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January 24, 2014, AOPA ePilot: Flight Training Edition

ePilot Flight Training Edition

January 24, 2014 - VOL 14, ISSUE 4

Training Tips

Links in a chain

Nothing in the forecast suggested that the ceiling would be this low. Winds aloft seem stronger too. The next checkpoint, a lake, should have appeared by now. Has the flight drifted from the course line?

Time is also on the student pilot's mind. The first outbound leg took 90 minutes. But on departure northbound for leg two, he neglected to jot down the time off.

Now he is kicking himself—as much as a trainer's cramped cockpit permits—for not refueling during that stop. He estimates three hours' total fuel burn, with two takeoff-and-climb segments included, but it would be nice not to be guessing in light of the uncertainty about position. Up ahead, the clouds are getting even lower.

Fortunately, there is an airport about 25 miles east of the course, where the sky appears quite clear. Once across an intervening ridgeline, he should be able to receive directional guidance from the airport's terminal VOR; according to the airport/facility directory, it is unusable beyond 10 miles in this area.

Fighting off a touch of denial—not to mention worry—it occurs to the trainee as he opts to divert to the airport that surveying the terrain below for possible precautionary landing sites might also be prudent.

As he crosses the low ridges, and while dialing in the VOR frequency, the throb of the engine stops, and a small voice in the student's head says, "Time's up."

Down below he has spotted a long, straight road about a mile away to the north, and a wide-open field the same distance away to the south. Which is the better choice for the off-airport landing?

What is the surface wind's direction? Are there obstructions? Should he plan a traffic pattern or slip off his altitude for a straight-in approach?

Pitching to establish best-glide airspeed and rough-trimming to relieve elevator pressures, he makes his choice and turns toward the landing site. It's going to be close. If only he had activated that VFR flight plan, someone would eventually issue an ALNOT (alert notice).

Suddenly, the engine surges to life and the voice in his head—in his ears, actually, because it is coming from the instructor in the right seat—says, "Looks like you would have just made it. Let's go home."

It's said that an accident results from a chain of events. Stay safe by breaking its links at the earliest opportunity.

Flight Training News


Goose strike captured on video

Keith Baird saw the flight of four geese about half a second before he had a hole in the windshield and goose parts all over. Unsure if he had been injured, or how badly damaged his aircraft was, Baird relied on training to keep cool and focus on the fundamentals, making sure the ill-fated goose was the only casualty that day. Read more... Share:  


Apps of the week

Apps target pilots training for new certificates, ratings

Students at all certificate levels are always looking for the latest apps that can help them as they continue their journey toward earning their next pilot certificate or rating. The good news is that aviation apps developers are specifically targeting pilots in training with apps that can help the learning process. Read more... Share:  


Chat with B-29 pilot Debbie Travis King

Join Flight Training Editor Ian J. Twombly for a live Facebook chat with Commemorative Air Force volunteer pilot Debbie Travis King, who flies both the B-24 Liberator and the B-29 Superfortress. King is the first woman to fly the B-29 since World War II. When she's not touring with the CAF B-24/B-29 Squadron, she's a corporate pilot and flight instructor. Chat with her at 3 p.m. Eastern on Tuesday, Feb. 4. One chatter will receive a prize. Set an email reminder here.


Abingdon offers full scholarship to WAI conference

The Abingdon Co., which makes aviation watches for women, is offering a scholarship to the 2014 International Women in Aviation Conference that includes round-trip airfare and room and board. Officials from the company will introduce the winner of the It's About Time Scholarship to key people in aviation who will share their experiences. Applicants are not required to be pilots or in the aviation industry. The criteria are simple: Tell or show why you deserve to go. Submissions are due Jan. 31. The winner will be announced by Feb. 10.


W. Mich University, MBAA help promote bizav careers

Western Michigan University and the Michigan Business Aviation Association are joining forces to launch a program that will provide internships and scholarships for those interested in business aviation careers. Career options under the program include corporate pilot, managing flight facilities for a corporate entity or entities, and aircraft maintenance.


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Mayday, Mayday, Mayday!

Imagine flying the gorgeous Alaska Mountain Range, sharing spectacular views of Denali National Park with your passengers. Then, just as the stunning panorama of Mount McKinley spreads out before your eyes, something goes terribly wrong. Watch the Real Pilot Story...


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Weather in a snapshot

Do you appreciate pilot reports (pireps) of actual weather aloft, but feel uneasy about providing one? Take the Air Safety Institute's SkySpotter: Pireps Made Easy online course and learn how to estimate and report visibility, precipitation, clouds, turbulence, and ice. Take the course...

