You’re lost. Fortunately the person sitting next to you isn’t, because this is trying enough, even as a drill.
As you fly along at low altitude beneath the supposedly reduced ceiling that your instructor has imposed, the nice visual checkpoints visible from higher have vanished, and up ahead, terrain rises.
There’s another problem: fuel (that is, time). Your cross-country flight was in progress for about three hours when the lost-procedures exercise commenced. Now you wish you had refueled on landing at the destination.
Under today’s conditions, your 1978 Cessna 172 burns 6.4 gallons per hour, which you prudently rounded off to 7 gph for flight planning. You departed on the flight with 40 gallons of usable fuel, which you adjusted down by 3.5 gallons to 36.5 gallons to exclude the required 30-minute day VFR reserve. Now you have about 15.5 gallons left, not including reserves. Wait— after two takeoffs and climbs, it may only be 12.5 gallons. (The thought now occurs to you that next time, you will schedule the FBO’s other airplane for cross-countries—the aircraft with long-range tanks.)
In any case, next time you also will hold yourself to a stricter standard for how much fuel to carry. That policy would have led you to wait for the fuel truck driver to return from lunch after you landed at the destination, as this Fuel Awareness Safety Advisor from the Air Safety Institute recommends: “Give yourself an hour’s reserve—the FAA requires a 30-minute fuel reserve for day VFR flights, and a 45-minute reserve for IFR and night VFR flights. Think of these requirements as minimums. ASI recommends that you always land with at least an hour’s fuel in reserve.”
Although extra gas would buy you more time to deal with the problem of being lost, it won’t change the fact that if the “weather” worsens, or the terrain becomes more inhospitable—or both—you may have to contemplate a precautionary landing at the next good opportunity.
Indeed, now your instructor announces solemnly that you will penetrate clouds unless you make an immediate (but gentle and standard-rate) left turn. You comply, and on the rollout you behold the home airport, straight ahead.
That's another lesson: Even the familiar environs of the home field can seem unrecognizable to a pilot fixated or distracted by flying under pressure.
Flight Training News
Earhart namesake creates aviation foundation
Providing flight training scholarships for women and free aviation educational curriculum to school children from K through 12 are among the goals for a new foundation created by a namesake of Amelia Earhart. Read more >>
Don’t let the mountain siren lure you
Mountain flying can be a captivating adventure along beautiful valleys, over brilliant mountain lakes, and above sprawling icy-blue and -green glaciers as you climb to cross a mountain saddle or circumnavigate a peak—and once again continue the spectacular journey. But along with their beauty, mountains harbor lurking dangers that can snag a flight in one unforgiving moment. Read more >>
Wings of Carolina Flying Club: Safe, low-cost flying
Sanford, N.C.-based Wings of Carolina Flying Club, started in 1961, has a simple goal: provide safe aeronautical training, low-cost aviation education, inexpensive hourly aircraft rates, and flying fun. The nonprofit club, which operates as a 501(c)(7), currently has 350 members—and that number grows daily, said president Jan Squillace. Read more >>
Bell, West Texas A&M team for electrical engineering program
West Texas A&M is hoping that support from Bell Helicopter will help it expand its electrical engineering program under the College of Engineering and Computer Science, reports KFDA-TV. The Hurst, Texas-based manufacturer is paying for the program’s equipment and offering internships and workshops for students.
Robinson Helicopter receives new sales and service center
Eastern Cincinnati Aviation, the FBO affiliate of Sporty’s Pilot Shop, is now an authorized sales and service center for Robinson Helicopters. Adding the Robinson sales and service center is another step in the effort to create a general aviation hub at Clermont County Airport in Ohio, Sporty’s said.
Just how risky is this flight?
In the real world, it can be tough to make calls about what’s safe and what isn’t. Airline pilots have rules that clearly spell out how to deal with sticky situations, but for the most part general aviation pilots are left to their own judgment. The Air Safety Institute’s Flight Risk Evaluator, brought to you by AOPA Insurance Services, is designed to help pilots take a more systematic approach to risk management. Its built-in “risk calculator” gives meaningful, objective feedback about the safety of a proposed flight, customized to your operation and experience level. Use the evaluator >>
VFR not recommended
Don’t ever get caught off guard flying VFR into instrument meteorological conditions (IMC). The Air Safety Institute’s new VFR into IMC syllabus—designed to be followed under the direction and supervision of a qualified flight instructor—helps you recognize and understand conditions that can lead to inadvertent VFR flight into IMC and how to escape IMC safely should visual references be lost. Outwit one of general aviation’s deadliest killers. Download the syllabus >>
Air Safety Institute’s YouTube channel is back
The Air Safety Institute’s YouTube channel has been revived with a new layout and updated videos. Content on the channel includes episodes of Ask ATC, Real Pilot Stories, Pilot Safety Announcements, and more. View the videos >>
Air Traffic Control Association offers four scholarships
May 1 is the deadline to apply for four scholarships being given by the Air Traffic Control Association (ATCA). Scholarships are available for students enrolled half- to full-time in a two- to four-year air traffic control program at an institution approved and/or licensed by the FAA; students enrolled half- to full-time in a program leading to a bachelor's degree or higher in an aviation-related course of study; those enrolled in advanced study programs to improve their skills in air traffic control or an aviation discipline; and U.S. citizens who are children of air traffic control specialists.
