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December 23, 2016, issue of 'AOPA ePilot: Flight Training Edition'December 23, 2016, issue of 'AOPA ePilot: Flight Training Edition'

ePilot Flight Training Edition

December 23, 2016 - VOL 16, ISSUE 52

Training Tips

Sponsored by Aircraft Spruce

What's up with the wind?

Weather conditions pilots focus on most in preflight planning vary by season. Fortunately, one aspect of weather analysis that applies at any time of year is being able to check a surface analysis chart and get a big-picture idea about one of a pilot's main concerns: wind. Read more...  

Flight Training News


Pilots debate pattern study

AOPA's announcement that the Air Safety Institute and the University of North Dakota had partnered to study a continuous turning approach or "circular pattern" as an alternative to the traditional box pattern sparked immediate, impassioned responses from pilots. Read more...  



'Barefoot bandit' wants to fly

Colton Harris-Moore, who was convicted of stealing airplanes in 2012 after he led police on an international chase that ended in the Bahamas, launched a crowdfunding campaign to pay for flight lessons, but the federal probation office quickly had him shut down the account because he still owes restitution to the victims of his crimes. Read more...  



CAP to give Santa a hand

When Santa takes off Dec. 24, he will have a ground crew of Civil Air Patrol (CAP) cadets calling the weather for him on high-frequency radios. At least seven CAP national network control stations will report local conditions, and manage and provide periodic updates on Santa's location with North American Aerospace Defense Command specialists tracking the jolly gift giver online at Read more...  


You Can Fly

Knocking off the rust

When Jamie Crandall decided to attend AOPA's first Rusty Pilots seminar in 2014, he wasn't expecting much. In fact, he figured "just two or three old guys like me" would attend the event. Because the San Marcos, Texas, location wasn't far from his home, he decided to give it a try. When he arrived, he was stunned to discover at least 100 lapsed pilots of all ages who wanted to get back into the air. Read more...  


Video animation

No room for a mistake

When air traffic control instructs you to exit the runway at a specific taxiway, they expect you to comply. In this Runway Safety video, the AOPA Air Safety Institute explores what happened when a Cessna 172 landing at Allentown, Pennsylvania, missed the turnoff from the active runway and a regional airliner was cleared for takeoff from the same runway. Watch the video...  


AOPA Live This Week

Best videos of 2016

AOPA Live This Week® has taken you along for some extraordinary flights in 2016. Sit back, relax, and feast your eyes on the best stories of the year, including a news helicopter on a life-saving mission to track twisters, F-100 pilots getting one last chance to fly the Super Sabre, and an airline pilot returning to her general aviation roots. The next episode of the show will be available Jan. 12. Watch the director's cut of AOPA Live This Week...  

Plane Spotter

Rans S-12 LSA

A tricycle-gear, high-wing light sport aircraft with a two-place, well-windowed cockpit; a pusher propeller; and a long boom joining to the vertical and horizontal tail surfaces is bound to catch the eye, whether climbing after a 285-foot takeoff run or returning with an even more abbreviated landing roll. You may spot a kitbuilt Rans S-12 Airaile being flown by its owner/builder or by a sport pilot student. Manufactured by Rans Designs of Hays, Kansas, and available in a 52- to 100-horsepower range, the S-12XL model has a top gross weight of 1,100 pounds.

Training Products and Resources

Flash-based; login required

Help anxious flyers

While you're in awe of the scenery, your passenger is holding a tight grip on the seat, eyes closed. How can you help your passenger overcome his or her anxiety? Introduce your frequent flyer to basic, easy-to-comprehend aviation knowledge in the form of the AOPA Air Safety Institute's Pinch Hitter online course. Share and review the program before going flying...


