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December 13, 2013, AOPA ePilot: Flight Training EditionDecember 13, 2013, AOPA ePilot: Flight Training Edition

ePilot Flight Training Edition

December 13, 2013 - VOL 13, ISSUE 50

Training Tips

A mix of messages

"Watch that altitude! What's your heading?" Rare is the student pilot who hasn't let distraction, or turbulence, spoil a slick stint of steady flying. Then you vow to do a better job next time of keeping track of the messages your instruments are displaying.

Not all instrument indications should be taken at face value, however. (And when keeping track of one key flight parameter, there usually is no instrument available at all!)

You have learned that the art of monitoring your trainer's flight condition requires that you glean the indications displayed by numerous needles, numbers, "bugs," and colored arcs, and then interpret what you see based on each instrument's unique manner of communication.

The altimeter properly set to atmospheric pressure (or field elevation) provides a direct indication of your altitude—no interpretation needed. A directional gyro set within the last few minutes against a steady magnetic compass should be accurate (if you haven't been flying aggressive or steep maneuvers).

Some instruments are known for their unreliability: "Placing your trust in the fuel gauge of a small general aviation airplane makes about as much sense as shooting a piano for its ivory," cautioned Rod Machado in this Flight Training article about fuel estimation. Much better technique is to use a clock and a known fuel-consumption figure to track your progress. Plan with ample reserves, and ensure that the fuel tanks contain the quantity of fuel you think they contain. (Do you always fly with full tanks on training fights?)

Some gauges in your panel scan quickly draw the eye if an abnormal reading is displayed. In certain cases, such as engine oil temperature and pressure, the indications make more sense when considered together. Low oil pressure and high oil temperature spell engine trouble.

What parameter is essential for pilot monitoring but unavailable on any gauge on your panel? Most general aviation aircraft still lack an angle-of-attack indicator. That may start to change, but in the meantime, the ability a pilot gains through flight training to recognize the sensations and behavior of the aircraft as its angle of attack changes is the most reliable system for early warning—or better still, avoidance—of an approach to an accidental stall.

In some aircraft, the location of an instrument may make it difficult to see. Make a special effort to include it in your scans.


Flight Training News

Rotorcraft Rookie

The crazy takeoff

Helicopter training is generally very safe. So why do run-on takeoffs and landings feel so wrong? Read more... Share:  


Free WAI memberships for ERAU female students

Women in Aviation, International has given free, one-year memberships to the 1,372 female students at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University's Prescott, Ariz., and Daytona Beach, Fla., campuses. Funding for the memberships came from the university and one of its alumni. WAI members qualify to apply for the organization's scholarships and benefit from reduced annual conference fees, networking, and chapter activities. Members will also receive a digital version of Aviation for Women, WAI's membership magazine.


College Aviation Directory

Headed to an aviation college? Check the 'Flight Training' directory

If an aviation college or university is in your future, start your search for the right place with Flight Training's 2014 College Aviation Directory. You'll find colleges and universities in the United States that offer an associate's, bachelor's, or master's degree in an aviation field such as professional pilot, air traffic control, aircraft maintenance, airport management, aviation business management, or maintenance management. Find the directory online... Share:  


Winner of Sikorsky Youth Innovator Award chosen

Vance Hudson, 15, of Collierville, Tenn., has won the 2013 Igor Sikorsky Youth Innovator Award and a $1,000 scholarship check. He won for designing the S-2050, an electrically driven helicopter designed to serve humankind by mid-century. Hudson's helicopter features a detachable main section that he envisions would allow operators to configure the aircraft rapidly for multiple missions, or deliver modular loads with life-saving resources for those in need.


Stanton Sport Aviation donates LSA airframe to technical college

Stanton Sport Aviation Inc. has donated a Flight Design light sport aircraft airframe to Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College (WITC) to train students. The donated airplane was manufactured using composite materials, which will give WITC's composite technology program students hands-on experience working on a modern aircraft.


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The cold facts

Flying in and around wet weather in the winter is, for the inexperienced and ill-equipped pilot, simply a bad idea. Learn how to recognize the hazards of precipitation and icing, develop a strategy for avoiding ice, and make safe decisions if you do encounter it. Take the Air Safety Institute's Weather Wise: Precipitation and Icing online course.



'Weather Wise: VFR into IMC' now mobile

It's a moderately common problem, averaging more than 20 fatal accidents per year. Epidemic? No, but particularly deadly. The Air Safety Institute's Weather Wise: VFR into IMC online course prepares pilots for anticipating poor weather conditions, understanding common weather scenarios that can trap unsuspecting pilots in instrument meteorological conditions, and more—and it runs on mobile devices. Read more... Share:  


Training Resources

'Training Tips' e-book now available

Since the AOPA ePilot: Flight Training Edition newsletter debuted in 2001, it has opened with practical and popular "Training Tips." Veteran flight instructor Dan Namowitz has presented such diverse topics as landings, icing, and aircraft documentation in an engaging, thought-provoking way—all while pointing the reader to more information for greater in-depth study. Whether you're a new student, an experienced pilot, or an instructor, you will enjoy this first-ever e-book compilation. The cost is $3.99. Buy the e-book...

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.



