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May 2, 2014, AOPA ePilot: Flight Training EditionMay 2, 2014, AOPA ePilot: Flight Training Edition

ePilot Flight Training Edition

May 2, 2014 - VOL 14, ISSUE 18

Training Tips

A commanding presence

The preflight inspection is complete, and you feel your exhilaration rising as you belt yourself in and begin the "before starting engine" checklist.

Your instructor was running late today. Now rummaging in a flight case, he beckons you to proceed, so for now you skip the seatbelts-and-shoulder-harnesses item and move along to check the fuel-shutoff valve, electrical equipment, brakes, and circuit breakers.

Checklists complete and engine start accomplished, you start rolling toward the taxiway when the flight instructor's upheld hand gives you pause. In his other hand is his unlatched seatbelt.

Two lessons have already been served up even before your aircraft begins to move: One is that a skipped checklist item easily becomes forgotten. The other is that it's never too early in a pilot's training to practice supervising passengers, even if the role will be played by your instructor until you pass your checkride. (In the real world, not all passengers will take the seatbelt routine seriously unless you set a good example.)

Passenger supervision is more than a visual check of the occupants' belts and harnesses. Regulations require that "no pilot take off a U.S.-registered civil aircraft ... unless the pilot in command of that aircraft ensures that each person on board is briefed on how to fasten and unfasten that person's safety belt and, if installed, shoulder harness."

That required briefing is something to act out with your CFI—complete with a practice run in which the CFI "passenger" fastens and unfastens the belt and harness to your satisfaction. On your checkride, do the same with your designated examiner, and remember that today's lesson illustrates how a realistic distraction—perhaps just the kind that could appear on your checkride—could trip you up.

Remember that a pilot may not "cause to be moved on the surface, take off, or land a U.S.-registered civil aircraft" without ensuring "that each person on board has been notified to fasten his or her safety belt and, if installed, his or her shoulder harness."

There's a third lesson about your readiness to assume command embedded in the unfastened seatbelt scenario: Don't let yourself be rushed or made to cut corners. Whether your instructor was probing your situational awareness, or just trying to make amends for being late, it's perfectly acceptable to decline the invitation and wait for him to get settled in for the flight.

Flight Training News

UND orders Piper aircraft

The University of North Dakota's John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences has ordered three twin-engine Piper Seminoles. The aircraft, which will be used for pilot training, will be delivered later in 2014 and join a training fleet of more than 120 aircraft.



Swarming to San Marcos

More than 2,500 people and more than 350 aircraft descended on San Marcos Airport in San Marcos, Texas, for AOPA's first regional fly-in. Read more...  



Apply for free trip to France

Young pilots have a unique opportunity: Apply for a chance at a free, two-week trip to France to participate in the Tour Aérien Des Jeunes Pilotes. Read more...  



Rusty pilot returns to the skies

After earning a multiengine rating and initial and instrument flight instructor certificates, Mark Luetkemeyer stopped flying for 25 years. See what it took to get him back into the cockpit. Read more...  


Apps of the week

Vox populi: Members share their favorite apps

In the spirit of the song “Give the people what they want,” this week AOPA highlights five apps that members swear by. They do everything from providing timely information on fixed-base operators to helping with navigational tasks. Read more...  


Fly to your dream destination

If you could fly anywhere in the United States, where would that be? The beach, the mountains, the Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls? Join Flight Training editors Ian J. Twombly and Jill W. Tallman for the live May Flight Training Facebook chat on May 6, at 3 p.m. Eastern. Twombly and Tallman will take questions, offer flight planning tips, and share their dream destinations. Join the conversation—one chatter will receive a $50 Aircraft Spruce gift card. Sign up for an email reminder. Flight Training Facebook chats are sponsored by Aircraft Spruce & Specialty.


CORRECTION: In the April 25 edition of AOPA ePilot: Flight Training Edition, we misidentified the university offering an online aviation degree program. The school is Utah Valley University.



New aviation scholarships available

Scholarships from Angel MedFlight Worldwide Air Ambulance and the Arizona Business Aviation Association, as well as from the Commemorative Air Force, will help college students in aviation-related degree programs. Plus, LadiesLoveTaildraggers is offering a scholarship for a tailwheel endorsement. Read more...  

Training Resources


Look down, look up, and look out

Safety on the ramp is just as important as safety in the air. The Air Safety Institute's "Ramp Operations" Safety Brief examines some of the things you can do to protect yourself and your passengers while navigating to and from your aircraft. Download the safety 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

Baker goes to top of CBP, San Marcos Fly-In fun

AOPA President Mark Baker met with Customs and Border Protection Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske April 30 and made pilots' message clear: Stop egregious encounters with general aviation aircraft. Also this week, take a look back at AOPA's first regional fly-in in San Marcos. AOPA Live This Week®, May 1...  

