Already a member? Please login below for an enhanced experience. Not a member? Join today

October 4, 2013, AOPA ePilot: Flight Training EditionOctober 4, 2013, AOPA ePilot: Flight Training Edition

AOPA ePilot


VOLUME 13, ISSUE 40 — October 4, 2013

Training Tips

The blindfold test

Training TipHow many switches and controls must a pilot manage in the cockpit of your trainer? Without taking a peek at the panel, can you picture where the knobs, handles, and switches are located? Have you ever fumbled for one, or hit the wrong switch, slowing your response when quick action was needed?


Hunting for the handle that retracts the flaps during an unplanned go-around wastes crucial time. Becoming confused about how to get that second communications radio working after the first one quits in the traffic pattern can be seriously distracting. Being able to promptly locate and activate an alternate static source or pitot-heat switch during an inadvertent brush with instrument meteorological conditions or icing could stave off pitot-static system failure or an unusual attitude. And if you have ever forgotten to turn on an electric fuel pump as recommended by the manufacturer for a takeoff or landing, rehearsing on the ground could spare you a recurrence.


Your trainer may lack the sophistication of a military fighter or the advanced general aviation aircraft that may await you some day, but borrowing a method from the training that makes pilots comfortable and competent in those cockpits will speed your reaction time—paying off most when you must activate backup or emergency systems.


Sharpen your proficiency now by sitting in your parked trainer and taking the blindfold test. This is also one of the techniques the Air Safety Institute recommends for certificated pilots transitioning to an unfamiliar make and model aircraft.


With or without a real blindfold, the exercise will also prepare you for the Private Pilot Practical Test Standards tasks that examine your knowledge of cockpit management and operation of systems. (On your checkride, you will be required to explain the operation of “at least three” of 11 systems listed in Area of Operation I, Task G of the PTS).


Here’s how it worked for World War II pilots who took their basic training in the Vultee BT-13 Valiant: “Before soloing a BT, a student had to sit blindfolded in the front cockpit and unhesitatingly place his hand on any of 33 controls and switches as his instructor called them out,” wrote Barry Schiff in the February 2013 AOPA Pilot feature “Shaking things up.”


Are you ready for the blindfold challenge?

Flight Training News

Aviation EFB developers urge caution on iOS 7

Random “crashes” of mobile devices running Apple’s newly updated operating system prompted one developer to warn aviation customers to wait for an update to the update. Hilton Software founder Hilton Goldstein alerted customers within days of the Sept. 18 release of iOS 7, calling attention to possible glitches with the Apple software. Read more >>

Michigan teachers to learn how to bring GA into schools

Teachers will have the opportunity to get hands-on experience with general aviation as they learn how to make GA part of the curriculum in their classrooms. On Oct. 26, the Michigan Aeronautics Commission will offer a full day of teacher training focused on bringing GA into kindergarten through twelfth grade classes. The event, which is being offered in partnership with the Square One Education Network and AOPA, will feature expert speakers, AOPA Jay simulators, and opportunities for teachers to fly in GA aircraft. Read more >>

Five weather apps just in time for fall

Now that it’s officially fall, it’s a good time to highlight weather apps that can help you make the transition: DTC DUAT, Flight Weather, Storm Shield Weather Radio, AirReport Pro-METAR & TAF, and Raindar. Read more >>

Tour Fort Worth flight service hub

Meet the flight service specialists on the other side of the phone and radio during a tour of Lockheed Martin’s state-of-the-art Fort Worth Automated Flight Service Station hub during AOPA Aviation Summit. Learn how to use flight planning apps while still accessing new safety services from briefers as well as how to create a pilot profile and register for Lockheed’s route-specific adverse condition alerting service or surveillance-enhanced search and rescue. Read more >>

Fly ’em all the way to the hangar

A safe flight starts on the ground. But the busy and hectic nature of an airport means, to be safe, not just being familiar with airport signage and markings, but being an expert on their meanings and usage. Can you rise to the challenge? Take the Air Safety Institute’s Runway Safety online course. Log in to take the course >>

An aircraft’s heart

Just as a human body has a heart, so too does an aircraft—in the form of its engine. The proper care and feeding of this core mechanical system will ensure a long and healthy service life. Learn how best to care for yours by visiting the Air Safety Institute’s Engine Operations Safety Advisor. Download the PDF >>


Flight Training Scholarship awards announced

AOPA has announced the winners of the 2013 Flight Training Scholarships that will be awarded at AOPA Aviation Summit in Fort Worth, Texas. Read more >>

Auction funds scholarships for young students

Young aspiring pilots in the Bremerton, Wash., area have a chance to get scholarships to help with flight training, thanks to an upcoming auction being held by the Bremerton Pilots Association. Read more >>

Scholarships available for New England pilots

Scholarships for flight training, advanced ratings, or college tuition are being offered in 2014 for pilots who live or study in New England. Read more >>

Zonta International offers Amelia Earhart Fellowship

Zonta International’s Amelia Earhart Fellowship is awarded annually to women pursuing doctoral degrees in aerospace-related sciences or aerospace-related engineering. The fellowship of $10,000, awarded to 35 fellows around the globe each year, may be used at any university or college offering accredited post-graduate courses and degrees in these fields. The deadline to apply is Nov. 15.

