Already a member? Please login below for an enhanced experience. Not a member? Join today

Aug. 31, 2012, issue of 'AOPA ePilot: Flight Training Edition' weekly newsletterAug. 31, 2012, issue of 'AOPA ePilot: Flight Training Edition' weekly newsletter

AOPA ePilot

In This Issue:

VOLUME 12, ISSUE 35 — August 31, 2012

Departing the pattern
Nation mourns Armstrong
Plane Spotter: Taylorcraft
Final Exam: Center stripes


Safety >>

Picture Perfect

Picture Perfect >>


AOPA Live >>

Training Tips

Departing the pattern

Training TipYou are airborne and climbing after performing the well-planned takeoff discussed in the Aug. 24 “Training Tip: Ready to Roll?”


What comes next?


Before you exit the airport area, there is still a departure to fly. It also demands exact technique.


Ask many pilots to identify the legs of an airport traffic pattern. You will most often hear five named: upwind, crosswind, downwind, base, and final legs.


There's a sixth, with its own recommended altitudes and procedures: the departure leg. Fly it properly to add predictability and safety to operations near the airport.


The departure leg is described in the Aeronautical Information Manual as “the flight path which begins after takeoff and continues straight ahead along the extended runway centerline.” The departure climb is one that “continues until reaching a point at least a half mile beyond the departure end of the runway and within 300 feet of the traffic pattern altitude.”


If you are exiting the airport area (not remaining in the traffic pattern to practice takeoffs and landings), “continue straight out, or exit with a 45-degree turn (to the left when in a left-hand traffic pattern; to the right when in a right-hand traffic pattern) beyond the departure end of the runway, after reaching pattern altitude,” says Chapter 13 of the Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge.


Competent communications complement correct comings and goings, so when departing a nontowered airport, be sure that you include a statement of your intentions in a concise announcement on the common traffic advisory frequency (CTAF).


Departing from an airport with a control tower, the scenario may differ, especially if it also has radar service. For example you might be issued instructions to “maintain runway heading,” or to turn to an assigned heading when able after takeoff. In a subsequent radio call the tower controller (or a radar departure controller, after you are “handed off” to that facility) may issue new instructions, or direct you to proceed on course.


Those instructions are issued for sequencing traffic, or to get you on course in the most orderly manner possible. In either case, but be sure to acknowledge the instructions, and remember to avoid unexpected maneuvers in the traffic pattern—only one of which can disrupt an orderly flow of arrivals and departures at a bustling airport.

Flight Training News

Nation mourns Armstrong

Apollo 11 Commander Neil Armstrong, whose “small step” marked mankind’s first visit to the moon, died Aug. 25 of complications following a cardiovascular procedure. He was 82. Armstrong took control of the first manned lunar landing on July 20, 1969, in the lunar module Eagle. Read more >>

Chat with the ‘Flight Training’ editors

You’ve got your sport pilot or private pilot certificate—but now what? Are you running out of ideas after taking your friends aloft? Come chat with Flight Training Editor Ian Twombly and Technical Editor Jill Tallman on Wednesday, Sept. 5, at 3 p.m. Eastern time. Our guest chatter will be Flight Training Contributing Editor Greg Brown, author of the monthly column “Flying Carpet.” One chat participant will receive an autographed copy of Brown’s book, Flying Carpet: The Soul of an Airplane. Log on to the chat or sign up for an email reminder.

Texas FBO breaks ground on new facility

Anson Aviation at Sugar Land Regional Airport in Houston, Texas, has broken ground on a new 24,000-square-foot office and hangar facility. When completed, the new building will feature individual briefing rooms, FAA knowledge testing capability, classrooms, and a dedicated flight planning room. The $3 million facility also will create 15 new jobs, a company spokesman said.

UAS, the NAS, and you

Do the words “unmanned aircraft systems (UAS)” spike your interest? Then jump on board with the Air Safety Institute’s latest online course, Unmanned Aircraft and the National Airspace System , developed in collaboration with the Department of Defense. Get the scoop directly from the source: UAS military training operations are expected to increase dramatically by 2015, and unfettered National Airspace System access—as opposed to expanding special-use airspace—would allow military UAS pilots to train and stay proficient. Curious about the implications for GA? Explore how manned and unmanned aircraft can safely share the same airspace.

Pilot receives probation for falsified logbook

An Iowa pilot who pleaded guilty to falsifying his logbook so that he could enroll in training for a commercial certificate received four years’ probation. According to the Associated Press, attorneys for Fahad Nabeel Hussein Al-Daous of Waterloo, Iowa, argued that the stay-at-home father lied about his flight hours to save money on getting the certificate. Prosecutors said he posed a public safety risk because his falsified hours would have permitted him to get advanced certificates without adequate flight experience. Al-Daous was sentenced on Aug. 22.

Training Resources

Learning the intricacies of today’s airspace is a big task and a necessary one for every pilot. But the Air Safety Institute has everything you need to make sense of it all. In one place, you’ll find everything you need to know about the various types of airspace, their communication requirements, weather minimums, and more. From the downloadable Airspace Flash Cards to the Know Before You Go online course, the Airspace Safety Spotlight is your one-stop education destination before you even leave the ground.


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: Inside the Republican National Convention

AOPA Live takes you inside the Republican National Convention and gets Mitt Romney’s answers on user fees. Plus, review AOPA’s new FlyQ Pocket Android app, fly the Velocity V-Twin, and watch a tribute to the late Neil Armstrong. All this and more on AOPA Live This Week, Aug. 30.

