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

September 26, 2014, AOPA ePilot: Flight Training EditionSeptember 26, 2014, AOPA ePilot: Flight Training Edition

ePilot Flight Training Edition

September 26, 2014 - VOL 14, ISSUE 39

Training Tips

Aircraft speed limits

Descending from a high cruise altitude at the end of a dual cross-country flight, a student pilot has acquired new insights into the normally aspirated trainer's flight characteristics at the upper limit of its altitude range. Compared to cruise at more typical altitudes, horsepower is less for a given rpm setting; climb performance eroded significantly as the aircraft neared its service ceiling.

It took a long time to climb to that lofty cruise altitude after takeoff, but higher-altitude cruise has its advantages. Overflying Class B and Class C airspace areas in a properly equipped aircraft is one. Another, for example in the mid-Atlantic states, can be the rare pleasure of surmounting the haze layer that so often restricts visibility, especially when a stable air mass is in place.

Having absorbed so many new flight impressions, the student is momentarily put off when the instructor taps the altimeter as the aircraft descends through 10,000 feet msl and quips, "Be sure to slow down to 250 knots."

How many times has that jest been sprung in the cockpit of a 110-knot trainer? Still, the CFI's "reminder" places useful focus on an aircraft speed regulation that states that "unless otherwise authorized by the Administrator, no person may operate an aircraft below 10,000 feet MSL at an indicated airspeed of more than 250 knots (288 m.p.h.)."

Not an issue for this flight! But a refresher on the rule's provisions will improve any pilot's situational awareness by serving as a reminder of how flight operations are conducted by the larger, faster aircraft sharing busy terminal airspace. The regulation also contains provisions restricting aircraft speed to a maximum of 200 knots "at or below 2,500 feet above the surface within 4 nautical miles of the primary airport of a Class C or Class D airspace area" and "in the airspace underlying a Class B airspace area designated for an airport or in a VFR corridor designated through such a Class B airspace area."

Note for example that a trainer departing Frederick Municipal Airport in Maryland west toward Martinsburg, West Virginia, or northeast toward the Westminster, Maryland, VOR would fly in the vicinity of high-traffic arrival and departure routes employing a range of altitudes, depicted on the Baltimore-Washington Terminal Area Chart.

Perhaps you will upgrade to a high-performance aircraft someday. Meanwhile, reviewing this regulation will make you a more effective plane spotter when ATC calls out fast traffic in busy (and haze-laden) airspace.

Flight Training News


Pilot flies again thanks to Rusty Pilot program

Jamie Crandall is flying again after a 17-year hiatus thanks to an AOPA Rusty Pilot seminar. And, he's helping pay for two other men to learn to fly. Read more...  



What can we learn from accident statistics?

There‚Äôs nothing more sobering than reading a general aviation accident report, because it reveals in plain language the types of mistakes that pilots make. Join Flight Training Editor Ian J. Twombly and Technical Editor Jill W. Tallman for a live Facebook chat on Tuesday, Oct. 7, at 3 p.m. Eastern. Their guest will be David J. Kenny, manager of aviation safety analysis for the Air Safety Institute. Kenny has spent years studying accident data for such publications as the institute's Joseph T. Nall Report. Join the conversation—one chatter will receive a $50 Aircraft Spruce gift card. Sign up here for an email reminder. Flight Training Facebook chats are sponsored by Aircraft Spruce & Specialty.


Florida Tech launches online BA in aviation management

Melbourne-based Florida Institute of Technology will launch a new online program on Oct. 27 in which students can earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in aviation management. The program addresses aviation safety, law, planning, and operations and includes a hands-on course that tasks students with creating an airline business plan and running a simulated aviation business.



Don't try this at home

Flying VFR into instrument meteorological conditions makes as much sense as flying blindfolded. You'll get the idea when watching this Air Safety Institute "Flying Blind" Pilot Safety Announcement. Watch the video...  


Apps of the week

Flight planning apps updated

Aviation developers unveil updates for nine flight planning apps. Read more...  


University aviation program receives flight simulator

The University of Maine at Augusta has bought a Redbird FMX flight simulator for its four-year aviation school, operated in conjunction with partner Maine Instrument Flight, reports The program currently has 40 students.

Training Resources


The wrong runway

An hour before sunrise, the crew of an Atlanta-bound regional jet received a clearance to taxi to Runway 22 at Blue Grass Airport in Lexington, Kentucky. But in the darkness they mistook their position on the airport and lined up for the wrong runway. Watch the Air Safety Institute's accident animation to see what happened. Watch to 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

ADS-B flaws, voyages for a cause

An inspector general report adds to the criticism and confusion surrounding the 2020 Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) mandate, and AOPA is calling for a fresh look at solutions. Also this week, Barrington Irving launches a round-the-world mission to get kids excited about science, and a 49-state journey to raise general aviation awareness takes off. AOPA Live This Week®, Sept. 25...  

Career Pilot


Sporty's ATP program approved

Sporty's has been added to the short list of training providers offering a newly required course for the multiengine airplane airline transport pilot (ATP) certificate, the company announced Sept. 24. Read more...  


