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September 13, 2013, AOPA ePilot: Flight Training EditionSeptember 13, 2013, AOPA ePilot: Flight Training Edition

AOPA ePilot


VOLUME 13, ISSUE 37 — September 13, 2013

Training Tips

Is today the day?

Training TipA flight instructor gets an early-morning weather briefing before a dual lesson with a primary student pilot, and is pleased to learn conditions are much better than forecast in yesterday’s outlook briefing. The sunnier, less-windy weather may provide an opportunity to send the student on a much-delayed first solo, which would be a great boost for the trainee’s morale after the recent setbacks.


The decision will depend on a variety of factors. Yesterday’s traffic pattern practice was slightly shaky at first. But after a timely reminder to keep the yoke back during the flare, landings were perfect. A go-around commanded by the tower when a preceding aircraft dawdled exiting the runway produced calm, precise compliance. The student’s confidence grew as the session progressed (and when given the choice of continuing or calling it a day, the student surprised the instructor by electing to continue).


Those were excellent developments, but other variables also are in play today. The student pilot—who is strong on preflight preparation but sometimes seems put off by abrupt changes of plans—spent last evening reading up for a dual session of maneuvers, slow flight, and pattern work at a nearby nontowered airport. Soloing has seemed off the table lately with all the recent bad weather; what will the reaction be to a sudden switch?


Also, the trainer usually flown by the pair is undergoing maintenance today. The substitute aircraft is identical in most respects, but has less familiar radios and com panel—and as the student likes to say about its flight characteristics, “It just feels different.”


The most important variable, of course, will be how the trainee performs today. Has yesterday’s confidence carried over?


Apparently it has. After warming up with a coordination exercise and some maneuvers, the student flies a correct entry to the nontowered airport traffic pattern, and lands like an old hand. On the next two circuits, a go-around and a simulated engine failure also measure up well, as the instructor declares as the trainee taxies the aircraft clear of the runway.


There is a flurry of inbound and outbound traffic, and once again the training flight has the airport all to itself.


“How are you holding up?” the instructor asks.


“Not bad.”


“Okay, then here’s what I would like you to do next…”

Flight Training News

AOPA announces new focus on grassroots events in 2014

AOPA has decided to suspend holding its annual Aviation Summit in favor of reaching more members “where they fly.” Aviation Summit in Fort Worth, Texas, from Oct. 10 through 12, will be held as planned and is shaping up to be one of the best ever. But convention plans for 2014 have been canceled. AOPA plans to redirect the time and resources previously spent on Summit to meeting members at community airports and hosting more grassroots events. Read more >> 

FAA demands retest of pilots after discovering improper examinations

The FAA says certain pilots must be retested after the agency found alleged improper behavior from an examiner based in the Northeast. Read more >>

Weekend IACRA outage to affect test-takers

The Web-based Integrated Airman Certification and Rating Application (IACRA) will be unavailable from 6 p.m. Central time Sept. 13 through Sept. 15, according to the FAA. The FAA data center hosting the application will undergo an infrastructure upgrade. AOPA recommends pilots appearing for practical tests during this time take a hard copy of the FAA's Form 8710.

What it takes to become a blimp pilot

Pilots interested in getting an airship rating will have to train while on the job, since there are no schools that teach this particular skill, according to Bret Viets, chief pilot on the MetLife Snoopy Two blimp. Viets has worked for the Van Wagner Airship Group, which handles airship promotional campaigns for clients including MetLife, Goodyear, and DirecTV, since 2007. Read more >>

Developers offer app updates

This week AOPA gets updates from developers on these apps: WingX Pro7, Aviation W&B Calculator, Xavion, Connect 2 Landmark, and Sporty’s E6B. Read more >>

New education tracks debut at AOPA Summit

The 2013 AOPA Aviation Summit will have a new twist: Educational seminars will be laid out in five easy-to-follow tracks focused on the leading concerns of pilots. The tracks are Pilot Skills, Aircraft Maintenance, Medical and Legal, Technology, and Leading Luminaries. This year’s Summit will also feature a new interactive environment called “Ask the Experts,” designed to create a collaborative discussion and Q&A format with expert leaders in the areas of air traffic control, medical, flight training, and dealing with law enforcement. Read more >>

Arizona Flight Training Center offers free ground school training

Glendale-based Arizona Flight Training Center has begun offering free ground school as part of its private pilot certification training, reports General Aviation News. “We’re about to see a significant pilot shortage in the very near future,” said Rick Rademaker, president of Executive Aviation and chief flight instructor for the center. “Combined with the rising costs of expert training, we’re literally seeing the student pilot ranks declining.”

More than just the D button

GPS has come of age—and it is in more general aviation aircraft than ever. But many pilots are still limited to its simplest functions. Learn more about this amazing cockpit tool and how you can use GPS to make your next VFR flight more efficient, enjoyable, and safe with the Air Safety Institute’s GPS for VFR online course. Log in to take the course >>

Doing night flights right

The airport environment at nighttime can be quite overwhelming for some pilots, as airports easily navigated during the day can become a bewildering array of lights of all types and colors. But it can also be fun. Learn more about the meanings of various light placements and colors, and prove your mettle by taking the Air Safety Institute’s Airport Lighting: VFR safety quiz. Log in to take the quiz >>

Training Resources

Ask ATC: Minimum fuel vs. fuel emergency

When it comes to communicating a low-fuel situation, words matter; what you say is as important as when you say it. Listen to this Air Safety Institute video as controllers explain the difference between how they handle a “minimum fuel” radio call versus a “fuel emergency.” Watch the video >>


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.


Arctic adventure

AOPA gets some backup in Congress on aircraft searches, fly in the Canadian Arctic, and get tips from Rod Machado on timing the flare. As of publication deadline, AOPA Live® producers were still finalizing the show, which will be available Sept. 13. AOPA Live This Week®.