Popticals offers folding sunglasses

PopGun folding sunglasses are a new, versatile option for pilots seeking sun protection, portability, and premium performance from their optics. They easily fold and stow in an included clamshell case, provide UV protection, and are scratch and impact resistant. The wraparound, pop-out sunglasses are available from

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

AOPA Aviation Finance

Interest rates likely to increase

Some aircraft lenders have already started increasing interest rates, according to AOPA Aviation Finance Co. President Adam Meredith. In the past two months, the five-year cost of money has gone up at least 0.60 percent, yet most aircraft lenders have kept interest rates incredibly low and will likely keep them there for loans funding this year. However, rates are expected to go up at least 0.25 percent. Meredith said he expects aircraft lenders will pass along those increases by the first of the year. Have a question for Meredith? Submit your question here. Also, check out the AOPA Aviation Finance loan calculator or call 800/627-5263 for more information about aircraft financing.


Pilot Protection Services

How can pilots help encourage medical advances?

Dr. Jonathan Sackier attended a conference at Vatican City this year that focused on stem cell research. Sackier shares some of the conference highlights and lists ways pilots can help improve their health and further medical science. Read more...  


A dreamer for GA

Kyle Fosso, a 21-year-old A&P who rebuilt his 1954 Cessna 170B and earned his pilot certificate, will be traveling around the country in his aircraft, talking to high school students and offering rides. "For someone so young, Kyle gives us all an example on how to share passion, exhibit dedication, and persevere over some large obstacles," writes Opinion Leaders blogger Jolie Lucas. Read more...  

Final Exam


I am a student pilot and fly by myself in day VFR conditions, with approval from my instructor. Should I be concerned about spatial disorientation?


Yes, you should be aware of the possibility of becoming spatially disoriented while flying. VFR-only pilots are the most frequent victims of spatial disorientation because they can find themselves in deteriorating weather, sometimes leading to flight in instrument meteorological conditions. An AOPA study of spatial disorientation accidents that occurred during a 10-year period found that 50 percent of the accidents resulted from VFR pilots flying into IMC. This situation is fatal 90 percent of the time, so it definitely merits attention. For more information, read this AOPA Air Safety Institute Safety Advisor.

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 6 p.m. Eastern time) or from AOPA Online. Got a question for our technical services staff? Contact AOPA.

Career Opportunities

AOPA career opportunities

Join the AOPA team

Ever dream of turning your passion for aviation into a career? AOPA is looking for an aviation event operations senior manager, flying clubs initiative director, travel and destination products director, program administration manager, account executive, donor relations director, New York You Can Fly ambassador, aviation technical specialist, aviation financial analyst, and part-time administrative assistant. To learn more about these and other AOPA career opportunities, visit AOPA Online.

Education and Seminars

Flight Instructor Refresher Courses

Jan 7-8 - Charlotte, North Carolina; Rockford, Tennessee; Santa Clara, California; and Ypsilanti, Michigan

Jan 14-15 - Bellevue, Washington; Elkridge, Maryland; and Ridgeland, Mississippi

Jan 21-22 - San Antonio, Texas; Portland, Oregon; and Long Beach, California

Feb 11-12 - Fort Worth, Texas; Louisville, Kentucky; Nashua, New Hampshire; and Kenner, Louisiana

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

Air Safety Institute Safety Seminars

Jan 9 - Reno, Nevada

Jan 10 - Sacramento, California; and Houston, Texas

Jan 11 - Milpitas, California; and San Antonio, Texas

Jan 12 - Austin, Texas; and Santa Rosa, California

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

Rusty Pilots Seminars

Jan 14 - Bucyrus, Ohio; Bethany, Oklahoma; Stevensville, Maryland; Fort Myers, Florida; and Columbus, Georgia

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. 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 does not endorse or assume responsibility for the events submitted and listed in the calendar.

ePilot Flight Training Editors:

Alyssa Miller
Jim Moore
David Tulis

Production Assistant:

Melissa Whitehouse


Mike Collins
Sarah Deener
Dave Hirschman
Tom Horne
Alton K. Marsh
Warren Morningstar
Dan Namowitz
Jill W. Tallman
Ian J. Twombly
Julie Summers Walker

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