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

March 21, 2014, AOPA ePilot: Flight Training EditionMarch 21, 2014, AOPA ePilot: Flight Training Edition

ePilot Flight Training Edition

March 21, 2014 - VOL 14, ISSUE 12

Training Tips

Turning down a tailwind

Established downwind in the traffic pattern, a student pilot runs the pre-landing checks, reduces power abeam the touchdown zone, and reconfigures. When the aircraft reaches the position for turning base, power is reduced more and a descending left turn is initiated.

Rolling out on base, the pilot is startled to glance left and see the runway threshold much closer than usual—and it seems to be getting closer, even before the turn to final begins.

Airspeed and descent rate are normal, so what's wrong? What the student is observing is visual evidence that there will be a strong tailwind condition on final—something to avoid.

Why? In a 10-knot tailwind, a Cessna 172 requires 50 percent more runway for obstacle clearance and landing than in zero wind, according to performance notes in the pilot's operating handbook.

Running out of runway isn't the lone hazard: With groundspeed higher than airspeed because of a tailwind, your touchdown may be too fast, and difficult to control. A quartering tailwind complicates controllability even more.

Disbelief or confusion can forestall response—but once you begin to turn final, the tailwind's effects will become even more visually striking as the aircraft accelerates over the ground, just as it does in the downwind turn of a ground-reference maneuver.

Don't engage in drastic maneuvering to capture the extended runway centerline or get down. It's time to go around, and then request a more appropriate runway. At a nontowered airport, aviate first, and then communicate to other local traffic that you will re-enter the pattern for another runway.

Going around at the earliest indication of the tailwind condition is the safest call—and even that decision is compromised if you hesitate. Mishaps have occurred after a pilot aborted a tailwind landing only to run out of room before reaching obstacles off the end of the runway.

Pilots have been lulled into choosing the wrong runway by relying completely on wind reports from an automated station or the FBO, so seek multiple sources of wind information. Does the windsock, with its instantaneous indication of wind direction and speed, confirm other reports?

Surface conditions can change quickly, especially when bad weather is moving in, as this tailwind landing accident illustrates.

Some accident causes are stealthy. A tailwind condition on final isn't. Recognize the signs, avoid the consequences!

Flight Training News


FAA predicts continued GA decline

The FAA's annual forecast of air travel demand predicts steady growth in airline and cargo demand, and a steady decline in general aviation piston aircraft. The 20-year outlook predicts growth in the GA turbine sector that will offset the loss of piston aircraft, with turbine hours flown surpassing piston hours flown for the first time in 2023. Read more... Share:  


Rotorcraft Rookie

Robinson factory tour

Touring an aircraft factory is the only way to see everything that goes into your flying machine. Read more... Share:  


Apps of the week

Flight planning apps offer pilots help

As more flight planning tasks become automated, pilots can choose from dozens of apps to help them prepare for a flight. AOPA highlights five flight planning apps that can help. Read more... Share:  


AOPA awards scholarship

AOPA awarded a flight training scholarship worth $3,000 to student pilot Alyssa Mae Celone during the recent annual Women in Aviation, International conference in Orlando, Fla. Celone was chosen out of 23 applicants who were evaluated on merit, including previous accomplishments, the ability to set and achieve goals, involvement in general aviation, and commitment to flight training. Applicants also were asked to write an essay expressing their views on how general aviation supports local communities and the nation.


Pilot Safety Announcement

Are you a fuel fool or friend?

Do you carry fuel beyond the regulations' required minimums? If not, you may find yourself landing short of your destination. Watch the video... Share:  


UND, Tokai U extend contract

The University of North Dakota and Japan's Tokai University have signed a new four-year extension to a deal that allows Tokai students to attend UND Aerospace for 15 months while training to become commercial pilots. When the students leave UND after 15 months, they have their FAA pilot certificate and their Japan Civil Aviation Bureau credentials.



Ask ATC: Assigned runway

As a student pilot, do you always need to accept the ATC-assigned runway? Know your options before takeoff and landing. Watch the video... Share:  



Wagstaff an AOPA Ambassador

Legendary airshow pilot Patty Wagstaff will serve as an AOPA Ambassador and will meet fans, sign autographs, and speak about the demanding and exciting world of competitive and demonstration flying at AOPA's booths at major airshows and several AOPA Fly-Ins in 2014. Read more... Share:  


Illinois aviation maintenance program expands

The Greater Rockford Airport Authority (GRAA) and Rock Valley College (RVC) are teaming up to expand the school's aviation maintenance technology program. As part of the effort, GRAA will lease land to RVC to build a state-of-the-art, 40,000-square-foot aviation maintenance training facility on airport grounds to house the program.