Career Pilot

United recalls all furloughed pilots

United Airlines has announced it is recalling all furloughed pilots, reports the United Master Executive Council of the Air Line Pilots Association. In September 2008, United Airlines began laying off pilots, with 1,437 furloughed. Among the furloughed pilots, 342 have been offered recall and another 600 took positions with Continental. Training classes for the recalled pilots are scheduled to begin in October and run through the end of 2013.

Airline pilots help develop UAS standards

Airline pilots are helping to develop the standards mandated by Congress to introduce unmanned aircraft systems into the nation’s airspace system, reports Aviation International News. The deadline to establish the rules is September 2015.


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

Plane Spotter

First of the fleet

Gulfstream IWhy does a familiar family of business jets from Gulfstream begin with the designation GII? A shrewd plane spotter can identify descendant models, and will note that Gulfstream renamed its aircraft product line in 2002. One of the newest aircraft, a fast, long-range model, is the G650. But it all began with the GI, a twin turboprop—and in 2013 Gulfstream celebrated the fifty-fifth anniversary of its first flight. The 12-passenger aircraft, recognizable by its trademark large oval windows, “laid the foundation” for today’s Gulfstream jets, the company said.

Training Products

Sporty’s offers fresh approach to checklists

Sporty’s is now offering basic checklists for quick reference. Printed on a high-quality, transparent static cling vinyl, these checklists adhere to a window or clear sun visor. They include a takeoff checklist, before-landing checklist, and several emergency checklists. The cost is $17.95.

Latest edition of ‘FAA Safety Briefing’ now available

The September/October 2013 issue of FAA Safety Briefing focuses on aviation citizenship. Articles highlight the values, customs, and culture shared as citizens of the general aviation community. Topics include a Q&A with FAA Administrator Michael Huerta, a runway incursion confession, and general aviation news/current events. The briefing is available via PDF, along with iPad, Android, Nook, and Kindle devices.


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

Pilot Protection Services: A timely value

For those who are members of Pilot Protection Services, AOPA really hopes and expects that you are receiving good value for the dollars you pay beyond your basic membership dues. With that in mind, Gary Crump, director of AOPA Medical Certification Services, discusses value in the context of the real world of airman medical certification at this time. Log in and read more >>

Preventing out of pocket from getting out of hand

A deductible is the amount you’ll pay out of your own pocket in the event of an accident for which you’re filing a claim. Deductibles are a way for the insurance company to make you participate in the cost of a claim as an added incentive to be alert and avoid carelessness in the cockpit. Read more >>


Circumnavigation continues

AOPA Technical Editor Mike Collins and Mike Laver are flying Laver’s Mitsubishi MU-2 to Japan—the long way. This week, Collins departs Australia after sharing a flying club’s tasty tradition, glimpsing whales on a demo flight, and giving vegemite a shot. Track the pilots’ location in real time as they head for Nagoya, Japan, for the fiftieth anniversary of the MU-2’s first flight, and continue the rest of the way around the world. Read more >>

The automation challenge: A young person’s problem?

In the aftermath of Asiana 214 in San Francisco and UPS 1354 in Birmingham (even reaching back to Air France 447 and Colgan 3407), much of the collective conversation, soul searching, and heated argument has revolved around the issue of cockpit automation and pilot interaction with onboard technology. There has been a collective cry from much of the “old guard” in the aviation field saying that these accidents prove that the modern pilot spends too much time monitoring systems and not enough time honing their old-fashioned “stick-and-rudder” skills. Read more >>

AOPA Career Opportunities

Ever dream of turning your passion for aviation into a career? We’re looking for a 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!

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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 a sport pilot with airplane single-engine land privileges. At your airport you noticed a neat-looking aircraft called a gyroplane and you asked the pilot how you can get rated to fly it. The pilot, who happens to be a flight instructor, says he can train you and another flight instructor can give you a proficiency check. What else is required for you to obtain gyroplane privileges?


Answer: There is no practical test (or knowledge test) required in this case. As a sport pilot, you can obtain other category and class privileges after being trained by one flight instructor and checked by another. The second flight instructor performs a proficiency check and if you succeed the instructor will provide you with a logbook endorsement which allows you to fly with sport pilot privileges in the other category or class. See FAR 61.321 for the full explanation of the requirement.

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

Instrument Tip

IFR Fix: Radar contact lost

What’s an unusual feature of an instrument approach procedure in your aviation neighborhood—some quirk of design that makes you glad you can practice it at will? One approach may require you to identify a key fix with multiple nav systems. Another might use the DME from a VOR for an initial phase, and then switch to localizer DME for the final approach. Read more >>

Flight Instructor Refresher Courses

Air Safety Institute Safety Seminars

Sept. 14 and 15

Baltimore, Md.

Bellevue, Wash.

Sept. 21 and 22

Phoenix, Ariz.

Sacramento, Calif.

Colorado Springs, Colo.


Sept. 28 and 29

Richmond, Va.

Oct. 5 and 6

Indianapolis, Ind.

Wichita, Kan.

Corpus Christi, 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.

Sept. 16

San Antonio, Texas

Morristown, N.J.

Duluth, Minn.

Sept. 17

Salt Lake City, Utah

Brooklyn Park, Minn.

Austin, Texas

Hartford, Conn.

Sept. 18

Boise, Idaho

Houston, Texas

Saint Paul, Minn.

Worcester, Mass.

Sept. 19

Manchester, N.H.

Rochester, Minn.


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:
East/Central: Brian Curpier, 607/547-2591
Central: Gary Brennan, 607/547-2591
West: Zane Lewis, 214/789-6094

AOPA Advertising website

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Topics: AOPA, AOPA Products and Services, ATC

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