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

October 11, 2013, AOPA ePilot: Flight Training EditionOctober 11, 2013, AOPA ePilot: Flight Training Edition

AOPA ePilot


VOLUME 13, ISSUE 41 — October 11, 2013

Training Tips

Stop or swap?

Training TipA student pilot discussing how flight training is progressing is likely to bring up two big topics: the budding relationship with the training aircraft, and the emerging rapport with the flight instructor. Confidence flows from positive developments on both fronts—but in either, a disruption isn’t necessarily a setback. You can even turn it into a positive.


A call comes in. It’s your instructor calling to say that that your trusty high-wing, two-seat trainer is being looked over by the house mechanic after someone over-rotated the aircraft during landing, resulting in a tail strike. (Yes, although many student pilots must be encouraged to flare sufficiently for touchdown, excessive rotation can be a problem too.)


Rather than scrap tomorrow’s lesson on a day forecast to be perfect for ground reference maneuvers and traffic pattern work, your CFI proposes continuing in another aircraft. This one is also a two-seater—and powered by the same engine as your usual craft—but it is a low-wing aircraft, with a T-tail. “This will be a good experience for you,” the CFI says.


Heading out to the field early to study the pilot’s operating handbook will maximize the value of your session. You may have read that you can expect some important differences in flight characteristics based simply on the aircraft’s T-tailed design—differences that will be noticeable right from the start of your flight.


For example, “On takeoffs and landings the elevator will not be as effective as that on an aircraft with a conventional tail because it is above the propeller’s slipstream,” wrote AOPA Foundation President Bruce Landsberg in this review of the Piper PA-38 Tomahawk. “Pilots who have learned to fly T-tailed aircraft understand this characteristic and learn to anticipate its effects.”


The same effects will be noticeable during practice of maneuvers at low airspeed.


You don't have to switch from one aircraft manufacturer’s products to another’s to encounter important differences. Just switching from one model year to another can mean a change in an aircraft’s engine horsepower, flap-switch design—even the amount of flap travel available. Cockpit instruments may appear in unaccustomed layouts, or there may be an unfamiliar instrument in place of a familiar gauge.


Keep flying! Once back in your regular trainer, you will likely conclude that any initial disappointment you felt about its temporary unavailability has become new appreciation for its aerodynamic “personality.”

Flight Training News

Delaware State trains black pilots, aviation professionals

Delaware State University, a historically black university based in Dover, has officially been training aviation professionals in its flight program since 1987. The university, which traces its aviation training roots back to the Tuskegee Airmen in World War II, is the only of the historically black college and university aviation programs that owns and operates its own aircraft fleet. Only about 2 percent of professional pilots in the United States are African American, said Stephen Speed, the school’s aviation program director. Read more >>

Summit app helps you plan your schedule

A free app available for Apple and Android devices will help you get the most out of AOPA Aviation Summit 2013. The app features tools to personalize your experience, with all of the social events, seminars, and new product announcements in the palm of your hand. Read more >>

Embry-Riddle, SkyWest to partner on bridge program

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University announced Sept. 30 a partnership with SkyWest Airlines that will help aviation students at its Daytona Beach, Fla., and Prescott, Ariz., campuses to earn a right seat at the regional airline. Students who are certificated flight instructors can apply for the SkyWest Pilot Cadet Program, through which they may receive a conditional offer of employment. Read more >>

Indiana State opens new flight academy

Indiana State University has opened the new ISU Flight Academy, based at Terre Haute International Airport. The academy features a newly renovated facility and a fleet of aircraft that the university purchased as part of the new flight school. The academy’s aircraft feature navigational equipment and other technology that students will encounter as pilots working in the aviation industry.

Ready for the flight review

A flight review is a great way to refresh your piloting knowledge and ensure that you are up to date on any changes since your last flight review or checkride. Be prepared before you meet with your flight instructor by taking this Air Safety Institute quiz. Log in to take the quiz >>

Fortune favors the prepared

On the night of Oct. 9, 2009, Dr. Peeter Jakobson and his two passengers were flying over the Gulf of Mexico when, suddenly, their Mooney experienced an engine failure. Ditching into the waters below quickly became their only option. Learn what decisions saved their lives—watch the Air Safety Institute’s Real Pilot Stories: Ditching in the Dark. Log in to watch the presentation >>

Training Resources

Takeoffs, landings, and wake turbulence

Like a roller coaster, an airplane that goes up must come back down. Make sure you don’t get taken for a ride—especially by wake turbulence. Take this Air Safety Institute safety quiz to learn more. Log in to take the quiz >>


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.


