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

May 30, 2014, AOPA ePilot: Flight Training EditionMay 30, 2014, AOPA ePilot: Flight Training Edition

ePilot Flight Training Edition

May 30, 2014 - VOL 14, ISSUE 22

Training Tips

'Castles in the air'

A student pilot has some mid-afternoon cross-country flying planned on a day expected to produce fair weather after the morning fog burns off. One more flight to an airport 50 nautical miles north should satisfy the cross-country requirement for a private pilot certificate. Once this trip is safely in the logbook, it will be time to go ahead and schedule a checkride, the instructor has said.

The latest terminal aerodrome forecast is generally encouraging. But unlike the serene drift of the previous day's outlook briefing, the TAF portion that runs through midnight local time contains several elements that might affect the planning, or even shape the decision whether to go: "261727Z 2618/2718 29010KT P6SM SCT025 BKN050 FM262000 33005KT P6SM VCTS SCT025 BKN050CB FM270000 33004KT P6SM BKN250..."

Perhaps that scattered cloud layer at 2,500 feet is the remnant of the morning fog. But clearly, the weather window begins to close at 2000Z when there will be thunderstorms in the vicinity, and when that broken layer at 5,000 feet could include cumulonimbus clouds.

Well, that forecast is more than an hour old. Let's check the latest surface observation: 261853Z 27010G16KT 10SM FEW038 SCT050 SCT110 BKN200 24/14 A2969 RMK AO2 SLP051 MOD CU N T02390139.

It seems to tell an encouraging story about winds and clouds—but there, buried in remarks, is an important item: Already there are moderate cumulus clouds to the north (the student pilot's direction of flight.)

That means the clouds' vertical development has already gone beyond what pilots and meteorologists refer to as "fair-weather cumulus" or "summer puffies." That common type, you have learned from experience, signals a lumpy ride if you must fly beneath them in the updrafts, although they pose no major hazard.

"But, if the clouds are growing like castles in the air, the thermals are soaring high and could become thunderstorms. They are to be avoided," wrote Jack Williams in "The Weather Never Sleeps."

Is this a go or a no-go scenario? It would help to update your briefing, taking a look at the current radar, more surface observations, and any current pilot reports.

But now that it is clear that the development of today's clouds is going beyond a benign degree of vertical development earlier than expected, be warned that rough weather could entrap the unwary.

Flight Training News

Rotorcraft Rookie

Checkride success

It all comes down to the checkride, the pressure-cooker flight and oral exam that pits the student against himself. Read more...  



Top 10 reasons to attend AOPA's Indy Fly-In

AOPA's second regional fly-in of the year, Indianapolis on May 31, is shaping up to be a grand event with plenty of fun, flying, and food. Check out these top 10 reasons you won't want to miss the fly-in. Read more...  


Troy University creates aviation training program

Alabama's Troy University is partnering with the city of Troy and Mauna Loa Helicopters to create a program to train commercial aviators at N. Kenneth Campbell Field. The program, which begins in the fall, will offer a minor in aviation operations with fixed-wing and rotary-wing tracts.



Got a checkride coming up?

It's checkride season. Don't miss the June Flight Training Facebook live chat at 3 p.m. Eastern on Tuesday, June 3. Designated pilot examiner Bob Schmelzer, author of Flight Training's "Checkride" column, will talk about what examiners like to see—and what makes them cringe. Bring your questions and concerns. One chatter will receive a $50 gift card courtesy of Aircraft Spruce & Specialty. Set an email reminder.  


Hiller Aviation Museum opens summer camp applications

The Hiller Aviation Museum, based in San Carlos, Calif., is accepting applications for its weeklong aviation-oriented day camp for children in kindergarten through eighth grade. The program, which has operated since 2006, offers flight simulation sessions, aircraft demonstrations, behind-the-scenes museum gallery explorations, and aviation-themed games. The camp will run from June through September.


Flash-based, login required

Pinch hitting a King Air

Imagine being forced to take over the flight controls of a Beechcraft King Air 200 twin turboprop if you'd never flown anything larger than a Cessna 172. Doug White's Real Pilot Story begins when his King Air pilot becomes incapacitated. Watch the Real Pilot Story...



Don't run on fumes

Proper fuel management is critical to a safe flight. It requires knowing how much usable fuel is in the tanks and calculating how many hours and minutes—including reserves—that fuel will support. Take a look at the Air Safety Institute's Fuel Awareness Safety Advisor for advice on fuel endurance and why, when, and how to lean the mixture. Download the advisor...



Mooney wins aircraft personality quiz

The sleek, efficient Mooney 201 was the runaway winner of the AOPA Aircraft Personality Quiz. The 14-question online quiz was completed more than 38,000 times, and the Mooney turned out to be the ideal airplane for about 10,000 respondents, far outpacing the Beechcraft Bonanza G36 with about 4,000. Read more...  



