hartford, Conn., is the opportunity for attendees to learn more about the issues facing general aviation and have their voices heard. Each day will begin at 8 a.m. with a keynote session in the ballroom of the convention center. Read more >>


MyClip Thigh iPad holder from Wicks

When was the last time a product spawned so many companion products? New from Wicks is another gadget to hold your Apple iPad in place while you fly. The MyClip Thigh from Wicks utilizes clips that let you secure the iPad to your leg and position it in either portrait or landscape mode. The device costs $32.50 and may be ordered online.


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 just completed my private pilot training in a single-engine land airplane. Can I now act as pilot in command of any single-engine land airplane?


Answer: Yes, provided you also have any required endorsements. For example, tailwheel, complex, and high-performance airplanes as well as aircraft capable of operating at high altitudes require further training in order for you to act as pilot in command if your initial flight training did not include it. To prove that you have received the appropriate training in these kinds of aircraft, you need to obtain and log ground and flight training and receive a logbook endorsement from an authorized instructor. For further information on these and other endorsements and their requirements, read FAR 61.31. Also see AOPA's aviation subject reports on ratings and endorsements and transitioning to high-performance aircraft.


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.


A new labor agreement between American Airlines and American Eagle holds hiring ramifications for the foreseeable future. Chip Wright explains the details 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, production assistant–Web, 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.

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 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 Sacramento, Calif., Colorado Springs, Colo., and Richmond, Va., Sept. 17 and 18; Baltimore, Md., Sept. 24 and 25; San Jose, Calif., and Nashville, Tenn., Oct. 1 and 2; Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Indianapolis, Ind., Oct. 8 and 9; and Windsor, Conn., Wichita, Kan., and Columbia, S.C., Oct. 15 and 16. 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 Rochester, Minn., Sept. 19; Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Sept. 20; Bellevue, Neb., Sept. 21; Hartford, Conn., and Olathe, Kan., Sept. 22; Hartford, Conn., Sept. 23 and 24; Reno, Nev., Sept. 26; Sacramento, Calif., and Gaithersburg, Md., Sept. 27; Milpitas, Calif., Sept. 28; Santa Monica, Calif., Morristown, N.J., Pittsburgh, Pa., and Weyers Cave, Va., Oct. 3; East Hartford, Conn., Hopkinsville, Ky., New Cumberland, Pa., and Manassas, Va., Oct. 4; Frankfort, Ky., Woburn, Mass., Allentown, Pa., and Richmond, Va., Oct. 5; and Manchester, N.H., King Of Prussia, Pa., and Hampton, Va., Oct. 6.


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, William Rockenbaugh, Mitch Mitchell

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