March 2009Departments

Training News & Notes

World flight raises money for Lou Gehrig's disease

Two pilots completed an around-the-world flight in December to raise money and awareness for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. The pilots, CarolAnn Garratt and Carol Foy, flew seven days and 160 hours in a Mooney, taking off and touching down in Orlando, Florida.

As student pilots know, planning is essential to the successful outcome of any cross-country flight, and it was no different for Foy and Garratt. "The better the planning, the better the execution," Garratt told AOPA. The pair flew together a few times on test and training flights to get acquainted with each other and practice for the trip. They even conducted a two-day flight with an overnight stop so that they could experience some of the fatigue they would feel on the trip, among other things.

"You can't do these things at the drop of a hat," Garratt explained.

She should know-she flew around the world in 2003, also to raise money for ALS research. She gathered the necessary charts-most of which were for crossing the United States, as she needed only eight for the rest of the route, plus arrival and approach procedures for each of the stops along the way. The trip took the pair from Orlando to San Diego; Lihue, Hawaii; Guam; Bangkok, Thailand; Salalah, Oman; Djibouti; Barmako, Mali; Cape Verde Islands; and back to Orlando.

-Alyssa J. Miller

ATP reimburses fuel surcharge

Airline Transport Professionals (ATP), the national flight school dedicated to career pilot training, announced in December that it had refunded up to $2,500 in fuel surcharges to its Airline Career Pilot Program students. The refund was possible because at the time the students enrolled, aviation fuel was more than $6 per gallon, ATP said. Because aviation fuel prices lag behind other fuel sources, the rebate wasn't possible until fuel dropped below $4.50 a gallon. The rebate applies to all students who enrolled at mid-2008 pricing, and the course price has been lowered for those students who plan to start in 2009.

What It Looks Like: Grounding Cable

By Mark Twombly

One of the nagging problems that can affect airplanes is static electricity. Electrostatic charges can accumulate on an airplane as it flies through precipitation, ice crystals, dust, sand, snow, and even in clear air below an electrically charged cloud layer. Electrostatic charge can cause radio frequency (RF) noise that may interfere with avionics. The cure for electrostatic buildup is to attach static wicks to the trailing edges of the wing and tail. The wicks harmlessly dissipate or bleed the electricity into the slipstream.

Flying through the air is not the only source of potentially harmful electrostatic charge buildup. Avgas or jet fuel being pumped into a fuel tank under pressure can generate static electricity. If the electrostatic charge is not dissipated in some manner, the charge can build to the point that it creates a spark.

It goes without saying that a strong electric spark jumping between a fuel nozzle and the metal neck of an aircraft fuel tank is not a desirable scenario.

The key to safe fueling practices is to electrically ground the aircraft so that any electrostatic charge generated by the fueling process dissipates harmlessly through a ground instead of building up and eventually causing a spark.

How is an airplane grounded when being fueled? Next time you are at the airport, watch a line technician refuel the airplane. One of the first things he or she will do is pull a metal line from the fuel truck and clamp it onto the airplane, probably onto an engine exhaust stack or wheel axle. This creates a grounding path for the static electricity to dissipate before a spark can occur.

If you do your own fueling from a self-service facility, be sure to attach the grounding cable before refueling. It's important to attach the cable to an unpainted surface to ensure good conductivity. Painted tiedown rings don't count.

Scholarship opportunities

The East Central Ohio Pilots Association is sponsoring a flight scholarship of at least $1,800 to enable an area individual to get started with a career in aviation through training or other means. Previous recipients have completed their private pilot certificates, enrolled in college, and are pursuing careers in the industry, according to Forrest A. Barber, secretary and past president of the association. The deadline to apply is April 1. See the Web site for details. March 15 is the deadline to apply for one of three flight training scholarships offered by, an aviation retailer based in St. Petersburg, Florida. Applicants must be enrolled in a flight-training course with plans to complete a sport or private pilot certificate. See the Web site for more information.

What's in 'AOPA Pilot'?

Here's what you're missing if you don't read AOPA Pilot, the association's flagship magazine published each month for certificated pilots:

  • Flying low and slow in a Zeppelin. "Scenic view" takes on a whole new meaning when you're cruising in a Zeppelin.

  • Landing on a Mesa. Telluride Regional Airport in Colorado is the highest commercial airport in the nation, with a runway that ends in a 1,000-foot dropoff.
Are you ready to read about more advanced subjects such as these? Just as pilots upgrade to more advanced certificates, it might be time to upgrade your magazine. You can convert your paid membership to AOPA Pilot at any time by calling AOPA toll-free (800-USA-AOPA).

Phoenix East offers grant for veterans

Phoenix East Aviation (PEA) in Daytona Beach, Florida, will contribute 5 percent toward the professional pilot training tuition for veterans who qualify for educational benefits under the Montgomery GI Bill. A veteran must have a private pilot certificate and a valid medical certificate to qualify for reimbursement of pilot training under the GI Bill. The Department of Veterans Affairs will reimburse up to 60 percent of approved training charges up to a maximum allowable; Phoenix East's grant further reduces costs by more than $1,500 for a multiengine/commercial/instrument course, PEA said.

