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The trainer touches down perfectly, but instead of the expected chirp-squeak from the tires comes an astonishing wail, followed by a puff of smoke. Ouch. Clearly, this wasn’t what the pilot had in mind.
What happened? When this airplane touched down, the pilot’s feet (or sometimes, an unwitting passenger’s) were a little too far up on the rudder pedals, engaging the brakes. Had the winds been a little gusty, or more of a crosswind, things might have turned out much worse. Time to taxi clear and inspect for any damage.
All pilots remember their early training days, when taxiing was a challenge requiring a mysterious combination of power, brakes, nosewheel or tailwheel steering, and rudder. Some student pilots take longer than others to achieve grace in this area—and landings may reveal flaws in the technique after performance of the other ground tasks is consistently satisfactory.
Trainers take a pounding out there, so give yours (and any rental aircraft) a thorough going-over before flights to spot signs of bad braking. You are looking for flat spots on tires, leaking brake fluid (what color is it?), and the condition of brake pads.
Beware of worn spots on a nosewheel tire caused by excessive braking while the nosewheel was turned. That can cause startling, severe nosewheel shimmying on takeoff. What’s the cure? “Ease back on the control column and the noise and vibrations stop. And be ready, because the shimmy may return when you land,” explained the November 2008 Flight Training feature “What’s wrong with this airplane?”
Aside from aggressive techniques such as short-field landings, braking tends to be a second choice for aircraft control when other methods are available. On taxi, using minimum power necessary to roll at a walking gait, along with nosewheel steering, minimizes need for brakes. After touchdown, aerodynamic braking is the preferred deceleration method—so keep the elevator control full back!
YOUR PARTNER IN TRAINING
Have you started the cross-country phase of your training? Be sure to check out the AOPA Internet Flight Planner, which shows you active temporary flight restrictions and current weather, and lets you tap into AOPA Airports for the latest information on more than 5,000 public-use airports and 7,000 fixed-base operations. Plan a route and your flight plan and navigation log are created automatically, ready to print in kneeboard format and to file online with DUAT/DUATS.
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.
Longtime AOPA Pilot columnist Barry Schiff wants to get more young people into aviation, and he also wants to honor those who helped him in his aeronautical career. Schiff is sponsoring a $3,000 scholarship for a young person between the ages of 16 and 21. The amount is intended to get the recipient to his or her solo. Deadline to apply is Dec. 15. For application information, read his October column.
A Canadian pilot who launched worldwide campaigns to draw more women into aviation has received recognition from AOPA. Mireille Goyer, who spearheaded the international Centennial of Licensed Women Pilots and Women of Aviation Worldwide Week initiatives, received AOPA’s Let’s Go Flying Award Sept. 24 at AOPA Aviation Summit in Hartford, Conn. Read more >>
Many VFR pilots assume ATC has advanced weather-reporting capabilities. While this may be true in some cases, ATC radar only displays certain types of weather, and that may not be enough to keep you in the clear. Listen to the latest segment of Ask ATC from the Air Safety Institute as controllers explain what they see and how they can help as you approach an area of less-than-comfortable weather. Watch AOPA Live® >>
AOPA flight training scholarship winners announced
Four student pilots got a boost Sept. 24 with $5,000 flight training scholarships to help them reach their goal to become pilots. Lisa Turecek of Durham, Conn.; Zachary Alcantar of Vista, Calif.; Sarah Stanley of Springvale, Maine; and Jeff Stephenson of Florissant, Mo., were named scholarship recipients during AOPA Aviation Summit in Hartford, Conn. Read more >>
Retired highway patrolman opens flight school
After retiring from the California Highway Patrol, Elliott Arthur wanted to go back to aviation. He had left the industry after the economic setbacks that followed the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, according to the Fort Morgan Times. Now back to flying, Arthur has opened a flight school at Fort Morgan Municipal Airport in Fort Morgan, Colo. NorthEast Planes Aviation offers sport through airline transport pilot flight training.
Get the most from flight service
In this age of smartphones and datalink weather, flight service sometimes gets overlooked, but it’s still one of the more useful and versatile tools available to you as a pilot. Whether you’re new to the system or just need a refresher, the Air Safety Institute’s online course A Pilot’s Guide to Flight Service will quickly get you up to speed on the basics, the not-so basics, and a few tricks for getting the best service. Take the course >>
The man behind the Sporty’s name
If you have ever taken a flight lesson, you’ve likely heard of Sporty’s, one of the industry’s leading sources of pilot supplies. But do you know how Sporty’s got started? Read all about Sporty’s founder Hal Shevers and AOPA’s longtime successful partnership with the company.
Hertz announces ‘Working for the Weekend’ giveaway
Enter today for a chance to win a new car or a free weekend rental! You could win your choice of a new 2011 Dodge Challenger RT, Chrysler 200 Convertible, or Jeep Wrangler. Plus, you can play instantly to win the free weekend day. Visit the website for more details and to enter for your chance to win.
Dynon Avionics, maker of feature-packed systems for Experimental and light sport aircraft, also manufactures a handheld transceiver. The DX15 has 100 memory channels, quick recall of the last 10 frequencies used, a rechargeable battery, and a standard three-year warranty. It weighs 8 ounces and measures 4 inches by 2.25 inches. The unit is available through Dynon dealers such as Wicks Aircraft Supplies, which is selling it for $160.
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 received my private pilot certificate recently after training in a Cessna 152. Our flight school has Cessna 172s and I would like to fly one of those because it has more room and is faster than the Cessna 152. My instructor says I need an endorsement in order to fly the Cessna 172. I don’t see any requirement in the federal aviation regulations concerning this. Is he correct?
Answer: First, congratulations on passing the practical exam for your private pilot certificate. That is a major accomplishment. Now, regarding your question: From a regulatory or FAA perspective, there is no further training required in order for you to fly the Cessna 172 legally. Your airplane single-engine land rating qualifies you. However, insurance companies often require a checkout in a specific make and model of aircraft before they will allow a pilot to rent it. This might be true even if you have lots of previous time in a particular type of airplane. Your instructor was most likely referring to this insurance requirement when he said you needed an endorsement. For more on additional ratings and endorsements, see AOPA’s subject report.
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.
They may look like they were born to the uniform, but airline captains start out as student pilots, just like you. In this week’s Flight Training blog, AOPA Associate Editor Jill W. Tallman discovers she shares a surprising connection with two longtime pilots.
AOPA Career Opportunities
Ever dream of turning your passion for aviation into a career? We’re looking for a donor relations specialist, medical certification assistant, AOPA regional manager, 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.
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 San Jose, Calif., and Nashville, Tenn., Oct. 1 and 2; Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Indianapolis, Ind., Oct. 8 and 9; Windsor, Conn., Wichita, Kan., and Columbia, S.C., Oct. 15 and 16; and Corpus Christi, Texas, Oct. 29 and 30. 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 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; Manchester, N.H., King Of Prussia, Pa., and Hampton, Va., Oct. 6; Garden City, N.Y., Oct. 10; Colorado Springs, Colo., and Poughkeepsie, N.Y., Oct. 11; Denver, Colo., West Lafayette, Ind., and Cohoes, N.Y., Oct. 12; and Milan, Ill., and Brockport, N.Y., Oct. 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