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Aug. 17, 2012, issue of 'AOPA ePilot: Flight Training Edition' weekly newsletterAug. 17, 2012, issue of 'AOPA ePilot: Flight Training Edition' weekly newsletter

Comments? email [email protected], call 800/USA-AOPA

AOPA ePilot

In This Issue:

VOLUME 12, ISSUE 33 — August 17, 2012

Estimated and actual
New $5,000 scholarship added
Plane Spotter: Luscombe 8
Final Exam: Runway data


Safety >>

Picture Perfect

Picture Perfect >>


AOPA Live >>



Training Tips

Estimated and actual

Training TipKeeping a pen or pencil—and a couple of spares—within easy reach when you launch on a cross-country flight isn’t just a good idea for writing down assigned frequencies and altitudes. It is also an important part of a high-priority piloting chore: monitoring whether your flight’s actual progress and performance match your preflight estimates.


That process, which a designated examiner will closely scrutinize on a checkride, starts before you leave the ground. When your pre-takeoff checks are complete and it’s time to launch, remember to jot down your takeoff time before rolling out to the runway. Make another time note when arriving at your first checkpoint. Is your actual groundspeed as was estimated based on the winds aloft forecast and your planned cruise altitude?


If it’s slower, how much additional fuel will be consumed en route? You also may need to contact flight service to update your VFR flight plan. It required you to provide an estimated time en route ( block 10). If you filed a multi-leg trip under one flight plan, discuss with your instructor whether it might be better to file them separately next time.


If you departed with full fuel, later you can compare the amount it takes to top off again with your expected fuel burn for the trip—valuable performance information for future flights in the aircraft. Don’t forget to factor in fuel consumed in taxi, takeoff, and climb phases when calculating the estimated consumption figure.


You won’t need a pen to keep track of flight conditions. Just use your eyes and ears! Altimeter settings are frequently updated on air traffic control frequencies, and are given on automated weather broadcasts at airports you pass.


Make comparing the clouds and visibility you observe to those you expected a continuing effort. Surface winds don’t always match expectations, for better or worse—another reason to monitor surface stations and seek out your destination’s weather as early as possible.


Weather that has changed significantly for the worse may be available to you through a pilot report or on a hazardous inflight weather advisory service (HIWAS) broadcast over a navaid. Monitor them, especially if your own observations have made you doubt earlier information.


Enjoy the ride, admire the view—but always be able to answer the question, “How are we doing?”

Flight Training News

New $5,000 scholarship added

AOPA has added the Jimmie Allen Flying Club Flight Training Scholarship as the fourth award to its Flight Training Scholarship Program. The new scholarship, donated by member Sarah Wilson who pilots the 1929 Jimmie Allen Stearman Speedmail, will award $5,000 to a student pilot working toward an initial sport, recreational, or private pilot certificate. Student pilots must submit their online application and have online recommendation forms completed by Aug. 24 to be considered for one of the scholarships. Winners will be announced at AOPA Aviation Summit, Oct. 11 through 13. Learn more about eligibility and the application process online.

Vision of Flight program lets youths soar

Have you ever dreamed of flying? That's the question Orlando, Fla., businessman Michael McKenzie is asking youngsters ages 14 to 17 in his metro area. McKenzie asks the question in a big way, calling on history, the future, and the power of awakened aspirations to give his young target audience a new sense of direction and belonging. Read more >>

Resuming the journey: Alaska mountain flying

After training for months to get current so that she could fly in Alaska, AOPA staff member Kathy Dondzila got to fly through the mountain passes of the Brooks Range using pilotage as her primary navigation tool. In this installment, a 15,000-hour bush pilot shows her how to maneuver in an area where the weather is often VFR below the mountain peaks—but not above. Read more >>

Shine light on stellar flight training provider

Think you had the best flight instructor or flight school experience? Are you training with an instructor you admire now? Nominate the school or instructor you believe embodies the best in flight training for the AOPA Flight Training Excellence Awards. A school or instructor that wins an award will exemplify what it means to be a great flight training provider, as defined by the criteria identified in AOPA’s extensive research. The nomination deadline is Aug. 24, and the awards will be given at AOPA Aviation Summit in Palm Springs, Calif., in October. Nominate someone today.