The Ninety-Nines offer scholarships in aviation, aerospace

The Ninety-Nines Amelia Earhart Memorial Scholarship Fund is now taking applications for 2014. Scholarships are available in the following categories: flight training, jet type rating, academic, technical training, and emergency maneuver training. The deadline to apply is Dec. 1.

EAA offers Wallace Peterson scholarship

The Wallace Peterson scholarship provides $500 for use toward flight training or to attend an EAA Air Academy session. The scholarship was established in memory of Wallace Peterson, an aviation enthusiast who fell in love with airplanes while watching them take off from a dirt strip near his home in Omaha, Neb. Special consideration is being extended to applicants from Nebraska, although applicants from any state will be considered. The application must be received no later than Feb. 28, 2014, unless otherwise stated.

Reminder: Organizations offer aviation scholarships

Undergraduate students studying aviation-related curricula at member institutions of the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) and University Aviation Association (UAA) are eligible to apply for the UAA Janice K. Barden Aviation Scholarship. Applications are due Nov. 1. Helicopter Foundation International (HFI) is accepting applications for its 2014 scholarships program. Applications are due Nov. 30. The International Council of Air Shows Foundation is offering aviation scholarships to help pilots, aircraft mechanics, performers, and flight instructors with their training needs. Applications are due by Dec. 31. Chapter 78 of the International Aerobatic Club is overseeing applications for the Douglas Yost Memorial Aerobatic Scholarship Grant, with applications due by Dec. 31.

Training Resources

Checklist checkup

In 2004, an alert tower controller at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey averted disaster when he noticed that Air India Flight 145, a Boeing 747 with 409 passengers aboard, did not have its landing gear down. The controller keyed his microphone: “Air India One-Four-Five, check gear down. Gear appears up.” The pilot acknowledged the transmission with a calm, “Air India One-Four-Five.” On a half-mile final, barely 600 feet above the ground, down came the gear and the 747 landed safely on Runway 4R. Read more >>


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.


Shutdown effects, turboprop around the world

Controllers are still on the job, but navaid repairs may take a while. AOPA details what pilots can expect while lawmakers wrangle. Also this week, around the world in a twin turboprop, flying the Falcon 7X, and a much slower kind of flying in a U.S. Navy blimp. AOPA Live This Week®, Oct. 3.

Career Pilot

American, US Airways extend merger termination date

The parent companies of American Airlines and US Airways have signed a deal to extend the date by which either side can terminate their planned merger by about one month. The move comes in light of a potential trial schedule for a lawsuit to stop the merger filed by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Jeppesen establishes ab initio flight school network

Boeing subsidiary Jeppesen is teaming with pilot training centers worldwide to guide cadets through the initial, or “ab initio,” stage of training to become professional pilots. The Jeppesen ab initio pilot training program is the first step in a comprehensive Boeing flight training program that will advance student pilots through several stages of training from inexperienced newcomers to becoming licensed commercial pilots.

Shortages of pilots, technicians in Asia becoming critical

Airlines in the Asia-Pacific region are running out of pilots and maintenance technicians as their fleets expand, and infrastructure has not kept up with demand in these rapidly growing economies, AIN Online reported Sept. 23. The region’s economies—led by China and India—are expected to grow 4.5 percent per year over the next 20 years, while Chinese airlines triple the size of their fleets, according to the 2013 Boeing Pilot & Technician Outlook on Asia-Pacific. China alone will require 77,400 pilots and 93,900 technicians of the 192,300 new airline pilots and 215,300 new technicians needed in the region through 2032, the Boeing report said.


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

Plane Spotter

Back in the loop

Great Lakes biplaneStraight and level obviously has nothing to do with it. That will be evident to any plane spotter who manages to make a sighting of the new-production Great Lakes biplane being built by Waco Aircraft, whether you see it performing in an airshow, practicing in the local aerobatic box, or parked on an airport ramp. As with many upscale single-engine airplane types, the performance is delivered by the combination of a 180-horsepower engine and a constant-speed propeller. The two-seat 2T-1A-2 flies at a maximum takeoff weight of 1,800 pounds.

Training Products

MP3 ground school now available

Gold Seal CFI Tom Gorski has released a two-volume, MP3 version of the FAA instrument rating airplane knowledge test. The ground school helps users study for the addition of an airplane instrument rating on a pilot certificate; prepares instrument-rated pilots for a proficiency check or flight review; and helps instructors study subjects required for the addition of an airplane instrument rating on their flight instructor certificate. Each MP3 costs $9.95.

ASA offers virtual test prep

ASA’s Virtual Test Prep on DVD helps students learn the material needed to ace the FAA knowledge exam and gain the information needed to be a safe, competent, and confident pilot. It offers an in-depth, comprehensive ground school that will prepare you for the FAA knowledge exam and the cockpit using animations, 3-D graphics, and special effects, along with expert instructors and in-flight footage. The cost is $149.95.


