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October 31, 2014, AOPA ePilot: Flight Training EditionOctober 31, 2014, AOPA ePilot: Flight Training Edition

ePilot Flight Training Edition

October 31, 2014 - VOL 14, ISSUE 44

Training Tips

Special hours, special airspace

It's early morning as a pilot preflights an aircraft at Malcolm McKinnon Airport in St. Simons Island, Georgia. Visibility is good, but the ceiling reported by the automated surface observing system (ASOS) is 900 feet. Can a pilot depart or enter the airspace under VFR?

That depends on what time it is.

Checking out Malcolm McKinnon on the Jacksonville Sectional, the pilot would observe a dashed magenta line encircling the airport symbol. That signifies that Class E airspace reaches to the surface. In surface-based Class E airspace, VFR minimums are a 1,000-foot ceiling and three miles visibility.

But, further inspection of the chart reveals this note near the airport symbol: "See NOTAMS/Directory for Class E (sfc) eff hrs." Looking up the airport's listing in the airport/facility directory produces this important note: "AIRSPACE: CLASS E svc 1100–0259Z‡; other times CLASS G."

If the flight is ready to depart before 1100Z (7 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time), Class G minimums apply, and the flight may proceed—provided there is no notam to the contrary.

Even within the small charted circle of Class E airspace, other uncommon charting characteristics or symbols draw the eye, perhaps sending a pilot to a reference source such as the Aeronautical Chart User's Guide to research the meaning.

What does the circle along the shore just south of the airport represent? You're correct if you responded that it is the symbol for a marine light. (It is the 104-foot-high lighthouse and museum of the Georgia Coastal Historical Society operating nightly and during bad weather.)

How would one research the meaning of the letters F and Fl that appear beneath the lighthouse symbol? The abbreviations (fixed, and flashing) are found on a list of features of marine lights on Page 25 of the Aeronautical Chart User's Guide.

There are obstructions just west of the airport; note that one contains the notation UC ("under construction or reported: position and elevation unverified," according to the sectional chart legend).

Just west of the Class E airspace is the eastern boundary of a large complex of special-use airspace including several military operations areas, and adjacent restricted areas. Be sure to check hours, altitudes, and types of operation; know how to request activity updates by radio from flight service (see the communications box for the Brunswick VOR) or via the Coastal MOA Advisory Service, if you plan to transit.

Flight Training News

Rotorcraft rookie no more

What does it take to fly helicopters? Flight Training Editor Ian J. Twombly added a rotary rating to his private pilot certificate this year, and he is entranced with his new skill set. Learn all about it at the next live Flight Training Facebook chat, at 3 p.m. Eastern time on Nov. 4. One chatter will receive a $50 gift card. Set an email reminder here. Flight Training Facebook chats are sponsored by Aircraft Spruce & Specialty.



Embry-Riddle selects four Hoover scholars

Four students studying to become professional pilots at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University have been named recipients of $25,000 scholarships that honor aviation luminary Bob Hoover. Read more...  


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Warm up to cold weather ops

From stubborn engines to slick runways, winter can serve up plenty of challenges. But don't wait until snow and frost blanket you and your aircraft: As Ice Week concludes, the Air Safety Institute invites you to confront this winter's chilly spells with its Cold Weather Ops safety quiz. Take the quiz...



In Michigan, STEM education flies

On Oct. 18, science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education moved from classrooms to cockpits in Lansing, Michigan, and made a lasting impression. Read more...  


Clocks 'fall back' Nov. 2

If you live in an area that observes daylight saving time, don't forget to return your clocks to standard time Nov. 2. Remember that the conversion to Zulu time will change, too.

Training Resources

Online learning

Safe pilots. Safe skies.

You've probably heard the adage, "Safe pilots are always learning." So hone your skills and take off with the Air Safety Institute's new home page. It's now easier than ever to learn online, check transcripts, read publications, renew your flight instructor certificate, and take safety programs to go. Learn more...  

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

Cutting-edge training technology, St. Simons preview

AOPA tells the FAA that its Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) mandate just won't work; hear why from AOPA Live's advocacy expert. Take a look at Redbird Migration, and the technology at the leading edge of flight training. Plus, get a preview of the AOPA St. Simons Fly-In in Georgia. AOPA Live This Week®, Oct. 30...  