ICAS Foundation accepting 2013 scholarship applications
The International Council of Air Shows Foundation has opened applications for aviation scholarships to help pilots, aircraft mechanics, performers, and flight instructors with their training needs. Scholarship amounts range from $1,500 to $4,000. Applications are due by Dec. 31, and winners will be announced in January 2014.
High school students win full flight training scholarships
The Upwind Summer Scholarship Program has awarded full flight training scholarships to high school students Eric Dasmalchi of Half Moon Bay, Calif., and Matt Moropoulos of Belmont, Calif. The scholarship program, operated in partnership with California-based San Carlos Flight Center, provides an opportunity for high school students to receive their pilot certificate, giving them a foundation upon which to build their careers in aviation.
Part of the process to apply for a private pilot certificate is obtaining an FAA medical certificate. This important step must happen before your first solo, and then in later years after you’ve obtained the certificate. AOPA offers many resources to help you through the process. Start your research at the medical services page and be sure to utilize products such as TurboMedical, a program that walks you through the application and its potential pitfalls. There’s lots more information on the page, so make sure you visit before your next FAA medical exam.
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 8 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 the MiG-15
She conquered the L-39. Now see how Alyssa Miller, managing editor of AOPA Online, does flying another Cold War relic, the MiG-15. With Sun ’n Fun coming soon, AOPA offers all the information you need to know and gives you a taste of what to expect. Plus, contract air traffic control towers are closing starting April 7, and AOPA Live® goes to Miami to check out delays at customs checkpoints. Watch AOPA Live This Week, April 4.
A new pipeline opens to the airlines
It’s many flight instructors’ dream. American Eagle Airlines recently launched a program that provides an opportunity for instructors at certain flight schools to be hired with the airline while they continue to build hours. Read more >>
Southern Air’s reorganization confirmed
Southern Air Holdings Inc. announced March 14 that it has received confirmation of its prearranged reorganization plan from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del., which has overseen the company’s voluntary Chapter 11 proceedings since the bankruptcy petition was filed Sept. 28, 2012. Confirmation of the plan, which received substantial support from key secured creditors as well as unsecured creditors, clears the way for Southern Air to emerge from its court-supervised financial restructuring.
Southwest, AirTran connect networks, consider jets
Southwest Airlines announced March 18 that it has successfully completed the connection between the Southwest and AirTran networks. Customers now are able to purchase itineraries to the airlines’ combined 97 destinations, including international, in one transaction. The current arrangement essentially is a codeshare, so the rules of the carrier from which the ticket is bought will apply—although the operating carrier’s procedures apply to boarding and seating. Southwest, which has 31 firm orders for new Boeing 737-800s next year and plans to grow, may also purchase used jets to help meet its needs.
For more aviation career news, see the Flight Training website.
Flying into an airport served by regional carriers provides the opportunity to expand your plane-spotting repertoire to include aircraft of the group known informally as 19-seat airliners. One long, lean example you are likely to spot is the Fairchild Swearingen Metroliner, a twin turboprop that has served many carriers, and sometimes operates from remote or exotic locales. Metroliners are the only type flown by Canada’s Bearskin Airlines (motto “Let the bear take you there!”). The 19-seat airliner phenomenon emerged from regulations limiting passengers to 19 with no flight attendant aboard.
Revised private pilot syllabus released
ASA has released the fifth edition of The Pilot’s Manual: Private Pilot Syllabus . A flight and ground training course for the private pilot certificate, this syllabus meets all FAA Part 141 and 61 requirements. Flight lessons are presented side-by-side with coordinating ground lessons. The syllabus includes stage exams and a basic ATD syllabus in the appendix. The cost is $12.95.
Online course teaches ground safety
PC Aviator is offering the Windows-based interactive course Getting Around on the Ground 3.0 With Airport Simulator . This multimedia tool teaches the types of airport markings, signage, and lighting. It also outlines hazards, safety tips, and procedures that will help keep students aware, knowledgeable, and safe on the ground. The cost is $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.
Medical limitations and restrictions explained
Dr. Warren Silberman was asked recently to explain to AOPA members about what kinds of restrictions one can see on a medical certificate. First, he explains the difference between a limitation and a restriction. A limitation on a medical certificate generally means that an airman has a medical condition that prevents the pilot from meeting the minimum medical standard and the only way he or she can gain medical certification for the class of medical requested is to have that “limitation” placed on the medical. Read more >>
The June issue of Flight Training is full of great content about Alaska. Pilots can’t get enough about Alaska (and can’t stop dreaming about going there, flying there, living there, or working there). Maybe it’s because general aviation is so entrenched in the state, as there’s almost no other means of transportation for many communities. Read more >>
FedEx donates 727s to university programs in Alaska
In late February, FedEx donated two fully functional Boeing 727s to the University of Alaska aviation programs at Anchorage and Fairbanks. Read more >>
AOPA Career Opportunities
Ever dream of turning your passion for aviation into a career? We’re looking for an advertising marketing manager; mid-level gift specialist; network support engineer; marketing manager, fundraising and acquisitions; aviation technical specialist; staff assistant/PAC coordinator; president, AOPA Insurance Services; office services supervisor; major gifts officer; and director of outreach and events. To learn more about other AOPA career opportunities, visit AOPA Online.
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