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Jan. 20, 2012, issue of 'AOPA' ePilot: Flight Training Edition'Jan. 20, 2012, issue of 'AOPA' ePilot: Flight Training Edition'

AOPA ePilot

In This Issue:

VOLUME 12, ISSUE 3 — January 20, 2012

Suddenly, snow
Microsoft takes flight with new sim
FINAL EXAM: Adding a helicopter rating


Safety >>

Picture Perfect

Picture Perfect >>


AOPA Live >>

Sponsored by:

Training Tips

Suddenly, snow

Training TipReturning from a long winter's day of cross-country flying, you are cruising in smooth air under a high overcast. Thank goodness for a functional cabin heater and the precautions you took for this January outing by dressing warmly to seize a chance to fly.

Spotting your next checkpoint ahead, you estimate that the visibility isn't what it was when you started out. Just as that impression dawns, a snowflake finds its way into the cockpit via the air vent, and alights on your sectional chart.

Looking directly down at the terrain, you see clearly that light snow is falling. Is this a cause for concern?

First of all, flying in precipitation—rain or snow—is permissible under visual flight rules provided ceilings and visibility limitations (regulatory and your personal limitations) are not infringed.

Is a significant weather change afoot, or did some obscure elements of the coded forecast suggest that there was any probability of a snow encounter? Time to update your weather information. Start with any nearby surface reports that you can pick up on the radio. Then see if you can get your destination's most recent report. Give Flight Watch a call. Provide a pilot report.

Is airframe icing a concern? Many mornings you have come out to the airport on cold days and had to remove frost from the trainer, and you respect its lift-destroying properties. Fortunately, that's not a concern now. "With the exceptions of freezing rain and freezing drizzle, the only way to gather structural ice is in an actual cloud. Flying in snow or between cloud layers will not cause structural ice, although wet snow may adhere to the aircraft," explains the Air Safety Institute's Aircraft Icing Safety Advisor. See also the Air Safety Institute's Precipitation and Icing online course for additional knowledge.

Too cold for that today. Still, keep tabs on that outside air temperature gauge. Also, you may have to land on a snow-covered runway. Plan to use a light touch. While inbound, ask for any braking action reports.

After the flight, sit down and scour the preflight forecast for any clues you might have missed about the day’s weather. Later, poll the veteran pilots of your area—they may be able to tell you about any regional weather characteristics that sometimes bring on rapidly changing conditions.

That’s information well worth knowing for next time!

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Flight Training News

Microsoft takes Flight with new sim

A few years ago the future of Microsoft’s flight simulator franchise seemed all but over when the company axed the entire staff associated with the popular game. But things are looking up for flight sim fans. The company announced recently that the latest iteration, called Microsoft Flight, will be released this spring. It will feature more of a gaming experience than previous flight sim editions, and it will be a free download. Read more >>

‘Flying Wild Alaska’ pilot to talk cold weather flying

What’s not to like about winter flying? High climb rates, improved visibility, and no bugs to wipe from the wing’s leading edge are reasons enough to log some memorable hours. But flying during the winter months requires a little more advanced planning and preparation than just jumping in the cockpit and cranking the engine. When should you preheat your engine? What are the icing levels? Join Flying Wild Alaska pilot John Ponts and Boise, Idaho, tower controller Andy Marosvari for the Air Safety Institute’s Cold Weather Operations webinar as they discuss these considerations. Webinars will be held Jan. 25 and Jan. 26, 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. Eastern time. Register today >>

FREE Video Tip! — Courses for Beginner to Pro!

Click for a Free Video Training Tip and find a course to achieve your next goal, or to make your flying safer and more rewarding. Not sure? Call us at 800-854-1001 and talk to one of our pilot training advisors.

Students progress at Redbird Skyport

Aviation students from Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology recently completed their ground school requirements and are moving into the flight training phase of their accelerated private pilot course at Redbird Skyport in San Marcos, Texas. According to King Schools Inc., which is partnering in the program, the students are working with Redbird Skyport to determine the most effective way to use simulators in private pilot certification. “The goal is to turn out a pilot who is not only physically proficient, but is a good risk manager and truly ready to be pilot in command,” King Schools owners John and Martha King said in a blog.

Chart provider shuts down, citing FAA changes, a California producer of wire-bound books of charts, has shut down. The company said the FAA’s recent change on lead time on the release of digital charts from 17 days to one prior to expiration made its products obsolete. Read more >>

Your IFR rating in 10 days at your location … IFR finish-up in as little as 3 days!

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Training Resources

Few things in flight training are more baffling than weather charts, especially those depicting fronts and associated weather patterns. The solution? Take the Air Safety Institute’s WeatherWise: Air Masses and Fronts online course: Interactive scenes and visual cues explain what to expect when frontal boundaries collide, and you'll get to understand what’s behind pressure systems. Why not discuss your findings with your CFI? Course completion qualifies for AOPA Accident Forgiveness and FAA Wings. Take the course >>


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.

Serious Savings on Garmin Avionics Upgrades

There’s never been a better time to overhaul your plane’s avionics. Get up to $6,500 cash back by purchasing select flight displays, traffic systems and GTN avionics by January 31. Visit our promotions page to learn more.


Release the death grip

Trim for hands-free flying video on AOPA Live Do you find yourself forgetting to use the trim while flying—or, worse, do you just not use it at all? Do you find yourself flying along with a death grip, trying to overcome considerable control pressure? If you don’t trim, you’re missing out on a great tool that will make your flying that much easier. Best of all, once you've got it ingrained, trimming will make takeoffs, landings, and instrument training easier, too. Flight Training Associate Editor Jill W. Tallman shows you how to trim the airplane in this AOPA Live® video.

