A student pilot learns to master three ground-reference maneuvers in preparation for the private pilot flight test. The rectangular course allows your examiner to assess your skill in flying a course equidistant from all sides of a rectangular ground area. This requires you to establish headings that counter the drift effect of wind (including when rolling out of turns). The other two required ground-reference maneuvers, S-turns across a road and turns around a point, include a requirement for you to perform the maneuver at a "uniform distance" from an object or reference line.
As many diagrams illustrate, S-turns across a road (or some other reference line like a long, straight set of railroad tracks) require the pilot to steepen and shallow the bank angle in response to changing groundspeed to maintain that distance. Begin the maneuver above and perpendicular to your reference line, headed downwind, where the steepest bank angle must be used. Varying the bank angle (and the turn rate) as the turn to the upwind heading progresses, strive to reach the wings-level point, after 180 degrees of turn, directly above your reference line. Then immediately commence a turn in the opposite direction.
As with the other ground-reference maneuvers, this one is flown at an altitude between 600 feet and 1,000 feet above ground level—why?
These are several of the reasons outlined in Chapter 6 of the Airplane Flying Handbook: Aircraft speed and type are considerations. Relative to the ground, your speed should not be “so apparent that events happen too rapidly.” Objects on the ground should appear “in their proportion and size.” Wind drift should be easy to discern, “but not tax the student too much in making corrections.”
As that multitude of factors shows, it is important for you to practice until you can divide attention “between airplane control and the ground track while maintaining coordinated flight” as mandated in the Private Pilot Practical Test Standards.
Another test standard—crucial at the fairly low altitudes used for ground-reference maneuvers—is staying alert for forced-landing sites.
Be a good neighbor by flying your maneuvers away from “communities, livestock, or groups of people.”
Maneuvers are placed in a training course to impart specific skills and concepts such as the constant-radius turn. But they also introduce etiquette, and respect for those on the ground, at training's early stages.
Flight Training News
AOPA has received notification from flight instructors and the FBI that scammers are once again targeting flight schools and instructors. In the scam AOPA has seen, a foreign individual contacts a school or instructor expressing interest in setting up daily training for one month during the summer for a group of foreign students who will be in the United States on vacation. Read more >>
Summer of their lives: Teens to build Glasair
High school students in Saline, Mich., and Canby, Minn., learned May 9 that they are about to embark on an action-packed summer vacation. The eight students are the winners of a nationwide aviation design challenge competition sponsored by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association and Build A Plane. Read more >>
Five more logbook apps
A pilot’s logbook is the official record of his or her flights. It also serves as a personal diary of what we’ve learned and where we’ve been. This week, AOPA looks at another five logbook apps: Aviation Pilot LogBook, IntelliPilot Pilot LogBook, Safelog Pilot Logbook, FlightBox, and Premier Logbook. Read more >>
AOPA needs your help to guide future pilots
Many people have a desire to fly, but very few of them make it all the way to becoming a certificated pilot. AOPA is asking readers to share their insight in the 2013 Flight Training Excellence Poll. Participate in the poll and share recent training experience to identify flight training providers that will help budding pilots succeed and give the flying community the best chance to create lifelong passionate aviators. In this poll, readers will have the opportunity to talk about a school and/or individual instructor. Stand up and sound off for the future of aviation. Take the poll >>
Flight Design USA, AAP join to help pilot training
Flight Design USA and Aviation Access Project have announced an agreement to work together to promote the growth and development of the pilot community. A cornerstone of the Aviation Access Project program is the sharing of both one-time and recurring costs among a group of pilot-owners. In a typical arrangement, Aviation Access Project sells one-eighth shares in an aircraft and charges a monthly fee that covers all recurring costs such as insurance, maintenance, and storage. Each owner is allocated approximately 75 hours per year of flying time in the aircraft. There are no hourly fees, and the owner buys his or her own fuel.
NSU, Embraer partner on human factors research
Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based Nova Southeastern University (NSU) and Embraer Aircraft Holdings have signed a memorandum of understanding for a partnership that will include a series of seminars and research projects in human factors, which will be offered through NSU’s Institute for the Study of Human Services, Health and Justice. Human factors can include problem-solving skills, decision making, communication, attention, stress management, and physical condition. NSU and Embraer will write and submit grant proposals to the FAA that will focus on threat-and-error management, fatigue risk management, and a flight risk analysis tool—all aimed at advancing human factors studies—and disseminate the resulting data throughout the industry.
'Weather' or not to deviateWhile weather reporting technologies in the cockpit and on ATC radar scopes have come a long way, what you see out the windscreen can still be one of the best indicators that your current course may not be the safest one. If you're in contact with ATC, they may not know you need to deviate for weather ahead of you. What should you do? Listen to the Air Safety Institute's segment of Ask ATC as a controller shares how pilots and controllers need to collaborate to find the safest way around the storm. Watch the video >>
Stall/spin myths exploded
Pilots who believe that aerobatic training will enable a recovery from an inadvertent spin in the traffic pattern are fooling themselves. That myth—and other misconceptions about stalls and spins in general aviation aircraft—is exploded in an Air Safety Institute study. Download the PDF >>
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.
