Header Graphic
Apps for iPad

FAA Glossaries

Touring Machine Company

Wind Direction: METAR and ATIS

June 17th, 2024

I noticed that at our field the reporting of the METAR wind direction and the ATIS wind direction have been the same. I was taught long ago that if you hear it, it’s magnetic and if your read it it’s true. So what’s up?

I emailed the tower manager and it turns out that they are doing it wrong. If I understand his reply our ASOS has had a magnetic variation calculation built into it since at least 2013 but for some reason the controllers are not reading the correct data from it. All of those sites I mention below are ASOS sites, same as SBP. Sites with AWOS require a manual calculation for magnetic variation.

It is still true, that for wind direction if you hear it it’s magnetic and if you read it, it’s true but I with the advent of graphical forecasts we probably need to adjust the saying a bit. If you hear it, it’s magnetic and if you see it, it’s true. The exception being PIREPs which are generated by pilots using magnetic indicators in the cockpit like VORs and compasses. And now, with D-ATIS
Digital – Automatic Terminal Information Service printed out in the cockpit at some airports, it needs a slight adjustment to the saying.

What I observed using ForeFlight and calling up the ATIS at various airports was:

The wind right now (2024-04-29 2:59 PM) is reported the same on the METAR and the ATIS recording.
ATIS 2156Z 320 at 22 gusts 30
METAR KSBP 292156Z 32022G30KT

I would expect the ATIS to be more like 310 correcting for the magnetic variation of 12°30’E.

Santa Barbara has a magnetic variation close to 12°15’E.
ATIS 2153Z 140 at 5
METAR KSBA 292153Z 15005KT

Livermore magnetic variation is 13°E
ATIS 2153 260 at 9
METAR KLVK 292153Z 28009KT

Just for fun I looked up the definitions on various FAA publications.
Aviation Weather Handbook ASOS Reporting
Note: National network distribution (e.g., FSS, internet, and FIS-B) of wind direction is in true degrees, while local dissemination (e.g., radio and telephone) is in magnetic degrees.

24.4.3 METAR/SPECI Format Wind Group
In the wind group, the wind direction is coded as the first three digits (220) and is determined by averaging the recorded wind direction over a 2-minute period. It is coded in tens of degrees relative to true north using three figures. Directions less than 100° are preceded with a 0. For example, a wind direction of 90° is coded as 090. A wind from the north is coded as 360. Immediately following the wind direction is the wind

Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge

Aviation Routine Weather Report (METAR)
Wind—reported with five digits (14021KT) unless the speed is greater than 99 knots, in which case the wind is reported with six digits. The first three digits indicate the direction the true wind is blowing from in tens of degrees.

Things you need in your hangar.

June 15th, 2024

Several people that I know have recently become aircraft owners after renting for years. I have a list of things you need if you are going to work on planes but I never put together a list of things you should have in your hangar for keeping your plane clean and flying. So here it is.

Hardware store
Gojo – without pumice for cleaning your hands and the belly of the plane.
Fluid Film – For loosening bolts
Tri-Flow – Lube the yoke, ailerons, and flaps
Brake Cleaner – If you help with maintenance, this makes spark plug cleaning much easier.

Dollar Store
Scotch brite – for cleaning up the prop and general cleaning
Tool box – for the tools. If you plan to work on the plane, I recommend getting an electricians bag so the tools are easier to find.

Plastic scraper
Screw Drivers
Magnet on a stick
Razor knife
Mirror on a stick

Toothbrushes – or save your old ones. You would be surprised how handy they are for getting grease and dirt out of the inside of your plane.
Zip ties – you can never have too many zip ties
Dollar store Pledge – I clean the bugs off every time I fly to preserve the paint and because they are easier to get off when fresh.
Gloves – I cut easily so I always wear work gloves when moving things around.
Bandaids – because there are lots of sharp edges on planes
Baby wipes or wet wipes.

Harbor Freight
Pick Set – it is so much easier to put screws in if you line up the holes first
Flashlight – the used to give these away, but now the are a couple of dollars. You would be surprised how much easier it is to work on the interior and engine when you can see what you are doing.
Box of nitrile gloves – you’d be surprised how much grease and dirt there is around airplanes.
Work gloves – I wear XXL and they don’t have my size at the Dollar store but they do here.

Michaels or Amazon
Bead boxes – to store screws, nuts, and bolts. I use them for keeping track of screws when doing the annual. One for each wing, one for the interior of Pipers (two for Cessnas), one for the tail, and one for the prop and engine. Sometimes you can find these at Dollar Tree.

Tire Inflator – These are cheap. Buy one with whichever battery powered tool system you are using. They have a fairly accurate gauge on them.

Tool Bag Revisited

December 20th, 2023

I’ve been working with a couple of new owners and there are some tools that you must have when assisting your A&P on your plane. I put links to Ace Hardware, Harbor Freight, Michael’s for some items on sale now, but they probably won’t be on sale when you read this.

I like to have all my tools in a bag so I can have them near me when I work on planes. The minimum toolkit would have a ratcheting screwdriver, socket set, screwdrivers, open/closed end wrenches, pliers, nitrile gloves, magnet on a stick, mirror, flashlight, marker, blue tape, and straight picks. I’d also pick up some bead boxes.

A torque limited electric screwdriver is handy as well. You don’t have as many screws as I do so your arm might not get tired using your drill.

I like my electrician’s bag but I can’t find it anymore. I also have this one and it works too.

I’d buy two sets of these picks so you have two straight picks. The others are pretty useless.

I’d also stop by Ace Hardware and pick up this six-point socket set for $15.

Occasionally the 3/8 set is useful like on the engine bolts.

This extension set is a bit of an overkill, but I often use three different sizes.

Same for the wobble heads set.

I just bought this screwdriver set. I like that the Phillips are a different color than the flat head. I bought it because I didn’t have long screwdrivers and often wished I did. The set was cheaper than buying them separately. And the bits on my old Phillips are getting worn out.

You need an open ended wrench set. I like my Craftsman better than the Harbor Freight
But Harbor Freight is much cheaper.

You definitely need a pair of regular pliers and cutters. The additional sizes in this set will come in handy.

A stubby set is handy from time to time. And the ratcheting feature is handy when you need a stubby wrench. Gearwrench makes a nice set as well.

These are good gloves. (I also like them because they come in my size.)

They used to give these flashlights away with any purchase so I have a bunch. They are LEDs so you can leave them on while you are working and they last forever.

I really like bead boxes for keeping track of where the screws go after I take them off and for storing nuts, bolts, and washers. They have become expensive but these are affordable.

The ones I have are from Michael’s and they are on sale now and are a better deal than the ones at Amazon. Unfortunately they are out of stock in my store at the moment.

US Gov’t WWII Training Videos

November 23rd, 2023

AOPA Civil Aviation Pilot Training Film

November 23rd, 2023

Lots of good information that is still relevant. The warnings look like they are a precursor to the Hazardous Attitudes that the FAA stresses in its Knowledge and Practical Tests.

Piper Aircraft Promo Film

November 23rd, 2023


November 19th, 2023

I picked up an old book published by AOPA from 1978-1986, Defensive Flying by Norbert Slepyan and it has some interesting info on hypoxia.

At 25,000 feet, there is the same percentage of oxygen in the atmosphere as at sea level, but there is much less atmospheric pressure to force sufficient oxygen into our lungs. At 10,000 feet, each inhalation gives us only two-thirds the oxygen molecules available at sea level, and only half at 18,000. Less oxygen per breath means less for oxidation burning of food to produce heat and energy. Unless we use supplemental oxygen at higher altitudes, our bodies become starved. At 45,000 feet, it takes only nine to 15 seconds for the average person to pass out with inadequate oxygen; at 30,000, one to two minutes.
Charts show about 30 minutes of effective performance at 20,000, but a trip in an altitude chamber will demonstrate that people show signs of hypoxia long before that. Thin air is like thin ice—if offers little support.

Hypoxia symptoms are not easily recognized. Unless a pilot is aware of and expecting them, he may feel excellent and in control. He may calculate badly and copy erratically and illegibly while his fingernails turn blue and he stares dumbly at the panel, but he may still insist that all is fine.

Hypoxia can be caused by poor transportation of oxygen through the body or by the body’s inability to use it. Drugs, alcohol, and tobacco aggravate the condition. One cigarette lowers the oxygen content of the blood and raises the apparent altitude of a person at sea level to nearly 7,000 feet. More smoking adds altitude to cabin altitude in flight. Excessive smoking can cause such hypemic hypoxia. Anemia, donating blood, and carbon monoxide poisoning have the same effect. Poor blood circulation brought on by excessive g forces or long periods of positive pressure breathing of oxygen (necessary above 25,000 feet) can cause stagnant hypoxia. Nor is oxygen a remedy for the histoxic hypoxia suffered by a hungover pilot. Only detoxification over time can restore normality, so shrinking from drinking is the only defense. One drink raises one’s personal altitude by 2,000 feet. Poor nutrition, obesity, fatigue, illness, and poor general physical condition also affect our susceptibility to hypoxia. Threatening conditions can differ from day to day and from individual to individual.

The Air Force requires its pilots to use oxygen from 10,000 feet up and from the ground up at night, for lack of oxygen can hinder night vision, including color perception and peripheral acuity. The FAA recommendation of oxygen use from 5,000 feet at night is conservative and should certainly be followed.

The FAA’s oxygen requirements begin with flight crew in unpressurized aircraft flying between 12,500 and 14,000 for more than 30 minutes. Above 14,000, oxygen is required for the pilot (or minimum crew) for the entire flight. Above 15,000, it must be provided for passengers. If the aircraft is pressurized, above FL 250, a ten-minute supply is required for each occupant. Above FL 350, at least one pilot must use an oxygen mask if the cabin exceeds 14,000 feet. If two pilots are at the controls, quick-lonning masks are sufficient below FL 410.

Avoiding Misfueling

November 15th, 2023

I picked up an old book published by AOPA from 1978-1986, Defensive Flying by Norbert Slepyan and it has some interesting info on the types of fuel that used to be available. It also has a test, that I’ve verified, for checking whether you have Jet fuel in your tank.

Finally, there is the, pilot, who has the last chance to detect, misfueling. But first the pilot must understand that jet fuel contamination of avgas is dangerous because it damages the combustion chambers of reciprocating engines. Second, he must take the time to supervise the fueling of his aircraft.

The defense begins with checking the labeling on the truck, tank, or pump and asking the lineman to verify the contents.

Next, observe the color of the fuel you drain during the pre-fight. Avgas with an 80-octane rating is reddish; 100-octane agas is a light green; 100LL (low lead) avgas is a light blue; avgas with a 115/130-octane rating is purplish. Jet fuel is color-less. Mixtures containing avgas and jet fuel can be straw-colored or clear. To be safe, you should not operate your plane if your fuel sample is any other color than the one(s) recommended.

Suspect fuel must be drained completely from the airplane’s fuel tanks and lines. Jet fuel also feels greasier than avgas. It evaporates more slowly and has the odor of kerosene, its principal ingredient.

These properties of jet fuel permit a simple test to confirm is presence. Developed by the AOPA Air Safety Foundation, this test requires only a clean sheet of white paper and a medicine dropper. The test will detect fuel contamination levels as low as five percent. To perform the test, fill the dropper with a small quantity of fuel, then place a drop of the fuel on the sheet of paper. Try to make a spot of fuel about the size of a quarter.

As the spot dries, hold the paper up to a light source and observe the perimeter of the spot. Pure avgas will evaporate from the perimeter inward, leaving the outer margin indistinct. After approximately one minute, pure avgas will leave no sign of a spot. Jet fuel, on the other hand, will leave a distinct perimeter, and the spot will evaporate only after several minutes have elapsed.

Annual with Discrepancy List

November 13th, 2023

We recently had an IA start working on the annual for our plane and then disappear for weeks at a time. After five months of evasions we finally insisted on getting an annual signoff with a discrepancy list. He claimed that wasn’t possible so we pointed him to this information. He finally provided an annual signoff so we could get an A&P to complete the annual.

FAA-G-8082-19 Inspection Authorization Information Guide

6. The owner should be made aware that the annual or progressive inspection does not include correction of discrepancies or unairworthy items and that such maintenance will be additional to the inspection. Maintenance and repairs may be accomplished simultaneously with the inspection by a person authorized to perform maintenance if the owner and the IA holder agree. This method would result in an aircraft that is approved for return to service upon completion of the inspection. A written list of discrepancies and unairworthy items not repaired concurrently with the inspection must be made and given to the owner. Record uncorrected discrepancies and unairworthy items in the maintenance records. The owner must make arrangement for correction or deferral of items on the list of discrepancies and unairworthy items with a person authorized to perform maintenance prior to returning the aircraft to service.

Discrepancy Example

The Busch Legal Interpretation clarifies that “The list of discrepancies required to be provided to the aircraft owner or operator (or lessee) by sections 43.l l(a)(5) and (b) is not a maintenance record that must be entered in the maintenance record of the aircraft.”. The items on the discrepancy list must be addressed by a qualified A&P before return to service. The A&P may decide that some items are not airworthiness items and can be ignored entirely or carefully checked at the next annual/oil change. e.g. spark plug wear. The IA made a determination that the spark plugs needed to be replaced. Our A&P inspected and tested them and determined that they had plenty of life left in them.

How to sit in an airplane.

November 4th, 2023

Good info that I was never taught.

It’s not the Doppler effect.

