You are running a little late today, as you realize on your return flight to the airport from your local practice area. A fellow student pilot is scheduled to fly the trainer immediately upon your return; the last thing you want is to do is keep her waiting.
The traffic pattern is full, and now the tower instructs you to extend your downwind and await instructions to turn base after a heavy aircraft has passed.
The wind’s up too, with gusts that exceed the limitations inscribed by your flight instructor in your logbook before your first solo.
Feeling the pressure? Now all you want to do is get the trainer back to the flight school’s ramp as soon as you can. “Better make this landing a good one, winds and all,” you say to yourself.
Any situation that generates pressure unrelated to the immediate needs of a flight can be a pilot’s first exposure to a land-at-all-costs mindset that can put you in a bad spot: Distracted by pressure, or guilt, a pilot may succumb to the external distractions and ignore flight hazards, sometimes resulting in a mishap.
Down in the pilot’s lounge, this unsafe state of mind goes by names like “get-down-itis,” “get-there-itis,” or “landingitis.” They borrow the suffix “itis” from medical terminology, where it refers to inflammation. In a March 2005 Flight Training article, airline pilot Karen M. Kahn described it as “a mindset that leads us to believe we have to land when we arrive at the destination.”
Don’t let your priorities get scrambled as a result of anxiety about non-flight-critical concerns such as running behind schedule. Minor mechanical glitches, low fuel, or approaching bad weather can also trigger the response. The Air Safety Institute’s Do the Right Thing online course is a helpful way to keep good decision making at the forefront of your flying.
Remember: Fly the airplane! If you need to perform a go-around, don’t let the call be influenced by a mental image of another pilot waiting impatiently for the absent trainer at the tiedown spot.
Narratives abound of loss-of-control accidents such as this one caused by the pilot’s preoccupation with complying with ATC instructions despite a high, fast approach.
Apologize for running late, or make amends by taking the other trainee to lunch—but don’t inflame the situation with a bad call in the cockpit.
Flight Training News
Clayton Smeltz has wanted to fly since he was a child building radio-controlled aircraft with his father and grandfather. A spinal cord injury at 16 months left him without the use of his legs, but his wheelchair mobility didn’t prevent him from achieving several goals, including becoming a pilot. Read more >>
Piper delivers aircraft to Indonesian flight school
Piper Aircraft on April 18 completed delivery of 18 Piper Warrior training aircraft to the government flight school in Curug, Indonesia. Sekolah Tinggi Penerbang Indonesia trains pilots under the auspices of the Ministry of Transportation for the Republic of Indonesia. STPI’s training fleet also includes a Beech Baron and Sundowner, a Piper Dakota, and a Socata Tobago.
Teen Canadian pilot plans cross-country odyssey
What are you doing this summer? Matthew Gougeon hopes to become the youngest certificated pilot to fly an amphibious aircraft solo from Tofino, British Columbia, to Halifax, Nova Scotia—a flight from Canada’s west to east coasts. Gougeon earned a recreational pilot certificate at age 16, the minimum age for the permit in Canada. His flight in a Cessna 182 on amphibious floats is to create awareness for the Neil Armstrong Fund, a scholarship program administered by the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association. For more information, see the website.
Flight school opens in Arkansas
Flight School of the Ozarks, located at Carroll County Airport in Berryville, Ark., opened its doors recently. Operated by Danny and Gayla Hendricks, the flight school offers training for private, commercial, and flight instructor certificates and the instrument rating in a Beech Musketeer. The school also plans to offer a “sidekick” course on emergency operations, according to the Carroll County News.
Give a pirep, get a pirep
Eager to receive pilot reports (pireps) of actual weather aloft, but loath to provide one because you’re worried about how to put it in the proper order? Take the Air Safety Institute’s SkySpotter: Pireps Made Easy online course. Hands-on practice wipes away anxiety about how to estimate and report weather conditions such as visibility, precipitation, clouds, turbulence, and ice. Go ahead, give a pirep today!
“The pilot and two passengers were en route to their destination when the airplane’s engine surged. … (The pilot) was unable to restart the engine,” the NTSB report notes. The culprit? An FAA inspection found approximately one gallon of fuel in the wings. In the United States alone, on average, more than three accidents per week result from fuel exhaustion, starvation, or contamination. A scary thought, isn’t it? So what can you do about it? Check out the Air Safety Institute’s Fuel Management Safety Spotlight and see how easy it is to prevent this from happening. The spotlight provides publications and courses to help you manage fuel wisely.
