AOPA will be closed on February 18 in observance of Presidents Day. We will reopen at 8:30 a.m. EST on February 19.
Already a member? Please login below for an enhanced experience. Not a member? Join today

February 7, 2014, AOPA ePilot: Flight Training EditionFebruary 7, 2014, AOPA ePilot: Flight Training Edition

ePilot Flight Training Edition

February 7, 2014 - VOL 14, ISSUE 6

Training Tips

The official word

In your first circuit of the towered airport's traffic pattern, you were cleared to make left closed traffic, and the controller instructed you to "start your crosswind turn when able." As you were climbing again following your touch and go, you heard the controller clear the aircraft holding short of the runway for "an immediate takeoff," and to "fly runway heading."

That series of instructions issued to you and the departing aircraft was not composed of random words or phrases. Depending on the traffic situation being managed, and any potential conflict that could arise, the instructions air traffic control issues to pilots convey very specific expectations—and pilots are expected to know what they are.

How does a pilot know what's expected? For starters, the Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM) sets forth radio communications phraseology and techniques, and also defines pilot and controller roles and responsibilities. But to glean the intent of specific words or instructions, consult the Pilot/Controller Glossary. It is found near the end of the AIM.

Suppose during your session working the pattern you hear the pilot of an arriving aircraft inform ATC of a "minimum fuel" condition. How does that pilot expect the controller to respond? Is the pilot declaring an emergency?

The Pilot/Controller Glossary explains that the term minimum fuel "indicates that an aircraft's fuel supply has reached a state where, upon reaching the destination, it can accept little or no delay. This is not an emergency situation but merely indicates an emergency situation is possible should any undue delay occur."

The Pilot/Controller Glossary clarifies the difference between the two terms you heard as you made your crosswind turns after your first and second takeoffs. The instruction to turn crosswind "when able" gave you latitude "to delay compliance until a condition or event"—such as reaching a reasonable altitude—has been resolved.

ATC's use of "immediate" in the takeoff clearance issued to the waiting aircraft was required, the glossary explains, "to avoid an imminent situation"—perhaps the need to cancel the takeoff clearance because of an aircraft on approach to land.

The definitions and examples provided in the Pilot/Controller Glossary are often cited as references in discussions of procedures and interpretations of rules. Test your knowledge of terms and phrases with this Air Safety Institute safety quiz.

Flight Training News


Tailwheel tango: 'Dance on the rudders'

Tailwheel aircraft aren't as forgiving of pilots' bad technique as nosewheel airplanes, causing trouble during transition training for those with sloppy footwork. Instructors who specialize in tailwheel transitions tell of the stick-and-rudder weaknesses they see in pilots—and offer advice that can help. Read more... Share:  


Rotorcraft Rookie

Time to go somewhere

Try a cross-country with only a compass and map for navigation, mental math calculations instead of using an E6B, and hitting checkpoints every five miles. Read more... Share:  


Apps of the week

Is there an app for that? Probably

Logbooks, fuel calculations, artificial glideslopes for short-field approaches—there's an app for that. Read more... Share:  


SAFE to hold pilot proficiency event in March

The Society of Aviation and Flight Educators (SAFE) will be holding its next Pilot Proficiency Project event in Melbourne, Fla., March 8 and 9. The event includes safety seminars, simulator training sessions, food, and camaraderie. The Pilot Proficiency Project is a cooperative effort between SAFE, Redbird Flight Simulations, Starr Aviation, and other strategic partners.


Lake Region State College receives new flight simulator

Devil's Lake, N.D.-based Lake Region State College has added a new Redbird FMX flight simulator as part of its simulator maintenance technician program. The program was created to train students on troubleshooting, repair, and maintenance of the electronic and mechanical components of simulators used in pilot training, entertainment, and other applications.


Flash-based, login required

Say again?

Do you know what to say before you press the "push-to-talk" switch? Get a little help from the Air Safety Institute and avoid communication blunders with Say It Right: Mastering Radio Communication. Take the course...


Embry-Riddle Prescott creates College of Security and Intelligence

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University's Prescott campus has created the first College of Security and Intelligence in the United States. Students will get hands-on, real-world experience with courses in computer and forensic sciences; offensive and defensive cybersecurity operations intelligence and counterintelligence analysis and operations; foreign policy and international law; counterterrorism; environmental threats; and global, regional, and homeland security.



Pilot reports appreciated

What do you say when a flight service specialist asks you for a pilot report (pirep) concluding a briefing? Yes, no, maybe so? Use the "SkySpotter: Pireps Made Easy" form to help jog your memory during flight of what to jot down. Download the form…


Applications open for Girls With Wings, other scholarships

Scholarships open opportunities for entries into aviation-related fields and help students focus on their lessons instead of how much those lessons cost. Check out these new scholarships and see if you are eligible to apply. Read more... Share:  

Training Resources


Fighting fatigue

An overwhelming desire to sleep is the most pronounced symptom of fatigue, and it's a decidedly uncomfortable feeling when you're at the controls of an airplane. In reality, though, there's a lot more to fatigue than the risk of dozing off in the cockpit. This Air Safety Institute Safety Brief looks at some of the things that can lead to fatigue, and some ways to keep it from catching up with you in the cockpit. Download the brief...