Mich. community college to partner with area flight school

Jackson Community College in Michigan has signed an agreement with a flight school to take over the flight training portion of its aviation program. Solo Aviation Inc. of Ann Arbor will provide flight instruction for JCC aviation program enrollees flying out of Jackson County-Reynolds Field. The agreement will enable JCC to continue to offer its aviation program, which has seen declining student enrollment, according to the online publication

Louisiana airport to get flight school back

Natchitoches Regional Airport will soon have a flight school on the premises. Flight Academy of New Orleans, headquartered at Lakefront Airport, is set to open a second facility at Nachitoches in the fall. Flight Academy trains international students and hopes to attract Chinese students to its new location. The airport had been without a flight school since 2010, when Northwestern State University shuttered its facility, according to

Training Resources

Looking for tips to become a better pilot? We’ve got 25 of them, in no particular order. From short-field landings to new ratings, Budd Davisson’s suggestions will challenge you to fly more efficiently. Read more from the September 2001 issue of Flight Training .


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.


AOPA Live This Week, Aug. 16

Fly in the Alps, learn from a high-density-altitude accident, and find out how Twitter could help you avoid violating a temporary flight restriction. All this and more in AOPA Live This Week, Aug. 16. Watch AOPA Live® >>

When should you ask for flight following from ATC?

Ask ATC: When to ask for flight following You know receiving flight following is a good idea. You know to contact ATC to request it. But when is the best time to ask for it? Busy terminal environments can require a lot of communication between you, ground, clearance delivery, and the tower just to get your wheels off the ground. Should you add another request to the mix, or just wait until you’re on your way? The latest Ask ATC segment from the Air Safety Institute explains the best time to request flight following for your next cross-country. Watch AOPA Live >>

Career Pilot

American Airlines pilots reject contract offer

American Airlines pilots rejected a contract offer on Aug. 8, USA Today reported. The Allied Pilots Association said 61 percent of its 7,500 members who cast ballots voted to reject the offer, which included pay raises and a stake in the company in exchange for more flexibility to shift flying to partner airlines. The president of the union resigned on the following day, Reuters reported.

Frontier brings back nonstop Fargo-Denver service

Frontier Airlines said Aug. 9 it will resume nonstop service from Fargo, N.D., to Denver, Colo., on Nov. 16. The airline said it last served Fargo in 2010 using 74-seat regional turboprop aircraft. The new service will be flown on 138-seat Airbus A319 aircraft.

Plane Spotter

Luscombe on the line

Luscombe 8 Summer’s moving along, and if your plane-spotting list is filling up with entries, make sure you have added a Luscombe 8 to your list of discoveries. Not yet? Check down there in the grassy section of the tiedown rows; that’s where these two-place, often 65- or 85-horsepower classics love to live. If a Luscombe departing the strip appears more muscular than that, modified airplanes have boasted 150 hp. Heel brakes are an unusual Luscombe feature. Some aircraft were produced with flaps; most were not. All can be a handful to taxi in a crosswind.

Training Products

Flight review course bundle from King Schools

For pilots anticipating a flight review, King Schools has created a course bundle that will save $28 over the cost of purchasing items separately. The bundle includes a VFR regulations refresher, a communications tutorial, and an airspace review. The course is presented on DVD for personal computer, or you may purchase an online version. Each is $119. 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.

Member Benefits

AOPA customer service impresses member

AOPA member Alberto Guerrero purchased non-owned insurance from AOPA along with the instructions to sign the policy form and return it to AOPA within 15 days. Guerrero said, “I screwed up and forgot to do that, and I was afraid my flying club would restrict my ability to fly—a fate worse than death.” Read more >>

Aircraft re-registration: What a pilot needs to know

For years, many of us have used the memory aid “ARROW” to remember the documents required on an aircraft. The first “R” pertains to the aircraft registration certificate. FAR 91.203 tells us we may not “operate a civil aircraft” unless it has within it an “effective U.S. registration certificate issued to its owner.” For years it has been an easy task to check for the registration certificate onboard the aircraft. We find it, make sure the N number matches the aircraft, and check that the owner and address are current. Read more >>


Who are your aviation heroes?

This week in the Flight Training blog, Technical Editor Jill W. Tallman wants to know which aviation figure provides you with inspiration and motivation to continue your flight training.

Solo maneuvers in the Cessna 172

Soloing is great, but solo flight to practice maneuvers is even better! Student pilot Blaine Transue describes a recent flight in which he put his pilot-in-command skills to work, from planning to executing a great practice session, in the Let’s Go Flying blog.