Career Pilot

China uses US pipeline to train pilots

Arizona-based TransPac Aviation Academy is now training 400 Chinese student pilots a year, reports Aviation International News. The new pilots earn an FAA commercial pilot certificate with the turbine engine add-on rating required in China, and then they undergo a license conversion process back home.


Horizon Air dispatchers ratify four-year contract

Horizon Air and the Transport Workers Union announced April 16 that the carrier's 17 dispatchers have ratified a new four-year contract by an 82-percent margin. Horizon Air, a subsidiary of Alaska Air Group, and the union tentatively agreed on a new contract March 19. "This agreement provides a level of stability for Horizon dispatchers, given this current period of uncertainty in the regional airline industry," said John Plowman, TWU Local 542 president.

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

Plane Spotter

A 'handful of airplane'

Here's an aeronautical trivia question to try out on the gang in the hangar: What was the biggest single-engine biplane ever manufactured? The Museum of Flight in Seattle, Wash., explains that it was the 12,125-pound Antonov AN-2, a strikingly sizable ship with a four-bladed propeller spun by a 1,000-horsepower Shvetsov radial engine. Between Russia, Poland, and China, production went along for 50 years through 1997, with thousands of aircraft being turned out. Trying one out in flight gives a pilot "a handful of airplane," as AOPA reported in this review.

Training Products

Find-it Fast Books offers preflight weather course

Find-it Fast Books is offering a free Preflight Weather Analysis Course for student pilots, flight instructors, and flight schools. The course leads users through the preflight weather analysis process in everyday language. offers cockpit video

The Cessna 172 Skyhawk cockpit video offers viewers a front-row seat for a ground and flight training lesson. Following a preflight briefing, viewers will witness a thorough walkaround inspection before riding along on an actual flight lesson. They'll also learn many of the speeds, systems, and specifics relevant to the Cessna 172. The cost is $17.99.

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

Your personal health information and the FAA

Just how much of your personal health information is available to the FAA? Read more...  


Member benefits

Camping and aviation insurance

Find out three simple rules for airport camping, and get tips regarding your responsibilities for insurance for the outing. Read more...  


Equipping the next generation of aviation professionals

Blogger Martin Rottler offers insights for aspiring professional pilots who are getting their start in the GA world and the flight schools starting them. Read more...  

Instrument Tip


A passably perilous procedure

After an instrument proficiency check lesson, your instructor gives a blow-by-blow critique of your flying. He wants to fly again before signing you off. You can't resist mentioning that your flying never exceeded instrument rating practical test tolerances. Read more...  


Login required

IFR quiz: Crescent City nonprecision approach

You are level at 8,000 feet and receive the following clearance from ATC: "Proceed direct CEC VOR, cleared VOR/DME Runway 35 approach, report procedure turn inbound." Although the instructions are clear, the procedure is decidedly less so. Are you ready for the challenge? Take the quiz...  

Final Exam


There is a terminal radar service area (TRSA) at a nearby airport. I've heard the local pilots talking about it lately and there seems to be some confusion. One pilot said that it's charted and has published frequencies, so it is airspace with which a pilot must comply. Another pilot says he rarely talks to ATC while inside of the TRSA and has never had a problem with it. Which TRSA rules are correct?


TRSAs are technically not their own class of airspace. The charted lines are simply there to show you where services are available on the published frequencies. For VFR pilots, participation in the TRSA is voluntary, but is recommended for increased situational awareness. (Source: AIM 3-5-6.)

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

Career Opportunities

Aviation job board

Job of the week: Studio producer/editor at King Schools

If you are an experienced video producer, King Schools is looking for you! Responsibilities include live production, media management and backup, scheduling all studio functions, preparing scripts for shooting, and more. View 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 AOPA Live producer/videographer I, executive assistant for government affairs, director of state government affairs, and account manager II. To learn more about other AOPA career opportunities, visit AOPA Online.

Education and Seminars

Flight Instructor Refresher Courses

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

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

June 7-8 - Santa Clara, Calif.; and Ashburn, Va.

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

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

May 12 - Madison, Wis.; and Garden City, N.Y.

May 13 - Poughkeepsie, N.Y.; and Milwaukee, Wis.

May 14 - Manitowoc, Wis.; and Albany, N.Y.

May 15 - Brockport, N.Y.

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

Rusty Pilot Seminars

May 3 - Quinton, Va.

May 10 - Fitchburg, Mass.

May 10 - Spanish Fork, Utah.

May 14 - Cheektowaga, 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

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 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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