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

Sporty Italian Tecnam; cool aviation high school

What do you get when you marry a light sport airframe with a turbocharged engine and Italian design? The Tecnam P2008—an airplane with a supercar finish. Plus, see a high school in Seattle that offers hands-on experience in aerospace engineering through a paid internship. And hear from a U.S. senator who is ticked at Customs and Border Protection for general aviation stops and searches. AOPA Live This Week®, Feb. 6... Share:  

Career Pilot

CTC opens pilot training center in Arizona

CTC Aviation, a U.K.-based airline pilot training company, has partnered with Lufthansa Flight Training to open an airline pilot training center in Phoenix. CTC Aviation, which works with more than 50 airlines around the world, is investing $7 million to equip the new facility. The facility will be able to train up to 200 airline pilots a year. The company will be able to put pilot graduates into jobs through its airline training partner network.


Flight attendants strike bargaining agreement with American

The unions representing premerger flight attendants at the new American Airlines reached an agreement with airline management on bargaining for a joint contract, the unions announced Jan. 27. The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA represents the premerger US Airways workgroup, while the Association of Professional Flight Attendants represents the premerger American flight attendants. Negotiations will take place under an accelerated timeline, and all of the merged carrier's flight attendants will benefit no later than February 2015 from a new contract, the unions said.

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

Plane Spotter

The 'telecopter'

It was the first helicopter certified for civilian aviation on May 8, 1946, and ever since has performed with distinction in military service, law enforcement, agriculture, the training industry, and more. In 1958, a Bell 47 rented by a Los Angeles, Calif., television station and outfitted with video equipment made its name as the first TV news "telecopter." The light copter with a piston engine and a two-bladed rotor would be produced in numbers, in a long line of variants and conversions. About 1,000 Bell 47s remain in service.

Training Products

Rod Machado announces new pilot workbook

The new Rod Machado's Private Pilot Workbook will help student pilots prepare for the FAA private pilot knowledge exam. The questions are organized to follow the presentation of material found in Machado's Private Pilot Handbook. Students can test their knowledge and comprehension in each subject area with numerous weight-and-balance, performance, and flight planning problems. The cost is $19.95 for the e-book and $24.95 for the paperback.


Radio communications book released

The sixth edition of the Pilot's Radio Communications Handbook discusses the full spectrum of radio facilities and communication responsibilities. Designed primarily, but not exclusively, for VFR pilots, this book spells out what to say to contact a facility, what you should expect to hear, and how to respond properly. A new chapter on communications and emergencies and new coverage of the international phonetic alphabet are included. The book costs $43.50.

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

The case of Schuyler 'Sky' King

When a pilot needs a second class medical for his job—as would a law enforcement officer pilot—it's important to get all of the required documentation to the FAA quickly after surgery for prostate cancer. Could AOPA help get fictional crime-fighter "Sky" King back in the air? Read more... Share:  


Member benefits

AOPA Insurance announces new online self-service features

AOPA Insurance Services has expanded online capabilities of its website to include policy service requests for its customers. Read more... Share:  


Where are they now?

When Comair shut down, its pilots were out of work. Professional pilot blogger Chip Wright says the smart ones put their networking skills to good use and landed jobs right away. Read more... Share:  


Tomorrow's lesson

What will tomorrow's flight training be like? From the end of World War II until just a few years ago, methods for civilian pilot training in the United States changed very little. Read more... Share:  

Instrument Tip


'Confusion reigned'

Can you identify the misunderstanding that was developing between the parties during an approach to Florida's Daytona Beach International Airport? Read more... Share:  

Final Exam


How often is the automatic terminal information service (ATIS) information updated?


An ATIS broadcast must be updated upon the receipt of any official hourly and special weather. A new recording will also be made when there is a change in other pertinent data such as runway or instrument approach in use, etc. (Source: AIM 4-1-13.)

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

Career Opportunities

AOPA career opportunities

Join the AOPA team

Ever dream of turning your passion for aviation into a career? We're looking for an event planner, aviation technical writer contractor, coordinator of pilot community and development, director of insurance business operations, member services and airport directory representative, and Web graphic designer I. To learn more about other AOPA career opportunities, visit AOPA Online.

Education and Seminars

Flight Instructor Refresher Courses

Feb 8-9 - Fairfax, Va.; Nashua, N.H.; New Orleans, La.; and Louisville, Ky.

Feb 15-16 - Melbourne, Fla.; Oklahoma City, Okla.; Las Vegas, Nev.; and Fort Worth, Texas

Feb 22-23 - Sacramento, Calif.

Mar 1-2 - Phoenix, Ariz.; Ontario, Calif.; and King of Prussia, Pa.

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

Feb 10 - Jacksonville, Ark.; and Northglenn, Colo.

Feb 11 - Fayetteville, Ark.; and Colorado Springs, Colo.

Feb 12 - Bethany, Okla.

Feb 13 - Wichita, Kan.

Topics vary—for details and 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 Team

Katie Richardson
Lezlie Ramsey
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

Topics: AOPA, Flight Training, Pilot Training and Certification

Related Articles