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

Do-over medical reporting

Filling out a medical application (Form 8500-8) is a stressful event for many of us. The language on the form can be confusing and it’s fairly easy to get tripped up and make a mistake. There is a notably broad distinction between making an honest mistake and making a fraudulent or intentionally false statement. Read more >>

B-29 navigator now flies Starduster Too

As with many boys of his generation, Marvin Rosenberg’s interest in aviation came from models introduced to him by a neighbor boy. Now 91, Rosenberg has been a member of AOPA for more than 50 years and is a 20-year customer of AOPA Insurance. Read more >>


The great plateau and polarization

Every pilot has experienced a flat spot on the climb to perfection, or at least to solo. The learning process takes the weekend off, maybe a week, and sometimes longer. It’s frustrating to all concerned, and it’s a fact of learning to fly. Read more >>

Have you logged ‘startle’ time?

The new requirements from the FAA for the airline transport pilot exam will hit in August of 2014. They are focused on giving pilots more experience before they get the ATP rating, and training them in upset recovery. The rules will increase the cost of just that rating, according to one school's estimate, to $8,500 to $12,000. Read more >>

The story behind the awards

As AOPA embarked on the 2013 Flight Training Excellence Awards process, the association sought to build on the fantastic customer response in the nominations for the 2012 awards. Using the newfound knowledge that many flight training customers are willing to share their experiences like they do for other services, AOPA decided to change from a nomination process to a poll. Read more >>

AOPA Career Opportunities

Ever dream of turning your passion for aviation into a career? We’re looking for a web applications developer III, financial analyst, staff assistant/PAC coordinator, and AOPA Live editor/graphic artist. To learn more about other AOPA career opportunities, visit AOPA Online.


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. Your favorite aviation images from AOPA Pilot are still available online through this new gallery. Take a look, and submit your own photos!

FacebookBecome a fan

RSS feedSubscribe to the RSS feed

Picture Perfect


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.

Final Exam


Question: You are flying over level terrain at 5,000 feet msl on a clear day. You have the current altimeter setting of 29.92 Hg set in the Kollsman window and the temperature is standard. You notice a little chop has developed and figure it must be that dry cold front the flight service mentioned to you during the briefing. The outside air temperature is now reading 10 degrees colder than before. Is the true altitude of the airplane still 5,000 feet msl?


Answer: In this scenario you would be lower than 5,000 feet msl. Remember the memory aid, “from hot to cold, look out below,” as described in the Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge, page 7-4.

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

Instrument Tip

IFR Fix: ‘Go ahead and land’

You have flown a perfect VOR RWY 6 approach to Montauk Airport at the tip of Long Island, N.Y. That’s especially gratifying given how little flying you have done lately. Trying not to spike the football with glee, you can't resist pointing out to Grumpy Instructor how smoothly you transitioned from the Groton VOR, finessed the parallel entry to the holding-pattern procedure turn at MANDE, and nailed the fix inbound on the final approach course. Read more >>

Flight Instructor Refresher Courses

Air Safety Institute Safety Seminars

Oct. 5 and 6

Indianapolis, Ind.

Wichita, Kan.

Corpus Christi, Texas

Oct. 12 and 13

Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Nashville, Tenn.


Oct. 19 and 20

Columbia, S.C.

San Jose, Calif.

Windsor Locks, Conn.

Nov. 2 and 3

Ashburn, Va.

Atlanta, Ga.



For a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.

Can’t make it in person? Sign up for the Air Safety Institute’s new Online eFIRC.

Oct. 7

Elizabethtown, Ky.

Hampton, Va.

Oct. 8

Maysville, Ky.

Richmond, Va.


Oct. 9

Manassas, Va.



Oct. 10

Blacksburg, Va.



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

AOPA ePilot Team

ePilot Flight Training Editor:
Benét Wilson

Alyssa Miller
Sarah Deener
Jim Moore
Jill W. Tallman
Warren Morningstar

Alton K. Marsh
Dave Hirschman
Tom Horne
Ian J. Twombly
Dan Namowitz

Production Team:
Melissa Whitehouse
Siobhan Byrne
Katie Richardson
Lezlie Ramsey

Advertise in ePilot:
Eastern and Central United States, International:
Brian Curpier, 607/547-2591

Gary Brennan, 607/547-2591

Gary Russo, 800/543-1284

South Central and Western: Zane Lewis, 214/789-6094

AOPA Advertising website

Member Tools: Send feedback | ePilot Flight Training Edition Archive

Got news or questions? Contact ePilot. Having difficulty using this service? Visit the ePilot Frequently Asked Questions online at or contact us.
© 2013 Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association | 421 Aviation Way Frederick, MD 21701 | Phone 800/USA-AOPA | Fax 301/695-2375

Topics: AOPA, AOPA Products and Services, Advanced Training

Related Articles