Training Resources


Ask ATC: VFR flight plans

If you file a VFR flight plan, will controllers know your route? Learn the answer in this Air Safety Institute/National Air Traffic Controllers Association video that features air traffic controllers. Watch the video... Share:  

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

One strange amphib; state of the LSA industry

AOPA Live This Week® showcases the strangest looking amphibious aircraft you've ever seen. Plus, take a look at the state of the light sport aircraft industry, and get details about an order a judge issued on Santa Monica Municipal Airport. AOPA Live This Week, Jan. 23... Share:  

Career Pilot

Norwegian carrier hiring US crewmembers

European carrier Norwegian, set to open crew bases in New York and Fort Lauderdale, is looking to hire several hundred U.S. crewmembers. "Around 170 cabin crew members have been recruited in New York and Fort Lauderdale, and we are hoping to see many American crew members on board our Dreamliners and the new 737MAX in the years to come. We also encourage American pilots to come work for us. To do so, they will need an EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency) license," said Norwegian CEO Bjørn Kjos.


American Eagle Airlines to become Envoy

American Eagle Airlines Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of American Airlines Group Inc., announced Jan. 14 that the company will change its name to Envoy in the spring to give it a distinct identity and eliminate the confusion between the company's current name and American Eagle, American Airlines' regional flying brand. With the formation of American Airlines Group, the 10 carriers currently providing regional service for the legacy American and US Airways networks—including American Eagle Airlines—will all eventually fly under the American Eagle brand.

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

Plane Spotter

Two wings, two engines, two fins

What do a tube-and-fabric biplane, a bomber from military aviation's early days, and an executive transport have in common? Plane spotters/historians may recognize those as three of the roles played by the Curtiss Condor, produced in the late 1920s and early 1930s, but consigned to a short life as aviation technology rapidly evolved. Twin vertical tails and twin radial engines mounted between two wings evoked its distinctive profile. If you spot a photograph of an airplane of like appearance, but with a single vertical fin, it is a Condor II.

Training Products

Sporty's unveils FAR/AIM app

The Sporty's FAR/AIM app for the iPhone and iPad not only includes the basic information from the federal aviation regulations and Aeronautical Information Manual, but it has advanced features making it easier to find information. Users can highlight and bookmark passages for quick retrieval or study content based on their current training. For example, a pilot working on an instrument rating can filter the regulations and content applicable to flying IFR. The app costs $9.99 in iTunes.


ASA releases Oral Exam Guide: Instrument

The eighth edition of Oral Exam Guide: Instrument, by Michael Hayes, has been released by ASA. The guide contains the questions most frequently asked by FAA examiners during the airplane checkride, and the appropriate responses. The cost is $12.95 for paperback and $9.95 for the e-book.

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 the fainting pilot

In the case of any sort of "syncope," fainting, or passing-out spell, the medical history is everything. In the case of one pilot, it saved him from two years of watching his beautiful aircraft sit in the hangar. Read more... Share:  


Member benefits

Liability vs. liability

Everyone is familiar with the terms liability insurance and life insurance, but just how do those terms apply when there is a loss? Read more... Share:  


'Help me, I'm stalling...'

So said the Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz. Maybe that's slightly garbled, but it's something that too many general aviation pilots mumble when headed earthward. Read more... Share:  


So, what goes on up there?

Blogger Chip Wright says most people want to know, "What do you actually do up there for most of the flight?" Read more... Share:  

Instrument Tip


Expect a visual approach

With the airport in sight, don't relax so much that you discard your aircraft's electronic navigation capabilities. Redundancy—whether for basic attitude-instrument flying, or in navigation—is your friend. And friends don't let friends land on the wrong strip of pavement. Read more... Share:  

Final Exam


Significant effects of altitude hypoxia usually do not occur in the normal healthy pilot below 12,000 feet msl. However, at which altitude can a deterioration in night vision begin to occur?


Deterioration in night vision can begin at 5,000 feet msl, according to Aeronautical Information Manual Section 8-1-2, Effects of Altitude.

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

Career Opportunities

Aviation job board

Job of the week: Assistant professor, aviation technology

Help shape the future generation of aviation. The University of Alaska Anchorage's Aviation Technology Division is now accepting applications for a full-time, tenured track assistant professor of aviation technology bipartite faculty member for its aviation administration/management/professional piloting department(s). Learn more now or search for other exciting 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 account manager II, 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

Jan 25-26 - Baltimore, Md., and Long Beach, Calif.

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.

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

Jan 27 - San Diego, Calif.; and Houston, Texas

Jan 28 - San Antonio, Texas; and Costa Mesa, Calif.

Jan 29 - Austin, Texas; and Ontario, Calif.

Jan 30 - Van Nuys, Calif.

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

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Topics: AOPA, Training and Safety, Training and Safety

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