September 29th, 2023

Logging Cessna Conquest Time

April 15th, 2023

I was talking to someone who just got his multi-rating and was excited that he got to fly a Cessna Conquest. He didn’t think he could log the time because it is a pressurized plane capable of flying over 25,000′ and he doesn’t have a high-altitude endorsement. He can’t ACT as PIC but he can log the time since as long as you are rated in the category and class of aircraft (Multi-engine land) and no type rating is required you can log the time.

You can log all of the time you were sole manipulator of the controls. Logging cross country time requires that you takeoff and land. (Legal Interpretation Gebhart – (2009) Safety Pilot)

An important sales element for use in persuading buyers was the fact that no FAA type rating was required to pilot a 425. It is not a true jet and has a gross takeoff weight under 12,500 pounds. Link

§ 61.51 Pilot logbooks.

(e) Logging pilot-in-command flight time.

(1) A sport, recreational, private, commercial, or airline transport pilot may log pilot in command flight time for flights-

(i) Except when logging flight time under § 61.159(c), when the pilot is the sole manipulator of the controls of an aircraft for which the pilot is rated, or has sport pilot privileges for that category and class of aircraft, if the aircraft class rating is appropriate;

You may not ACT as PIC without a high altitude endorsement.

§ 61.31 Type rating requirements, additional training, and authorization requirements.

(a) Type ratings required. A person who acts as a pilot in command of any of the following aircraft must hold a type rating for that aircraft:

(1) Large aircraft (except lighter-than-air). [Note: Greater than 12,500 lbs]
(2) Turbojet-powered airplanes.
(3) Other aircraft specified by the Administrator through aircraft type certificate procedures.

(g) Additional training required for operating pressurized aircraft capable of operating at high altitudes.

(1) Except as provided in paragraph (g)(3) of this section, no person may act as pilot in command of a pressurized aircraft (an aircraft that has a service ceiling or maximum operating altitude, whichever is lower, above 25,000 feet MSL), …

GPS Database Currency

March 28th, 2023

This is an update and expansion of an earlier post.

Prepping for a recent flight to KFAT and then to KPAO, where we expected to make an instrument approach at both airports, we checked the database and it was out of date by a cycle. It was easy enough to update but it did generate this conversation with the CFI I was flying with.

From the AIM my interpretation is that you can use waypoint verification for the enroute portion of the flight but not approach and departure if they rely on GPS. Since the ILS is out of service at KFAT and KPAO only has a GPS approach you would need a current database to land IFR at either airport. (Although I think you could still fly the Localizer to either runway at KFAT with a sidestep or circle to land.) Keep in mind that the AIM is not regulatory, but is given lots of weight when a pilot deviation occurs.

5-1-16. RNAV and RNP Operations

c. The onboard navigation database must be current and appropriate for the region of intended operation and must include the navigation aids, waypoints, and coded terminal airspace procedures for the departure, arrival and alternate airfields.

d. During system initialization, pilots of aircraft equipped with a Flight Management System or other RNAV-certified system, must confirm that the navigation database is current, and verify that the aircraft position has been entered correctly. Flight crews should crosscheck the cleared flight plan against charts or other applicable resources, as well as the navigation system textual display and the aircraft map display. This process includes confirmation of the waypoints sequence, reasonableness of track angles and distances, any altitude or speed constraints, and identification of fly-by or fly-over waypoints. A procedure must not be used if validity of the navigation database is in doubt.

5-4-1. Standard Terminal Arrival (STAR) Procedures

Use of STARs requires pilot possession of at least the approved chart. RNAV STARs must be retrievable by the procedure name from the aircraft database and conform to charted procedure.

5-5-16 RNAV and RNP Operations

a. Pilot.

2. Pilots are not authorized to fly a published RNAV or RNP procedure (instrument approach, departure, or arrival procedure) unless it is retrievable by the procedure name from the current aircraft navigation database and conforms to the charted procedure. The system must be able to retrieve the procedure by name from the aircraft navigation database, not just as a manually entered series of waypoints.

3. Whenever possible, RNAV routes (Q- or T-route) should be extracted from the database in their entirety, rather than loading RNAV route waypoints from the database into the flight plan individually. However, selecting and inserting individual, named fixes from the database is permitted, provided all fixes along the published route to be flown are inserted.

The aircraft we were flying has a Garmin GNS 530W and the Flight Manual Supplement includes this text. (Emphasis mine.)

2.4 Navigation database

GPS/SBAS based IFR enroute, oceanic, and terminal navigation is prohibited unless the flight crew verifies and uses a valid, compatible, and current navigation database or verifies each waypoint for accuracy by reference to current approved data.

“GPS”, “or GPS”, and “RNAV (GPS)” instrument approaches using the Garmin navigation system are prohibited unless the flight crew verifies and uses the current navigation database. GPS based instrument approaches must be flown in accordance with an approved instrument approach procedure that is loaded from the navigation database.

My conclusion is that we couldn’t make the flight unless we had a current database. What do you think?

The reason that our GPS can’t be used with manually entered approach data points is that it automatically switches from terminal mode to approach mode with greater sensitivity and it couldn’t do that if data points are manually entered while that is not an issue en route.

As aside, the airline he flies with does allow out of date databases as long as every point is verified, but they have different equipment and letters of authorization that I do.

Cross County Definition

January 9th, 2023

For some reason there have recently been several posts on pilot blogs about cross-country logging for ratings. I have no idea why since the regs are very straightforward about what is and is not considered cross-country.

§ 61.1 Applicability and definitions.
Cross-country time means –
(i) Except as provided in paragraphs (ii) through (vi) of this definition, time acquired during flight –

(A) Conducted by a person who holds a pilot certificate;

(B) Conducted in an aircraft;

(C) That includes a landing at a point other than the point of departure; and

(D) That involves the use of dead reckoning, pilotage, electronic navigation aids, radio aids, or other navigation systems to navigate to the landing point.

(ii) For the purpose of meeting the aeronautical experience requirements (except for a rotorcraft category rating), for a private pilot certificate (except for a powered parachute category rating), a commercial pilot certificate, or an instrument rating, or for the purpose of exercising recreational pilot privileges (except in a rotorcraft) under § 61.101 (c), time acquired during a flight –

(A) Conducted in an appropriate aircraft;

(B) That includes a point of landing that was at least a straight-line distance of more than 50 nautical miles from the original point of departure; and

(C) That involves the use of dead reckoning, pilotage, electronic navigation aids, radio aids, or other navigation systems to navigate to the landing point.

I suppose it can get tricky around the edges but it’s fairly straightforward. Not mentioned, but implied, is that you need to have a category and class rating for the aircraft, since that is required for logging time.

If you are acting as a safety pilot, you can’t log cross-country time since you are not the the sole manipulator of the controls of an aircraft for which the pilot is rated, when landing. Opinions of the Chief Counsel in both Gebhart (2009) and Glenn (2009) address this point.

You could satisfy the technical definition of cross country for ratings by flying to an airport 25 miles in one direction from you and then logging a new flight 26 miles in the other direction from you so that you flew in a straight-line distance of just over 50nm but that’s not the spirit of the rule. However, the Opinion of the Chief Counsel in Glenn (2009) and Sisk (2008) addresses this point and specifically allows it. And Sisk states that for any flight that has at least one leg of more then 50nm in a straight line, the entire flight counts as cross-country time.

I was working on my instrument rating when paper charts and Garmin GPSMaps were the way to calculate distances. It turns out that there is an airport 50.3nm from my home airport. It’s also near a VOR so we could practice navigation and holds. I landed there a few times and legitimately logged cross-country time applicable for ratings.

ForeFlight rounds it to 50nm so you’d need to use the Great Circle Mapper to figure out the distance and then convert 58sm to 50.4nm.

New Cuyama Sign

New_Cuyama Course

New Cuyama Distance

100 hrs inspections Lycoming

July 26th, 2022

I have a Cherokee so this is useful information for me.

This is why you always land with an hour of fuel.

July 26th, 2022

Runway closure
The single-engine 1979 Cessna Skyhawk came to rest on the embankment in grass beside the runway, across from Thread Lane next to Buckley Road.

According to the flight-tracking website flightaware.com, the plane had just returned from a 2-1/2-hour circle trip to Bakersfield when the rough landing happened at around 1:30 p.m.

Don’t know how long the runway was closed but if you only had the ½ hour VFR minimum you’d be cutting it real close if you needed to divert to PRB or SMX since in my Cherokee it’s about 20 minutes flying to either one.

Fogged in
Another reason to have enough fuel to fly to your alternate and then ½ hour if you might get fogged in.

Weather going bad

A new pilot in the Cherokee landed at 8:29 so he just made it in before he would have to go to the alternate.

FYI Special VFR requires 1 mile visibility but no ceiling restriction. Sunset was 8:13 yesterday so it wouldn’t be available to anyone without an instrument rating since you need an instrument rating and an IFR capable aircraft between sunrise and sunset.

That’s a great point. I learned my lesson on fuel when flying back from Tucson. The airport I chose for fuel (to land with 1 hour remaining) wasn’t possible due to a 25kt 80 degree crosswind. The next closest airport was 30 mins away. It sure got me nervous while flying to my alternate knowing that if landing there didn’t work, I’d only have 30 mins of fuel remaining and a 15-20 minute flight to the next closest airport. Fortunately, my alternate had a low crosswind component and good weather.

On my flight home from Van Nuys yesterday, I bit the bullet and stomached the $8/gallon gas and filled the tanks full knowing my plan to land in SLO was likely not going to happen. SMX was IFR, so Paso was my alternate. After the Tucson fuel scare, I made sure I had enough fuel to land in King City as a backup with an hour of fuel remaining. That one fuel “scare” (even though I landed with the legal minimum fuel remaining) was a good lesson for me.

My new personal minimum is to assume I’m going to have to land at my alternate airport, and land with at least 1 hour fuel remaining. If it’s night time, or less than stellar weather, 1.5 hours of fuel remaining upon landing at my alternate.

Fuel management is no joke.

An older article discussed fuel management and has quotes from some notables.

Pilot Medicals

July 26th, 2022

At the July EAA meeting a newly minted AME stopped by and talked to us about pilot medicals. There seems to be a lot of confusion about medicals and BasicMed so I put together this post.

You can find the regulation for Class I, II, and III medicals in § 61.23 Medical certificates: Requirement and duration.. The rules for operating aircraft are under § 61.113(i) and the requirements of obtaining a BasicMed medical are found in PART 68 – REQUIREMENTS FOR OPERATING CERTAIN SMALL AIRCRAFT WITHOUT A MEDICAL CERTIFICATE

Basic Med is an option for most of us. If at any point after July 14, 2006, you have held a medical certificate and it has not been revoked you are eligible for Basic Med. That is true even if you had a medical with a special issuance that has expired. For us older guys the best reason to fly under Basic Med is because it lasts 4 years instead of the 2 years for Third Class. If you are under 40, a Third Class lasts 5 years so it’s a better option. You do need to carry a valid US driver’s license but since most of us use that as the photo ID requirement, we already have that in our possession. You need to comply with any restrictions on your Driver’s license, e.g. corrective lenses, prosthetic aids required, daylight driving only, etc. Details are found on the FAA website and AC 68-1 Alternative Pilot Physical Examination and Education Requirements

You also need to take an online course after you have seen a doctor and they have filled out the form. § 68.3 Medical education course requirements.

You can take any practical test including Commercial and First Class with Basic Med. You can fly to Mexico and the Bahamas, but not Canada. Practically any GA aircraft that we fly can be flown under Basic Med as long as the aircraft is authorized to carry not more than 6 occupants, has a maximum takeoff weight of not more than 6,000 pounds, you do not fly over 18,000′ MSL, and do not exceed 250 knots.

That leaves out Pilatus, TBM, and the Honda Jet but the Cirrus Vision Jet has a maximum takeoff weight of 6,000 lbs so you can fly it. If you happen to fly one and want to bring it to one of our meetings, let me know.

The most common reasons that I’ve seen for recommending Basic Med for people who have issues that might require costly testing and paperwork if getting a Third Class medical are: taking anti-depressants while grieving the loss of a loved one; undergoing treatment for drug or alcohol addiction but have never gotten a DUI; taking medicines for ADD; and you‘ve started using a C-PAP or B-BAP machine for sleep apnea.

Other examples of when you might want to avoid the hassle of a Third Class medical include, diabetes mellitus controlled with oral medications; you were issued a misdemeanor citation for a loud party or even more serious offenses; are on a whole raft of medications but your doctor says you are fine to drive; you are using a drug on the do not issue list.

There are some issues that make you ineligible to act as PIC even if you have a current medical. They are listed at Mental standards for a third-class airman medical certificate and

If you are taking medications on the AME do not issue list, and in consultation with your doctor you think you are safe to fly, then you can fly under Basic Med. However, you may want to carefully consider whether you are truly safe to fly when taking these medications and you need a special issuance if any of these are prescribed for one of the conditions under § 61.23(c)(3).

A comprehensive list of medications and their FAA status as Allowed/Not Allowed/Allowed with restrictions/Requires special issuance is found at Medication Database. This is not an official FAA database but it was developed by physicians who are experts in providing pilot physicals for the airlines. It can be used to judge whether a particular medication will prevent issuance of an FAA medical.

If you think you might be denied, do not give the AME your MedExpress number but ask for a consult instead. If there is nothing in your history that they’d send off to Oklahoma City or that they know will result in a deferral and special issuance, then you are good to go.

§ 61.53 Prohibition on operations during medical deficiency.

(a) Operations that require a medical certificate. Except as provided for in paragraph (b) of this section, no person who holds a medical certificate issued under part 67 of this chapter may act as pilot in command, or in any other capacity as a required pilot flight crewmember, while that person:

(1) Knows or has reason to know of any medical condition that would make the person unable to meet the requirements for the medical certificate necessary for the pilot operation; or

(2) Is taking medication or receiving other treatment for a medical condition that results in the person being unable to meet the requirements for the medical certificate necessary for the pilot operation.

