It’s a good feeling to take off and establish your trainer on course for a cross-country flight, a condition confirmed by your checkpoints showing up at the right time, and in the right portion of the windscreen.
But now it’s getting bumpy up there. The late summer thermal currents have begun their choppy chore a little later in the morning than they did a few weeks ago, but once they get going, they still make an airplane with a typical trainer’s low wing loading bounce about. It’s rough enough for you to think about changing cruise altitudes—but the first step you take is to slow below your trainer’s maneuvering speed. In an airplane such as a lightly loaded 1986 Cessna 172, that can mean reducing airspeed by 15 knots or more.
Slowing down helps, but as you await the appearance of your next checkpoint (a lake), it does not seem to be coming into view on schedule at your revised estimated groundspeed.
OK, there it is—but a bit to the left of its expected position off the nose.
That’s when it occurs to you: Along with the airspeed reduction you made to fight the turbulence, it was necessary to note the new wind correction angle for maintaining course.
You were already holding a significant wind correction angle, so reducing airspeed without adjusting the WCA resulted in gradual downwind drift. (Failing to make that adjustment is also a common cause of aircraft drifting out of position after reducing power and airspeed on the downwind leg of the airport traffic pattern.)
To see an illustration of the effect, get hold of an old-fashioned, non-electrical E6B flight computer, flip it over to the side that solves for groundspeed, WCA, and headings, and work a problem down to Step 6. Use normal cruise power settings to determine true airspeed, and use winds aloft that provide a healthy difference between true course and wind direction. Note the WCA.
Next, work the same problem again with speed reduced to the approximate V A. How much did WCA change?
You made a good decision to slow down for safe operations in the turbulence. Then remember to allow for the effects of that speed change on other aspects of your plan of navigation. While you’re at it, give flight service a pilot report to let other pilots know about the winds aloft. Don’t remember how to do that? The Air Safety Institute’s online course will show you how.
Flight Training News
Flight Design still leads the light sport aircraft market in terms of registrations—347 airplanes sold in the eight years since the LSA category was approved. Cessna, however, appears to be the leader in terms of the number of aircraft registered in the first six months of 2012—71. Read more >>
Training, education center opens in Kansas
The Spencer Flight and Education Center will open its doors Sept. 14 at Scott City Municipal Airport in Scott City, Kan. The nonprofit organization was named in memory of Dylan and Amy Spencer and their children, who perished in an airplane crash in April 2011. The close-knit community in western Kansas worked together to create the center to honor their memory. Read more >>
Veterans solo at Seattle flight school
The first veterans enrolled in a Veterans Affairs flight training program at Galvin Flying Services, Seattle, Wash., have soloed. The program is offered through Green River Community College in Auburn, and allows veterans and active-duty military to use Veterans Administration benefits toward pilot certificates and ratings as part of an overall aviation degree. The veterans plan to obtain private pilot certificates and have listed CFI certificates as an elective.
Summit exhibitors display new products, services
Whether you are looking to inspect cutting-edge aircraft design, or explore the latest in aviation software, the vendor or information source for you may be just steps away in the AOPA Aviation Summit exhibit hall Oct.11 to 13. Read more >>
Can you fly hamburger hops at night?
As summer winds down across most of the United States, so does available daylight. Your flight instructor may take this opportunity to introduce you to night flying. Why not fly out for dinner? Seeing the city lights unfolding below, and then taxiing up to the restaurant, is something not to be missed. Talk to your CFI and take the Air Safety Institute’s Hamburger Hop at Night safety quiz before you venture into the night sky. The quiz is underwritten by AOPA Insurance Services. Take the quiz >>
Aspiring aviator event set for Atlanta
Future & Active Pilot Advisors and The Flying Musicians Association will host an event for aspiring aviators on Sept. 22 at the Renaissance Concourse Atlanta Airport hotel in Atlanta. The free Focus on the Future event is aimed at future pilots who are looking for an aviation university or flight school. Meet with representatives from flight schools and universities; learn about the projected need for new pilots, career opportunities, financing your education or flight training, and more. Parents, guardians, and school counselors are welcome to attend with a student. Register for the event at the website.
California technical school building biplane
High school students at the Weber School of Technology in Stockton, Calif., are building a Fisher FP-404 biplane as part of a new manufacturing technology class. Build A Plane provided the project aircraft—a kit that had belonged to a Las Vegas man whose family donated it to the organization. When the biplane is reassembled, it will be sold to help fund Weber's new aviation program, according to a report in the Stockton RecordNet.com.
