With a patch of good spring weather to nail down those remaining flight-time requirements, and some well-flown test-prep sessions to follow up, before you know it, the appointment is being made for you to take your sport, recreational, or private pilot flight test.
It’s a heady moment when you set that date, and focus your training on the nitty-gritty details of “graduating” from your training program. Some trepidation is natural when the reality of the checkride looms. But there’s an easy way to set the awkwardness aside: Make it a priority to become thoroughly familiar with the appropriate practical test standards (PTS) for the certificate and rating for which you are now officially an applicant. From the “applicant’s practical test checklist” to the clearly specified maneuver tolerances and knowledge elements for flight task demonstrations, the PTS, as users refer to it, will make you ready.
If you did not receive a copy of the PTS with your training materials, you can download it from the FAA’s website.
Give the publication a thorough reading for all aspects of your test—starting at the very beginning of the publication. It may be strongly tempting to skip right to the test standards for that one maneuver you have never felt totally confident performing, but you don’t want to fixate on that and miss something equally important.
For example, since all good pilots are scrupulous about using checklists, it would not do to overlook the applicant’s practical test checklist mentioned above. Arranged in three sections, it lets you check off everything you will need to ensure that you will show up for the test with an acceptable aircraft; the necessary personal equipment (charts and publications, for example); and all the required personal records for your examiner’s review. Those records include the proper form of personal identification (with photo and signature), and a medical certificate for recreational and private pilot applicants, or a driver’s license for those seeking sport pilot certification.
You have probably heard stories of checkrides that never got going because of an administrative oversight. Seeing to your applicant’s checklist should prevent anything from spoiling the day on which you graduate from your training program.
Flight Training News
Advice from FAA Administrator Michael P. Huerta echoes many of the same points made by flight instructors across the country: take care, know your limits, train, and prepare. Huerta issued a letter to the general aviation community May 23, a personal appeal to all pilots to make sure they are ready for each flight as the summer season gets into full swing. Read more >>
Flight school forms simulator club
Imagine having yearlong access to a flight school’s simulator for $120. That’s soon to be a reality for pilots near Lock Haven, Pa., thanks to a new club formed by local flight school AvSport. The concept is simple. Users will pay one fee and get unlimited access to an AOPA Jay by Redbird for a year. Current AvSport students will have free access. Read more >>
FAA’s plan for AirVenture ATC user fees ‘troubling’
AOPA on May 22 denounced an FAA plan to charge the Experimental Aircraft Association for the travel costs, per diem expenses, and overtime pay of the air traffic controllers it deploys to staff EAA AirVenture, the association’s annual aviation fly-in, expo, and airshow, which is also the largest gathering of civil aircraft in the world. Read more >>
‘General’ apps for general aviation
This week, AOPA reviews some “general” aviation apps: DART Aerospace Catalog for iPad, Michelin Aircraft Tire app, FAA Acronym app, and the Aviation-APP for pilots. Read more >>
Greenville Downtown Airport announces Learn to Fly winners
Kristina Carandang has been named the grand-prize winner of a private pilot training program in the Learn to Fly contest held by South Carolina’s Greenville Downtown Airport. The contest had more than 18,000 entries. Second-place winner Joshua Eskew and third-place winner Wade Shealey won discovery flight lessons.
Media company awarding pilot training to Hispanic teens
Los Angeles-based 9D Media will be giving Hispanic teens a chance to win training toward their private pilot certificate or aviation technician certificate. Teens will also see some of the most advanced general aviation aircraft as a part of the company’s National Aviation, Education, and Sports Tour taking place in seven cities around the United States. The tour, which starts in August, will last six months.
Air Safety Institute’s ‘Storm Week’ back with a fury
You know it: Airplanes and thunderstorms don’t mix. That’s why you’ll want to participate in the Air Safety Institute’s “Storm Week” June 9 through 16. Each day you’ll improve your ability to stay clear of blinding downpours, damaging hail, and airframe-shattering turbulence. To understand how ATC and weather briefers can help, and when to say no to a flight, join AOPA Foundation President Bruce Landsberg during the institute’s live webinar “Thunderstorm Avoidance: ATC, Datalink, and You,” on Thursday, June 13, at 8 p.m. Register for the free webinar >>
Avoiding accidents is everyone’s responsibility
The airport is a place where aircraft converge for the purpose of departing and landing. It’s a place where a lot of things are going on that need your attention. Needless to say, however, it is not a good place to allow yourself to become distracted. In this animated video from the Air Safety Institute, watch as a lack of awareness, coupled with a communication breakdown, start a chain of events that ends with a runway collision and 14 fatalities. Watch the video >>
Do the right thing: Decision making for pilots
It’s a sad fact of aviation that, every year, approximately 75 percent of all aircraft accidents are caused by pilot error, with a very large number the direct result of poor decisions. The good news is that making superior decisions about flying doesn’t require superhuman skill or exceptional judgment—just the ability to anticipate and recognize basic problems, and then take timely action to correct them. This Air Safety Institute Safety Advisor provides practical advice to help you do that, as well as guidance and recommendations for developing your own set of personal minimums. Download the Safety Advisor >>
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.