Basic Med FAQ

The pilot has available in his or her logbook the completed medical examination checklist required under § 68.7 of this chapter; and the certificate of course completion required under § 61.23(c)(3).

You need to undergo the FAA process for special issuance if you newly develop (or have never held a special issuance for) any of the following medical conditions since the last time you received a FAA medical certificate:
Mental Health:
(i) Personality disorder severe enough to have repeatedly manifested
itself by overt acts
(ii) Psychosis
(iii) Bipolar disorder
(iv) Substance dependence within the previous 2 years
(i) Epilepsy
(ii) Disturbance of consciousness without satisfactory medical
explanation of the cause
(iii) A transient loss of control of nervous system functions without
satisfactory medical explanation of the cause
(i) Myocardial infarction (heart attack)
(ii) Coronary heart disease that has required treatment
(iii) Cardiac valve replacement
(iv) Heart replacement

You can find a current list of AMEs at the FAA website.

According to AOPA pilots flying under BasicMed will be able to travel to Mexico in their aircraft under a policy letter signed by Mexico’s Directorate General of Civil Aeronautics.

And AOPA has confirmed that the Bahamas Civil Aviation Authority announced that pilots can fly under the new FAA medical certification known as BasicMed.

BasicMed is not yet approved for flights in Canada.

Physics of Flight – Pivotal Altitude

February 22nd, 2022

One of the fun exercises required for your Commercial Certificate.

Flight Review

January 18th, 2022

Even though reviewing the flight rules of Part 91 is required of pilots, it is my experience that most pilots don’t know the details of the regs—which is not necessarily bad depending on the reg. Most pilots I know fly VFR and make sure they have at least 1 hour of fuel when they land. Some learned the hard way when after landing they put 75 gallons in 75 gallon tanks and others followed the guidance of most aviation writers. The fact that the regs require a minimum of ½ hour when planning is irrelevant to them. Likewise cloud clearances in Class G below 1,200′ isn’t something we deal with at all. We just stay away from clouds, especially in the airport environment. And if visibility is 3 miles, there’s no way I’m going to be up there. But since it is required that you know these things at least for a short while every two years, here is a short summary.

Basically you need to review currency for you and your aircraft, weather rules, and any new things the FAA is focusing on—like hot spots, TFRs, and ADSB requirements.

§ 61.56 Flight review.
(a) Except as provided in paragraphs (b) and (f) of this section, a flight review consists of a minimum of 1 hour of flight training and 1 hour of ground training. The review must include:
(1) A review of the current general operating and flight rules of part 91 of this chapter; and
(2) A review of those maneuvers and procedures that, at the discretion of the person giving the review, are necessary for the pilot to demonstrate the safe exercise of the privileges of the pilot certificate.


Not technically required in a flight review since currency rules are in § 61.57 Recent flight experience, but most flight reviews I’ve had cover currency of plane and pilot. A pilot flying solo VFR only needs a current flight review and medical. In order to carry passengers you need to have made at least three takeoffs and three landings within the preceding 90 days, and if in a taildragger or at night, to a full stop. IFR flight whether with or without passengers, in IMC or not, requires IFR currency.

The kind of simulator that regular pilots have access to, ATDs and AATDs are not able to be used to satisfy the landing requirement but some can be used for IFR currency. This post has details.


The best video I’ve seen for remembering airspace rules is Rod Machado’s.

As Rod pointed out no person may take off or land an aircraft, or enter the traffic pattern of an airport, under VFR unless the ceiling is 1,000′ and visibility is 3 SM. Special VFR operations may only be conducted with an ATC clearance; clear of clouds; within the lateral boundaries of the airport up to 10,000′ MSL. Between sunrise and sunset both pilot and airplane must be IFR current.


§ 61.23 Medical certificates: Requirement and duration. covers the types of medicals and duration.

Medicines According to this “If you take any of the “NO GO” medications (listed below in the table) or if you have had side effects from the medication before, wait at least five (5) dosage intervals after the last dose before flying”.

Basic Med Older pilots often opt for Basic Med instead of a Third Class medical because it lasts 4 years instead of 2 and if you and your doctor find things that would result in denial, you can work through them without having to involve the FAA. There are still some things that require a Special Issuance if they manifest while flying under Basic Med. Things like psychosis, heart attack, unexplained loss of consciousness, and neurological disorders. Details are in § 68.9 Special Issuance process.

Basic Med is good for four years from the date of exam. You need to take the online test once after the physical and before the end of the month two years later to keep it active. You can take the online test at any time to reactivate Basic Med. You can hold a regular medical and Basic Med at the same time. You need to have the physical within 48 months to the day of the last physical. I don’t know why they differ since the language in the reg is the same, but that’s what AOPAs Pilot Protection Services says. AC 68-1A has more details.

FAA Items

TFRs The use of EFBs has made it much easier to comply with TFRs and if you use flight following on every flight ATC will keep you informed of TFRs in your path. If you fly out west, then § 91.137 TFRs in the vicinity of disaster/hazard areas is something you want to be aware of. § 91.141 Presidential and Vice-Presidential TFRs are usually NOTAMed well in advance. Vice-President Harris has homes in San Francisco and just north of Santa Monica and there are small TFRs around them when she is there. The President frequently spends time at his home in Delaware and the TFR there is much larger. Large TFRs follow him when he travels as well.

Hot Spots The FAA is worried about runway and taxiway incursions and is one of the top five safety concerns. “A hot spot is defined as a location on an airport movement area with a history or potential risk of collision or runway incursion, and where heightened attention by pilots and drivers is necessary.” You can find them on the airport diagram when applicable. The From the Flight Deck series has videos for many airports that detail the risks and hot spots.

Personal Minimums The FAA has been emphasizing personal minimums for quite a while now and has a PDF talking about how to set them.

The FAA has an online course Flight Review Prep Guide that covers some of the same things that are in this post.

Entering Class C and D Airspace

December 7th, 2021

One of the things you cover in a Flight Review is communications with the tower or approach control before entering Class C or D airspace. Unlike Class B where you need to hear the magic words, “Cleared into the Class B”, you only need to “establish communication” with ATC to enter Class C or D airspace. What this means is spelled out in the AIM 3.2.4 Class C Airspace and 3.2.5 Class D Airspace.

Arrival or Through Flight Entry Requirements. Two‐way radio communication must be established with the ATC facility providing ATC services prior to entry and thereafter maintain those communications while in Class C airspace.
1. If the controller responds to a radio call with, “(aircraft callsign) standby,” radio communications have been established and the pilot can enter the Class C airspace.

3. It is important to understand that if the controller responds to the initial radio call without using the aircraft identification, radio communications have not been established and the pilot may not enter the Class C airspace.

Emphasis added. The same verbiage is used for Class D.

This can get a little tricky when you are VFR on flight following of VFR practicing approaches. Early in my flying career I was practicing approaches on a busy day and the approach dropped us right into the traffic pattern. We couldn’t get a word in until we were at the numbers and the tower controller for the Class D told us to leave the Class D immediately. We had expected to be cleared to land and had assumed that our contact with ATC had given us permission to enter the Class D but that was not the case. The controller handling the approach is not the controller providing ATC services to the Class D airspace. The approach controller in Class C is the controller providing services in the Class C airspace so once you have established contact with that controller you do not need to establish contact with the tower to proceed further.

Note that these rules apply to VFR traffic. You don’t have to worry about any airspace on an IFR clearance; you are cleared all the way to your destination when you are given your clearance before takeoff. You still need to pay attention to altitudes, especially when given your departure and approach clearance.

Class E Extensions and Transitions

November 30th, 2021

AIM 3.2.5 Class D Airspace
Surface area arrival extensions:Class D surface area arrival extensions for instrument approach procedures may be Class D or Class E airspace. As a general rule, if all extensions are 2 miles or less, they remain part of the Class D surface area. However, if any one extension is greater than 2 miles, then all extensions will be Class E airspace.

Surface area arrival extensions are effective during the published times of the surface area. For part–time Class D surface areas that revert to Class E airspace, the arrival extensions will remain in effect as Class E airspace. For part–time Class D surface areas that change to Class G airspace, the arrival extensions will become Class G at the same time.

e. Functions of Class E Airspace.
Extension to a surface area. Class E airspace may be designated as extensions to Class B, Class C, Class D, and Class E surface areas. Class E airspace extensions begin at the surface and extend up to the overlying controlled airspace. The extensions provide controlled airspace to contain standard instrument approach procedures without imposing a communications requirement on pilots operating under VFR. Surface area arrival extensions become part of the surface area and are in effect during the same times as the surface area.

3. Airspace used for transition.
Class E airspace areas may be designated for transitioning aircraft to/from the terminal or en route environment.
Class E transition areas extend upward from either 700 feet AGL (shown as magenta vignette on sectional charts) or 1,200 feet AGL (blue vignette) and are designated for airports with an approved instrument procedure.
The 700-foot/1200-foot AGL Class E airspace transition areas remain in effect continuously, regardless of airport operating hours or surface area status.

Source Aim 3.2.5

Safety Pilot Requirments

October 12th, 2021

John Collins at Ask a CFI had the most comprehensive response to what is required to be a safety pilot. The questioner is asking about being safety pilot in a Cessna 182 without a high-performance endorsement.

To be the safety pilot, you must hold a current medical or special Med. If you hold at least a third class medical, all the regulations require is that you be rated in the category and class.
91.109 (c) No person may operate a civil aircraft in simulated instrument flight unless –
(1) The other control seat is occupied by a safety pilot who possesses at least:
(i) A private pilot certificate with category and class ratings appropriate to the aircraft being flown

A C182 is an airplane category and requires a single engine-land pilot rating. There is no other requirement as long as you are not acting as PIC.

There is no requirement that you be current for IFR or VFR to carry passengers. There is no requirement that you have any endorsements for complex, high performance, tail wheel, etc.

To operate under an IFR flight plan, one of the pilots must meet the recency requirements and be able to act as PIC. You can’t act as PIC because you don’t hold a high performance endorsement. So as long as you don’t act as PIC, you may be the safety pilot.

Basic med has a quirk in the rule. [Updated: See blow] This provision only applies to pilots who are acting as PIC, so when a pilot who holds Basic Med is the safety pilot, they must also act as PIC. That can be accomplished by agreement between the pilots as to who will act as PIC. In your case, if you operate using Basic Med, you could not act as PIC because you don’t have the high performance endorsement, so you would not be able to be the safety pilot.

Bottom line, if you hold at least a third class medical, you can be safety pilot without the high performance endorsement. You may not act as PIC because you lack the endorsement.

The FAR was changed on Nov. 22, 2022 though the change is subtle.

§ 61.3 (c ) Medical certificate.

(1) A person may serve as a required pilot flight crewmember of an aircraft only if that person holds the appropriate medical certificate issued under part 67 of this chapter, or other documentation acceptable to the FAA, that is in that person’s physical possession or readily accessible in the aircraft.

Visual Climb Over Airport

September 27th, 2021

Many obstacle departures and standard instrument departure procedures have minimum climb requirement or if the minimum climb cannot be maintained takeoff minimums above standard—usually both ceiling and visibility. E.g.

Standard takeoff minimums don’t apply to Part 91 operators but they are a very good idea if you don’t want to hit anything on the way out. For commercial operators standard takeoff minimums are defined by the number of engines. One and two engines: one-mile visibility (1 mile) Three or more engines: one-half mile visibility (1/2 mile). There is no ceiling minimum.

An runway may have alternate takeoff minimums indicated by the inverted T in the header section. Alternate Takeoff Minimums

Part 91 pilots are not required to follow the visibility minimums but considering that they were designed to keep airplanes from hitting obstacles that they can’t see on the way out of the airport, it would be foolish not to.

A Part 91 operator is required to meet the climb gradient. That’s what keeps you from hitting something on the way out and being able to safely transition to the enroute system.

Suppose that you can’t meet the climb gradient. Often using a different runway will allow you to depart. Another option that may be available is a Visual Climb Over Airport. If the airport has high enough ceilings, you may be able to climb over the airport until reaching an altitude where you are above the limit of the climb gradient on the departure. Then you can join the departure procedure (assuming that you can maintain the standard 200′ per nm climb). Note that this is an IFR procedure that requires a climb in visual meteorological conditions. As explained in this article, and this example, there may be additional restrictions on visibility.

A bit of numerology

July 13th, 2021

I get a kick out of interesting numbers. I stopped to take a picture of the odometer when my first car ticked over 100,000 miles and even take pictures of interesting street addresses. I haven’t participated in Aviation Stack Exchange for a while but I got an interesting number of votes today. I’m JScarry.

Aviation StackExchange points


January 3rd, 2021

As I discussed in this post, although there is one definition of night in the FARs (Night means the time between the end of evening civil twilight and the beginning of morning civil twilight, as published by the American Air Almanac, converted to local time.) there are lots of rules that we generally consider as applying to night flight that don’t use the definition.

What may not be as well known is that there are other kinds of twilight: nautical and astronomical. And civil twilight wasn’t given a precise definition until the early 20th century. This article about the Apple Watch gives an overview of the three types of twilight and the reasons for their existence.

In order, therefore, the sequence starting at Sunset is: Sunset, Civil Twilight, Civil Dusk; Nautical Twilight, Nautical Dusk; Astronomical Twilight; Astronomical Dusk … and finally, Night proper. This is followed by Solar Midnight, which is the moment when the Sun is at its nadir on the celestial sphere from the standpoint of the observer. They all depend on the apparent distance of the sun below the horizon. 6°, 12°, and 18° respectively with dusk being the moment when the sun is exactly at these distances. The reverse order applies to sunrise.