Aviation high school

Southwest Aeronautics, Mathematics, and Science Academy in Albuquerque, N.M. Imagine a high school where you get Fridays off, your classroom is on an airport, and flight training is part of the curriculum. Ready to sign up? AOPA Editor in Chief Thomas B. Haines takes you on a tour of the brand-new Southwest Aeronautics, Mathematics, and Science Academy in Albuquerque, N.M. Operated as a charter school by Southwest Learning Centers, the school has a distinctly aviation focus—no home ec or wood shop classes, and no conventional classrooms. Learn more about SAMS, which was featured in the Aug. 23 edition of AOPA Live This Week.

Career Pilot

American continues push to void pilot contract

AMR Corp., the parent company of American Airlines that is in Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization, petitioned the bankruptcy court Aug. 17 to void its collective bargaining agreement with its pilots’ union, the Allied Pilots Association. The move came only two days after U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Sean Lane rejected an earlier proposal because neither American’s business plan nor its competitor’s practices justified the carrier’s request to furlough 450 pilots and increase code sharing with other carriers, the Dallas Morning News reported. The court has scheduled a hearing Sept. 4 on the carrier’s revised petition.

Antitrust concerns raised over US Airways/American merger

A 28-page white paper sent to the U.S. Department of Justice by the American Antitrust Institute and the Business Travel Coalition outlined their opposition to a potential merger of US Airways and American Airlines, AIN Online reported Aug. 13. The organizations said the merger would create the largest U.S. carrier, controlling more than 20 percent of the market, and “could substantially reduce competition on a number of routes, create regional strongholds at key airports across the country, and starve smaller communities of air service vital to their business interests.”

Plane Spotter

Taylorcraft: Taildragger built for two

Taylorcraft Fly-in season still has some room to run, and flapjacks are still being flipped for Saturday morning breakfasts at grass strips across the land. If you haven’t yet added a “T-craft” (a Taylorcraft) to the two-seat taildragger column of your plane-spotting catalog, finding such a destination might be a good strategy. Whether the Taylorcraft you spot is a fuel-frugal, 1930s-era, 65-horsepower classic, or an updated 1990s F22 that sports a Lycoming O-235 engine (as does the Cessna 152), a Taylorcraft makes a worthy addition to your plane spotter’s photographic trophy collection.

Training Products

Fat Gecko Co-Pilot video camera mount

If you are using a video camera to record your lessons, where do you mount it inside the airplane? The Fat Gecko Co-Pilot mount works in an aircraft that has two windows that face each other. When placed in the cockpit, the mount can suspend a video camera in the rear of the airplane looking between the seats. Once attached, the camera can be adjusted to shoot up or down, turned sideways, or reversed. The mount supports cameras up to five pounds. It sells for $74.99 at Order online or call 800/249-5730.


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

Airports, weather, flight planning: Now on Android

AOPA has released the Android version of its popular FlyQ smartphone app. FlyQ Pocket, free to AOPA members, provides detailed airport information, aviation weather, and flight planning capability. “Our members have been asking that we release an Android version of the app. We launched the Apple edition of FlyQ Pocket earlier this year and we are pleased to now make it available on another popular platform,” said Chris Ward, AOPA vice president of eMedia. Read more >>

Managing kidney stones

Failure to hydrate sufficiently can put you at risk of developing kidney stones—and if you develop one, the FAA considers that a self-grounding condition. Read more from AOPA Director of Medical Certification Gary Crump to learn how this affects your next medical application and what you’ll be expected to present to the aviation medical examiner.


Your aviation heroes, part II

In part two of a two-part blog, readers name the people who inspire them to continue their flight training. Also in the Flight Training blog, Technical Editor Jill W. Tallman discusses a recent court case in which a pilot pleaded guilty to falsifying his logbook.

Godspeed, Neil Armstrong

Speaking of heroes, the nation lost one of its greatest aviation icons on Aug. 25 with the passing of Neil Armstrong. AOPA Pilot Technical Editor Mike Collins remembers Armstrong in the Reporting Points blog.

AOPA Career Opportunities

Ever dream of turning your passion for aviation into a career? We’re looking for a director of media relations, director of legislative affairs, major gifts officer, accounts payable technician, administrative coordinator, 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: How long is the center stripe on a runway?


Answer: The answer is contained in FAA Advisory Circular 150/5340-1J, Standards for Airport Markings . Runway centerline markings are white in color. The stripes are 120 feet long, and the gaps between the lines are 80 feet. Adjustments to the length of the stripes and gaps, if necessary, are made near the runway midpoint. The minimum width of the stripes is 36 inches for precision runways, 18 inches for nonprecision runways, and 12 inches for visual runways.

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.

Instrument Tip

IFR Fix: Only partially prepared

“Interpret the flight attitude,” dares a question in an instrument training text, alongside a graphic of a distressed instrument panel. Remember that exercise? This picture wasn’t one of those panels so terribly tumbled that they give you vertigo just looking at them. Still, it wasn’t what you would want to see while cruising in a dense, dark deck. The graphic shows a conventional vacuum-driven artificial horizon, with its miniature aircraft’s nose on the horizon, and the right wing slightly low. The directional gyro disagrees—its facial motion suggesting a left turn. Read more >>

Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics

Air Safety Institute Safety Seminars

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


Oct. 13 and 14

Windsor Locks, Conn.

Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Nashville, Tenn.


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

Member Tools: Send feedback | ePilot Archive

Got news or questions? Contact ePilot. Having difficulty using this service? Visit the ePilot Frequently Asked Questions online at or email us.
© 2012 Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association | 421 Aviation Way Frederick, MD 21701 | Phone 800/USA-AOPA | Fax 301/695-2375

Topics: AOPA, AOPA Products and Services, FAA Information and Services

Related Articles