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March 28, 2014, AOPA ePilot: Flight Training EditionMarch 28, 2014, AOPA ePilot: Flight Training Edition


March 28, 2014 - VOL 14, ISSUE 13 ePilot Flight Training Edition

Training Tips

Weighing the wake makers

There are small aircraft, like the trainers flown by student pilots, and large aircraft sharing the same airspace. Can you think of another size aircraft that belongs on the same list?

It may not be the one that comes most readily to mind. Regardless of what size aircraft a particular pilot flies, another classification of aircraft that demands special attention from pilots and controllers alike is an aircraft described as heavy. This distinction affects how air traffic control keeps aircraft separated to avoid wake turbulence encounters.

For wake turbulence separation purposes, ATC classifies aircraft as small, large, and heavy, explains the Aeronautical Information Manual's Pilot/Controller Glossary. A heavy aircraft is one that is capable of takeoff weights of 300,000 pounds or more. The designation applies "whether or not they are operating at this weight during a particular phase of flight."

An aircraft is large if it has a maximum takeoff weight of more than 41,000 pounds, up to but not including 300,000 pounds. A small aircraft is one with 41,000 pounds or less maximum certificated takeoff weight, the glossary explains.

Air carriers are expected to add the word "heavy" to their call signs as appropriate when communicating with ATC. In a special case, the Boeing 757 is treated as a heavy aircraft for separation purposes because of the wake turbulence it has been found to generate.

Pilots who fly from larger airports become familiar with wake turbulence holds prescribed in AIM 7-3-9.

In ground study, you learned that all fixed-wing aircraft generate wingtip vortices, and that pilots should maintain a flight path that avoids flight in or below the zone where a preceding aircraft's wake is likely to exist. That means learning to visualize the effect of surface wind on the location of vortices generated by aircraft that are taking off or landing.

In addition to the required separations applied by ATC, the AIM offers this tip to pilots of lighter aircraft on visual approaches to an airport where a visual approach slope indicator (VASI) or other such vertical guidance system is available: Fly at or above the indicated glidepath when proceeding in trail of an aircraft that could produce strong wake vortices.

Sharpen your knowledge of this key safety subject by taking the Air Safety Institute's Takeoffs, Landings, and Wake Turbulence safety quiz.

Flight Training News


AOPA Fly-Ins: Great news and big changes

More than 300 aircraft have already registered to fly in for the AOPA Fly-In at San Marcos, Texas, on April 26, and AOPA is reorganizing the schedule of the day to allow for a safe, even flow of aircraft arrivals. Read more... Share:  


Apps of the week

General apps handle specific tasks

Tasks including IFR timers, Zulu time calculators, and wind and G meters are included in this week's round-up of apps suggested by AOPA members. Read more... Share:  


Chat with the editors about the FAA medical process

How do you find an aviation medical examiner and apply for a medical certificate? What is a special issuance medical? And why does MedExpress matter to you? Learn about these and other topics during the March Flight Training Facebook chat at 3 p.m. Eastern on April 1. The guest is AOPA Senior Medical Certification Specialist Jo Ann Wilson. Set an email reminder and plan to join us. One chatter will receive a $50 gift card courtesy of Aircraft Spruce & Specialty. Please note that participants with questions pertaining to specific medical conditions may be directed to call AOPA at 800/872-2672.


Florida Institute of Technology receives five new Piper aircraft

Florida Institute of Technology's flight training school has taken delivery of five new Piper Archer TX models with Garmin G1000 glass cockpit avionics systems. These aircraft bring the flight school's fleet total to 46 aircraft overall and 13 of the type.


AAR hosts aviation career day for Miami Central students

Sophomores and juniors from Miami Central High School in Florida recently experienced what it was like to apply for a job when they visited AAR Aircraft Services for a career day tour and job skills workshop. Job interviews were conducted by engineers, aircraft technicians, and inspectors from the local AAR team, who also gave students a tutorial on facility operations and shared stories about their personal journeys into aviation careers.


Flash-based, login required

A dangerous gamble

"N2933L is coming back, uh, something is going wrong with the engine": The pilot made this split-second decision when his aircraft's engine quit soon after takeoff. Find out why he now says, "Don't do what I did." Watch the Real Pilot Story...


Mobile app

A second opinion

Have you ever struggled deciding whether an upcoming flight is safe? Maybe you've searched for one more piece of information that would seal the deal on a go/no-go decision? Enter the Air Safety Institute's Mobile Flight Risk Evaluator for free advice and help making the safest choices before takeoff. Download the app... Share:  


AOPA Foundation focus

AOPA Foundation launches Facebook page

The AOPA Foundation Facebook page will share the stories of donation-funded projects and scholarship recipients, provide information about special donor appreciation events, and have donor communications from AOPA Foundation President Bruce Landsberg. Like the Facebook page... Share:  

Training Resources

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Spring weather

Warm fronts, cold fronts, sun, wind, rain, even ice. No other season has such wide meteorological mood swings. Safely navigate spring's ever-changing weather with this Air Safety Institute safety quiz. Take the quiz...