Federal searches of GA aircraft, Super Cub crosses Atlantic
AOPA is hearing from pilots stopped and searched on the ramp by federal agents, and the reasons are mysterious. AOPA Live® interviewed a New York pilot who was stopped twice in four days, the second search lasting for hours and ending with baggage and contents strewn on the ramp. Remember John and Martha King’s experience? They’re far from alone. The facts are disturbing, and answers are hard to come by. AOPA Live This Week also follows a Super Cub crossing the Atlantic Ocean for a unique mission, and Rod Machado shows you how to really see—and avoid. AOPA Live This Week, May 16.
FAPA.aero to host career pilot event in Boston
A free pilot career conference for high school students and their parents, “Focus on the Future,” will take place June 1 in Boston. The event is in conjunction with a regional airline pilot job fair sponsored by FAPA.aero. Future professional pilots looking for an aviation university or training school are welcome to attend with school representatives. The sessions will be from 1 to 4 p.m. at Embassy Suites Boston at Boston Logan International Airport. Students, parents, and high school representatives may attend at no charge. Admission to the job fair for non-FAPA.aero members is $29, but AOPA members will receive a $25 gift certificate if they register and attend. To take advantage of the offer, go to the website and enter the word AOPA and your member number in the Questions for Recruiters field in the registration form.
American to add flights at Los Angeles hub
American Airlines is significantly expanding service from Los Angeles International Airport this year, further strengthening one of its key hubs. In addition to American's new service between Los Angeles and Raleigh/Durham, N.C., which began April 2, American will begin serving Eugene and Redmond, Ore., from Los Angeles International beginning June 12. Service from Los Angeles to Bentonville, Ark.; Columbus, Ohio; Hartford, Conn.; Indianapolis; and Pittsburgh will begin Aug. 27. Flights on some of the new routes will be operated by SkyWest Airlines and American Eagle Airlines.
For more aviation career news, see the Flight Training website.
Spring brings a blooming of aviation as entertainment. Whether a plane spotter goes to the airshow, or the airshow comes to the plane spotter, performances provide a fine opportunity to add a new aircraft genre to your spotting catalog. If the performer is flying a low-wing taildragger through a dazzling display of maneuvers, the aircraft could be one of Walter Extra’s aerobatic series. Two-seat Extra aircraft also serve as aerobatic trainers. Champion aerobatic pilot Patty Wagstaff’s Extra 260 is on display (inverted, naturally) in the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.
ASA offers sport pilot test
ASA is offering preparation and study software for the sport pilot FAA knowledge exam. The software allows users to take true-to-form practice exams and get immediate feedback on the test areas that need more work. Tailor-made practice sessions improve your performance in the areas you need to concentrate on the most to pass the test. The cost is $27.85.
WINGsReality EDU offers online course
WINGsReality EDU has released its Flight Review Ground School. The online program helps students learn more about aeronautical decision making, runway incursion avoidance, accident causal factors, and many other topics that are critical to flight safety. The course costs $29.95, which includes a logbook endorsement.
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.
FAA’s take on sleep medications
It is no big surprise that most Americans don't get enough sleep. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) calls insufficient sleep a public epidemic. Stress, illness, inconsistent sleep habits, anxiety or other mental symptoms, jet lag, or an underlying sleep disorder are common symptoms that may require periodic medications to promote a good night’s sleep. Read more >>
Aero-Space Reports sponsors aircraft valuation tool
One of the most important benefits AOPA members enjoy is free access to the industry-leading aircraft valuation tool powered by Vref, an online guide that covers everything from Piper Cubs to corporate jets. AOPA Strategic Partner Aero-Space Reports has stepped up to support this important tool, allowing AOPA to continue to make Vref available while also making it convenient for members to take advantage of members-only discounts on title and escrow services when they are ready to purchase an aircraft. Read more >>
Enterprise Rent-A-Car caters to members’ needs at airports
As an AOPA Strategic Partner, Enterprise Rent-A-Car offers support to AOPA members in more ways than just car rental discounts. Members who plan their flight online with AOPA Airports can easily find out if an Enterprise Rent-A-Car location is nearby by looking at the bottom of the airport page. Read more >>
Your favorite armchair aviation activities
Chip Wright’s recent blog about LiveATC.net got AOPA Technical Editor Jill W. Tallman wondering what other kinds of armchair aviation activities pilots like to do. Flight Training tells readers to “keep your head in the game” when you can’t fly. But how, exactly, do you do that? She posed the question to Facebook friends, and they came up with a list of great suggestions. Read more >>
Youth interest in aviation careers holds promise
AOPA Southern Regional Manager Bob Minter has a personal history of involvement in introducing youngsters to aviation and encouraging aviation careers. It is probably driven by his own career, one that he says he would not trade for anything. Minter began working with young people some years ago while employed by a large flight training organization. Read more >>
AOPA Career Opportunities
Ever dream of turning your passion for aviation into a career? We’re looking for a director of corporate partnerships, marketing specialist, member services representative, human resources assistant, software test and quality assurance analyst, online marketing and content specialist, AOPA Live editor/graphic artist, advertising marketing manager, mid-level gift specialist, aviation technical specialist, staff assistant/PAC coordinator, president of AOPA Insurance Services, major gifts officer, and director of outreach and events. To learn more about other AOPA career opportunities, visit AOPA Online.
AVIATION EVENTS & WEATHER