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August 1, 2014, AOPA ePilot: Flight Training EditionAugust 1, 2014, AOPA ePilot: Flight Training Edition

ePilot Flight Training Edition

August 1, 2014 - VOL 14, ISSUE 31

Training Tips

Monitoring mountain obscuration

A pilot in Kalispell, Montana, is reviewing weather for a 128-nautical-mile VFR flight to an airport in eastern Washington state. The synopsis given in the latest area forecast is encouraging, with a ridge of high pressure expected to dominate through the forecast period, and light winds expected across the region.

In eastern Washington state, the forecast calls for broken clouds at 15,000 feet, tops to 25,000 feet, becoming clear before the estimated arrival time, outlook VFR.

The destination, Spokane's Felts Field—site of the fourth 2014 AOPA Regional Fly-In on Aug. 16—is reporting clear skies and 10 miles visibility, with light winds from the east. The terminal forecast for nearby Spokane International Airport is calling for scattered clouds at 12,000 feet at the ETA.

An upbeat briefing so far—but what kind of conditions can be expected over the high, hilly terrain along the route? Is it possible that some of the higher terrain could be obscured? Note that the minimum en route altitude for IFR operations along much of Victor 448, the Victor airway that basically parallels the pilot's VFR route, is 13,000 feet (or 10,000 feet for RNAV-equipped aircraft.)

Don't gloss over this important aspect of flight planning before taking on any mountainous-area route. Whether you will cross numerous ridgelines, or climb to altitudes close to your aircraft's limits, mountain obscuration is a potential hazard for VFR operations.

Any pilot who receives weather briefings soon becomes accustomed to seeing several precautionary statements at the beginning of an area forecast. Here is an example of one such precautionary statement: "SEE AIRMET SIERRA FOR IFR CONDS AND MTN OBSCN."

"The area forecast covers VFR clouds and weather, so the precautionary statement warns that Airmet Sierra should be referenced for IFR conditions and mountain obscuration," explains Chapter 12 of the Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge.

Airmets warn of conditions that may be hazardous to light aircraft and VFR pilots (except convective activity). Checking Airmet Sierra, the pilot finds this information for the proposed flight to Felts Field: "NO SGFNT IFR EXP OUTSIDE OF CNVTV ACT."

It's a positive weather picture that's emerging—but keep tabs on conditions as you proceed. And when updating your information, pay special attention to any changes to Airmet Sierra.

Flight Training News

How's your control tower comfort level?

Do you have questions about operations at towered airports? Join Flight Training Editor Ian J. Twombly and Technical Editor Jill W. Tallman for a live Facebook chat on Tuesday, Aug. 5, at 3 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. Their guest will be Todd Johnson, air traffic manager at Frederick Municipal Airport in Frederick, Maryland. One chatter will receive a $50 gift card from Aircraft Spruce & Specialty. Set an email reminder for the chat here. Flight Training Facebook chats are sponsored by Aircraft Spruce & Specialty.



Piper continues strong showing in trainer market

Continuing significant orders to the training market show that Piper Aircraft is making progress in its three-year plan to gain market share in that competitive arena. Read more...  


Apps of the week

Developers offer Oshkosh updates

Timed to coincide with EAA AirVenture, aviation companies offer updates on five apps across the iOS and Android platforms. Read more...  


Daytona Beach education center launches aviation program

A new aviation program has started at the Yvonne Scarlett-Golden Cultural and Educational Center in Daytona Beach, Florida, reports the Daytona Times. Led by Arthur Miles, a U.S. Air Force retiree, the center is using flight simulators and remote-controlled aircraft to teach aviation to youths up to age 17.


Aviation school opens new branch in Kissimmee, Florida

The Aviator College of Aeronautical Science & Technology will open a new campus at Kissimmee Gateway Airport in 2015, reports the city's economic development office. The new facility will offer airframe and powerplant mechanic classes to prepare students for FAA A&P certification. Aviator College currently has a flight training campus in Fort Pierce, Florida.


Login required

Cross-country flight to Festus

How sharp is your VFR cross-country knowledge? Test your skills with this 350-nautical-mile VFR flight from Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, to Festus, Missouri. Take the quiz...


Flash-based, login required

VFR GPS guide for GNS 430/530 units

If you have misplaced the ops manual or would like a quick refresher on the Garmin GNS 430 or 530 panel-mount GPS, you'll enjoy this self-paced presentation, which focuses on the most frequently used functions during a VFR flight. There's also a quick-reference card at the end of the presentation that you can download and carry in your flight bag on your next trip. Take the course...


Aviation organizations offer education, training scholarships

Aviation organizations are offering scholarships covering education, flight training, and maintenance training. Read more...  

Training Resources


Takeoffs and landings: Base-to-final turn

Overshooting that base-to-final turn can be a problem. Trying to get back on course safely can be dangerous. Watch this Air Safety Institute video to learn how you can avoid this problem...  

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

AOPA Live goes to AirVenture

AOPA Live® is at EAA AirVenture 2014, where a diesel-powered Cessna 172 was unveiled, the first production HondaJet was revealed, and AOPA's "152 Reimagined" project was announced. AOPA Live This Week®, July 31...  

