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

April 25, 2014, AOPA ePilot: Flight Training EditionApril 25, 2014, AOPA ePilot: Flight Training Edition

ePilot Flight Training Edition

April 25, 2014 - VOL 14, ISSUE 17

Training Tips

With a capital V

The silence on the approach control frequency is broken as the controller speaks your N number and advises, "Traffic, two o'clock, westbound, type and altitude unknown." You look up from updating a groundspeed calculation, and your instructor sets down the handheld GPS that is acting buggy, and both of you squint into the glare in the sector of the windscreen between the spinner and the right wing.

"There it is, a floatplane down low, climbing," the CFI says. You inform ATC that the traffic is in sight.

If that scenario seems familiar—especially the part about looking up from an inside-the-cockpit chore to scan for traffic—it's time to make a new effort to put "visual" back in your visual flight rules flying.

With all the gizmos, gadgets, and gauges that fill up an aircraft's cockpit, VFR pilots contend with a multitude of reasons (some better than others) to spend time with eyes inside.

A call from ATC may break the spell, but even that's not a remedy if all you do next is look for the one aircraft that was pointed out. That's a form of fixation (not to mention technological dependency). Another example of looking outside but remaining fixated on a single task is when seeking out that elusive checkpoint that should have appeared off the left wing tip by now.

About that floatplane: Would you have spotted it if it had not been called to your attention? Did it pose a potential conflict for you on your present heading? Remember, if the controller had been handling a heavier workload, or if another aircraft had called in just then, your traffic advisory might have been delayed, or never transmitted.

Collision avoidance is your responsibility, and is one of the 16 special emphasis areas evaluated on your private pilot practical test. Special emphasis areas are considered critical to flight safety.

Now, as the spring flying season gathers momentum, more pilots will be attending fly-ins, launching on training flights, giving sightseeing rides, and giving parachute jumpers a lift near some airports. Hot air balloons will grace the calm early-morning skies. And recent news makes clear that there are more unmanned aircraft systems in the air every day.

Monitoring radio frequencies and receiving radar advisories help, but see-and-avoid is still the key to VFR flying.

Flight Training News


San Marcos Fly-In: Top 10

AOPA's first regional fly-in of 2014 kicks off April 26 in San Marcos, Texas. Here are 10 tips on what to look forward to the day of the fly-in. Read more... Share:  


Apps of the week

W&B: There's an app for that

Calculating weight and balance is an important task for pilots. AOPA members share their personal favorite weight-and-balance apps. Read more... Share:  


Partnership forged for electric flight

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and Powering Imagination LLC will jointly create a flight program designed to cut aircraft emissions and noise by developing electric propulsion systems. The organizations noted that commercial aviation powerplants emit a significant amount of pollutants into the atmosphere, and aircraft noise is increasingly an issue around the world. Electric and hybrid-electric power systems offer the potential to reduce both noise and emissions significantly.



Able Flight awards scholarships

Able Flight, the nonprofit organization that works to provide free flight training to individuals with physical disabilities, announced the awarding of a record-setting nine scholarships in 2014. Read more... Share:  


Utah State offers online aviation degrees

Utah State University has 1,600 students enrolled in its online aviation science program to earn professional pilot or aviation administration bachelor's degrees, reports the Daily Herald. Students take their flight lessons at airports close to their homes.


Download portal

Be a pro: Use 'Safety To Go' portal

Are you looking to share general aviation safety information at a local community event? Use the Air Safety Institute's "Safety To Go" portal, and download seminars and videos that you can present at your flying club, fly-in, fixed-base operator, or flight school. New products are added quarterly. Take a look at what you can download... Share:  



'This is your captain speaking'

What if the airlines handled fuel management the way some general aviation pilots do? Watch this Air Safety Institute Pilot Safety Announcement and decide whether you would fly this airline. Hear the captain's announcement... Share:  


Air Camp being offered to middle school students

Air Camp in Dayton, Ohio, will offer middle school students from across the country the experience of flying an airplane in the summer during three sessions. The camp also provides an introduction to the wonders of flight and the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) of aviation and aeronautics.

Training Resources

Login required

Giving pireps

Have you ever wondered about the accuracy of the weather forecast for your route? Or whether there's ice at the altitude you're planning to fly? The best way to find out is from someone who's already been there—which is why timely pilot reports (pireps) are so helpful. But do you know how to interpret them, and how and when to give them? Test yourself with this Air Safety Institute safety quiz. 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.


AOPA Live This Week

All-seeing eye, launch from a trailer

Senior Aviation Medical Examiner Dr. Brent Blue says that his 30 years of issuing third class medicals have not enhanced safety. Lockheed Martin's F-35 fighter comes with a high-tech helmet that gives pilots an all-seeing eye and might just have a future in general aviation cockpits. And watch a seaplane launch from a trailer towed by a pickup truck. AOPA Live This Week®, April 24... Share:  

Career Pilot

ALPA says pilot shortage a myth—pay is missing

The Air Line Pilots Association told Aviation International News that there is not a shortage of pilots—only a shortage of pilots who are willing to work for substandard wages and benefits. ALPA referenced a recent Government Accountability Office report that indicates that a large pool of qualified pilots exists relative to projected demand. AIN noted that regional airlines and the Regional Airline Association said new rules requiring first officers to have more flight time have caused service reductions to a number of U.S. communities.


Global commercial aircraft sector up 8.9 percent, Deloitte says

Global commercial aircraft manufacturers' revenues increased 8.9 percent in 2013, according to a Deloitte analysis of the top 100 global aerospace companies. Key industrial metrics—1,274 aircraft produced, 2,858 net aircraft ordered, revenues nearing $105 billion, and nearly eight years of production backlog—contributed to the sector's record performance. Increased travel, especially in the Middle East, India, and China, combined with the replacement of obsolete aircraft to drive the demand.