As an aside, technically the phrase dusk to dawn is the same as the FAA definition of night.

Certificates, Ratings, and Endorsements

December 29th, 2020

I have referred to CFI Part 61 and 91 hundreds of times in the last 20 years and my understanding would have been greatly enhanced if I had a better grasp of the differences between certificates, ratings, and endorsements.

Everyone knows that your pilot’s license isn’t really a license but is actually a certificate. And if you read Part 61 carefully it even has sub parts for each kind of pilot certificate. The FAA also issues certificates for mechanics, flight engineers, drone pilots and others. However it wasn’t until I read a string of comments by DPE Ryan F on Pilots of America that the nuances of certificates and ratings became really clear.

CFR §61.5 Certificates and ratings issued under this part. spells out the different certificates and ratings that you can earn but you have to read it carefully. You will notice that there are three kinds of airman certificates: Pilots, Flight Instructors, and Ground Instructors. When operating an aircraft you are exercising the privileges of your pilot certificate. In addition to privileges, each certificate comes with limitations. There are also medical requirements that apply to the exercise of privileges in certain types of operations and aircraft. The limitations are spelled out in §61.23 Medical certificates: Requirement and duration.

There are five kinds of pilot certificates, Student, Recreational, Private, Commercial, ATP, and Sport. Everyone starts out with a student pilot certificate and that certificate is then replaced by a recreational, private, or sport pilot certificate. You can also upgrade your certificate to commercial or ATP. You only hold one pilot certificate at a time, so if you upgrade to commercial your certificate is replaced with a commercial certificate.

It gets a bit confusing for some people when we start talking about letting your medical lapse and flying with a driver’s license and under sport pilot rules. §61.303 If I want to operate a light-sport aircraft, what operating limits and endorsement requirements in this subpart must I comply with? For example, an older private pilot may decide to forgo the hassle and expense of getting a medical and use their private pilot certificate to exercise the privileges (and limitations) of the sport pilot certificate. They still retain their private pilot certificate but are now operating as if they held a sport pilot certificate.

A pilot may obtain an instructors certificate in a category and class of aircraft. Unlike other certificates in this part, these expire after 24 months unless renewed by taking a course or sending enough passing students for practical exams.

Anyone may obtain a ground instructor certificate by passing the required knowledge tests. An endorsement from an instructor is required before exercising the privileges of the certificate or if the instructor hasn’t taken a renewal course or taught students in the previous 24 months.


§1.1 General definitions.
Rating means a statement that, as a part of a certificate, sets forth special conditions, privileges, or limitations.

I doubt that anyone is confused when people talk about getting their instrument rating but it is less common to talk about ratings when talking about the type of aircraft that you can fly.

Except for the student pilot certificate, when you get a certificate it has a rating attached to it. The rating indicates the category and class of aircraft that the pilot is certified to operate. Most pilots start out with Airplane Single Engine Land or Rotorcraft Helicopter but you can also start out with others. e.g. Glider category.

Pilots can add ratings to their certificate by accumulating the necessary experience and passing the required tests. For example, pilot who wants to fly a multi-engine airplane will need a multi-engine rating added to their certificate. A pilot who holds a certificate and wants to add additional ratings—including different categories or aircraft—does not need to obtain a student pilot certificate. They are subject to the same limitations as other students who do not hold a certificate higher than student pilot e.g. no passengers, endorsement prior to solo, etc.

One special kind of rating is a Type Rating. Type ratings are required for large aircraft (over 12,500 lbs), turbo-jet aircraft, and others specified by the FAA. § 61.31 Type rating requirements, additional training, and authorization requirements.

It can get a little complicated when a pilot earns multiple ratings while holding different certificates. For example, a private pilot may earn ratings for Single Engine Land, Multi-Engine Land, and Instrument. When they take their commercial test in a single-engine airplane, the Instrument rating applies to their commercial privileges but they may not exercise their commercial privileges in a multi-engine airplane. The back of the certificate will say Private Pilot Privileges MultiEngine.


CFR §61.31 Type rating requirements, additional training, and authorization requirements. lists additional requirements to operate certain types of aircraft. For example, an endorsement in a pilot’s logbook by an authorized instructor is required before a pilot can act as PIC in a tailwheel, complex, or high-performance aircraft. Student pilots require an endorsement before solo flight, before cross-country flight, and when landing at an airport where they don’t normally train. Recreational and sport pilots have limitations that can be removed with the appropriate endorsements.

Unlike ratings, endorsements are made in the pilot’s logbook and are not transmitted to the FAA and so do not appear in the FAA database or on the pilot’s certificate.

The importance of teaching your students to land on the centerline.

December 22nd, 2020

You never know when it will come in handy.


CFI qualifications for instrument training

December 22nd, 2020

Hi John, got a question, thought the FAR man would be best to ask.
Training instrument to a student pilot the 3 hrs. required 61.109, can a CFI do that, not CFII?
I have found multiple discussions on that, looks like they all say yes, just not the 15 hrs. required in 61.65(d).
What do you think on that.
Thanks Doug

Private instrument training can be done by CFI.

Training for commercial and instrument rating must be by a CFII.


(c) Instrument rating. A flight instructor may conduct instrument training for the issuance of an instrument rating, a type rating not limited to VFR, or the instrument training required for commercial pilot and airline transport pilot certificates if the following requirements are met:

(1) Except as provided in paragraph (c)(2) of this section, the flight instructor must hold an instrument rating appropriate to the aircraft used for the instrument training on his or her flight instructor certificate, and—

Same applies to instrument training in a BATD or AATD (Basic or Advanced Aviation Training Device e.g. Redbird, FlyThisSim).

If the Legal Interpretation in Beard is still the most recent, it confirms my reading of the FARs. A CFII is required for the instrument training required for the Instrument Rating and Commercial Certificate.

It has been the FAA’s consistent interpretation of §61.195(b) and (c) that, in order to conduct instrument flight training in an aircraft, a flight instructor must hold on his or her flight instructor certificate (1) aircraft category and class ratings for the aircraft in which the training is conducted, and (2) an instrument rating appropriate to the category of aircraft. Interpretation to Taylor Grayson, January 4, 2010. As § 61.195 was originally written before the rules permitted flight simulators and flight training devices to be used for training, it does not mention conducting instrument flight training in those devices. However, the FAA has interpreted the instructor requirements under this section to apply to instruction in flight simulators and flight training devices, as well, since these devices are designed to replicate flight by category and class of aircraft. The FAA will examine §61.195 to determine whether we need to clarify the regulation.

Learning to Land

August 23rd, 2020

I just responded to a student on another website who is having trouble landing and I thought it would be useful to cross-post here. They are having trouble with so many areas, it could be that, like me, they don’t multi-task well. What they may need to do is master each part of landing separately, then combine them together.

If you airport isn’t busy you can do these exercises over the runway, but when I am transitioning to a new airplane or helping someone with their transition, I like to find a straight stretch of highway (or a pier) and practice there. Add 1,000′ to your airport’s elevation and then fly as if you were in the pattern. (Don’t forget to pick an area where you are legal as well—500′ AGL in unpopulated areas or 1,000′ AGL in populated areas.) Try this first with a little bit of wind if you can. For the first part have the instructor handle the yoke and you do rudder and power. Remember that pitch plus power equals performance.

1. Set up the plane for slow flight with flaps at takeoff setting. Add power and right rudder to keep the airplane on the roadway. Have the CFI pitch up to the appropriate takeoff attitude. Determine when you need to pull the power to level off. The rule of thumb for leveling off is 10% of Vertical speed is when you start the level off. I haven’t flown a C150 so I don‘t know how soon or how much to pull the power. (You should already know this and if you don’t that could be part of your problem.)

2. Set up the plane for the downwind. You should already know the power setting that you need. Ask the CFI to set neutral pitch. Use power to fine tune the altitude. Look out the window to get the sight picture for level flight. Glance at the VSI. Look out the window. Glance at the Altimeter. Look out the window. Make adjustments. The objective here is to figure out the sight picture for level flight at pattern altitude. With practice you should be able to be within 100′ or less of pattern altitude without even looking at the instruments,

3. Pick an intersection to act as the numbers. When abeam the numbers reduce the power and add the first notch of flaps. You should already know the power setting you need for about 500fpm descent. From here on, you need to be verbalizing three things, airspeed, altitude, and scan for traffic. I don’t know the airspeeds for a C150 but let’s assume they are the same as my Cherokee. You should probably be aiming for 90mph, so tell the CFI to pitch up or down.

4. 45° point. Start your turn to base leg and add the second notch of flaps. Remember to use rudder. Adjust your power to keep the 500fmp descent going. Start slowing to 80mph. Look out the window to get your sight picture. Ask you CFI how it looks to them. I’ll bet you forgot to use your rudders. Glance at the ball.

5. Tell your CFI when they should start the turn to final. Monitor airspeed, altitude, and scan for traffic. I’ll bet you forgot to check the ball in the turn. How’s the sight picture? Do you need to add or remove power. Start slowing up to 70mph. Add the last notch of flaps. That’s going to add a bunch of drag, so you might have to adjust power. Did you notice that the CFI has been trimming the whole time? Have them take their hands off the yoke and fly the plane to the “numbers” using just rudders and power. (If there is a strong crosswind they may need to hold the crab in with some yoke pressure.) Normally you’d also start slowing down to approach speed, but unless there is a runway below you get ready to go around when you hit the “numbers”. You should also be at 1,000′ plus the airport elevation.

Do it a couple more times and make a written note of the pitch and power settings. Then cover up the VSI and Altimeter and do it a few times.

Repeat the whole thing a few times with you using the yoke and the CFI handling the rudders and power. Then combine them.

When you have mastered the pattern try it at the airport. I personally hate touch and goes and never do them. I spend the taxi-back time reviewing what when wrong (and right) with the instructor or friend.

Remember the point of the roundout. It is to fly the airplane close to the runway and then let it lose enough energy so that it no longer feels like flying. Ideally it stops flying when the wheels are just above the runway and the nose is pointed up. Depending on how tall you are the end of the runway may disappear from view.

One of the reasons I hate stop and goes is that this is the point where you add power and start to around. But especially as you transition to heavier aircraft or tailwheels, this is also the part where it is easy to lose control, especially in a crosswind. The ailerons should remain where they were for the wind correction and gradually lower the nose. Gentle but quick application of the rudders is essential to keeping it on the centerline.

The nosewheel of a Cessna drops down when you lift off and is aligned with the airplane. If the airplane is aligned with the centerline when you touch down, the nosewheel will also be aligned with the centerline. If you are correcting for a crosswind with a crab, you need to kick it out before the nosewheel touches. If you are landing with a slip, you need to neutralize the rudders when the nosewheel touches down. Either way, when the nosewheel touches down, it is important to have the rudders neutral—otherwise you go careening off the runway.

Remember that the wind doesn’t stop when you are getting close to the runway. Use your rudders to keep aligned with the centerline. You don’t have to worry about keeping the ball centered here because you aren’t turning so aren’t going to start a spin.

Get of the runway and stop. Clean up the airplane using a checklist or pneumonic. I like BCFLAGS since it works for all the airplanes I fly. Boost pump. cowl flaps, flaps, lean, air, ground, squawk VFR.

Gary Wing has lots of 5 minute videos and he mostly flies a C172 so they should apply directly to you. Here’s one on how to land a Cessna.

Jason Miller at The Finer Points has some good videos on landing as well. If you are having trouble hitting the aiming point, he recommends using a whiteboard marker to make a mark on the windshield so you can keep the aiming point stable. Here are a couple.

ADSB and Mid-air Collisions

August 6th, 2020

Juan Brown recently did a video on a mid-air on a lake near Coeur D’Alene Idaho and some of the things he said are not exactly correct. I’d like to correct the record here.

Juan is a little loose in the way he is using the term “uncontrolled airspace”. What he means is that the pilots in the area aren’t talking to Air Traffic Control (ATC). Normally airspace that is below 1200′ from the ground is Class G which is uncontrolled. However, in this case, the northern end of the lake is in the approach path for an instrument approach to Coeur D’Alene airport so the airspace above 700′ is Class E. Class E is controlled airspace but it is unlikely that ATC can communicate with pilots in that remote area with mountains all around. The only real difference is that visibility and distance from clouds is greater in Class E than Class G—but that isn”t an issue in this case.

I’d also take exception to his categorization of air tours as a ”Loophole”. It’s a regulation just like any other. Air tour operators need a Letter of Authorization from their local FSDO which spells out when and how they can conduct operations. They are limited to 25 miles from the takeoff airport and may not make any other stops. Pilots are required to meet the same licensing standards as Part 135 charter pilots and the operator must have a drug and alcohol testing program in place.

He’s also a bit confused about when ADSB-Out is required. There is actually very little airspace where ADSB-Out is required. Basically it is required above 10,00′ MSL and within 30 miles of the largest airports—think big airliner hubs like LA, Seattle, Atlanta. It is also required near smaller airports that have a lot of airline traffic. Spokane is the nearest airport where it is required. Otherwise it is not required within hundreds of miles of the lake.

Whether the Beaver having ADSB-In would have made any difference is a matter of opinion. I suspect not. It depends on a lot of factors. Getting an alert from an aircraft not equipped with ADSB-Out requires a signal relayed from an ADSB ground station to the aircraft with ADSB-In. I don’t know if this remote location would be covered but given its remote location in the mountains, I doubt it. Even if both aircraft were equipped with ADSB-Out and either an iPad with ADSB-In or built-in ADSB-In it would still be difficult to say for sure whether it would have made any difference. With the amount of traffic over the lake it would be difficult for the pilot to respond to all of the alerts that they would be getting. It might have made a difference, but I suspect not.

