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

AOPA ePilot

In This Issue:

VOLUME 12, ISSUE 29 — July 20, 2012

Multiple runways, multiple choices
Teacher plans bicoastal biofuel flight
Plane Spotter: Super Cub
Final Exam: The SDF approach


Safety >>

Picture Perfect

Picture Perfect >>


AOPA Live >>

Training Tips

Multiple runways, multiple choices

Training TipArriving from the north at a bustling towered airport, you listen as the automatic terminal information service (ATIS) broadcast provides wind and weather information and informs you that Runway 11 is in use.


The wind is brisk from the south, and you realize that the crosswind component would be greatly reduced if you could use Runway 18/36 for landing. Based on your preflight planning, it is neither closed nor restricted for use.


Contacting approach control, you are pleased to receive instructions to enter a left base leg for Runway 18, abbreviating your traffic pattern and providing a direct headwind on final approach. That, in turn, will lower your groundspeed at touchdown, letting you decelerate to taxi speed and exit the runway promptly, making airport operations more efficient. (Remember that as a student pilot making your arrival, the FAA says that you should not participate in any land-and-hold-short operations—LAHSO—that may be in progress.)


What would you have done if the controller had not offered Runway 18?


Traffic permitting, it may have been possible to request Runway 18 for landing and again for takeoff when departing for home. It won’t hurt your chances of getting the desired runway if you also notify ATC that you are a student pilot.


Numerous traffic-flow-management options give controllers flexibility to speed the flow and increase safety margins for pilots of aircraft large and small. For example, on a sufficiently long runway, taking off from an intersection may be offered by ATC or requested by pilots—especially to avoid extensive taxiing or overheating the aircraft’s engine on a hot day.


Faced with choices, you may have to decide quickly. As you hold short of the active runway for departure with a heavy aircraft on final approach, ATC may offer you an “immediate takeoff” designed to spare you a long wake turbulence hold that would be required after the heavy lands.


Don't rush your pretakeoff procedures. If any offered alternative to your departure plan makes you feel uncomfortable or pressured, decline. The final decision is yours.


Sometimes, terminal information broadcasts may note that an alternative runway, perhaps better aligned with the wind, is available. If it isn't stated, and using a different runway seems to be the safest option, by all means, go ahead and ask.

Flight Training News

Teacher plans bicoastal biofuel flight

Rhode Island private pilot and high school teacher Ross McCurdy hopes to make a lasting impression and further the cause of going green in general aviation in his upcoming coast-to-coast flight. McCurdy plans to complete the flight in an SMA SR305 aerodiesel-powered Cessna 182. Read more >>

Flight school takes sim training to shopping center

A new flight school in Alabama is bringing training—the ground school and simulation portion of it—to a shopping center. Zulu Flight Training opened a storefront at the Eastern Shore Centre in Spanish Fort, Ala., where it conducts ground school and training in a variety of simulators, including an AATD FMX 1000 Redbird full-motion simulator. Flight training is conducted in a Cessna 172SP based at H.L. Sonny Callahan Airport in Fairhope. The school offers private and instrument training and currency and proficiency programs, with plans to include commercial pilot and CFI training in the future.

Bring friends and family along in your training

Even if you’re well into your flight training, chances are those closest to you probably don’t understand everything that’s involved with learning to fly. Or they may have a bit of apprehension about flying in “those small airplanes.” Ease their minds and put them in the co-pilot seat before you even take them flying with the Air Safety Institute’s Pinch Hitter online course. It’ll answer their questions and take the fear of the unknown out of the equation, and it could even provide the spark they need to begin their flight training!

Santa Monica drops plan to pay schools to fly elsewhere

The Santa Monica, Calif., City Council has shelved a controversial plan to reduce noise at Santa Monica Municipal Airport by paying student pilots to train elsewhere. The council had proposed paying flight schools $150 each time student pilots and their flight instructors went to other airports to practice takeoffs, landings, and other maneuvers. According to the Los Angeles Times L.A. Now blog, the plan was scuttled because city council members said it would be difficult to objectively evaluate. It also drew objections from the neighboring airports that would presumably draw the additional training traffic.

Nominate the best flight training school or CFI

In flight training, one size does not fit all. The market for flight training is small, and schools have to try and be all things to all students. As a result, some students fall through the cracks. The good news is that the guts of what makes a great school are consistent. AOPA launched the AOPA Flight Training Excellence Awards to honor those who exemplify what it means to be a great flight school or instructor. Nominate the school or instructor you believe embodies the best in flight training by Aug. 24. Read more >>

Training Resources

Your flight instructor has taught you to preflight your aircraft diligently. But, what exactly are you looking for when inspecting rivets, hinges, landing gear assembly, and so on? Whether you rent or own, the Air Safety Institute’s Aging Aircraft online course helps you pinpoint the important items to observe. An interactive airplane schematic includes views of the interior, exterior, and under the cowling. And pictures of cracks and corrosion examples help you get acquainted with the most common problem areas generally found in older aircraft.


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.


