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

June 27, 2014, AOPA ePilot: Flight Training EditionJune 27, 2014, AOPA ePilot: Flight Training Edition

ePilot Flight Training Edition

June 27, 2014 - VOL 14, ISSUE 26

Training Tips

Bad approach, good lesson

The pilot raised the left wing to roll out of the turn on the base leg for Runway 4 at Old Town Municipal Airport in Maine and was surprised to see the runway already slipping behind the wing as an unexpected tailwind component shoved the aircraft southeastward at a high groundspeed.

Was the approach salvageable? Not something to debate at low altitude, in moderate turbulence, with treetops near. Not to mention the surprise factor, never an ally of clear thinking.

"Time to go around," the instructor in the right seat was thinking. However, in the interest of effective and realistic training, the CFI decided to let the approach continue just a bit further to give the pilot in training more time to size up the situation independently and summon the judgment to avoid an attitude like the one depicted in the overshoot illustration presented here. (Does your CFI "let you fly"? Does the instructor take away the controls abruptly without really explaining why?)

Later, in debriefing, there would be time to analyze what could have been done to produce a better approach. But starting the analysis at the beginning of that botched base leg wouldn't do. The analysis would start at the point when the flight overflew the airport and checked the winds.

The June 20 "Training Tip: The lingering low" presented a scenario in which a training flight arrives at a nontowered airport in a strong, variable northerly wind; the pilot must choose between Runways 12/30 and 4/22 for landing. Either way, there will be a significant crosswind on final. The airport lacks on-field weather reporting, making the decision an educated guess based on observing a wind indicator.

Picking the runway was just one necessary decision. Visualizing the wind's effects on each leg of the left-hand traffic pattern, and making necessary corrections preventively, was also needed. In such a case, give yourself plenty of maneuvering room by flying a wider-than-normal downwind leg; be ready for the tailwind component's groundspeed increase when turning to the base leg; on base, crab in toward the runway to prevent drifting downwind, while descending.

About calling for that go-around: The instructor had a minimum altitude in mind, but expected the pilot to act before reaching it. Meanwhile, it was a valuable opportunity to let the pilot work through any tendency toward denial, delay, or defiance—safely learning to overcome destructive impulses that have led to so many mishaps that are officially chalked up to directional control errors during landings.

Flight Training News


ERAU wins Air Race Classic collegiate category

A past winner was among the three members of a team that flew a Cirrus SR22 to victory in the 2014 Air Race Classic, the all-women's annual cross-country air race held from June 16 to 19. Finishing second overall and first in the collegiate category were "Riddle Racers" Valdeta Mehanja and Nancy Snyder of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University's Daytona Beach, Fla., campus, flying a Cessna 172S. Read more...  


College offers aviation credits for high school students

Gallatin College-Montana State University has announced plans to offer an early college program for high school juniors and seniors interested in commercial aviation by allowing them to complete college course work, for college credit, while in high school. Courses include private pilot ground school. Classes will begin Aug. 25 at the Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport.



Cutting shirttails, passing it on

Zac Davis' tattered shirttail June 13 marked a milestone for the student pilot, as well as for the program that helped him reach it. Davis, a student in the Montoursville, Pa., after-school aviation program, soloed three aircraft on his sixteenth birthday. His CFI was the first student to solo under the program. Read more...  



Flight challenge: 'Still anybody's game'

It's getting down to the wire for pilots and would-be aviators to pit their skills against the competition in the Flying Challenge Cup. Read more...  


Partnership seeks to make pilots

The Ohio State University, Experimental Aircraft Association, and The Austin E. Knowlton Foundation teamed up to launch the Career Eagles Aviation Initiative on June 23, a program that will work with schools, parents, aviators, and youth to encourage the pursuit of aviation careers. The program had already launched a Facebook page with photos, links, and the message that "planes are awesome."



'V.A.C.A.T.I.O.N.' spells trouble?

Before hopping in the airplane on your way to a Fourth of July celebration, be prepared and watch the Air Safety Institute's rhyme for the unwary pilot. This darkly humorous reminder spells out the ills that can befall careless vacation fliers; make sure that your name isn't next on the list. Watch the video...  


Apps of the week

Now taking off: Flight training apps

Student pilots can use their smartphones and tablets as learning tools with these five apps. Read more...  


AOPA Fly-Ins

Spread the word about AOPA's Plymouth Fly-In

The July 12 AOPA Fly-In in Plymouth, Mass., promises to be a great day to spend at the airport with hundreds of fellow AOPA members, seeing airplanes, learning from aviation experts, and meeting with AOPA President Mark Baker and many others. There will be plenty to eat, as well as dozens of exhibits, aircraft displays, and vendors. Don't let your friends miss out on the fun: Print a poster—8.5 by 14 inches or 11 by 17 inches—and pin it at your local airport.

Training Resources

What does the weather hold?

Summer weather poses many challenges for pilots of all levels. How can you best prepare? Join AOPA Editor at Large Tom Horne on July 1 at 3 p.m. Eastern time for a live Facebook chat on summer weather flying. One chat participant will receive a $50 gift card from Aircraft Spruce & Specialty. Set an email reminder for the chat. Flight Training Facebook chats are sponsored by Aircraft Spruce & Specialty.

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

Fly the Howard 500, meet teens who built RV-12

Enjoy the lap of vintage luxury inside the 1960s Howard 500 executive transport aircraft; take a breakfast run with a Plymouth, Mass., legend (you might spot his C-45H on display part of the day during the July 12 AOPA Plymouth Fly-In); and find out how a group of Indiana teens built a Vans RV-12. AOPA Live This Week®, June 26...  

