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June 13, 2014, AOPA ePilot: Flight Training EditionJune 13, 2014, AOPA ePilot: Flight Training Edition

ePilot Flight Training Edition

June 13, 2014 - VOL 14, ISSUE 24

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Training Tips

Thunderstorm in sight

The airport management has asked pilots to use Runway 8, left traffic, during calm-wind conditions. That keeps low-flying aircraft away from a residential area, and lends predictability to the traffic flow at the one-runway, nontowered airport.

A locally based pilot is returning from a morning flight to a destination 100 nautical miles to the east, squinting into the late afternoon sun to spot the home field from 20 miles out. There it is—and also visible about six miles beyond the airport is a towering cumulus cloud that has matured rapidly into an active thunderstorm, its rain shaft just now striking the ground. The air-mass storm appears to be drifting slowly north. Surface wind at the airport is calm. There's no reported traffic.

Which runway should the pilot select for landing?

That's a good question to ponder during Storm Week, an annual reminder calling pilots' attention to resources and activities designed to help them avoid the dangers of convective weather. The scenario described is a variation on a sample Private Pilot Knowledge Test question that offers three possible answers:

"A) fly the pattern to runway 08 since the storm is too far away to affect the wind at the airport.

"B) fly the normal pattern to runway 08 since the storm is west and moving north and any unexpected wind will be from the east or southeast toward the storm.

"C) fly an approach to runway 26 since any unexpected wind due to the storm will be westerly."

Where would you start to research the question during prep for your knowledge test, or to review the subject material after giving an incorrect answer on the test?

Note that the learning statement code for the question (PLT271) isn't weather-related. It is concerned with human factors and judgment in aeronautical decision making. However, the scenario also challenges your understanding of meteorological knowledge elements such as the thunderstorm life cycle, and gust front characteristics, to make a quality decision.

Under real-world conditions, a thunderstorm reaching maturity six miles from the airport could present a pilot with more than three multiple-choice alternatives. What others come to mind? Does the scenario justify deviating from the airport's normal calm-wind-runway operations?

Making such decisions in real time is what aeronautical decision making is all about.

Flight Training News


Student to instructor in 11 months

Keaton Meltvedt-Snow, winner of the AOPA Foundation 2013 Richard Santori Memorial Scholarship, went from barely being able to hover a helicopter to training others how to fly them in less than a year. Read more...  



Share your training experience in AOPA poll

AOPA is asking pilots to share feedback about their flight training experiences to recognize outstanding schools and instructors and help identify areas for improvement in training. Read more...  


Rotorcraft Rookie

10 lessons from helo training

Of the hundreds of things one learns during a helicopter add-on course, these are 10 of the most important themes. Read more...  



Flight schools to host AeroCamps

Flight schools around the nation will host summer day camps to allow young people to explore aviation and aerospace. Read more...  


Clay Lacy donates business jets to aviation school

Veteran pilot and business aviation operator Clay Lacy is donating a nonflying Learjet 24 and a Gulfstream GIISP to North Valley Occupational Center-Aviation. Based in Los Angeles and operated by the Los Angeles Unified School District, the center helps prepare students for careers as aircraft mechanics.


Storm Week

Use everything you have

To steer clear of nasty weather, use every resource you have to paint a complete picture of what you're up against. Watch as AOPA President Mark Baker and AOPA Foundation President Bruce Landsberg discuss what they used to keep themselves safe on a recent flight. Watch the video...  


Apps of the week

Apps help pilots track weather, storms

During the summer, pilots need to pay special attention to the season's unique weather changes that can affect flying. Just in time for the Air Safety Institute's Storm Week, here's a look at five weather apps. Read more...  


Florida Tech offers new online aviation graduate degree

Florida Institute of Technology will offer a new online graduate degree in aviation management in the fall. The Master of Science in Aviation – Aviation Management was designed for professionals working in public, private, or military aviation professions. The 30-credit, nonthesis program covers specific skills and competencies training in aviation management.


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Storm hazards safety quiz

Convective season is here, which means thunderstorms are a potential hazard on every flight. Test your real-world knowledge of thunderstorms and how to safely avoid them with the Air Safety Institute's new safety quiz. Take the quiz...


STEM challenge winners announced

A team of students from Connecticut's Danbury High School won Sikorsky Innovations' 2014 annual Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Challenge. Sikorsky Innovations, the technology development organization of Sikorsky Aircraft, co-sponsored the competition with Connecticut Corsair, a volunteer organization that promotes education, and Connecticut Innovations, which serves emerging high-technology companies. The challenge offered students the chance to apply innovative thinking and classroom learning to technical problems faced in an engineering workplace. Students from 10 Connecticut high schools participated.

Training Resources


Ramp operations

Knowing what will keep you and your passengers safe is the key to conducting each flight safely. Because the ramp area can be full of hazards, educating yourself about some of the common dangers on the ramp will help you navigate to and from your aircraft without incident. This Air Safety Institute safety brief examines some of the things you can do to protect yourself and your passengers every time you go flying. 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

AOPA Live from Wings Field, transatlantic TBM 900 flight

Join AOPA Editor in Chief Tom Haines as he hosts the show from Wings Field, the birthplace of AOPA, where current and former AOPA presidents, a charter member, and others gathered to celebrate AOPA's seventy-fifth anniversary. Plus, fly a TBM 900 across the Atlantic, and find out how a glider club is soaring to new heights as an airport owner. AOPA Live This Week®, June 12...  