Save those old credit cards

July 3rd, 2020

You probably get plastic cards in the mail all the time from AARP, AAA, AOPA, and gift cards. Don’t throw them away, they are great for mixing epoxy or even just putting a glob of glue down so you can use a spatula to place it carefully where it goes.

Glue Cards

Old credit cards aren’t as good for mixing but they are stiffer so they are good for scraping. They are sturdy enough to get rid of grime and gunk but soft enough that they won’t scratch aluminum.

New guidance on approach categories.

June 8th, 2020

Old AIM 5−4−7. Instrument Approach Procedures

a. Aircraft approach category means a grouping of aircraft based on a speed of VREF, if specified, or if VREF is not specified, 1.3 VSO at the maximum certified landing weight. VREF, VSO, and the maximum certified landing weight are those values as established for the aircraft by the certification authority of the country of registry. A pilot must use the minima corresponding to the category determined during certification or higher.

New AIM 5−4−7. Instrument Approach Procedures

a. Aircraft approach category means a grouping of aircraft based on a speed of VREF at the maximum certified landing weight, if specified, or if VREF is not specified, 1.3VSO at the maximum certified landing weight. VREF, VSO, and the maximum certified landing weight are those values as established for the aircraft by the certification authority of the country of registry. A pilot must maneuver the aircraft within the circling approach protected area (see FIG 5-4-29) to achieve the obstacle and terrain clearances provided by procedure design criteria.

c. A pilot who chooses an alternative method when it is necessary to maneuver at a speed that exceeds the category speed limit (for example, where higher category minimums are not published) should consider the following factors that can significantly affect the actual ground track flown:

4. Pilot technique. Pilots frequently have many options with regard to flightpath when conducting circling approaches. Sound planning and judgment are vital to proper execution. The lateral and vertical path to be flown should be carefully considered using current weather and terrain information to ensure that the aircraft remains within the circling approach protected area.

As AOPA points out, this change allows pilots to remain in the safe area provided that they maneuver at or below the airspeed designated for the category—not the airplane.

New Minimums

March 3rd, 2020

When I subscribed to the Jeppesen IFR charts I needed to replace pages on a regular basis. So any changes to the procedures at airports that I fly to were quickly noticed. With ForeFlight it’s not so obvious when procedures change. You can track the changes on your own if you visit the Advanced search section of the FAA’s Digital Products.

There are lots on each revision, so narrow it down to the region or state you fly in, then select the checkboxes for
Added Since Last Cycle
Changed Since Last Cycle
Deleted Since Last Cycle

I just checked California and two VOR approaches were changed since the last cycle.

At my home field, a change to the RNAV LPV minimums makes it much easier to use the approach for traffic coming from LA or Phoenix. The DA went from 1040 MSL to 831 and you can descend lower on the circling approach as well.

Most of the time the fog from the ocean is at the 200-300′ level so the approach isn’t useful, but when we get cold fronts passing through with clouds the ceilings are a bit higher. The first one I noticed that would allow pilots to take advantage of the new minimums came a few days ago.

KSPB METAR 700ft minimum


Using Garmin GPS Simulator Apps

December 22nd, 2019

Garmin has a new box—the GNX™ 375—that combines GPS and ADSB in/Out in one unit. They also have a similar product that combines a radio with GPS—GNC 355. And if you don’t need ADSB or a radio they have a box that just has the GPS—GPS 175. They all have the same GPS interface so Garmin has bundled them together in an app for iDevices. In case you haven’t downloaded the trainer yet, here’s the link.

They also have two boxes for pilots with a bit more money and space in their panel, the GTN™ 750 and GTN™ 650. Here’s the link for it.

A couple of things that took me a while to figure out on the demo and on the device.

I couldn’t figure out how to get it to start somewhere other than the middle of Kansas. But if you tap on the Demo button it lets you select your initial location, speed, and heading.

Select Waypoint

This is the same screen where you select waypoints when using the device in the air. There’s not enough room on the screen for all the letters, so you switch back and forth with the A-M and N-Z buttons.

For example, If you want to fly the GPS RWY 29 approach with a procedure turn at CADAB, you would select HALDA as the start with a heading of 110. Then it will fly the procedure turn.


Likewise with the ILS, pick something like JAMPO and it will do the course reversal at CREPE for the ILS and even tell you that it should be a teardrop entry.

Procedure Turn Crepe

At first I couldn’t figure out why it wouldn’t fly the procedure turn, but that was because the default transition is vectors to final.

Vectors to Final

One nice thing about the devices, as you can see in the image above, is that they give you some altitudes on the approach and also give an oral warning when changes in altitude are required. Also, when it does the missed approach it will show the hold as well as the entry.

On the GNS 430 you get prompted for the transition before you load/activate the approach so I missed that it was right there on the screen on these devices.

Select Approach

Select Transition

One feature that I really like is that it is impossible to not notice that you are at the missed approach point and either activate the missed approach procedure or suspend and continue the approach. On the GNS 430 there is a suspend notice on the screen and you hit the OBS button to activate the missed approach but it is easy to miss when you are busy flying the plane.

Missed Waypoint

The other thing on the demo that I couldn’t figure out at first was how to adjust altitude and speed. You don’t tap on the + or – but use the highlighted section as a slider. You can also set the speed, direction, and altitude when you use the demo button to set your initial location. You also want to tap the Track Mode Manual button so that it slides over and says Track Mode Flight Plan.

Tip One

Who can sign off on using an ATD for training?

December 12th, 2019

TL;DR Training: You need a CFII to sign off on Basic Aviation Training Device (BATD) hours that are used for the Instrument Rating or Commercial Certificate. You can use up to 10 hours in a BATD or 20 hours in a Advanced Aviation Training Device (AATD) CFI can sign off on up to 2.5 hours of training for private pilot single or multi-engine land.

TL;DR Endorsements: You cannot use a BATD or AATD to receive a complex, high performance, or tailwheel endorsement but you can use a full flight simulator or flight training device.

TL;DR Currency: You do not need to have an instructor present when using an Aviation Training Device to maintain IFR currency—§61.51 (f)(5). You cannot use a BATD or AATD for landing currency unless at a Part 142 center. You can’t use them for night currency.

BATDs and AATDs must be approved by the FAA. So your home flight sim, no matter how sophisticated, doesn’t work for training unless it is sold by one of the companies that jumped through the hoops got it approved.

A good place to start to figure out the differences between the different types of training devices is AC 61-136B Aviation Training Devices. This AC describes what is required for a device to be a Basic or Advanced Aviation Training Device but does not cover the more sophisticated Flight Training Devices or Full Flight Simulators that are used for type ratings and for recurrent training by the airlines and for high-end aircraft.

The device that I have been using, FlyThisSim, meets the qualifications of a BATD. You can find their Letter of Authorization (LOA) on their website. Even though I am running the same software on my computer, it doesn’t meet the requirements for an Aviation Training Device so none of the time is loggable. The Redbird systems are more sophisticated and are Advanced Aviation Training Devices.

A newly minted CFI that I know has a BATD and is going to rent it out for flight training. He also has an Advanced Ground Instrutor (AGI) certificate and thought that he was qualified to sign off on people using it while training for the Instrument Rating.

My first thought was that he can’t sign IFR students off since I would think you would need an IGI certificate to train for an instrument rating. Also, it is not ground training, so a Ground Instructor can’t sign off—even though the training happens on the ground. The FARs mention authorized instructor several times but don’t always specify who is authorized. The exception is providing training for the instrument rating which requires a CFII. That limitation on the privileges of a CFI seem to me to restrict who can sign off on ATD training.

If the Legal Interpretation in Beard is still the most recent, it confirms my reading of the FARs. A CFII is required for the instrument training required for the Instrument Rating and Commercial Certificate.

It has been the FAA’s consistent interpretation of §61.195(b) and (c) that, in order to conduct instrument flight training in an aircraft, a flight instructor must hold on his or her flight instructor certificate (1) aircraft category and class ratings for the aircraft in which the training is conducted, and (2) an instrument rating appropriate to the category of aircraft. Interpretation to Taylor Grayson, January 4, 2010. As § 61.195 was originally written before the rules permitted flight simulators and flight training devices to be used for training, it does not mention conducting instrument flight training in those devices. However, the FAA has interpreted the instructor requirements under this section to apply to instruction in flight simulators and flight training devices, as well, since these devices are designed to replicate flight by category and class of aircraft. The FAA will examine §61.195 to determine whether we need to clarify the regulation.

I have collected all of the FARs that apply to training. When it refers to authorized instructor, it means that the instructor has the ratings on their Flight Instructor certificate appropriate to the kind of training being given.

§61.1 Applicability and definitions.
Aviation training device means a training device, other than a full flight simulator or flight training device, that has been evaluated, qualified, and approved by the Administrator.

Pilot time means that time in which a person—
(i) Serves as a required pilot flight crewmember;
(ii) Receives training from an authorized instructor in an aircraft, full flight simulator, flight training device, or aviation training device;

Training time means training received—
(i) In flight from an authorized instructor;
(ii) On the ground from an authorized instructor; or
(iii) In a flight simulator or flight training device from an authorized instructor.

§61.31 Type rating requirements, additional training, and authorization requirements.
(e) Additional training required for operating complex airplanes. (1) Except as provided in paragraph (e)(2) of this section, no person may act as pilot in command of a complex airplane, unless the person has—
  (i) Received and logged ground and flight training from an authorized instructor in a complex airplane, or in a full flight simulator or flight training device that is representative of a complex airplane, and has been found proficient in the operation and systems of the airplane; and … [received a one-time endorsement]

(f) Additional training required for operating high-performance airplanes. (1) Except as provided in paragraph (f)(2) of this section, no person may act as pilot in command of a high-performance airplane (an airplane with an engine of more than 200 horsepower), unless the person has—
  (i) Received and logged ground and flight training from an authorized instructor in a high-performance airplane, or in a full flight simulator or flight training device that is representative of a high-performance airplane, and has been found proficient in the operation and systems of the airplane; and … [received a one-time endorsement]

§61.51 Pilot logbooks.
(4) A person may use time in a full flight simulator, flight training device, or aviation training device for acquiring instrument aeronautical experience for a pilot certificate or rating provided an authorized instructor is present to observe that time and signs the person’s logbook or training record to verify the time and the content of the training session.

(5) A person may use time in a full flight simulator, flight training device, or aviation training device for satisfying instrument recency experience requirements provided a logbook or training record is maintained to specify the training device, time, and the content.

(h) Logging training time.
  (1) A person may log training time when that person receives training from an authorized instructor in an aircraft, full flight simulator, flight training device, or aviation training device.
  (2) The training time must be logged in a logbook and must:
   (i) Be endorsed in a legible manner by the authorized instructor; and
   (ii) Include a description of the training given, the length of the training lesson, and the authorized instructor’s signature, certificate number, and certificate expiration date.

§61.65 Instrument rating requirements.
(i) Use of an aviation training device. A maximum of 10 hours of instrument time received in a basic aviation training device or a maximum of 20 hours of instrument time received in an advanced aviation training device may be credited for the instrument time requirements of this section if—
  (1) The device is approved and authorized by the FAA;
  (2) An authorized instructor provides the instrument time in the device; and
  (3) The FAA approved the instrument training and instrument tasks performed in the device.

§61.57 Recent flight experience: Pilot in command.
(2) Use of a full flight simulator, flight training device, or aviation training device for maintaining instrument experience. A pilot may accomplish the requirements in paragraph (c)(1) of this section in a full flight simulator, flight training device, or aviation training device provided the device represents the category of aircraft for the instrument rating privileges to be maintained and the pilot performs the tasks and iterations in simulated instrument conditions. A person may complete the instrument experience in any combination of an aircraft, full flight simulator, flight training device, or aviation training device.

§61.195 Flight instructor limitations and qualifications.
(c) Instrument rating. A flight instructor may conduct instrument training for the issuance of an instrument rating, a type rating not limited to VFR, or the instrument training required for commercial pilot and airline transport pilot certificates if the following requirements are met:

(1) Except as provided in paragraph (c)(2) of this section, the flight instructor must hold an instrument rating appropriate to the aircraft used for the instrument training on his or her flight instructor certificate, and—

§61.215 Ground instructor privileges.
(c) A person who holds an instrument ground instructor rating is authorized to provide:

(1) Ground training in the aeronautical knowledge areas required for the issuance of an instrument rating under this part;
(2) Ground training required for an instrument proficiency check; and
(3) A recommendation for a knowledge test required for the issuance of an instrument rating under this part.

§61.65 Instrument rating requirements.
(5) Receive and log training on the areas of operation of paragraph (c) of this section from an authorized instructor in an aircraft, full flight simulator, or flight training device that represents an airplane, helicopter, or powered-lift appropriate to the instrument rating sought;

(2) Forty hours of actual or simulated instrument time in the areas of operation listed in paragraph (c) of this section, of which 15 hours must have been received from an authorized instructor who holds an instrument-airplane rating, and the instrument time includes:

(i) Use of an aviation training device. A maximum of 10 hours of instrument time received in a basic aviation training device or a maximum of 20 hours of instrument time received in an advanced aviation training device may be credited for the instrument time requirements of this section if—
  (1) The device is approved and authorized by the FAA;
  (2) An authorized instructor provides the instrument time in the device; and
  (3) The FAA approved the instrument training and instrument tasks performed in the device.