AOPA Live This Week

Seaplane flight over Puget Sound, $200,000 watch

A driver's license medical could be one step closer. Plus, join AOPA Live This Week® for a seaplane flight around Puget Sound, affordable hydrophobic technology that might delay ice formation, an aviation watch that costs as much as an airplane, and a conversation with aircraft designer Walter Extra. AOPA Live This Week, Dec. 12... Share:  

Career Pilot

U.S. carriers complying with Chinese demands

Three major U.S. airlines are complying with demands by the Chinese government that it be notified of plans to traverse a new air defense zone that China has declared over the East China Sea, CNN reported Dec. 1. Commercial airlines have been advised to abide by Beijing's instruction, even though Washington, D.C., does not recognize the airspace declaration, and U.S. military aircraft have flown through the airspace without providing notification. Officials at American, Delta, and United told CNN that its pilots were complying with the air defense identification zone. Two major Japanese airlines have refused, however.


American Air, US Airways complete merger

American Airlines and US Airways completed their merger on Dec. 9, creating the world's largest carrier, reports the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. The new American Airlines Group now has more than 100,000 employees and nearly 6,700 daily flights to more than 330 destinations in more than 50 countries. The company, headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas, is now traded on NASDAQ under the AAL stock ticker.

For more aviation career news, see the Flight Training website.


Plane Spotter

Wren's rare regalia

It's not unusual for a plane spotter to wander into the FBO and find the faithful fixed to the big window that overlooks the ramp. But what's all the fuss about today? Sure, there's a single transient Cessna Skylane out there—nice, but hardly a spectacle. Hold on, is that a canard mounted just behind its nose? And what are those tooth-like structures atop the wing? Are those really full-span flaps? This highly modified aircraft is a Cessna 182 Wren conversion, capable of astounding short takeoff and landing (STOL) performance.

Training Products

Latest edition of FAA Safety Briefing released

The November/December 2013 issue of FAA Safety Briefing explores the role of the FAA Flight Standards Service in promoting safety within the National Airspace System. Articles focus on topics including how the FAA is organized, the people behind policies that affect general aviation, and the basics of buying an aircraft. offers MyClip iPad kneeboard

The MyClip kneeboard works with the iPad and the iPad 2. It lets users transition from portrait to landscape mode, which allows for easy viewing of charts and approach plates. The cost is $39.95.

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

Members only

Collateral damage, part 2

FAA personnel reallocations, terminated government contracts in an effort to save costs, glitches with progress on the Digital Imaging Workflow System, and the government shutdown have compounded to produce a larger-than-usual backlog of special issuance medicals for tens of thousands of pilots. Read more... Share:  



Flying motorcycle for Christmas?

Here's something no one on your holiday gift list will have: the PAL-V Helicycle. Hammacher Schlemmer's Christmas catalog offers the $300,000 roadable gyrocopter. Read more... Share:  


Five gifts for student pilots

After surviving Gray Thursday, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, and Giving Tuesday, it's time to get serious about how to show the holiday love to student pilots. Read more... Share:  


Instrument Tip


That was the easy part

Contemplating IFR flight scenarios for airports like Delta, Utah, is excellent review for any instrument pilot. That's because briefing for a flight into and out of Delta covers bases unlikely to be encountered on your next two-hour tour of your home field approaches. Read more... Share:  

Final Exam


Are you required to have an ATC clearance to enter a terminal radar service area (TRSA)?


A TRSA is airspace surrounding designated airports wherein ATC provides radar vectoring, sequencing, and separation on a full-time basis for all IFR and participating VFR aircraft. Pilot participation is urged but is not mandatory. (Source: FAR/AIM, Pilot/Controller Glossary.)

Got a question for our technical services staff? Contact AOPA.


Career Opportunities

Aviation job board

Job of the Week: Airshow and event planner at AOPA

AOPA is seeking an airshow and event planner to manage AOPA's presence at airshows and events, including Sun 'n Fun and EAA AirVenture. This position develops all programming and logistics plans, oversees the implementation of the event, manages budgets, and provides support to other AOPA event programs, including the Frederick, Md., fly-in and AOPA regional events. Click here for more information or to see other exciting career opportunities.

Education and Seminars

Flight Instructor Refresher Courses

Jan 4-5 - Ypsilanti, Mich.; Portland, Ore.; San Jose, Calif.; and San Antonio, Texas

Jan 11-12 - Knoxville, Tenn.; Jackson, Miss.; Seattle, Wash.; and Charlotte, N.C.

Jan 24-25 - Baltimore, Md., and Long Beach, Calif.

Feb 8-9 - Fairfax, Va.; Nashua, N.H.; New Orleans, La.; and Louisville, Ky.

For a complete schedule, see AOPA Online. Can't make it in person? Sign up for the Air Safety Institute's new Online eFIRC.

Air Safety Institute Safety Seminars

Jan 13 - Mesa, Ariz.; and Reno, Nev.

Jan 14 -Tucson, Ariz.; and Sacramento, Calif.

Jan 15 - Milpitas, Calif.; and El Paso, Texas

Jan 16 - Albuquerque, N.M.; and Santa Rosa, Calif.

Topics vary—for details and a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.

Engage in Aviation

Want something to do this weekend? Planning an aviation getaway? See AOPA's enhanced calendar of events. Now you can filter events by date range, airport ID, state, or region. 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.


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. Take a look, and submit your own photos!

AOPA ePilot

ePilot Flight Training Editor:

Benét Wilson

Production Team

Katie Richardson
Lezlie Ramsey
Melissa Whitehouse


Sarah Deener
Alyssa Miller
Jim Moore
Jill W. Tallman
Warren Morningstar
Alton K. Marsh
Dave Hirschman
Tom Horne
Ian J. Twombly
Dan Namowitz

Member Tools: Send feedback | ePilot Archive

Topics: AOPA, Flight Training, Pilot Training and Certification

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