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.
Update: Bahamas Habitat training
Can you imagine learning all the maneuvers involved in private pilot training in a sophisticated flight simulator before you climb into an actual aircraft? Abraham McIntyre even took a mock checkride in the simulator before he had a flight in a Cessna 172. Redbird Flight Simulations donated a training slot at its Redbird Skyport training facility to Bahamas Habitat. McIntyre, who is executive director of sister organization Bahamas Methodist Habitat, is being trained because he is based on the islands. In this AOPA Live® video update, McIntyre talks about what it’s like to go from the virtual cockpit to the actual one. Watch AOPA Live >>
CORRECTION: In the April 27 ePilot Flight Training Edition, we incorrectly stated the reason for the Boeing 787’s lower cabin altitude. The aircraft’s composite fuselage enables the higher pressure inside.
Aviation career Web portal site launched
The nonprofit Aviation Workforce Development (AWD) has launched an online portal for aviation careers. The goal of the site is to link college students and recent graduates with information on careers with the airlines, air traffic control, airports, general aviation, the government, the military, and unmanned aviation. Quick links lead to such resources as a flight school directory, information on becoming a pilot or a flight attendant, a college flight school directory, and more. “Our new organization will be the first to bring together interested parties across all avenues of aviation, young professionals looking to enter and build a career in aviation, and industry in search of those critically needed employees for the future,” said Tara Harl, AWD founder and chief executive officer.
Southwest plans international operations in 2014
Southwest Airlines and Amadeus IT Group announced April 19 that they have entered into a joint contract for Amadeus’ Altea reservations solution that would support international service for the carrier. With the contract in place, the companies will work closely to implement Amadeus’ technology so that Southwest can operate international flights in 2014. AirTran Airways, a wholly owned subsidiary of Southwest, already serves international destinations. As the AirTran international flights transition to Southwest, Amadeus will support Southwest’s international flying.
It’s a swift-looking tailwheel two-seater with lines hinting at 1940s beginnings, sleek and shapely enough to have earned a shot at glory in an early round of the AOPA Favorite Aircraft Challenge. Meet the retractable-gear Globe Swift, such as the model GC-1A in the collection of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. It came off the production line with a Continental 85-horsepower engine, wing slots, and a gross weight of 1,570 pounds. The later GC-1B was powered by a 125-hp engine. It had a gross weight of 1,710 pounds.
Marv Golden lighted red LED pen
A red-lens flashlight is a handy cockpit companion for night flying, since red light preserves your night vision. Here’s a red light-emitting diode (LED) pen from Marv Golden. The LED illuminates the barrel of the pen and gives you front-focused red light for jotting notes or a clearance. The pen sells for $9.95 and can be ordered online or by calling 800/348-0014.
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.
AOPA launches Pilot Protection Services
AOPA is launching a new program that will help you take more control over your flying future. The new Pilot Protection Services program helps you to avoid problems that can threaten your certificates, while also providing professional assistance and support when you have a problem. Core benefits include year-round tips and advice from nationally known medical and legal experts, the AOPA Legal Services Plan, and the most valuable elements of the former AOPA Medical Services Program. Read more >>
Two new discounts for AOPA members
As the AOPA Lifestyles Member Discounts Program enters its seventh month, two more companies have stepped forward to provide valuable discounts to AOPA members. New offers, provided as a free, core membership benefit available to all AOPA members, include 20 percent off Pilot Chews and free shipping on orders more than $50, and a $30 discount from FAST (Flight and Aircraft Services Tracking) following a 60-day free trial. Read more >>
In a follow-up to his blog about the Aviation Safety Action Program, Chip Wright describes the Flight Operations Quality Assurance program, which gleans safety information from flight data recorders, in this week’s Flight Training blog.
Tiedowns foil the best, worst of intentions
Have you ever forgotten to untie a tiedown—only to discover your mistake when you tried to taxi away? The escapades of a would-be thief in California, a Cessna 152, and a forgotten tiedown provide fodder for a good student pilot lesson in this Reporting Points blog.
AOPA Career Opportunities
Ever dream of turning your passion for aviation into a career? We’re looking for a registration, housing, and meeting planner; vice president–Center to Advance the Pilot Community; aviation technical writer; vice president of strategy and philanthropic operations; program manager–products; project manager of online products; director of new market development; and associate editor–Web/ ePilot. To learn more about other AOPA career opportunities, visit AOPA Online.
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