King Schools offers ATP training course discount

King Schools is offering a discount on its video course for the airline transport pilot certificate in anticipation of changes in training requirements that take effect Aug. 1. Read more...  

Training Resources

Login required

Test your knowledge of emergency procedures

Knowing and practicing procedures can mean the difference between surviving a mishap and becoming a statistic. Take this Air Safety Institute quiz to see how prepared you are for an emergency. 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

Fly the Eclipse 550, CBP changes course on pilot stops

Get behind the controls of an Eclipse 550 with AOPA Editor in Chief Tom Haines; find out how pressure from pilots led Customs and Border Protection to rethink its warrantless stops and searches of general aviation aircraft; and meet three generations of women pilots. AOPA Live This Week®, May 29...  

Career Pilot

Northrop Grumman, UND to train UAS pilots

Northrop Grumman and the University of North Dakota-Grand Forks will offer unmanned aircraft system (UAS) pilot training using the company's SandShark, a remotely piloted aircraft trainer. The company will provide UND with two SandSharks and a ground station for research and to extend the university's flight training program to international students.


Scoot, Boeing sign pilot training deal

Singapore-based low-cost airline Scoot has signed a five-year pilot training agreement with Boeing to support the carrier's transition to a 787 Dreamliner fleet. Thirty-two Scoot pilots are expected to be trained in 2014. The carrier's parent company, Singapore Airlines, ordered 20 787s to be delivered starting late this year.

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

Plane Spotter

Mooney's comeback tour

Plane spotters everywhere are watching as Mooney Aircraft, which resumed production of its high-performance single-engine airplanes in February, continues what it is calling its comeback tour of 2014. Selected models of the sleek, low-wing singles with their know-it-anywhere vertical tail have been approved for production, including the Acclaim S and the Ovation 2GX and Ovation 3 models. It was an Ovation 2GX flown by Jack Wiegand that created new plane spotters around the world when the 21-year-old used it to set a Guinness World Record as the youngest solo "earthrounder."

Training Products

ASA offers new student pilot brochure

ASA's Plotting Your Course fold-out brochure was designed to mimic an aeronautical chart. The chart includes general information about how to get a pilot certificate, the first steps to pilot certification, eligibility requirements, how to find and choose the right flight school, how long it takes to get a certificate, how much it costs, and how to get started. The brochure is free.


Gleim offers safe pilot course

Gleim's Safe Pilot Course (SPC) is a recurrent ground training course that teaches pilots how to operate safely in the National Airspace System. It includes 13 study units detailing safe practices during all phases of flight, audiovisual presentations lasting between five and 10 minutes, quizzes, and 12 months of access.

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

Heads-up for student pilots

Student airmen may have medical certification delayed or even denied if they have a known medical issue and don't learn all the aeromedical implications before applying for a medical certificate. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is a common condition that may require a series of costly tests. Read more...  


Member benefits

Are you an 'insured'?

Are you insured? Learn how to tell whether you're covered, even if you're not the policyholder. Read more...  


Filling the gap

So you want to fly for the airlines—and now the regs say you need 1,500 hours. How do you get there? Read more...  


FAQs: How to join 'Flight Training' Facebook chats

Flight Training magazine hosts a live chat each month. Here are the most frequently asked questions about how to join in and possibly win a $50 Aircraft Spruce gift card. Read more...  

Instrument Tip


Distractible you

The pilot has just started a level-off at the assigned altitude when departure control calls with an unexpected request. Read more...  

Final Exam


Today is May 30 and I noticed in the aircraft logbook that the last annual inspection on the aircraft was completed May 8 of last year. Can I still fly the aircraft since that date has already passed this year?


Yes, you can fly the aircraft until May 31 this year because the regulation for annual inspections, 14 CFR 91.409, says that an annual inspection must have been completed in the preceding 12 calendar months. This wording allows you to fly the aircraft until the end of the month without having to worry about the exact date the work was completed last year.

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

Career Opportunities

Aviation job board

Job of the week: Training center manager, SimCom

SimCom Training Centers is looking for a qualified training center manager to oversee and direct all center activities for the purpose of providing cost-effective training. Responsibilities include staff management, overseeing maintenance and development of training programs, assuring FAA compliance, ensuring customer satisfaction, and more. See 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 a member services representative, associate project manager, 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 7-8 - Santa Clara, Calif.; and Ashburn, Va.

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.

For a complete schedule, see AOPA Online. Can't make it in person? Sign up for the Air Safety Institute's new Online eFIRC.

Rusty Pilot Seminars

May 30 - Indianapolis, Ind.

May 31 - Santa Paula, Calif.; and Allentown, Pa.

June 7 - Cortland, N.Y.; Riverside, Calif.; Watkins, Colo.; Southbridge, Mass.; Aurora, Ore.; and Fredericksburg, Va.

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

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

Member Tools: Send feedback | ePilot Archive

Related Articles