American gets OK for electronic flight attendant manuals

American Airlines, which said it was the first airline with a paperless cockpit, now has become the first mainline carrier to receive FAA approval to provide flight attendants with electronic manuals, accessible through a handheld tablet. By no longer printing and shipping updates, the carrier said it will save $300,000 annually—in addition to nearly $650,000 in annual fuel costs from replacing 5-pound paper manuals with lightweight, 5.3-inch Samsung tablets.


Southwest announces new service to Costa Rica

Southwest Airlines announced Sept. 12 that it has filed an application with the U.S. Department of Transportation to add its first Central American destination, with daily roundtrip service between Baltimore/Washington International Airport and San Jose, Costa Rica, beginning March 7, 2015. Costa Rica will be the sixth foreign country served by Southwest Airlines and the first new destination in the carrier's network after completing the integration of subsidiary AirTran Airways.

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

Plane Spotter

'Too' much fun

A pilot is regaling the local plane spotters about his aircraft—not only about how much fun it is to fly, but also on the pleasures of putting it together piece by piece. It's an open-cockpit, tailwheel-equipped, two-seat biplane that you can take on a cross-country or use for aerobatics (as it is rated to handle plus or minus 6 Gs). Indeed, the kit's manufacturer describes the Starduster Too SA300 as "without question the prettiest biplane ever built," and backers of the boast fly about 1,000 of the sporty aircraft.

Training Products

Jeppesen offers private pilot e-book

Jeppesen's new Guided Flight Discovery Private Pilot e-book covers topics including fundamental concepts, the mind/body/flight connection, FAA study questions, and summary checklists to mark progress. The cost is $79.99.


Helipad offers new kneeboard

The new Helipad iPad/iPad Mini kneeboard, created for helicopter pilots but suitable for fixed-wing cockpits, allows pilots to carry checklists and approach plates, and stores the iPad. Prices vary; see the website for more details.

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

Flying with diabetes: How to get your medical

Diabetes is an increasingly common condition. Diabetes mellitus treated with oral medications or insulin is one of the FAA's 15 specifically disqualifying medical conditions. Dr. Warren Silberman explains how to go through the AME-assisted special issuance process to obtain a medical certificate. Read more...  


Member benefits

Retired retail exec turns to AOPA for Turbo Arrow IV coverage

Allen Yarborough used AOPA Insurance Services for his aircraft coverage and was surprised at how inexpensive it was. Read more...  


Just ahead in the November issue

Snow in September? Yes, when you're putting out the November issue of Flight Training magazine. Also: helicopters! Read more...  



Combat confusion in the cockpit

If you are flying in instrument conditions and your panel lights up with a caution light, or a series of cascading failures, are you ready to handle it? Opinion Leaders blogger Amy Laboda shares tips for using a simulator and mind exercises to increase your ability to handle problems quickly in the air before they escalate. Read more...  

Instrument Tip


Two white, two red

What a pilot gleans from a PAPI's white and red lights depends on other design features of the approach, reviewed and noted during preflight planning. Read more...  

Final Exam


When is a pilot required to use an aircraft's position lights?


Position lights must be used during the period from sunset to sunrise, although there are special conditions for pilots in Alaska. While operating there, pilots must use position lights when a prominent unlighted object three statute miles away cannot be seen, or when the sun is more than six degrees below the horizon. (Source: 14 CFR 91.209).

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

Career Opportunities

Aviation job board

Job of the week: CFI, TransPac Aviation Academy

TransPac Aviation Academy in Phoenix, Arizona, is currently hiring full-time certificated flight instructors. Responsibilities include conducting flight, ground, and simulator training under 14 CFR Parts 141 and 61. Successful candidates may be eligible to choose from an array of signing bonuses. Learn more now.


AOPA career opportunities

Join the AOPA team

Ever dream of turning your passion for aviation into a career? We're looking for an executive assistant for accounting/finance and legal, legal services plan program manager, financial analyst, major gift officer, and account manager II. To learn more about other AOPA career opportunities, visit AOPA Online.

Education and Seminars

Flight Instructor Refresher Courses

Sept 27-28 - Richmond, Virginia

Oct 11-12 - Santa Clara, California; Corpus Christi, Texas; Indianapolis, Indiana; and Nashville, Tennessee

Oct 18-19 - Columbia, South Carolina

Oct 25-26 - Windsor Locks, Connecticut; Fort Lauderdale, Florida; and Wichita, Kansas

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

Sept 29 - Mesa, Arizona; Reno, Nevada; and Hampton, Virginia

Sept 30 - Sacramento, California; Tucson, Arizona; Richmond, Virginia; and Northglenn, Colorado

Oct 1 - Danville, Virginia; Colorado Springs, Colorado; San Jose, California; and El Paso, Texas

Oct 2 - Santa Rosa, California; Albuquerque, New Mexico; and Blacksburg, Virginia

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

Rusty Pilot Seminars

Sept 27 - Burlington, Washington

Oct 2 - Independence, Oregon

Oct 3 - Frederick, Maryland

Oct 4 - Willoughby, Ohio; and Sanford, Maine

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

Oct 4 — Frederick, Maryland. Frederick Municipal Airport (KFDK). AOPA Homecoming.


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

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