Career Pilot


Take ATP written before Aug. 1

Pilots planning to earn an airline transport pilot certificate should consider taking the knowledge test before Aug. 1 when new rules take effect. Read more...  


Airliners squawk in the air

Southwest Airlines has purchased a Boeing system that will enable the airline's fleet of Next-Generation 737s to transmit operational data in flight, including engine performance and other parameters. Boeing Airplane Health Management transmits real-time data to maintenance and operations crews, giving an early alert to potential maintenance issues while the flight is still airborne so ground crews can be prepared to turn wrenches as needed and minimize aircraft downtime, flight disruptions, and delays. Southwest Airlines officials said trials have demonstrated the system's potential to cut costs and reduce or even eliminate schedule disruptions. Southwest is Boeing's largest 737 customer.

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

Plane Spotter

Plane Spotter

Two if by sea

A twin Piper PA-23 Apache mounted on amphibious floats recently made a ramp appearance at Maine's Bangor International Airport. Based at Lucky's Landing, the aircraft is in service with KT Aviation, training pilots for multiengine seaplane ratings. Powered by two 160-horsepower Lycoming O-320 engines, the amphib "is just a fun little airplane," operator Tim Hodgkins said. "Underpowered" is a term frequently applied to 150-hp and 160-hp Piper PA-23s. How do the floats affect performance? "It's not as bad as everybody thinks it's going to be," Hodgkins said in good humor. "It does better than a Cessna 206 on the same floats." True to the lore, however, flying on one engine is "a little issue."

Training Products offers Jeppesen ground school on DVD

The Jeppesen Private Pilot Video Course on DVD offers presentations on flight theory. Topics include airplane systems, aerodynamic principles, the flight environment, communication and flight information, airport operations, emergency landing procedures, and flight maneuvers. The course costs $136.99.


ASA releases second edition of aerobatics manual

ASA is now offering the second edition of The Basic Aerobatic Manual: With Spin and Upset Recovery Techniques. The book is a reference for the beginning aerobatic student, with information on unusual attitudes and spin recovery for those who mostly fly straight and level. It emphasizes techniques for Cessna Aerobats, but the described maneuvers translate to other airplanes certified for aerobatics. The book is available in a soft-cover or e-book format and costs $19.95.

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

Members only

Top three student pilot FAR violations

It's not often that the FAA takes enforcement action against student pilots for violations of the federal aviation regulations, but the few that do occur generally fall into three categories: errors on the medical application form, carrying passengers, and failure to have the proper endorsements for a flight. In these cases, the FAA usually revokes the student pilot's certificate. Read more...  


Member benefits

A two-minute course in non-owner's insurance

When buying aircraft renter's insurance, it helps to understand the insurance lingo and what it means to you. Learn the difference between required and optional coverages for a rented aircraft. Read more...  


AOPA Strategic Partner Spotlight

Aero-Space Reports helps pilots

As an AOPA Strategic Partner, Aero-Space Reports supports AOPA members with discounts and special offers on its services. The company also provides sponsorship support for and AOPA events, and participates in educating members to help current and prospective aircraft owners avoid ownership challenges. Thank you for your support.



BFR, airline style

Every pilot goes through recurrent training. Blogger Chip Wright explains the equivalent of a flight review (commonly called a BFR) for airline pilots: "Think of doing a single engine NDB approach in a gale-force crosswind while spinning a basketball on your finger, Globetrotter-style." That's what airline pilots faced 20 years ago; today, he says, "the process is much more humane, and therefore productive." Read more...  



Prepping the long x-c

Getting ready for an epic trip can be a lot of work—if you look at it as work. For months, Opinion Leaders blogger Amy Laboda has been preparing for her annual summer trek around much of the country. But, she writes, "I see all the prep as part of the build-up, the anticipation that is half the fun of going." Read more...  



Confessions of a powered pilot

For a Cessna 172 pilot, some aspects of learning to fly a glider were like learning to fly all over again. Circling to climb in a thermal doesn't mean a "climbing turn" in the sense a powered pilot is used to. Climbing nose-down is quite the experience. Read more...  

Instrument Tip


'Look out for Bud'

"Look out for Bud," was all an instructor had to say to a trainee. Bud had unknowingly become a see-and-avoid metaphor for countless aviators. Read more...  


Flash-based, login required

Flying by the rules

"I Follow Roads" may not be the wisest thing to do in instrument flying. While instrument flight is often a world of grays, it is surrounded by FAA regulations that are black and white—all good reasons to stay sharp, develop and adhere to personal minimums, and be safe while staying on the FAA's good side. Take the course...

Final Exam


I have a hard time visualizing where airmets are when I get my weather briefing over the phone or through text on my mobile device. Is there a place where the airmets are provided visually?


Graphical airmets can be found at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Aviation Weather Center online.

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 aviation technical specialist, Air Safety Institute intern, aircraft finance analyst I, 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

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.

Aug 2-3 - Fort Worth, Texas.

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 28 - Groton, Conn.

July 31-Aug 2 - Oshkosh, Wis.

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

Rusty Pilot Seminars

June 28 - Carson City, Nev.; and West Bend, Wis.

July 9 - Naples, Fla.

July 11 - Plymouth, Mass.

July 12 - Terre Haute, Ind.; and Perry, Ga.

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

Member Tools: Send feedback | ePilot Archive

Related Articles