AOPA sponsors safety seminar at WAI

AOPA is sponsoring a safety seminar at the 20th Annual International Women in Aviation conference in Atlanta, February 26 to 28. Kathleen Vasconcelos, manager of safety education for the AOPA Air Safety Foundation, will present ASF's "Top 5 Mistakes Pilots Make" seminar. Three-quarters of all accidents in an average year are caused by pilot error-and for the most part, they result from the same mistakes pilots have been making for decades. This seminar is full of practical tips for avoiding these errors. The seminar will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, February 26. It is free and open to the public. Earlier that evening, AOPA-in conjunction with the University Aviation Association-will present a College/University Student Seminar and Social. The 5 p.m. event is open to students registered for the WAI conference. The conference will be held at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta. For more information or to register, see the Women in Aviation International Web site ( ).

School news

Embry-Riddle orders Diamond DA42s

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University has ordered 10 Diamond DA42 L360 twin-engine airplanes for its Daytona Beach campus, Diamond announced. Delivery will begin in the spring and all will be in service before the start of the 2009-2010 academic year. The DA42 L360 is the Lycoming-powered version of the DA42 twin. It is equipped with two 180-horsepower engines, the Garmin G1000 glass flight deck, and is available with flight into known icing certification.

Aviation program in the works for Shawnee College

Shawnee Community College in Ullin, Illinois, is developing a joint venture with Southern Illinois University Carbondale that will result in an aviation technologies facility at Cairo Airport. Both schools hope that the project will allow them to establish a greater presence in the southern part of the state and promote better economic development in the area. FAA approval is pending for the project, which would encompass a 100-by-100-foot hangar and adjacent building to include offices and classrooms.

Final Exam

Final Exam is composed of questions similar to those a student may expect on the private pilot knowledge test. Answers are researched by members of the AOPA Pilot Information Center staff and may be found below.

  1. If air traffic control advises that radar service is terminated when the pilot is departing Class C airspace, the transponder should be set to code
    1. 0000.
    2. 1200.
    3. 4096.
  2. One weather phenomenon which will always occur when flying across a front is a change in the
    1. wind direction.
    2. type of precipitation.
    3. stability of the air mass.
  3. Sigmets are issued as a warning of weather conditions hazardous to which aircraft?
    1. Small aircraft only.
    2. Large aircraft only.
    3. All aircraft.
  4. FAA advisory circulars (some free, others at cost) are available to all pilots and are obtained by:
    1. visiting the nearest FAA district office.
    2. ordering those desired from the Government Printing Office.
    3. subscribing to the Federal Register.
  5. An aircraft had a 100-hour inspection when the tachometer read 1259.6. When is the next 100-hour inspection due?
    1. 1349.6 hours.
    2. 1359.6 hours.
    3. 1369.6 hours.
  6. The term angle of attack is defined as the angle
    1. between the wing chord line and the relative wind.
    2. between the airplane's climb angle and the horizon.
    3. formed by the longitudinal axis of the airplane and the chord line of the wing.
  7. An ATC radar facility issues the following advisory to a pilot flying north in a calm wind: "Traffic nine o'clock, two miles, southbound" Where should the pilot look for this traffic?
    1. South.
    2. North.
    3. West.

Final Exam answers

  1. The correct answer is B.
    A pilot should set the transponder code to 1200 when radar service has been terminated. The controller may tell the pilot to "squawk VFR" or "squawk 1200."

  2. The correct answer is A.
    Because of the change in pressure, when flying across a front, one will always experience a change in wind direction. Precipitation and air mass stability changes are markers of frontal boundary crossing, but they are not always present or noted every time, as is the wind change.

  3. The correct answer is C.
    A sigmet is a concise description of the occurrence or expected occurrence of specified en route weather phenomena, which may affect the safety of aircraft operations. Sigmets are intended for dissemination to all pilots in flight to enhance safety.

  4. The correct answer is B.
    FAA advisory circulars are issued on various topics to inform everyone of non-regulatory material of interest. Free advisory circulars are available at AOPA Online or the FAA Web site, or they can be ordered at cost from the Government Printing Office.

  5. The correct answer is B.
    If the tachometer reads 1259.6, you add 100 and find that the inspection is due at 1359.6 hours. If the 100-hour inspection is required by FAR 91.409(b), the 100-hour limitation may be exceeded by not more than 10 hours while the airplane is en route to a place where the inspection can take place. This inspection may be accomplished before 100 hours is reached, but it is due 100 hours after the previous inspection.

  6. The correct answer is A.
    Angle of attack (AOA) is the relationship between the wing's chord line and the air through which the wing is moving (also known as relative wind). Aircraft pitch attitude and angle of incidence are different and have no bearing on the AOA.

  7. The correct answer is C.
    ATC will provide traffic information with reference to a position on a clock to help you scan the appropriate sector of the sky for traffic. The direction your aircraft is traveling is "12 o'clock," and the position directly behind you is "6 o'clock." For this specific scenario, the other aircraft is two miles off your left side, to the west, and traveling in the opposite direction.

    AOPA members can discuss these or any aviation questions with Pilot Information Center staff by calling 800-USA-AOPA or sending an e-mail