Training Resources


Ask ATC: Flight following and airspace

Watch this Air Safety Institute video as air traffic controllers discuss what flight following can and can't do for you when you're transiting different airspace. The video was created in conjunction with the National Air Traffic Controllers Association. 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

Affordable glass, inverted flat spin record attempt

This week, check out a standby instrument at a price you won't believe and an affordable VFR primary flight display in a wrap-up of news from the Aircraft Electronics Association convention. Plus, look at the first flight of Goodyear's new "blimp," and get a view from inside the airplane during a world-record attempt of 81 inverted flat spins. AOPA Live This Week®, March 20... Share:  

Career Pilot

NetJets employee unions form coalition

Because of what they call minimal progress and unjustifiable demands, the executive boards of the NetJets Association of Shared Aircraft Pilots (NJASAP) and International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 284 have launched the NetJets Unions Coalition. NJASAP represents the 3,000-plus pilots who fly for NetJets, while Teamsters Local 284 represents approximately 500 dispatchers, flight attendants, maintenance controllers, mechanics, and stock clerks at the company.


Norwegian Air seeks contract captains, first officers

Low-cost carrier Norwegian Air seeks to hire contract captains and first officers to fly its Boeing 737-800s. Among other requirements, captains need 5,000 hours of total time on aircraft, while first officers must have 1,500 hours.

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

Plane Spotter

Tough enough for two

Tough tandem taildragger: That's a likely first impression for a plane spotter observing a takeoff or touchdown of a two-seat, 180-horsepower Aviat Husky. "Tougher than a tornado" became the nickname of one Husky—the AOPA 2012 Sweepstakes airplane—after it survived a Florida downpour that wreaked havoc on an airport ramp during Sun 'n Fun in 2011. Like the proper bush plane it is, a Husky may be sighted turf-taxiing on tundra tires, or rising spritely onto "the step" for a picturesque water departure. The Husky A-1C has a standard gross weight of 2,250 pounds.

Training Products

Sporty's launches flight instructor rebate program

Sporty's Pilot Shop is giving instructors the chance to earn free pilot supplies by signing up for its new rebate program. Every time a student buys a Sporty's video course, the instructor will earn a $25 gift card. These gift cards do not expire, and they can be used online, in store, or over the phone.


ASA offers seaplane pilot guide

ASA has made the Seaplane Pilot handbook available for pilots adding a seaplane rating to their certificate. Dale DeRemer's book guides pilots through this process with tips, techniques, and advice from a pro. It is also designed to function as a tool for review for those who already have the rating.

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


Protect yourself when you rent an airplane

More often than not, FBOs and aircraft owners do not provide adequate coverage (if any) to the renting pilot, putting the renter at huge financial risk. Learn what kind of renter's insurance you need to protect yourself in this webinar with AOPA Insurance Services President Bill Snead, hosted by SocialFlight. Read more... Share:  



Let's not meet in the sky

One simple rule applies to all pilots, in any flying environment, in any aircraft, and it is arguably the most fundamental rule of flying that keeps us safe—see and avoid. It makes simple sense, doesn't it? We're not alone up there. Read more... Share:  


The perfect CFI

What makes a really great flight instructor? AOPA editors asked Flight Training Facebook friends to list one thing they love about their CFI. Read more... Share:  

Instrument Tip


'Messing with power'

Instrument instructors seeking material to use when administering instrument proficiency checks should note the results of the March 11 poll question. Read more... Share:  

Final Exam


I have never had a problem getting in or out of the Class D airspace that surrounds my airport. The other day the airport was busier than usual, and when I called on my way in from the practice area, the tower responded and told the aircraft inbound from the practice area to stand by. As I got closer to the airspace, my instructor had me fly in a slow circle outside of the airspace because he said we had not established two-way radio communications yet. By the tower acknowledging my call, haven't we established two-way radio communication?


No. Two-way radio communication has only been established if the control tower uses your aircraft call sign. This applies to any type of airspace that requires two-way radio communications. (Source: Aeronautical Information Manual 3-2-5.)

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

Career Opportunities

Aviation job board

Job of the week: 'Barnstormers' display ad account sales, the largest and busiest general aviation online marketplace in the world, is seeking an advertising account executive to join the team. The successful candidate will have two-plus years' ad or Internet sales experience, a verifiable proven track record of meeting sales quota, and GA market experience. See a 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 account manager II, director of insurance business operations, and member services representative. To learn more about other AOPA career opportunities, visit AOPA Online.

Education and Seminars

Flight Instructor Refresher Courses

Apr 5-6 - Denver, Colo.; Cincinnati, Ohio; San Diego, Calif.; Tampa, Fla.; and Indianapolis, Ind.

Apr 12-13 - Atlanta, Ga.; Waltham, Mass.; Salt Lake City, Utah; and Ashburn, Va.

May 3-4 - Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Albany, N.Y.; and Pensacola, Fla.

May 17-18 - Sacramento, Calif.; Kansas City, Mo.; and Houston, 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

Mar 21 - Greenville, S.C.

Mar 24 - Ypsilanti, Mich.; and Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Mar 25 - Des Moines, Iowa; and Independence, Ohio.

Mar 26 - Bedford, Mass.; Columbus, Ohio; and Bellevue, Neb.

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 | Update member profile/email | Unsubscribe | ePilot Archive

Related Articles