Career Pilot

ALPA seeks parity between US, foreign airlines

Some foreign carriers are using "extreme new measures" to gain access to Americans flying internationally, Air Line Pilots Association President Lee Moak said during a press briefing May 29. Moak, a Delta Air Lines Boeing 767 captain, called on the U.S. Department of Transportation to reject a Norwegian Air application for a foreign air carrier permit. He said Norwegian seeks to evade Norway's labor laws and circumvent international labor agreements by establishing a subsidiary in Ireland to access traffic rights to and from the European Union, including to the United States, for its widebody fleet, AIN Online reported.


A321s to replace older Delta jets

Delta Air Lines will purchase 15 additional Airbus A321 aircraft for delivery beginning in 2018, the airline announced June 2. The new jets will replace similar, less-efficient aircraft that will be retired from Delta's fleet. The airline now has 45 A321s on order, with the first scheduled to begin service in early 2016. The model is similar to the 126 Airbus A320 aircraft in Delta's current fleet.

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

Plane Spotter

Skylane's swifter sibling

What is a logical step up for a pilot who trained in Cessna singles and wants to take on higher performance or the added complexity of retractable landing gear? Complexity can be taught in a Cessna 172RG Cutlass. A 230-horsepower Cessna 182 Skylane offers a fine introduction to high performance. A related aircraft that offers both is the Cessna R182 Skylane RG. It's considerably faster than a fixed-gear Skylane, and is powered by a 235-hp Lycoming engine in place of the Continental O-470 engine found under a "straight-leg" Skylane's cowling.

Training Products

Dauntless Aviation offers private pilot ground school

Dauntless Aviation has made available its GroundSchool FAA Knowledge Test Preparation guide. The guide features questions from the FAA knowledge test that have been categorized and filtered for study efficiency and includes illustrated explanations. The guide is available for the PC, along with apps for iOS, Android, and Windows platforms. It is also available in a downloadable MP3 format for audio devices.


Aviation CheckBook eases checklist process

CheckMate Aviation is offering the Aviation CheckBook, a series of lightweight, wire-bound booklets containing specific checklists for various popular aircraft. Some of the aircraft models available include the Cessna 150D through -K, 172N, 172RG, 182P, and Piper Warrior and Archer. CheckBooks cost $10.

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

Listen up: The FAA demands your attention

According to FAR 91.183, pilots operating under IFR in controlled airspace must ensure that a continuous watch is maintained on the appropriate frequency. If radio contact is lost for a length of time, you can expect to hear from an FAA inspector. Read more...  


Member benefits

EA+ benefits explained

A program available through AOPA Insurance Services can get you the help you need if you take a trip and have a medical emergency. Read more...  


Fly by mind

Could brain-controlled flight make learning to fly easier in the future? Opinion Leaders blogger John Petersen discusses research by scientists at the Institute for Flight System Dynamics of the Technische Universität München, and how the convergence of a number of breakthroughs could change the way we think of flying. Read more...  


Don't forget

With nice weather around, pilots are flying more. Chip Wright offers some reminders on what to bring and do on each flight. Read more...  

Instrument Tip

Storm Week

IFR Fix: 'No useful correlation'

When sizing up a thunderstorm from a distance, what are the most important visual aspects? Read more...  

Final Exam


I went flying about two months ago, and it was nighttime when I arrived at my destination. I decided to do three takeoffs and landings to a full stop. Now I'm getting ready to go on a trip, and I noticed that those three landings are the only ones I've done in the past 90 days. As a private pilot, am I still allowed to make a day flight with my family on board as passengers?


Yes. FAR 61.57(a) stipulates that three takeoffs and landings must be completed in the preceding 90 days in an aircraft of the same category, class, and type (if required) while the pilot is acting as the sole manipulator of the controls. It does not state any requirement for the landings to be conducted during the day; therefore, the three landings conducted at night fulfill the requirement. (Source: Code of Federal Regulations, 14 CFR 61.57 Recent flight experience: Pilot in command.)

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

Career Opportunities

Aviation job board

Job of the week: Airport manager, Arlington, Wash.

The city of Arlington, Wash., is seeking an airport manager. The successful candidate will apply a thorough knowledge of aviation principles, property management, lease management, and general aviation operations. Read the 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 aviation technical specialist, Air Safety Institute intern, aircraft finance analyst I, member services representative, major gift officer, AOPA Live producer/videographer I, executive assistant for government affairs, and account manager II. To learn more about other AOPA career opportunities, visit AOPA Online.

Education and Seminars

Flight Instructor Refresher Courses

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

June 28-29 - Columbus, Ohio; and Phoenix, Ariz.

July 12-13 - Memphis, Tenn.; and Pittsburgh, Pa.

July 19-20 - Jacksonville, Fla.; and Newark, N.J.

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

June 21 - Loveland, Colo.

June 28 - Groton, Conn.

July 31 - Oshkosh, Wis.

Aug 1 - Oshkosh, Wis.

Aug 2 - Oshkosh, Wis.

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

Rusty Pilot Seminars

June 14 - Portage Des Sioux, Mo.; Cleveland, Tenn.; and Gaithersburg, Md.

June 19 - Lembertville, Mich.

June 20 - Lititz, Pa.

June 21 - Romeoville, Ill.; and San Jose, Calif.

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

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

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