AOPA Career Opportunities

Ever dream of turning your passion for aviation into a career? We’re looking for a major gifts officer, accounts payable technician, administrative coordinator, director of new market development, aviation technical generalist, and Web graphic designer. To learn more about other AOPA career opportunities, visit AOPA Online.


Picture Perfect

AOPA’s online photo gallery allows you to upload your own aviation photography as well as view, rate, and comment on others’ photos. Your favorite aviation images from AOPA Pilot are still available online through this new gallery. Take a look, and submit your own photos!

Facebook Become a fan

RSS feed Subscribe to the RSS feed

Picture Perfect


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.

Final Exam

Question: On airport diagrams, the runway numbers are often listed along with codes such as S-20, D-200, or 2D-190. For example, Elizabeth City Coast Guard Air Station/Regional Airport shows RWY 01-19 S-20 and RWY 10-28 S-100, D-200, 2S-175, 2D-400. What do they mean?


Answer: The answer can be found in the airport/facility directory legend for runway data. In this section you can find the runway designation, dimensions, surface and length, weight bearing capacity, and lighting. The numbers above, next to the runway headings, indicate the type of landing gear system and weight the runway can support. The S in S-20 indicates single wheel type landing gear such as that of a DC-3, F-15, or Cessna 172; the 20 indicates aircraft gross weight capacity up to 20,000 pounds. RWY 10-28 S-100 means single wheel type landing gear up to 100,000 pounds, D-200 is dual wheel type landing gear up to 200,000 pounds (for example, a Boeing 737), 2S-175 is two single wheels in tandem type landing gear up to 175,000 pounds (say, a C-130), and 2D-400 is two dual wheels in tandem type landing gear up to 400,000 pounds (a B-757).

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.


We work with A-rated underwriters and offer the most coverage options to fit your needs for the aircraft you own or rent. Call 800-622-AOPA or go online for a free quote.

Instrument Tip

IFR Fix: ‘What’s that down there?’

IFR Fix: 'What's that down there?' An instrument pilot has reviewed the VOR-A approach described in the IFR Fix “Checkup to Chester,” and is flying the procedure, using a radial from the second VOR to identify the final approach fix, ALCAR. The pilot sets the Nav 2 omnibearing selector to the HFD 200-degree radial, notes the “from” indication and a displacement of the course deviation indicator one dot from the center. Established toward the fix, he descends from 2,100 feet to 2,000 feet msl, levels off, and reviews the procedure’s next (and final) leg. This demands focus. Read more >>

Load, activate, enter

Did you zoom right through the localizer because you forgot to activate the approach? GPS in the IFR system boosts situational awareness, provides IFR access to more airports, and expands routing options. But it’s not as good as advertised if you’re stuck on the “direct” and “enter” buttons. Whether you’re working on your instrument rating or getting ready for an instrument proficiency check, think outside the box with the Air Safety Institute’s GPS for IFR Operations online course. Learn basic strategies to reduce cockpit workload— take the course now.

Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics

Air Safety Institute Safety Seminars

Aug. 18 and 19

Allentown, Pa.

Fort Worth, Texas


Sept. 8 and 9

Phoenix, Ariz.

Baltimore, Md.

Bellevue, Wash.

Sept. 22 and 23

Sacramento, Calif.

Colorado Springs, Colo.

Richmond, Va.

Oct. 6 and 7

Indianapolis, Ind.

Corpus Christi, Texas



For a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.

Can’t make it in person? Sign up for the CFI Refresher Online.

Sept. 10

Wichita, Kan.

Ypsilanti, Mich.

Germantown, Tenn.

Sept. 11

Independence, Ohio

Bethany, Okla.

Nashville, Tenn.

Sept. 12

Fayetteville, Ark.

Columbus, Ohio

Maryville, Tenn.

Sept. 13

Little Rock, Ark.

Indianapolis, Ind.


Topics vary—for details and a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.

AOPA ePilot Team

ePilot Flight Training Editor:
Jill W. Tallman

ePilot Editor:
Sarah Brown

Alyssa Miller
Jim Moore
Warren Morningstar
Alton K. Marsh

Dave Hirschman
Tom Horne
Ian J. Twombly
Dan Namowitz

Production Team:
Melissa Whitehouse
Siobhan Byrne
Lezlie Ramsey
William Rockenbaugh
Mitch Mitchell

Advertise in ePilot:
East: Mike Vodarsik, 732/946-0130
Central: Brian Curpier, 607/547-2591
Central: Gary Brennan, 607/547-2591
West: Zane Lewis, 214/789-6094

AOPA Advertising website

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