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

Cockpit comeback, streaming movies in the sky

If you're contemplating a return to the cockpit after a long hiatus, AOPA is ready with a new program to help knock off the rust. The Sweepstakes Debonair is back in the air with a beefed-up engine, and we'll profile another general aviation success story that has transformed the aerial video landscape. As of publication time, AOPA Live® producers were finalizing this week's episode. Check back on the AOPA Live page for the latest edition of AOPA Live This Week®, which will be available March 28. Share:  

Career Pilot

Silver Airways, Broward College unveil pilot hiring partnership

Miami-based Silver Airways has entered into a preferential hiring partnership with Broward College as part of an effort to recruit and retain qualified professional pilots. Under the partnership, Silver will offer preferential interview and hiring opportunities to qualified first officer candidates who have graduated from the college's professional pilot technology degree program.


National Airlines receives air carrier certification

National Airlines announced March 5 that it had received FAA approval to become the United States' newest domestic air carrier. The company said it has a long history of supporting governments and militaries around the world; flying cargo in and out of crisis areas; and operating charter passenger operations for sports teams in the United States, visitors to and from Cuba, and contractors traveling between the United Arab Emirates and Afghanistan. This approval will allow National Airlines to offer scheduled passenger flights throughout the United States and across the globe.

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

Plane Spotter

Dwane's masterpiece

It was a monoplane built in the golden era of biplanes—in its own right, a history lesson on wheels (or floats) because of its period of production (from the Great Depression to World War II's beginning) and for its significance to its manufacturer, Cessna Aircraft. The Cessna Airmaster was a radial-engined taildragger with wooden wings and horizontal tail, steel-tube fuselage, and fabric covering. The 145-horsepower or 165-hp aircraft is credited with being the product that spurred Cessna's re-emergence under Dwane Wallace, nephew of Clyde Cessna, from Depression-era financial woes.

Training Products

CheckMate Aviation offers survival checklist

The Survival CheckMate checklist is based on the book Surviving The First 24 Hours of a Forced Landing, by safety counselor Dean Charron. It details the procedures and equipment one would need to survive a forced landing and the subsequent 24 hours. The cost is $15.


Flight planning logs by Jeppesen released

Student pilots can handle their flight information tracking with Jeppesen log sheets. A seamless fit with all of Jeppesen's airway manual binders and kneeboards, the log keeps students well-organized and on top of their flight info tracking. The cost is $7.95.

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


The truth shall set you free

When completing the FAA medical examination form, or Form 8500-8 as most aviation medical examiners know it, it pays to be as truthful as you can be. Read more... Share:  


Member benefits

AOPA Insurance Services: Convenient, fast aviation insurance

AOPA Insurance has launched an online renewal process for clients that simplifies the process, requiring no paperwork and no postage stamp. Read more... Share:  


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Best Aircraft Showdown closing 'Round of 8'

What aircraft should move to the semifinals of AOPA's Best Aircraft Showdown? March 28 is the last day to vote on the aircraft in the Round of 8, including the Piper Super Cub and Aeronca Champion taking on a couple of popular warbirds. You must be logged in to vote. Place your vote today…


Back to basics with Nancy Narco

She might've stepped out of 1959, but Nancy Narco's commonsense advice about avionics troubleshooting still works today. Read more... Share:  


Cross-marketing flying

Blogger Chip Wright recently touched on the topic of marketing yourself as a CFI. He says "touched" because a 900-word blog simply cannot do the topic justice. Read more... Share:  

Instrument Tip


'A calculated risk'

If the decision to take off was made knowing that no return to the departure airport was possible, what's the backup plan? Read more... Share:  

Final Exam


What about wake turbulence makes it so dangerous to aircraft?


Wake turbulence is a trail of swirling air behind an aircraft. The severity of this turbulence can exceed the control capability of an aircraft that flies into it. This could cause loss of control at a low altitude, which would be very dangerous. (Source: Aeronautical Information Manual 7-3-1.)

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

Career Opportunities

Aviation job board

Job of the week: Supervisory aircraft services specialist

The Bonneville Power Administration, a nonprofit federal agency that provides clean, emissions-free electricity to the Pacific Northwest, is seeking a supervisory aircraft services specialist. The successful candidate will serve as director of operations and be a key member of the Transmission Services management team, as well as make major recommendations and decisions related to policy formulation and long-range planning. 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 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

Apr 2 - Salt Lake City, Utah.

Apr 3 - Boise, Idaho.

Apr 7 - Glasgow, Ky.

Apr 8 - Danville, Ky.; and Birmingham, Ala.

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

Rusty Pilot Seminars

Apr 12 - Dunkirk, N.Y.

Apr 15 - Dunkirk, N.Y.

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

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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