§61.109 Aeronautical experience.
(a) For an airplane single-engine rating.
(b) For an airplane multiengine rating.
(k) Permitted credit for use of a full flight simulator or flight training device. (1) Except as provided in paragraphs (k)(2) [Part 142] of this section, a maximum of 2.5 hours of training in a full flight simulator or flight training device representing the category, class, and type, if applicable, of aircraft appropriate to the rating sought, may be credited toward the flight training time required by this section, if received from an authorized instructor.

Commercial Pilot Privileges

December 4th, 2019

There are lots of things you can do with your commercial pilot certificate and a second-class medical. The FAA asks you about them on the Knowledge Tests and the oral portion of the Practical Test. Many of the test prep and oral exam guides mislead students into thinking that 14 CFR Part 119 lists all of the things you can do. But careful reading of the FAR indicates that these are things you can do with your own airplane and not have to comply with part 121, 125, or 135 or other parts of 119. Note that it does not limit what you can do if you are not using your own airplane or if you are working for an operation that is complying with part 91, 119, 121, 125, or 135. There may be other regulations that you need to comply with e.g. Part 137—Agricultural Aircraft Operations has rules for aerial spraying and sightseeing flights may require a letter of authorization (LOA) from the local FSDO.

The key to understanding 14 CFR Part 119 is that it lists some commercial operations that do not require an operating certificate. A commercial pilot certificate is still required to fly them, but a commercial operating certificate is not.

§61.133 just says that you may now carry persons or property for compensation or hire but doesn’t go into detail about what that means.

§61.133 Commercial pilot privileges and limitations.
(a) Privileges—(1) General. A person who holds a commercial pilot certificate may act as pilot in command of an aircraft—
(i) Carrying persons or property for compensation or hire, provided the person is qualified in accordance with this part and with the applicable parts of this chapter that apply to the operation; and
(ii) For compensation or hire, provided the person is qualified in accordance with this part and with the applicable parts of this chapter that apply to the operation.
§119.1 Applicability.
(a) This part applies to each person operating or intending to operate civil aircraft—…
(b) This part prescribes—…
c) Persons subject to this part must comply with the other requirements of this chapter…
(d) This part does not govern operations conducted under part 91, subpart K…
(e) Except for operations when common carriage is not involved conducted with airplanes having a passenger-seat configuration of 20 seats or more, excluding any required crewmember seat, or a payload capacity of 6,000 pounds or more, this part does not apply to

(1) Student instruction;
(2) Nonstop Commercial Air Tours…
(3) Ferry or training flights;
(4) Aerial work operations, including—

(i) Crop dusting, seeding, spraying, and bird chasing;
(ii) Banner towing;
(iii) Aerial photography or survey;
(iv) Fire fighting;
(v) Helicopter operations in construction or repair work …
(vi) Powerline or pipeline patrol;
(5) Sightseeing flights conducted in hot air balloons;
(6) Nonstop flights conducted… conducting intentional parachute operations.
(7) Helicopter flights conducted within a 25 statute mile radius of the airport of takeoff…
(8) Operations conducted under part 133 of this chapter [rotorcraft external-load operations]
(9) Emergency mail service conducted under 49 U.S.C. 41906;
(10) Operations conducted under the provisions of §91.321
[Carriage of candidates in elections.] of this chapter;

(a) As an aircraft operator, you may receive payment for carrying a candidate, agent of a candidate, or person traveling on behalf of a candidate, running for Federal, State, or local election,

(11) Small UAS operations conducted under part 107 of this chapter.

In addition to all of these things you may also (for compensation) provide pilot services to someone who owns their own airplane and operates it under Part 91. You may be part of a corporate flight department. You may pilot aircraft for companies that provide air transportation as an incidental part of their business. e.g. wilderness adventure companies where you transport clients to remote sites, real estate companies where you transport clients to visit locations.

As another example, if someone without an instrument rating needs to depart you airport in IMC conditions, you can fly them to VMC conditions and take a taxi back for compensation.

The FAA does not want you to be acting as a charter operation without complying with Part 121 or 135. AC No: 120-12A goes into detail about this.

Carriage for hire which does not involve “holding out” is private carriage. Private carriers for hire are sometimes called “contract carriers,” but the term is borrowed from the Interstate Commerce Act and legally inaccurate when used in connection with the Federal Aviation Act. Private carriage for hire is carriage for one or several selected customers, generally on a long-term basis. The number of contracts must not be too great, otherwise it implies a willingness to make a contract with anybody.

There is no clear definition of “holding out” but there are some bright-line examples. Putting an ad on Craigslist is definitely “holding out”. Flying someone you know to their remote locations in their plane is fine. Flying their friends plane is fine too. Being generally known as someone who is willing to fly anyone at any time is crossing the line.

Letting the FBO know that you are available to fly people over the hill when the airport is fogged in is probably fine. Putting the words “Commercial Pilot” on your resume or website is fine.

Having a non-pilot rent a plane and then pay you to fly them somewhere is not fine.

FAA Safety Briefing: Hold the Line on Holding Out

“Holding out” can be as complex as publishing a flight schedule for a major airline or as simple as posting a notice on an FBO bulletin board (or the Internet) telling everyone you’re the one who will fly them to that prime vacation resort and make their dreams come true.

There have been several attempts to establish an Uber/Lyft type operation for aircraft. The FAA does not approve of any of them—even if you have a commercial certificate.

If you are going to fly for compensation and it is not explicitly permitted by the regulations, it would be wise to seek the advice of an aviation attorney.

Can I use instrument training for one rating to meet the requirements of another?

December 3rd, 2019

The relevant Legal Interpretation is Hartzell which reads in part:

The Theriault interpretation reinforces the existing requirement that instrument training used to satisfy the aeronautical experience requirements under §61.129 needs to be clearly documented by the applicant for the commercial pilot certificate. The interpretation dispels the notion that holding an instrument rating is, on it own, sufficient evidence that the applicant has fulfilled the aeronautical experience requirements for a commercial pilot certificate under §61.129. However, we anticipate that for commercial pilot applicants who already hold an instrument rating, the hours of instrument training used to obtain that rating will meet at least some, if not most, or quite often, meet all the requirements for instrument aeronautical experience as required under §61.129. The interpretation did not establish an additive requirement for the number of hours of instrument training required to meet the aeronautical experience requirements of §61.129.

It was reiterated in Oord

To allow for training time to count towards both§ 61.65(e) and§ 61.129(c)(3)(i) in cases where it meets the requirements ofboth, as stated in the letter to Ms. Kristine Hartzell dated December 17, 2010, that time must be logged consistent with§ 61.51 and documented in a manner that demonstrates the time counts towards the commercial pilot certificate and ratings. In its letter to Ms. Hartzell, the FAA explains it is “merely clarifying the requirement that the applicant for a commercial pilot certicate provide evidence that they have met the requirements of§ 61.129.”

To summarize, if training conducted pursuant to§ 61.65(e) meets the requirements of
§ 61.129(c)(3)(i), that time can count towards the five hours of instrument aeronautical experience under§ 61.129(c)(3)(i). However, pursuant to§ 61.51, that time also must be logged as prescribed allowing for verification by the FAA.

One caveat is highlighted in Rohlfing

Flight instructors who provide flight training on the “control and maneuvering of an airplane solely by reference to the instruments” in§ 61.109 are not required to have an instrument rating on their flight instructor certificate. See Legal Interpretation to Taylor Grayson (Jan. 4, 201 0). Therefore, the 3 hours of flight training on “the control and maneuvering of an airplane solely by reference to instruments” in§ 61.109(a)(3) may be applied toward the 40 hours of actual or simulated instrument time under § 61.65(d)(2), but may not be applied toward the 15 hours of instrument training unless the flight instructor who provided the flight training under § 61.109(a)(3) held an instrument rating on his or her flight instructor cetiificate and otherwise meets the requirements of§ 61.65.

Commercial Pilot Rating Airplane Sample Exam 2019-06-28

November 1st, 2019

These are the questions on the Sample Test and the answers that I found. The procedure that I used to find the answers was to put all of the relevant FAA publications in a folder and then search for words in the question or the correct answer. Since the FARs are regulatory and the AIM while not regulatory, provides information which reflects examples of operating techniques and procedures which may be re- quirements in other federal publications or regulations., if the answer appeared in either of those, I used it as the source. Next in order of priority were the Airplane Flying Handbook, and Pilots Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge. There is a lot of information in these two publications that is also found word-for-word in the AIM.

For the most part, the FAA publications give the same answer no matter which source you choose, so it doesn’t matter if you study a more accessible publication rather than trying to wade through the AIM.

The ACS codes are matched with each question at the end of the Knowledge Test Guide so you can look up the answer in the appropriate FAA publication if you don’t like source for the answer I gave.

Some of the questions reference charts, tables, and images that are found in the Test Supplement Booklets.

I answered most of the questions based on my knowledge without looking things up or verifying them. They could be wrong, especially if there are “trick” questions that I missed. I’ll provide sources as time allows.

Preflight Preparation/Pilot Qualifications/Operating as pilot-in-command (PIC) as a commercial pilot:

1 . PLT442 CA.I.A.K1
You have accomplished 25 takeoffs and landings in multi-engine land airplanes in the previous 45 days. For a
flight you plan to conduct today, this meets the PIC recency of experience requirements to carry passengers in which airplanes?
A) Multi or single-engine land.
B) Single-enginelandairplane.
C) Multi-engine land airplane.

2 . PLT451 CA.I.A.K1
To act as PIC of a high performance airplane, which training or experience would meet the additional requirements.
A) Logged at least five hours as SIC in a high performance or turbine-powered airplane in the last 12 calendar months.
B) Received and logged ground and flight training in an airplane with retractable landing gear, flaps, and a controllable-pitch propeller.
C) Received and logged ground and flight training in a high performance airplane and received a logbook endorsement.

3 . PLT389 CA.I.A.K2
You are acting as a commercial pilot, but are not operating under the regulations of 14 CFR part 119. Which of these operations are you authorized to conduct?
A) On-demand, passenger carrying flights of nine persons or less.
B) Aerial application and aerial photography.
C) On-demand cargo flights.

4 . PLT448 CA.I.A.K2
As a commercial pilot, you decide to start a small business flying non-stop tours to look at Christmas lights during the holiday season. What authorizations, if any, are required to conduct Christmas light tours?
A) No authorizations or approvals are required if you hold the appropriate category and class rating for the aircraft that will be flown.
B) You must apply for and receive a Letter of Authorization from a Flight Standards District Office.
C) You must apply to the FAA to receive an exemption to carry passengers at night within a 50 mile radius of your departure airport.

Preflight Preparation/Airworthiness Requirements/Airworthiness requirements, including aircraft certificates:
1 . PLT377 CA.I.B.K1b
You are conducting your preflight of an aircraft and notice that the last inspection of the emergency locator transmitter was 11 calendar months ago. You may
A) depart if you get a special flight permit.
B) depart because the ELT is within the inspection requirements.
C) not depart until a new inspection is conducted.

2 . PLT377 CA.I.B.K1c
You are PIC of a flight and determine that the aircraft you planned to fly has an overdue Airworthiness Directive (AD). Which of the following is an appropriate decision?
A) No maintenance is available so you wait until after the trip to comply with the AD.
B) You make the flight because you can overfly an AD by 10hours.
C) You cancel the flight and have the aircraft scheduled for maintenance.

Preflight Preparation/Weather Information/Weather information for a flight under VFR:
1 . PLT059 CA.I.C.K2
What is the thickness of the cloud layer given a field elevation of 1,500 feet MSL with tops of the overcast at 7,000 feet MSL?
METAR KHOB 151250Z 17006KT 4SM OVC010 13/11 A2998
A) 4,500 feet.
B) 6,500feet.
C) 5,500feet.

2 . PLT288 CA.I.C.K2
In the following METAR/TAF for HOU, what is the ceiling and visibility forecast on the 7th day of the month at 0600Z?
KHOU 061734Z 0618/0718 16014G22KT P6SM VCSH BKN018 BKN035 FM070100 17010KT P6SM BKN015 OVC025
FM070500 17008KT 4SM BR SCT008 OVC012
FM071000 18005KT 3SM BR OVC007
FM071500 23008KT 5SM BR VCSH SCT008 OVC015
A) Visibility 6 miles with a broken ceiling at 15,000 feet MSL.
B) 4 nautical miles of visibility and an overcast ceiling at 700 feet MSL.
C) 4 statute miles visibility and an overcast ceiling at 1,200 feet AGL.

3 . PLT061 CA.I.C.K2
What significant cloud coverage is reported by this pilot report?
KMOB UA/OV 15NW MOB 1340Z/SK 025 OVC 045/075 OVC 080/090 OVC
A) Three (3) separate overcast layers exist with bases at 2,500, 7,500 and 9,000 feet.
B) The top of the lower overcast is 2,500 feet; base and top of second overcast layer are 4,500 and 9,000 feet, respectively.
C) The base of the second overcast layer is 2,500 feet; top of second overcast layer is 7,500 feet; base of third layer is 9,000

4 . PLT445 CA.I.C.K3
You are pilot-in-command of a VFR flight that you think will be within the fuel range of your aircraft. As part of your preflight planning you must
A) be familiar with all instrument approaches at the destination airport.
B) list an alternate airport on the flight plan, and confirm adequate takeoff and landing performance at the destination airport.
C) obtain weather reports, forecasts, and fuel requirements for the flight.

5 . PLT206 CA.I.C.K3c
As air temperature increases, density altitude will
A) decrease.
B) increase.
C) remain the same.