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

Plane Spotter

'Highly remote'

It can seat 19 passengers or fly a cabin load of freight into "unprepared" airstrips. As a heavy-duty floatplane, or outfitted with tundra tires or skis, the more rustic the task and destination, the better for this high-winged turboprop twin. It holds the sixth designation in the de Havilland DHC lineup, but you can simply refer to the DHC-6 as the Twin Otter (the 6 in the number doubles down on the single-engine Otter's DHC-3 designation). Canada's Air Labrador uses the Twin Otter to provide large-capacity service to "highly remote locations."

Training Products

King Schools offers sport pilot exam course

The King Sport Pilot Knowledge Test Course on DVD for computers covers the subject matter in an interesting and entertaining way. It uses engaging video and bold, full-screen graphics coupled with interactive questions to reinforce learning. The course costs $279.


Learn radio communications with Gleim 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. The course gives student pilots or returning pilots practical knowledge about radio communications in environments from small, nontowered airports to the largest Class B airspace areas. 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

Member benefits

Six tricks to ensure your doctor speaks your language

Misunderstandings on aircraft radios can have profound implications, and so can miscommunication about health issues. Read more... Share:  



Protect yourself when you rent an airplane

If you don't understand renter's insurance, how can you make sure you have the best policy for you? AOPA Insurance Services President Bill Snead will provide answers to your questions about renter's insurance in a webinar hosted by SocialFlight May 1 at 8 p.m. Eastern time. Read more... Share:  


Upgrading to bigger, faster airplanes

Nearly every pilot aspires to move up, or upgrade to bigger, faster airplanes at some point, writes blogger and flight instructor John Mahany. After all, isn't that one of the main reasons we fly? Read more... Share:  


Contracting: A great career option for the professional pilot

As much as one may love flying, it can be a tough career choice, writes Opinion Leaders blogger Ron Rapp. Many pilots struggle through the food chain only to end up discouraged, if not downright hating their job. Read more... Share:  

Instrument Tip


Out of the loop

There is another aircraft nearby, and its pilot is going to unusual lengths to keep you in sight. It's time to refresh your knowledge of where the IFR and VFR worlds may overlap, and where pilot vigilance and situational awareness alone preserve safe margins. Read more... Share:  

Final Exam


I started my flight training a few months ago and my instructor taught me the basics of reading METARs. Now that the seasons are changing I'm starting to see new codes pop up as the types of precipitation changes. Where is a good place to find METAR codes in an easy-to-read format?


The FAA provides several sources for METAR codes. Chapter 12 of the Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge and Chapter 3 of Aviation Weather Services both have tables that describe the codes.

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

Career Opportunities

Aviation job board

Job of the week: Aviation lecturers at SIU Carbondale

Southern Illinois University Carbondale is seeking qualified candidates to teach one or more aviation courses within the College for Applied Sciences and Arts' off-campus aviation management program. The positions are part-time, variable time, and non-tenure. View a full job description...


AOPA career opportunities

Join the AOPA team

Ever dream of turning your passion for aviation into a career? We're looking for an executive assistant for government affairs, director of state government affairs, and account manager II. To learn more about other AOPA career opportunities, visit AOPA Online.

Education and Seminars

Flight Instructor Refresher Courses

May 3-4 - Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Albany, N.Y.; and Pensacola, Fla.

May 17-18 - Sacramento, Calif.; Kansas City, Mo.; and Houston, Texas.

June 7-8 - Santa Clara, Calif.; and Ashburn, Va.

June 21-22 - Charlotte, N.C.; Minneapolis, Minn.; and Orlando, Fla.

For a complete schedule, see AOPA Online. Can't make it in person? Sign up for the Air Safety Institute's new Online eFIRC.

Air Safety Institute Safety Seminars

Apr 28 - Hampton, Va.; Worcester, Mass.; and Concord, Calif.

Apr 29 - Chester, Conn.; Richmond, Va.; and Fresno, Calif.

Apr 30 - Martinsville, Va.; Bakersfield, Calif.; and Manchester, N.H.

May 1 - Blacksburg, Va.

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

Rusty Pilot Seminars

Apr 25 - San Marcos, Texas

May 3 - Quinton, Va.

For a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.

Aviation Calendar

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.

AOPA Featured Events

Apr 26 — San Marcos, Texas. San Marcos Municipal Airport (KHYI). AOPA Fly-In.


May 31 — Indianapolis, Indiana. Indianapolis Regional Airport (KMQJ). AOPA Fly-In.


Jul 12 — Plymouth, Massachusetts. Plymouth Airport (KPYM). AOPA Fly-In.


Aug 16 — Spokane, Washington. Spokane Felts Field (KSFF). AOPA Fly-In.


Sep 20 — Chino, California. Chino Airport (KCNO). AOPA Fly-In.


Oct 4 — Frederick, Maryland. Frederick Municipal Airport (KFDK). AOPA Homecoming.


Nov 8 — Brunswick, Georgia. Malcom McKinnon Airport (KSSI). AOPA Fly-In.

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. Take a look, and submit your own photos!

AOPA ePilot

ePilot Flight Training Editor:

Benét Wilson

Production Assistant:

Melissa Whitehouse


Sarah Deener
Alyssa Miller
Jim Moore
Jill W. Tallman
Warren Morningstar
Alton K. Marsh
Dave Hirschman
Tom Horne
Ian J. Twombly
Dan Namowitz

Member Tools: Send feedback | ePilot Archive

Related Articles