Highlights from AOPA Aviation Summit 2013

Hear from AOPA President Mark Baker as he kicks off AOPA Aviation Summit in Fort Worth, Texas; learn about a wounded veteran who overcame the odds to earn his sport pilot certificate, with a little help from Able Flight and AOPA; and catch up on the latest aviation products and news coming in from the show. AOPA Live This Week®, Oct. 10 >>

Career Pilot

American Airlines seeks to hire 1,500 pilots in five years

American Airlines has announced a plan to recruit and hire approximately 1,500 new pilots in the next five years, its largest hiring effort in more than 10 years. Job postings were opened on Oct. 1, and the first new-hire class is expected to begin training this winter. The Fort Worth, Texas-based carrier says it's able to hire new pilots thanks to a large aircraft order, an expansion of its international flying, pilot retirements, and the FAA’s new rest and duty time rules that begin in 2014.

Delta to roll out EFBs

Delta Air Lines said Sept. 30 that it will equip its 11,000 pilots with the Microsoft Surface 2 tablet, which will be used initially as an electronic flight bag to replace heavy paper-based flight kits containing navigational charts and aircraft operating and reference manuals. Device rollout to pilots flying the Boeing 757 and Boeing 767 fleets will start in 2013 and all Delta cockpits are projected to be paperless by the end of 2014. The tablets are projected to save the airline $13 million per year in fuel and associated costs. They will employ Jeppesen’s FliteDeck Pro application. Delta expects to receive FAA approval for all phases of flight in 2014, following an extensive period of testing.


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

Plane Spotter

Arrow, with a T

Piper ArrowThe single-engine Piper airplane with retractable landing gear that has just landed meets all the requirements for a plane spotter to classify it as a PA-28R family Piper Arrow, except for one visually distinctive detail: the placement, high atop the vertical tail, of the horizontal tail and its “stabilator” (combined elevator-stabilizer control surfaces). This is where knowing the evolution of the model helps date the aircraft to 1979, when the T-tailed Arrow IV arrived on the scene, available with either a 200-horsepower Lycoming engine or a 200-hp turbocharged Continental engine.

Training Products

Jeppesen offers instrument test guide

Jeppesen has made available the Instrument Airmen Knowledge Test Guide, created to prepare for and achieve higher FAA knowledge test scores. It follows the Jeppesen textbooks by chapter, allowing students to learn faster with a greater understanding of each area of study. The guide includes full-color charts, a unique sliding mask for self-study, all FAA airplane test questions, FAA computer test information, and current information on airspace reclassification.

Gleim offers online communications course

The Gleim Online Communication Course is an interactive ground training course designed to increase pilots’ safety, knowledge, and abilities in the area of aviation radio communications. From small, nontowered airports to the largest Class B airspace areas, six Online Communication Course study units give students practical knowledge that allows them not only to participate in radio communications, but also to excel in them. The cost is $29.95.


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

The value of experience

Many of you may not be aware that one of the many benefits of AOPA membership is unique to the aviation association world. AOPA is the only general aviation organization with a full-time staff of medical certification specialists in the Pilot Information Center whose primary role is to assist members with medical certification challenges. Read more >>

What new pilots need to know about insurance

You dreamed about becoming a pilot and are taking the steps to make that a reality. Often as we chase our dreams we don’t think about what might change based on that becoming a reality. Insurance, although not on the top of the fun list, is an important piece of the puzzle. Read more >>


Minimum autorotation rpm

When a helicopter is in autorotation (that is, gliding without the benefit of engine power) rotor rpm must be maintained. This is done when entering the autorotation by lowering the collective control. If the rotor rpm approaches an upper limit, the collective is raised to add pitch. This increases drag and slows the rotor rpm. A low rotor rpm situation is just the opposite, lower the collective pitch to reduce the drag and allow the rotor rpm to speed up. 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: A terminal aerodrome forecast (TAF) is a textual weather product that can be used by pilots for flight planning. How large of an area does a TAF cover and how long is it valid?


Answer: A TAF covers an area within a 5-statute-mile radius of the airport. Each TAF is valid for either 24 or 30 hours.

Instrument Tip

IFR Fix: ‘Probably just the gauge’

On course, on altitude—but what’s this? The oil pressure gauge gets your attention—its needle is deflected low of normal. Oddly, there’s no rise in oil temperature to present a classic indication of engine trouble. Still, you wish you had paid closer attention to the engine gauges. Read more >>

Flight Instructor Refresher Courses

Air Safety Institute Safety Seminars

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.

Nov. 9 and 10

Anchorage, Alaska

Austin, Texas


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. 14

Concord, Calif.

Northglenn, Colo.

Mesa, Ariz.

Oct. 15

Fresno, Calif.

Colorado Springs, Colo.

Tucson, Ariz.

Oct. 16

El Paso, Texas

Bakersfield, Calif.

Oct. 17

Albuquerque, N.M.

Milan, Ill.


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, Aviation Industry

Related Articles