Career Pilot

Boeing 20-year outlook of demand up 4.2 percent

In its latest annual Current Market Outlook, released July 10, Boeing projects a demand for 36,770 new airplanes over the next 20 years—up 4.2 percent from the previous forecast. Boeing estimated the value of those new aircraft at $5.2 trillion. "This market is strong and resilient," said Randy Tinseth, vice president of marketing for Boeing Commercial Airplanes, in a news release. Boeing projects the fastest growth in the single-aisle market. Tinseth said that "we see the heart of the single-aisle market in the 160-seat range. There's no question the market is converging to this size, where network flexibility and cost efficiency meet."


Singapore Airlines mulls cut in pilot training time

Singapore Airlines is preparing a field test of a new multi-crew pilot license that could cut training times for cadet pilots from three to two years, reports Asia One. Under the two-year training program cadets would spend more time in flight simulators and take classes on interpersonal and communications skills.

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

Plane Spotter

Reimagined aircraft

Imagine giving your old trainer a completely modern makeover. Picture it aloft as often as it flew years ago—but now, as property of your flying club or ownership group. Introducing "Reimagined Aircraft," AOPA's initiative to explore an affordable path to aircraft ownership and flying: About a dozen Cessna 150s and 152s will be acquired, refurbished, painted, and placed for sale by Aviat Aircraft. These dependable GA mainstays were selected to show that if you give pilots favorable circumstances for flying—say about $65 per hour, including fuel—they will fly!

Training Products

ASA releases 2015 test prep books

ASA has released its series of test prep books for 2015. Books include questions and answers that are representative of all FAA knowledge exams. The books identify the applicable test—airplane, rotorcraft, gyroplane, glider, lighter-than-air, or weight-shift control—for each question, include explanations, and are organized into chapters based on subject matter for efficient studying. The FAA Computer Testing Supplement is included with every test book, and updates to questions and answers are provided as free downloads from the ASA website. The cost ranges from $19.95 to $49.95. Test supplement books are also available separately, and software bundles include the book and software download. offers aircraft systems book

The second edition of Aircraft Systems has been released on In the book, author David Lombardo taps his background as both a pilot and A&P to present important systems information written specifically for pilots. Supporting his detailed descriptions are numerous illustrations of the various systems common to GA singles and light twins. The cost is $29.99.

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

Members only

When ATC is not in charge

When you're at an airport without an operating tower in Class G airspace, can ATC clear you to make turns to the right even though the regulation requires that all turns when approaching the airport must be made to the left? Read more...  


Member benefits

New date for renter's insurance webinar

AOPA Insurance Services is offering a webinar Aug. 7 to help answer questions about renter's insurance and to help you understand which policy is best for you. Read more...  


Lost logs, messy logs

One of the worst things that can happen to a pilot is to lose a logbook, especially a logbook that is fat with hours and experience. Read more...  


Money well spent

Owning an airplane will lighten your wallet, but Opinion Leaders blogger Amy Laboda offers her equation to minimize the pain and angst involved in budgeting. Read more...  

Instrument Tip


11 degrees of separation

The arcing dashed arrow that ushers in the missed approach lends it a deceptively simple appearance, but there's more here than greets the eye. Read more...  

Final Exam


Thunderstorms are forecast nearly daily throughout the summer in many parts of the country. What are the phases of the life cycle of a thunderstorm?


The three phases of the life cycle of a thunderstorm are cumulus, mature, and dissipating. Learn more about the hazards associated with thunderstorms by taking the Air Safety Institute safety quiz on thunderstorm hazards. (Source: Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge, Chapter 11.)

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

Career Opportunities

Aviation job board

Job of the week: Executive director, Airway Science for Kids

If you are a science nut and want to share aviation with the next generation, Airway Science for Kids has a job for you! The 501(c)(3) organization, which uses aviation as a science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) program in middle schools, is seeking an executive director. Learn more about this exciting opportunity today. Learn more or apply now.


AOPA career opportunities

Join the AOPA team

Ever dream of turning your passion for aviation into a career? We're looking for a financial analyst, human resources assistant, payroll technician, contract Air Safety Institute presenter, member services representative, major gift officer, AOPA Live producer/videographer I, and account manager II. To learn more about other AOPA career opportunities, visit AOPA Online.

Education and Seminars

Flight Instructor Refresher Courses

Aug 2-3 - Fort Worth, Texas

Aug 9-10 - Reno, Nevada; and Allentown, Pennsylvania

Aug 16-17 - Atlanta, Georgia

Aug 23-24 - Long Beach, California

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

Aug 1-2 - Oshkosh, Wisconsin

Sep 2 - Germantown, Tennessee

Sep 3 - Salt Lake City, Utah; and Murfreesboro, Tennessee

Sep 4 - Boise, Idaho; and Maryville, Tennessee

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

Rusty Pilot Seminars

Aug 9 - Scott City, Missouri; and Hartford, Connecticut

Aug 11 - Belgrade, Montana

Aug 15 - Spokane, Washington

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

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

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