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March 25, 2016, issue of 'AOPA ePilot: Flight Training Edition'March 25, 2016, issue of 'AOPA ePilot: Flight Training Edition'

ePilot Flight Training Edition

March 25, 2016 - VOL 16, ISSUE 13

Training Tips


Matters of discretion

As is often true of the standard terminology used in pilot/controller communications, the phrase "pilot's discretion" carries more meaning than its most obvious implications. What does it mean if you are cleared to climb or descend at pilot's discretion? And what can you do if air traffic control clears you for the option at a towered airport? Read more...  

Flight Training News


Allow solos on 16th birthday, AOPA says

AOPA is asking the FAA to revise new procedures for issuing student pilot certificates that preclude student pilots from soloing on their sixteenth birthday. Read more...  



Student plans Vin Fiz flight

A Tennessee aerospace college student hopes to inspire young people when he re-creates Calbraith "Cal" Rodgers' 1911 Vin Fiz cross-country flight from New York to California in May. Read more...  



FlightSimCon set for June

FlightSimCon, an annual gathering for pilots and aviation enthusiasts, will take place June 11 and 12 at the New England Air Museum in Windsor Locks, Connecticut. Read more...  


DuraCharts exits print market

According to its March newsletter, DuraCharts, the maker of tear-resistant aeronautical sectional charts, stopped producing new charts as of March 21. The company is exiting the market. "We are sorry that this has happened, but we have come to the end of a feasible business to sell paper charts," the company wrote to its clients.


Thinking about an aviation career?

Pilots who are seeking aviation-related jobs can bring their résumés to the Sun 'n Fun International Fly-In and Expo for a career fair April 6 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Recruiters from commercial and regional airlines, training centers, and other aviation-oriented companies will be stationed to interview prospective employees.


Flash-based, login required

Airplane trouble at night

"Cleveland Center, N613JM, do you copy? I'm declaring an emergency!" In the AOPA Air Safety Institute's Real Pilot Story: Engine Failure at Night, pilot Emanuel Kanal recounts how he, his passenger/wife, and air traffic control secured a positive outcome in an emergency. Learn what happened...



Build loyalty, boost business

Outstanding customer service helps build loyalty among flight school students and is key to a successful training operation. Join AOPA for a webinar March 30 at 8 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time to explore business-boosting strategies from AOPA Flight Training Excellence Awards winners. Register today...



Aviation Insurance Resources offers scholarship

Aviation Insurance Resources is offering a $500 scholarship for student pilots and certificated pilots to help further their training. Read more...  


AOPA Live This Week

Sweepstakes surprise delivered

Eric Peterson didn't see it coming. AOPA's cameras were rolling as the missionary pilot with nearly 40 years of humanitarian flying under his belt took delivery of his new ride, the AOPA You Can Fly Sweepstakes Reimagined 152. Also this week, get a sneak peek at the next AOPA sweepstakes airplane—it could be yours in 2017. Watch AOPA Live This Week®, March 24...  

Plane Spotter

Valiant effort

What airplane looks like a T-6 Texan, was used to train World War II military pilots, and sports a nickname of uncertain origin? Plane Spotters (and aviation trivia buffs) know this aircraft as the Vultee Valiant, the BT-13, and sometimes, the "Vultee Vibrator." Occasionally mistaken for North American's more powerful, heavier T-6 because both are canopied, tandem-seat taildraggers with big radial engines, the Vultee is most easily differentiated by fixed main gear. As for how it got the nickname, its vibrating canopy, stall characteristics, and the engine's window-rattling effects are all variously credited.

Training Products and Resources

PDF download

Get POH details in a flash

Looking for a handy way to brush up on speeds, systems, and emergency procedures for any aircraft you fly? Whether renting, owning, or transitioning, review particulars with the AOPA Air Safety Institute's Aircraft Flash Cards. Customize each with the appropriate POH information and toss them into your flight bag. Download the cards...