Career Pilot

Fairs scheduled for China pilot jobs

Pan Am International Flight Academy will join forces with WASINC, China's largest airline pilot leasing company, to host the All-China Pilot Job Fair at Pan Am's Miami and Las Vegas training centers. The Miami job fair will be held Feb. 23 and 24 at Pan Am's headquarters at the Miami International Airport, and the Las Vegas job fair will be held Feb. 26. Pilots will have the opportunity to pass scheduled sim evaluations, and meet airlines hiring pilots. Qualifying pilots will also receive on-the-spot conditional offers for jobs flying the Boeing 777, 747-400, 767, and 737NG; Airbus A340, A330, and A320; and Embraer EMB 190 and EMB 145. Space is limited, and candidates are encouraged to register early for this free pilot career fair by visiting the Pan Am website or by calling 877/394-2118.

Boeing increases 737 production rate

Boeing on Jan. 10 successfully achieved a production rate of 35 airplanes a month for the Next-Generation 737, with the delivery of the first airplane produced at the new rate to AWAS Aviation Services Inc. Norwegian Air Shuttle will lease the airplane from AWAS. While employees focus on stabilizing the production rate at 35 a month, investments are under way to increase the rate to 38 737s a month in the second quarter of 2013 and 42 a month in the first half of 2014.

Plane Spotter

Cessna 310: A twin with ‘tuna tanks’

Cessna 310 “What are those huge things on the wing tips of that airplane?” Looking down the line, you spot the object in question, and reply, “That’s a Cessna 310, and those things are tip tanks. Each holds 50 gallons of fuel.” Whether it’s a 1960s model or a much newer airplane, these fast, powerful twins jazz up the line on a general aviation ramp. Pilots note great handling but distinctive roll characteristics from having all that weight at the wing tips, stored in containers some describe as “tuna tanks” (because of their fishy look).

Training Products

Private Pilot eKit from ASA

With the proliferation of electronic books on the market, it was only a matter of time until someone bundled training resources into one electronic kit. The Private Pilot eKit from ASA features The Complete Private Pilot by Bob Gardner as the primary textbook and syllabus, plus electronic versions of the Federal Aviation Regulations/Aeronautical Information Manual; ASA’s Private Pilot Test Prep; the Private Pilot Practical Test Standards; and the Private Pilot Oral Exam Guide. Included in the package are a fiberboard E6-B flight computer, a Square Chart Plotter for flight planning, and a logbook. The package sells for $79.95. Order online or call 800/272-2359 (800-ASA2FLY).


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

Protect yourself with AOPA Aircraft Title Services

Buying an airplane is a stressful endeavor. Never mind the fat check that must be traded for the keys—getting there is most of the battle. One must-do step along the way is a title search. If you buy an airplane with a lien, you'll be responsible for it. Protect yourself with a title search from AOPA Aircraft Title Services. Read more >>


What are your most common emergencies?

Have you ever had to declare an emergency? Chip Wright has, on more than one occasion, in the course of flying for the airlines. In this week’s Flight Training blog, he counsels on the need for you to define your own concept of an emergency—and describes some surprising situations he’s encountered.

Survival time: Two nights outside in Montana

If you had to make an off-airport landing—in the winter and in the wilderness—would you be prepared? AOPA Online Managing Editor Alyssa J. Miller was in Montana this month to take a winter survival course, and she describes two very cold nights spent sleeping in the fuselage of a Beechcraft Musketeer and in a homemade survival hut in this week’s Reporting Points blog.

Bose® A20® Aviation Headset

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AOPA Career Opportunities

Ever dream of turning your passion for aviation into a career? We’re looking for a corporate partnership coordinator, chief flight instructor, director of corporate finance, manager of flight training programs, AOPA Live producer/videojournalist, and associate editor–Web/ ePilot. 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: I have a commercial airplane single-engine land certificate and I would like to add a helicopter rating to it. What do I need to do?


Answer: The first place to check is FAR 61.63 (b) since you will be adding a category rating to your existing commercial certificate. You will need to complete the training and meet the aeronautical experience requirements found under FAR 61.129 (c). Pay particular attention to where it states “in helicopters” or “in a helicopter.” You also will need the proper logbook endorsements from an authorized instructor affirming that you are accomplished in the aeronautical knowledge areas and proficient in the requisite areas of operation. Passing a practical test is necessary as well; however, no knowledge test is required. For more on 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.

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Instrument Tip

IFR Fix: IPC report card

IFR Fix: IPC Report Card You get to play the CFII in this week’s installment of “IFR Fix.” The student is an instrument-rated pilot who’s been brushing up for an instrument proficiency check. He’s had a fairly good flight, but there are some deficiencies in his performance. He messed up a VOR approach, missed a new altimeter setting, and didn't start timing inbound from the final approach fix on an ILS approach. If you were the CFII signing him off, would you? Read all of the details and make your choice in the poll.


Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics

Air Safety Institute Safety Seminars

Jan. 21 and 22

San Jose, Calif.

Bellevue, Wash.

Jan. 28 and 29

Sevierville, Tenn.


Feb. 11 and 12

Melbourne, Fla.

Louisville, Ky.

New Orleans, La.

Las Vegas, Nev.

Fairfax, Va.

Feb. 18 and 19

Fort Worth, Texas



For a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.

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

Jan. 23

San Diego, Calif.


Jan. 24

Costa Mesa, Calif.

Houston, Texas

Jan. 25

Ontario, Calif.

San Antonio, Texas


Jan. 26

Austin, Texas






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

Contributors: 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

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