6 . PLT511 CA.I.C.K3a
What are the characteristics of an unstable atmosphere?
A) A cool, dry air mass.
B) A warm, humid air mass.
C) Descending air in the northern hemisphere.

7 . PLT495 CA.I.C.K3h
You are avoiding a thunderstorm that is in your flightpath. You are over 20 miles from the cell however, you are under the anvil of the cell. Is this a hazard?
A) No, you are at a safe distance from the cell.
B) Yes,hail can be discharged from the anvil.
C) Yes, this is still in the area of dissipation.

8 . PLT105 CA.I.C.K4
Which is true regarding the use of airborne weather-avoidance radar for the recognition of certain weather conditions?
A) The radar scope provides no assurance of avoiding instrument weather conditions.
B) The avoidance of hail is assured when flying between and just clear of the most intense echoes.
C) The clear area between intense echoes indicates that visual sighting of storms can be maintained when flying between the echoes.

Preflight Preparation/Cross-Country Flight Planning/Cross-country flights and VFR flight planning:
1 . PLT517 CA.I.D.K2
There is a high pressure system that is located south of your planned route in the Northern Hemisphere on a west to east cross-country flight. To take advantage of favorable winds, you would plan your route
A) on the north side of the high pressure area.
B) on the south side of the high pressure area.
C) through the middle of the high pressure area.

2 . PLT012 CA.I.D.K3a
(Refer to FAA-CT-8080-1E, Figure 11.) What would be the approximate true airspeed and fuel consumption per hour at an altitude of 7,500 feet, using 52 percent power?
A) 103 MPH TAS, 6.3 GPH.
B) 105 MPH TAS, 6.2 GPH.
C) 105 MPH TAS, 6.6 GPH.

3 . PLT430 CA.I.D.K2
According to 14 CFR part 91, at what minimum altitude may an airplane be operated unless necessary for takeoff and landing?
A) In congested areas, you must maintain 500 feet over obstacles, and no closer than 500 feet to any person, vessel, vehicle, or structure.
B) In uncongested areas, 1,000 feet over any obstacle within a horizontal radius of 2,000 feet.
C) An altitude allowing for an emergency landing without undue hazard, if a power unit fails.

Preflight Preparation/National Airspace System/National Airspace System (NAS) operating under VFR as a commercial pilot:
1 . PLT161 CA.I.E.K1
You would like to enter Class B airspace and contact the approach controller. The controller responds to your initial radio call with “N125HF standby.” May you enter the Class B airspace?
A) You must remain outside Class B airspace until controller gives you a specific clearance.
B) You may continue into the Class B airspace and wait for further instructions.
C) You may continue into the Class B airspace without a specific clearance, if the aircraft is ADS-B equipped.

2 . PLT163 CA.I.E.K1
(Refer to FAA-CT-8080-1E, Figure 52, Area 8). The traffic pattern altitude at the Auburn (AUN) airport is 1,000 feet AGL. May you practice landings under VFR when the AWOS is reporting a ground visibility of 2 miles?
A) Yes, you will be operating in a combination of Class E and G airspace.
B) No,the reported ground visibility must be at least 3 miles.
C) No,the Class E airspace extends to the airport surface.

3 . PLT161 CA.I.E.K1
(Refer to FAA-CT-8080-1E, Figure 53, Area 4.) You plan to depart on a day VFR flight from the Firebaugh (F34) airport. What is the floor of controlled airspace above this airport?
A) 1,200 feet above the airport.
B) 700 feet above the airport.
C) 1,500 feet above the airport.

4 . PLT370 CA.I.E.K1
(Refer to FAA-CT-8080-1E, Figure 52, Area 2.) When departing the RIO LINDA (L36) airport to the northwest at an altitude of 1,000 feet, AGL, you
A) must make contact with MC CLELLAN (MCC) control tower as soon as practical after takeoff.
B) are not required to contact any ATC facilities if you do not enter the Class C Airspace.
C) must make contact with the SACRAMENTO INTL (SMF) control tower immediately after takeoff.

5 . PLT163 CA.I.E.K1
Your VFR flight will be conducted above 10,000 MSL in Class E airspace. What is the minimum flight visibility?
A) 3NM.
B) 5SM.
C) 1SM.

6 . PLT162 CA.I.E.K2
(Refer to FAA-CT-8080-1E, Figure 53, Area 2.) What is indicated by the star next to the “L” in the airport information box for the MADERA (MAE) airport north of area 2?
A) Special VFR is prohibited.
B) There is a rotating beacon at the field.
C) Lighting limitations exist.

7 . PLT376 CA.I.E.K3
What must a pilot do or be aware of when transitioning an Alert Area?
A) All pilots must contact the controlling agency to ensure aircraft separation.
B) Non-participating aircraft may transit the area as long as they operate in accordance with their waiver.
C) Beaware that the area may contain unusual aeronautical activity or high volume of pilot training.

8 . PLT376 CA.I.E.K3
(Refer to FAA-CT-8080-1E, Figure 53.) You are planning a VFR west bound flight departing the FRESNO CHANDLER
EXECUTIVE (FCH) airport and you will be passing through the active Lemoore C and A MOAs. What action should you take?
A) Exercise extreme caution while in the boundaries of the MOA.
B) Avoid the MOA, VFR, and IFR flights are prohibited during daylight hours.
C) Contact the aircraft operating in the MOA on the Guard frequency of 121.5.

9 . PLT376 CA.I.E.K3
(Refer to FAA-CT-8080-1E, Figure 54, Area 3.) What is the significance of R-2531? This is a restricted area
A) for IFR aircraft.
B) where aircraft may never operate.
C) where often invisible hazards exist.

Preflight Preparation/Performance and Limitations/Operating an aircraft safely within the parameters of its performance capabilities and limitations:
1 . PLT011 CA.I.F.K1
(Refer to FAA-CT-8080-1E, Figure 32.) What is the total takeoff distance required to clear a 50-foot obstacle with the following
Temperature: 50 °F Pressure altitude: 4,000 ft. Weight: 3,200 lb. Headwind: 15 kts.
A) 1,200 feet.
B) 880 feet.
C) 700 feet.

2 . PLT021 CA.I.F.K2f
(Refer to FAA-CT-8080-1E, Figure 38.) Given the following information, does the weight of the aircraft and center of gravity fall within allowable limits?
Empty weight (oil is included) = 1,275 lb.
Empty weight moment (in-lb./1,000) = 102.05
Pilot and copilot = 390 lb.
Rear seat passenger = 145 lb.
Cargo = 95 lb
Fuel = 35 gal
A) Yes, the weight and center of gravity is within allowable limits.
B) No,the weight exceeds the maximum allowable.
C) No,the weight is acceptable, but the center of gravity is aft of the allowable limits.

3 . PLT310 CA.I.F.K3
While executing a 60° level turn, your aircraft is at a load factor of 2.0. What does this mean?
A) The total load on the aircraft`s structure is two times its weight.
B) The load factor is over the load limit.
C) The gust factor is two times the total load limit.

4 . PLT123 CA.I.F.K3
What could be one result of exceeding critical Mach number?
A) Propeller stall.
B) Reduction in drag.
C) Aircraft control difficulties.

5 . PLT168 CA.I.F.K3
When transitioning from straight-and-level flight to a constant airspeed climb, the angle of attack and lift
A) are increased and remain at a higher lift-to-weight ratio to maintain the climb.
B) remain the same and maintain a steady state lift-to-weight ratio during the climb.
C) are momentarily increased and lift returns to a steady state during the climb.

6 . PLT113 CA.I.F.R2
Structural damage or failure is more likely to occur in smooth air at speeds above
B) VA.

Preflight Preparation/Operation of Systems/Safe operation of systems on the airplane provided for the flight test:
1 . PLT126 CA.I.G.K1d
When departing from a runway that is covered with snow or slush, what could a pilot do to prevent damage to the landing gear due to the conditions?
A) Do not retract the landing gear immediately to allow the gear to air-dry.
B) Immediately retract the landing gear so it can be heated in the gear wells.
C) Fly at a speed above the green arc of the airspeed indicator to remove the snow and slush.

2 . PLT343 CA.I.G.R1
Your aircraft has an exhaust manifold type heating system. The exhaust manifold is periodically inspected to avoid
A) carbon monoxide poisoning.
B) overheating in the cockpit.
C) extremely cold temperatures in the cabin.

Preflight Preparation/Human Factors/Personal health, flight physiology, aeromedical and human factors as it relates to safety of flight:
1 . PLT334 CA.I.H.K1d
You are most likely to experience somatogravic illusion during
A) a rapid descent.
B) deceleration upon landing.
C) rapid acceleration on takeoff.

2 . PLT463 CA.I.H.K2
You attended a party last night and you consumed several glasses of wine. You are planning to fly your aircraft
home and have been careful to make sure 8 hours have passed since your last alcoholic drink. You can make the flight now only if you are not under the influence of alcohol and your blood alcohol level is
A) below .04%.
B) below.08%.
C) 0.0%.

Preflight Procedures/Preflight Assessment/Preparing for safe flight:
1 . PLT281 CA.II.D.K1
You are preflight planning in the morning before an afternoon flight. Where would you find information regarding an “Airport surface hot spot?”
A) Call the Automated Flight Service Station.
B) In the Chart Supplements U.S.
C) In the NOTAM`s during your preflight briefing.

2 . PLT141 CA.II.D.K3
(Refer to FAA-CT-8080-1E, Figure 61.) Ground control has instructed you to taxi Alpha to Foxtrot to the active runway. According to the sign in the figure, which direction would you turn at this intersection to comply with ATC?
A) No turn is required.
B) The turn will be made to the right.
C) The turn will be made to the left.

Airport and Seaplane Base Operations /Communications and Light Signals/Normal and emergency radio communications and ATC light signals to conduct radio communications safely while operating the aircraft:
1 . PLT366 CA.III.A.K8
On a post flight inspection of your aircraft after an aborted takeoff due to an elevator malfunction, you find that the elevator control cable has broken. According to NTSB 830, you
A) must immediately notify the nearest NTSB office.
B) should notify the NTSB within 10 days.
C) must file a NASA report immediately.

Airport and Seaplane Base Operations/Traffic Patterns/Traffic patterns:
1 . PLT414 CA.III.B.K3
An airplane is converging with a helicopter. Which aircraft has the right-of-way?
A) The aircraft on the left.
B) The aircraft on the right.
C) The faster of the two aircraft.

Takeoffs, Landing and Go-arounds/Normal Takeoff and Climb/Normal takeoff, climb operations, and rejected takeoff procedures:
1 . PLT509 CA.IV.A.R2d
Your flight takes you in the path of a large aircraft. In order to avoid the vortices you should fly
A) at the same altitude as the large aircraft.
B) below the altitude of the large aircraft.
C) above the flight path of the large aircraft.

2 . PLT208 CA.IV.A.R3b
If you experience an engine failure in a single-engine aircraft after takeoff, you should
A) establish the proper glide attitude.
B) turn into the wind.
C) adjust the pitch to maintain VY.

Takeoffs, Landing and Go-arounds/Normal Approach and Landing/Normal approach and landing with emphasis on proper use and coordination of flight controls:
1 . PLT170 CA.IV.B.K2
What should be expected when making a downwind landing? The likelihood of
A) undershooting the intended landing spot and a faster airspeed at touchdown.
B) overshooting the intended landing spot and a faster groundspeed at touchdown.
C) undershooting the intended landing spot and a faster groundspeed at touchdown.

2 . PLT221 CA.IV.B.R3a
When conducting a go-around, the pilot must be aware that
A) radio communications are key to alerting other aircraft in the pattern that a go-around maneuver is being conducted.
B) the airplane is trimmed for a power-off condition, and application of takeoff power will cause the nose to rise rapidly.
C) flaps should be raised as quickly as possible to reduce drag and increase airspeed for a successful go-around.

3 . PLT140 CA.IV.B.R3b
What should you expect when you are told that LAHSO operations are in effect at your destination airport?
A) All aircraft must operate on an IFR clearance due to high traffic volume.
B) That ATC will give you a clearance to land and hold short of a specified point on the runway.
C) Delays due to low IFR conditions and high traffic volume.

Performance and Ground Reference Maneuvers/Steep Turns/Steep turns:
1 . PLT118 CA.V.A.K2e
To maintain a standard-rate turn as the airspeed decreases, the bank angle of the airplane will need to
A) decrease.
B) increase.
C) remain constant.

Navigation/Pilotage and Dead Reckoning/Pilotage and dead reckoning:
1 . PLT200 CA.VI.A.K1
What procedure could a pilot use to navigate under VFR from one point to another when ground references are not visible?
A) Dead reckoning.
B) Pilotage.
C) VFR is not allowed in these circumstances.

2 . PLT194 CA.VI.A.R1
When in the vicinity of a VOR which is being used for navigation on VFR flights, it is important to
A) make 90° left and right turns to scan for other traffic.
B) exercise sustained vigilance to avoid aircraft that may be converging on the VOR from other directions.
C) pass the VOR on the right side of the radial to allow room for aircraft flying in the opposite direction on the
same radial.

Navigation/Navigation Systems and Radar Services/Navigation systems and radar services:
1 . PLT354 CA.VI.B.K2
What is a consideration when using a hand-held GPS for VFR navigation?
A) Position accuracy may degrade without notification.
B) RAIM capability will be maintained for entire flight.
C) Waypoints will still be accurate even if database is not current.

Emergency Operations/Systems and Equipment Malfunctions/System and equipment malfunctions appropriate to the airplane provided for the practical test, and that the applicant is able to analyze malfunctions and take appropriate action for simulated emergencies:
1 . PLT337 CA.IX.C.K2d
You are flying an aircraft equipped with an electronic flight display and the air data computer fails. What instrument is affected?
A) ADS-B in capability.
B) Airspeed indicator.
C) Attitude indicator.