Cleaning cloth doubles as VFR rules reminder

A soft microfiber cloth imprinted with VFR information including altitudes, airspace information, light gun signals, Zulu time, and temperature conversions does double duty cleaning fingerprints, oil smudges, and crumbs from pilots' electronic devices. The Pilot's iPad Cleaning Cloth is available from Sporty's Pilot Shop for $4.95.

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

Ask Mark: AOPA president takes your questions

Want to know more about third class medical reform, flying clubs, or the future of the pilot community? Here's your chance to ask AOPA President Mark Baker. He will be taking some of your questions for an upcoming issue of AOPA Pilot and a segment on AOPA Live This Week. Send your questions to [email protected].


Pilot Protection Services

Deal or no deal?

Imagine a scenario in which sending an email about selling your airplane creates a legally enforceable offer to sell it. Sound like an email phishing scam? Think again. Learn about the pitfalls of digital communication from one aircraft owner's costly mistake. Read more...  



Build your skill set

AOPA will present a packed schedule of seminars during the Sun 'n Fun International Fly-In and Expo to help you save money, and perhaps much more. Experts will offer tips for handling emergencies, incorporating new technology, and sharpening your flying skills. And drop by for coffee with AOPA President Mark Baker. Read more...  


10 million reasons to smile

Women in Aviation International has given $10 million in scholarships to more than 1,400 men and women in aviation-related fields since 1995. Opinion Leaders blogger Amy Laboda writes that some recipients have since established their own scholarships through the organization because "that's how we enable the next generation of aviators to soar." Read more...  

Final Exam


While checking notams in preparation for a local flight from Macon, Georgia (KMCN), you see the following:


Because you are a new student pilot, you ask for a "plain language" copy:

"Atlanta Center (Hampton GA) [ZTL]: March NOTAM #274 issued by Macon GA [MCN] Airspace light OUT TRAINING {within, Wisconsin} AN area DEFINED as 10NM RADIUS of VUJ SFC - 3000FT above ground level avoidance advised daily 2200 - 0200 March 15th, 2016 at 05:00 PM EST (1603152200) - March 17th, 2016 at 09:00 PM EST (1603180200)."

You notice that the "WI" in the notam has changed to "{within, Wisconsin}." What does this mean, and what should you do?


The conversion system that changes the notam to plain language can't differentiate whether "WI" means "Wisconsin" or "within," so it provides both. The pilot must decide by context which is the correct word. In this case the proper translation is "within" because the location is Georgia.

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 Flight Training Online or 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 a pilot community development coordinator, "You Can Fly" ambassador—Great Lakes, donor relations director, AOPA Foundation communications director, aviation technical specialist, Flying Clubs Initiative senior manager, marketing copywriter, Web project manager, and member services representative. To learn more about other AOPA career opportunities, visit AOPA Online.

Education and Seminars

Flight Instructor Refresher Courses

Apr 2-3 - Denver, Colorado; Tampa, Florida; Needham, Massachusetts; and Dulles, Virginia

Apr 9-10 - Indianapolis, Indiana; and Salt Lake City, Utah

Apr 16-17 - San Diego, California

Apr 23-24 - Atlanta, Georgia

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

Apr 5 - Olathe, Kansas; and Lakeland, Florida

Apr 6 - Bellevue, Nebraska; and Lakeland, Florida

Apr 7-9 - Lakeland, Florida

Apr 11 - Hopkinsville, Kentucky; and Salt Lake City, Utah

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

Rusty Pilots Seminars

Mar 26 - Englewood, Colorado; Lake in the Hills, Illinois; Fort Pierce, Florida; and Pearland, Texas

Mar 31 - Cheektowaga, New York

Apr 2 - Henderson, Nevada; Hayden, Idaho; Vancouver, Washington; Appleton, Wisconsin; Findlay, Ohio; Colby, Kansas; Elyria, Ohio; and Columbus, Ohio

Apr 5 - Nashville, Tennessee

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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