American Flyers/Nova Southeastern University program

American Flyers, a chain of flight schools, is partnering with Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to offer a bachelor’s degree in human factors in aviation. Students can participate in person or online, so long as they conduct their training at any of American Flyers’ eight national locations. American Flyers CEO Don Harrington says the new program is an effort to meet the growing demand for airline pilots. Watch the interview on AOPA Live® >>

Career Pilot

Delta pilot contract to slash hundreds of 50-seat regionals

A vote by Delta Air Lines pilots in July to accept a proposed contract, negotiated between airline management and the pilots’ union, will bring annual pay increases through 2015—but its scope clause will eliminate more than 5,000 seats of Delta Connection capacity, AIN Online reported July 2. The contract, which took effect July 1, could radically change the structure of the airline business in the United States. AIN said the contract requires Delta Connection carriers to remove some 50-seat regional jets from their fleets—218 of them. While the carriers can add some 70 two-class, 76-seat jets, Delta will add up to 88 Boeing 717s—most of them AirTran jets not desired by its new owner, Southwest Airlines.

Teamsters seek to represent Allegiant Air pilots

The Airline Division of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters announced July 2 that it has asked the National Mediation Board for a representation election to be held for the pilots of Allegiant Air. Allegiant Air, a subsidiary of Las Vegas-based Allegiant Travel Company, employs 363 pilots flying McDonnell Douglas MD-80 and Boeing 757 aircraft. “The overwhelmingly positive response we received in meetings and the outstanding response to the card drive is a testament to the dedication of the Allegiant Air pilots,” said Capt. David Bourne, director of the Airline Division. “We look forward to a favorable ruling on our application by the NMB and a vote being scheduled as soon as possible.”

Plane Spotter

Super Cub: Specialized performer

Piper Super Cub A busy summer day at the airport is a plane spotter’s delight. Taildraggers from a nearby grass strip are dropping in, floatplanes are overflying the field, and gliders are being hauled aloft with sightseeing tourists aboard. If the airplanes involved in these various assignments all seem to bear an uncanny resemblance to each other, it’s a good bet that your aviation community is well-populated with Piper PA-18 Super Cubs, the tandem-seat, 150-horsepower rough-field or waterborne workhorse that thrives wherever hard work or challenging conditions demand a tough, strong performer.

Training Products

Sporty’s VFR Communications app

Still stumbling over your radio calls? The Sporty’s VFR Communications app for iPhone or iPad breaks the topic into eight subject areas and 23 individual video segments. The app features 3-D animations, in-flight video, and real-world communications scenarios. Air traffic control, emergency situations, and nontowered airports are covered. The app sells for $34.99.


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

Seatbelts: Remember the rule of three

As pilot in command of an aircraft, you have a lot of responsibility, especially when you become a private pilot and get to carry passengers. Not only must you make sure you are buckled, but the regulations require that you must also ensure that your passengers are buckled and briefed. Attorney Kathy Yodice explains how the “Rule of Three” can help you remember your obligations. Read more >>


Balloons and ATC

How do balloon pilots coordinate their flights with air traffic control? Technical Editor Jill W. Tallman follows up on a question asked during the July Flight Training Facebook chat. Also in the Flight Training blog, Tallman discusses findings of a recent digital poll in which respondents divulged the number of flight instructors they had.

A new approach to FIRCs

John and Martha King of King Schools Inc. felt so strongly that the flight instructor refresher clinic needed overhauling that they created their own. The new FIRC emphasizes risk management and looks at nontraditional topics such as conducting a meaningful flight review. John King gives details in the Learning Curve blog.

AOPA Career Opportunities

Ever dream of turning your passion for aviation into a career? We’re looking for an aviation technical generalist, Web graphic designer, and enewsletter and social media editor. 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: What is an SDF approach?


Answer: SDF stands for simplified directional facility. This nonprecision approach is similar to a localizer-only approach, except that the course may be offset from the runway. The amount of offset is generally not more than 3 degrees. Even though the width of an SDF approach is slightly greater than that of an ILS localizer course (fixed at either 6 or 12 degrees), an SDF approach can be just as accurate if flown precisely. SDF approaches are usually designed for locations where an ILS or localizer approach would not work because of obstructions. For a review of instrument flying knowledge, check out some of the Air Safety Institute’s interactive courses.


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: ‘Would you like a lower altitude?’

IFR Fix: 'Would you like a lower altitude?' Nothing is more fun after a serious spell of IFR flights packed with clouds and approaches than some good old recreational aviation on a summer day. Even on a VFR cross-country, it’s likely that we’ll find you cruising along, enjoying the scenery down there with the floatplanes and the classics. Many pilots fly their highest altitudes under IFR, necessitated by minimum en route altitudes delivering at least 1,000 feet of obstacle clearance (2,000 feet in designated mountainous areas) or motivated by the desire to top clouds or catch tailwinds. Read more >>

Get real-world IMC advice at AirVenture

The demands of flying in instrument meteorological conditions require instrument-rated pilots to maintain not only their currency but their proficiency as well. The IMC Club International will be hosting its IFR Proficiency Center at EAA AirVenture for instrument-rated pilots of all levels. Read more >>

Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics

Air Safety Institute Safety Seminars

July 21 and 22

Pittsburgh, Pa.

July 28 and 29

Newark, N.J.

August 4 and 5

Atlanta, Ga.

Reno, Nev.

August 11 and 12

Long Beach, Calif.

Champaign, Ill.



For a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.

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

July 25

Oshkosh, Wis.

July 26

Oshkosh, Wis.

Sept. 10

Wichita, Kan.

Ypsilanti, Mich.

Germantown, Tenn.

Sept. 11

Independence, Ohio

Bethany, Okla.

Nashville, Tenn.


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:
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Central: Brian Curpier, 607/547-2591
Central: Gary Brennan, 607/547-2591
West: Zane Lewis, 214/789-6094

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Topics: AOPA, ATC, FAA Information and Services

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