Formation flying; how pilots sabotage their medicals
Flying in formation means putting absolute trust in your leader. AOPA Live visits a civilian formation flying school to see how it’s done. Icon Aircraft gives the FAA a deadline regarding its A5 amphibious light sport aircraft. And find out from Dr. Jonathan Sackier about some of the stupid things pilots do to sabotage their medical certificates in a Fly Well report. AOPA Live This Week, May 30.
SkyWest Inc. getting up to 200 Embraer E175 regional jets
SkyWest Inc. announced May 21 that it will purchase 100 new Embraer E175 dual-class regional jets. Forty are firm orders and the remaining 60 aircraft are considered conditional until SkyWest enters into capacity purchase agreements with other major airlines to operate them. Deliveries for the 40 firm aircraft, configured with 76 seats, are expected to begin in the second quarter of 2014 and continue through mid-2015. The agreement, which also includes options for an additional 100 E175 aircraft, is valued at $8.3 billion if all 200 aircraft are ordered.
Southwest to launch Boeing 737 MAX 7
Boeing and Southwest Airlines announced the launch of the 737 MAX 7, the third member of Boeing’s 737 MAX family, May 15. The Dallas-based carrier converted 30 existing Next-Generation 737 orders into orders for the 737 MAX 7. Southwest also exercised options to add five more Next-Generation 737-800s to its fleet. These airplanes, along with the 737 MAX 7s, are part of Southwest’s ongoing effort to improve fuel efficiency and profitability. Southwest is expected to take its first 737 MAX 7 delivery in 2019. Including these aircraft, Southwest’s unfilled orders consist of 180 737 MAX airplanes and 137 Next-Generation 737s. There are now 1,315 orders for 737 MAX airplanes.
For more aviation career news, see the Flight Training website.
“Gallons per acre” isn’t a standard measure of aeronautical performance, unless a plane spotter is discussing one way owners use a highly specialized aircraft unmistakable for its ample width, tailwheel configuration, and impressive size. Whether the model you are inspecting is a radial-engine-powered AT-401, a turboprop AT-802, or any of the models in between, Air Tractors perform aerial application, fight fires, and even compete against unmanned aircraft systems for military assignments. The aircraft also makes a heck of a floatplane, as occasional sightings at summer aviation events have confirmed.
Visual history of aircraft book released
DK Publishing has partnered with the Smithsonian Institution to publish a new book, Aircraft: The Definitive Visual History. The book offers history and roles of aircraft, from the first prototypes of flying machines to today’s supersonic jets. The book costs $40.
MyPilotStore.com offers checklists
A laminated checklist for the Cessna 172S/SP is now available at MyPilotStore.com. Information on the 6.5-inch-by-9-inch card includes emergency procedures; speeds given in both knots and miles per hour; a full-color graphic layout; and fuel, oil, electrical, tire, and weight information.
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.
Guide to AOPA’s new website
Get acquainted with the new AOPA.org with this handy video and written guide. Read more >>
Top three tips when purchasing an aircraft
Have you been thinking about purchasing an aircraft? If so, there are three key areas you need to consider to avoid potential problems. Read more >>
Diversions and aeronautical decision making
Aeronautical decision making first began to appear in the training lexicon in a heavy fashion in the mid-1990s. It was always “there,” but it wasn’t necessarily a separate subject. Instructors were expected simply to incorporate the decision-making process into each lesson whenever and wherever possible. This sounds great on paper, and at times it even seems logical, but the reality is that the old adage that says that the airplane is a terrible classroom exists for a reason. Read more >>
How to find a good flight school
You want to go to flight school, but there are so many choices out there. Like any other type of school, flight schools vary in terms of quality and price. If becoming a professional pilot is your goal, you need a method to figure out which school is right for you. You want a schedule you can live with and competent instructors. Here’s how to get everything you want. Read more >>
There’s a management mantra that has served AOPA Foundation President Bruce Landsberg well over the years that says, “If something is a good idea, and it deserves to succeed, the sixth time you present it, there’s a 75% chance of getting it approved.” Your exact mileage may vary but the concept is sound. 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, and AOPA Live editor/graphic artist. To learn more about other AOPA career opportunities, visit AOPA Online.
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