What separates a novice pilot from a good pilot? Novice pilots know how to make an aircraft fly, but good pilots know why the airplane does what it does at any given moment. We're talking about the underlying force of flying: aerodynamics. And no discussion of aerodynamics is complete without an in-depth discussion of stalls. In the Essential Aerodynamics: Stalls, Spins, and Safety online course from the Air Safety Institute, you'll learn more about getting airborne, and safely staying there, as you learn more about the why of flying.
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.
Flying a Cub to 48 states
What plans do you have for your pilot certificate? Are you content with hopping to the next airport for lunch, or would you like to do a large-scale cross-country? Meet Meredith Tcherniavsky and Dana Holladay, pilots and flight instructors who spent the summer traveling in their Piper J-3 Cub to all the lower 48 states. Perhaps you'll be inspired by their story, which aired on AOPA Live This Week, Sept. 6.
AMR, US Airways take step toward possible merger
AMR Corp., the parent company of American Airlines, and US Airways Group Inc. announced Aug. 31 that they have entered into a nondisclosure agreement. The companies said that under the agreement, they will exchange certain confidential information and, with AMR’s Unsecured Creditors Committee, work in good faith to evaluate a potential combination. The companies do not expect to provide any further announcements regarding the status of any such discussions unless and until they have agreed to a transaction, or discussions between the parties have been terminated. Any resulting merger or other transaction could be subject to federal antitrust review, regulatory approvals, and any other necessary authorizations.
United to put Dreamliners in temporary domestic service
United Airlines on Aug. 30 issued the anticipated announcement that it will fly its new Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft on domestic routes starting in November as it prepares to begin previously announced international service in December and January. United expects to take delivery this year of its first five new Dreamliners, part of a total order for 50 of the new twinjets. As the initial aircraft are accepted into the fleet, they will be based at United's Houston hub and fly selected routes to United's other domestic hubs: Chicago, Cleveland, Denver, Los Angeles, Newark, San Francisco, and Washington Dulles. Delivery of United's first 787 is scheduled for late September and the carrier will phase in scheduled 787 domestic service from Houston beginning Nov. 4.
OK, so you are an accomplished plane spotter and you know such aviation trivia as the fact that Citabria is "airbatic" spelled backward. Do you have one of the tandem-seat taildraggers on your airport's PMAR? (That's ramp spelled backward.) If you have, say, a 1994 American Champion Citabria based locally, it could have either a 118-horsepower Lycoming engine or a 160-hp powerplant under the cowls. In either case, the airplane is a descendant of the venerable Aeronca 7AC Champ. Can you spot a major difference between ancestor and descendant? Flaps.
Sporty’s electronic E6B
Sporty’s has introduced a revamped version of its best-selling electronic E6B. The unit now comes with a new cloud base function, a larger keypad, and a backlit screen for night operations. And, lest you think your smartphone provides all the functions you need from an E6B, Sporty’s reminds you that you can’t take a smart device into an FAA testing center for knowledge test purposes. The unit sells for $59.95 and can be ordered online or by calling 800/776-7897.
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.
Don’t be afraid to ask
Students and renters: Before you jump into the cockpit at your local FBO on your next flight you should also do a simple preflight check on the insurance for that aircraft. To help you ask the right insurance questions of your FBO and determine what coverage is in place for your flight, AOPA Insurance Services has a short list of items to run through for the insurance portion of your checklist. Read more >>
AOPA inks strategic partnership with Enterprise
AOPA members can take advantage of special offers and services with Enterprise Rent-A-Car, National Car Rental, and Alamo Rent A Car thanks to a strategic partnership between the association and Enterprise Holdings. Read more >>
Who’s the boss: Pilot in command
If there is a violation of the FARs during a flight, the pilot in command is likely the one in trouble with FAA. It may be good to be the king, but it comes at a price, so you better know who is the king! Attorney Ron Golden discusses scenarios where disputes may arise, and the importance of knowing ahead of time. Read more >>
Canceling the first flight
When a jet has to be taken offline, the impact on all subsequent operations that day can be significant. Professional pilot Chip Wright discusses the ramifications of such an event. Also in the Flight Training blog, readers weigh in on the August “Since You Asked” digital poll focusing on whether you should remove your hand from the throttle on final approach.
Where are the instructors?
A pilot shortage has been in the forecast, and it seems to be hitting home for one Massachusetts flight school, whose owner says he can’t find flight instructors to train his students. Read more in the Learning Curve 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, aviation technical generalist, and Web graphic designer. To learn more about other AOPA career opportunities, visit AOPA Online.
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