Career Pilot

Mitsubishi rolls out regional jet

Mitsubishi rolled out its new MRJ regional jet in Nagoya, Japan, on Oct. 18. It is the first commercial aircraft launched by a Japanese manufacturer in 50 years, AIN Online reported. The MRJ has been under development for seven years and is intended to provide a 20-percent improvement in fuel efficiency over existing regional models. With first flight scheduled for the second quarter of 2015, the company anticipates logging some 2,500 flight-test hours to receive simultaneous Japanese and FAA certification.

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

Plane Spotter

Czech ride

Few aircraft serve in roles ranging from civilian transition trainer to flying light-attack missions for a nation's air force. One aircraft on which that distinction rests is the Aero L-39 Albatros, a single-engine jet trainer designed in the former Czechoslovakia that still does military service today. Sleekly distinctive with short, tank-tipped wings, the L-39 has given many civilian pilots a chance to make the jump to jets, as AOPA described in 2013. Here's a tip for your L-39 checkout: The controls tend to feel a bit heavier above 400 knots!

Training Products

Foggles simulate instrument conditions on clear days

While student pilots spend most of their time looking outside the cockpit, the regulations require private pilot applicants to have some training on flying solely by reference to instruments. Talk to your instructor about your options for view-limiting devices for your simulated instrument training; some prefer a hood, while others like training glasses like Foggles, sold at for $19.50 or $21.95.

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

AME sequel

About a quarter of aviation medical examiners designated by the FAA still are not familiar with a program that allows them to issue a medical certificate in the office for more conditions, AOPA Director of Medical Certification Services Gary Crump discovered at a recent aeromedical meeting. He offers tips for saving time in the medical certification process and increasing your chances of getting an office issuance. Read more...  


Just ahead in the December issue

Aspiring professional pilots can find out about flying jets and what awaits them when they get that airline job in the December issue of Flight Training, the collegiate/career issue. But it's not all big iron and college stuff: Find striking parallels between learning to fly and learning to ride a horse, and get the scoop on an important part of your path to a private pilot certificate that happens outside the cockpit. Read more...  

Instrument Tip


Military exercise

Few features are more striking on an aeronautical chart than a mass of special-use airspace near a planned destination or astride a proposed route. Read more...  

Final Exam


What is the angle of attack?


The angle of attack is the angle between the chord line of the wing (or any airfoil) and the relative wind. Learn more about aerodynamics in the Air Safety Institute's Essential Aerodynamics online course. (Source: Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge, Chapter 4.

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

Career Opportunities

Aviation job board

Job of the week: Research pilot, University of Wyoming

The Department of Atmospheric Science at the University of Wyoming is seeking applications for an atmospheric research pilot. The successful applicant will have a varied background with experience in nonstandard, complex flight profiles, and a can-do attitude. Essential duties include pilot-in-command and second-in-command flights for research and transportation flights. Read more about this exciting opportunity!


AOPA career opportunities

Join the AOPA team

Ever dream of turning your passion for aviation into a career? We're looking for a senior ambassador, ambassador for Southern California, .Net applications developer, social media evangelist, legal services plan program manager, and account manager II. To learn more about other AOPA career opportunities, visit AOPA Online.

Education and Seminars

Flight Instructor Refresher Courses

Nov 1-2 - Albuquerque, New Mexico; and Ashburn, Virginia

Nov 8-9 - Atlanta, Georgia; and San Diego, California

Nov 15-16 - Anchorage, Alaska; and Austin, Texas

Dec 6-7 - Orlando, Florida; Northbrook, Illinois; and Denver, Colorado

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

Nov 5 - West Lafayette, Indiana

Nov 10 - Jacksonville, Florida

Nov 11 - San Diego, California; and Daytona Beach, Florida

Nov 12 - Frederick, Maryland; Long Beach, California; and Melbourne, Florida

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

Rusty Pilot Seminars

Nov 7 - St. Simons Island, Georgia

Nov 8 - Kennesaw, Georgia

Nov 15 - Farmingdale, New York; Greensboro, North Carolina; and Waukegan, Illinois

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 Event

Nov 8 — Brunswick, Georgia. Malcom McKinnon Airport (KSSI). AOPA Fly-In.

AOPA ePilot

ePilot Flight Training Editors:

Sarah Deener
Alyssa Miller
Jim Moore

Production Assistant:

Melissa Whitehouse


Jill W. Tallman
Warren Morningstar
Alton K. Marsh
Dave Hirschman
Tom Horne
Ian J. Twombly
Dan Namowitz

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