Notes from Airplane Flying Handbook

November 1st, 2019

I have been referring to FAA-H-8083-3B Airplane Flying Handbook while learning the commercial maneuvers and decided to start reading it from the beginning. As a long-time pilot there is a lot that I already know, but there are some things that deserve a post so that I can remember them. Or they are things I already know, but are deserving of emphasis. For example:

The checklist is a memory aid and helps to ensure that critical items necessary for the safe operation of aircraft are not overlooked or forgotten. Checklists need not be “do lists.” In other words, the proper actions can be accomplished, and then the checklist used to quickly ensure all necessary tasks or actions have been completed.

I use a flow for my pre-flight and then verify the important items with a checklist before engine start. I do the same with engine start. I use a flow starting with the oil pressure and then looking at all of the gauges. After the flow is complete, I use the checklist to make sure I covered everything. Post-flight on my Cherokee is relatively simple, just make sure it is tied down. The Cessna 172 at the flight school is much more complicated—make sure the co-pilot door is locked, install the control and throttle locks, put up the sunscreen, insert the engine cowl plugs, install the pitot cover, and tie it down. If you have a flow you probably won’t forget anything, but a checklist makes sure you didn’t. The same thing applies for removing things before your pre-flight.

When taxiing with a quartering headwind, the wing on the upwind side (the side that the wind is coming from) tends to be lifted by the wind unless the aileron control is held in that direction (upwind aileron UP). Moving the aileron into the UP position reduces the effect of the wind striking that wing, thus reducing the lifting action. This control movement also causes the downwind aileron to be placed in the DOWN position, thus a small amount of lift and drag on the downwind wing, further reducing the tendency of the upwind wing to rise. Turn into a headwind.

When taxiing with a quartering tailwind, the elevator should be held in the DOWN position, and the upwind aileron, DOWN. Since the wind is striking the airplane from behind, these control positions reduce the tendency of the wind to get under the tail and the wing and to nose the airplane over. Dive away from a tailwind.

Airplane attitude control
Pitch control—controlling of the airplane’ s pitch attitude about the lateral axis by using the elevator to raise and lower the nose in relation to the natural horizon or to the airplane’s flight instrumentation.
Bank control—controlling of the airplane about the airplane’s longitudinal axis by use of the ailerons to attain a desired bank angle in relation to the natural horizon or to the airplane’s instrumentation.
Power control—in most general aviation (GA) airplanes is controlled by the throttle and is used when the flight situation requires a specific thrust setting or for a change in thrust to meet a specific objective.
Trim control—used to relieve the control pressures held by the pilot on the flight controls after a desired attitude has been attained.
Note: Yaw control is used to cancel out the effects of yaw induced changes, such as adverse yaw and effects of the propeller.

Flight by reference to the horizon.
With beginner pilots, a flight instructor will likely use a dry erase marker or removable tape to make reference lines on the windshield or cowling to help the beginner pilot establish visual reference points.

When watching videos on private and commercial maneuvers they often say that you should line up part the cowl with the horizon and keep it in that position. I guess that works for short people, but it doesn’t work well for me since the cowl is well below the horizon from my perspective. Since my windshield is usually clean I can’t use a spot on it to mark the horizon. I started using this trick and so far I’m happy with it.

A properly trimmed airplane is an indication of good piloting skills. Any control forces that the pilot feels should be a result of deliberate flight control pressure inputs during a planned change in airplane attitude, not a result of forces being applied by the airplane. I noticed that when doing the commercial maneuvers proper trim makes it much easier to control the airplane. Small changes in force necessary to move the control are much easier to manage than trying to change a lot of force by a little bit. Fingertip control is the key to precise flying.

In a turn, the outside wing travels at a faster airspeed than the inside wing and, as a result, it develops more lift. This creates an overbanking tendency that must be controlled by the use of opposite aileron when the desired bank angle is reached. Because the outboard wing is developing more lift, it also produces more drag. The drag causes a slight slip during steep turns that must be corrected by use of the rudder. So in an uncorrected turn, the nose points to the outside of the turn. Stepping on the ball moves the nose into the direction of the turn. Too much rudder and the nose points into the turn—a skid.

Skidding turn
An uncoordinated turn in which the rate of turn is too great for the angle of bank, pulling the aircraft to the outside of the turn.
[Source: Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge]

If the desired bank angle is shallow, the pilot needs to maintain a small amount of aileron pressure into the direction of bank including rudder to compensate for yaw effects. For medium bank angles, the ailerons and rudder should be neutralized. Steep bank angles require opposite aileron and rudder to prevent the bank from steepening. Back pressure on the elevator should not be relaxed as the vertical component of lift must be maintained if altitude is to be maintained.

Variations in weight do not affect the glide angle provided the pilot uses the proper airspeed. Since it is the L/D ratio that determines the distance the airplane can glide, weight does not affect the distance flown; however, a heavier airplane must fly at a higher airspeed to obtain the same glide ratio. For example, if two airplanes having the same L/D ratio but different weights start a glide from the same altitude, the heavier airplane gliding at a higher airspeed arrives at the same touchdown point in a shorter time. Both airplanes cover the same distance, only the lighter airplane takes a longer time.

In an emergency, such as an engine failure, attempting to apply elevator back pressure to stretch a glide back to the runway is likely to lead the airplane landing short and may even lead to loss of control if the airplane stalls.

Angle of Attack
The angle of attack (AOA) is the angle at which the chord of the wing meets the relative wind. The chord is a straight line from the leading edge to the trailing edge. At low angles of attack, the airflow over the top of the wing flows smoothly and produces lift with a relatively small amount of drag. As the AOA increases, lift as well as drag increases; however, above a wing’s critical AOA, the flow of air separates from the upper surface and backfills, burbles and eddies, which reduces lift and increases drag. This condition is a stall, which can lead to loss of control if the AOA is not reduced.

Stall Characteristics
Most training airplanes are designed so that the wings stall progressively outward from the wing roots (where the wing attaches to the fuselage) to the wingtips.

Although airflow may still be attached at the wingtips, a pilot should exercise caution using the ailerons prior to the reduction of the AOA because it can exacerbate the stalled condition. For example, if the airplane rolls left at the stall (“rolls-off”), and the pilot applies right aileron to try to level the wing, the downward-deflected aileron on the left wing produces a greater AOA (and more induced drag), and a more complete stall at the tip as the critical AOA is exceeded. This can cause the wing to roll even more to the left, which is why it is important to first reduce the AOA before attempting to roll the airplane.

The most important action to an impending stall or a full stall is to reduce the AOA.

Stall Training

Power-on stalls are practiced to develop the pilot’s awareness of what could happen if the airplane is pitched to an excessively nose-high attitude immediately after takeoff, during a climbing turn, or when trying to clear an obstacle. Power-off turning stalls develop the pilot’s awareness of what could happen if the controls are improperly used during a turn from the base leg to the final approach. The power-off straight-ahead stall simulates the stall that could occur when trying to stretch a glide after the engine has failed, or if low on the approach to landing.

Impending Stall
An impending stall occurs when the airplane is approaching, but does not exceed the critical AOA. The purpose of practicing impending stalls is to learn to retain or regain full control of the airplane immediately upon recognizing that it is nearing a stall, or that a stall is likely to occur if the pilot does not take appropriate action.

Spin Awareness
A spin is an aggravated stall that typically occurs from a full stall occurring with the airplane in a yawed state and results in the airplane following a downward corkscrew path.…The rotation results from an unequal AOA on the airplane’s wings. The less-stalled rising wing has a decreasing AOA, where the relative lift increases and the drag decreases. Meanwhile, the descending wing has an increasing AOA, which results in decreasing relative lift and increasing drag. …There are four phases of a spin: entry, incipient, developed, and recovery.

Entry Phase
As the airplane approaches a stall, smoothly apply full rudder in the direction of the desired spin rotation while applying full back (up) elevator to the limit of travel.

Incipient Phase
The incipient phase occurs from the time the airplane stalls and starts rotating until the spin has fully developed. This phase may take two to four turns for most airplanes. In this phase, the aerodynamic and inertial forces have not achieved a balance. As the incipient phase develops, the indicated airspeed will generally stabilize at a low and constant airspeed and the symbolic airplane of the turn indicator should indicate the direction of the spin. The slip/skid ball is unreliable when spinning.

Developed Phase
The developed phase occurs when the airplane’s angular rotation rate, airspeed, and vertical speed are stabilized in a flightpath that is nearly vertical. In the developed phase, aerodynamic forces and inertial forces are in balance, and the airplane’s attitude, angles, and self-sustaining motions about the vertical axis are constant or repetitive, or nearly so.

Recovery Phase
The recovery phase occurs when rotation ceases and the AOA of the wings is decreased below the critical AOA. This phase may last for as little as a quarter turn or up to several turns depending upon the airplane and the type of spin.

1. Reduce the Power (Throttle) to Idle
2. Position the Ailerons to Neutral
3. Apply Full Opposite Rudder against the Rotation
4. Apply Positive, Brisk, and Straight Forward Elevator (Forward of Neutral)
5. Neutralize the Rudder After Spin Rotation Stops
6. Apply Back Elevator Pressure to Return to Level Flight

Aircraft Electrical Systems

November 1st, 2019

Historical reason for 12 and 24 volt Batteries

Because the aircraft industry standardized on the nominal CHARGING voltage of 28
volts rather than the DISCHARGED voltage of 24 volts. 24-28?? Same animal with
a different nametag.

Now, why 24/28 volts? Because the aircraft needed to be lighter for military
performance reasons. Two 12 volt batteries in series comes nowhere near the
weight you can save in a fairly complex airplane (say, for example, a P-51) by
using a lighter weight copper wire for the same wattage load (double the voltage
= half the amperage for a given wattage). Remember, wire is sized by amperage,
not by voltage. INSULATION is sized by voltage.

So why was there 12 volts to begin with? Because Detroit started making cars
with a much higher compression ratio and to turn the starters over, the old 6
volt batteries weren’t cutting it. Bingo. Two 6 volters in series gives 12
volts and that was close enough for Detroit gummint work.

The REAL question is who decided on 6 volts (3 each 2 volt lead-acid cells in
series) to begin with.

And the inquisitive student might ask, if 24/28 was so good, why not go 3 in
series and get 36 volt systems…or like the phone company with 4 in series for
48 volts? Because, grasshopper, the calculation WAS made to find out the most
efficient combination of voltage/current/wire size and at the time (WWII) it
came out just shy of 30 volts. Rather than dick around with special 30 volt (15
cell) batteries, the decision was made to use off-the-shelf dual 12 or single 24
volt “industrial” batteries.

Source: Jim Weir AviationBanter

Choice of 14 or28 Volts in Experimental Aircraft

Having twice the amount of volts means literally that the current is half with equal power drawn, see volts, amps and ohms law. As a result wiring can be thinner thus you will save some weight.

Another advantage is that 28 volt systems have more reserve in cold weather where the 12 volt battery looses its power more quickly. Not too mention the fact that a 24 volt battery has a lot more cranking power for starting. Which is really helpful when starting small turbine engines.

The choice of engine usually dictates which kind of electrical system you will need. Rotax engines are sold with a 12/14 volt system (starter and alternator). Other engine manufacturers might have an option for either system. If you already have an engine: check its battery, alternator and starter motor to see which system it is.

Source: Experimental Aircraft Info

AOPA Jeppesen Chart Clinic

September 3rd, 2019

Craig Morton has collected all of the AOPA Jeppesen Chart Clinic articles so you can easily find them. Since ForeFlight now has Jepp charts, even though they are old they might come in handy.

Basic Med Can Be Used To Take Practical Tests

August 10th, 2019

I was chatting with a person who went for the commercial checkride and the examiner wouldn’t start the checkride because the name on the 3rd Class Medical Certificate used a middle initial while the FAA records in IACRA had the full middle name. Most pilots that I know get their Basic Med and 3rd Class done at the same time and it hasn’t been long enough for the Basic Med to expire so I asked why they didn’t use the Basic Med. The examiner thought that it wouldn’t apply but they were mistaken. The names would still have to match but if they do it will save a trip to the AME or holding forever with the FAA.

The Commercial ACS has this Practical Test Checklist. Note that it says Current Medical or Basic Med.

Just as an exercise, I decided to read the FAR and see if I could reach the conclusion that you can use Basic Med for practical tests. Then I read the AOPA article to see why they reached that same conclusion. And we matched.

It doesn’t say outright in the FARs that you can use Basic Med in lieu of 3rd Class for taking a practical test, but if you follow the conditionals in the text you end up with ’Yes’. FYI an examiner must have a 3rd class or better certificate since they are not acting as pilot in command. Oddly enough the same is true of a safety pilot unless the pilot and safety pilot agree that the safety pilot is PIC.

§61.23 Medical certificates: Requirement and duration.
(3) Must hold at least a third-class medical certificate—

(iii) When taking a practical test in an aircraft for a recreational pilot, private pilot, commercial pilot, or airline transport pilot certificate, or for a flight instructor certificate, except when operating under the conditions and limitations set forth in §61.113(i); or

§61.113 Private pilot privileges and limitations: Pilot in command.
(i) A private pilot may act as pilot in command of an aircraft without holding a medical certificate issued under part 67 of this chapter provided the pilot holds a valid U.S. driver’s license, meets the requirements of §61.23(c)(3), and complies with this section and all of the following conditions and limitations:

§61.23 (c) Operations requiring either a medical certificate or U.S. driver’s license. (1) A person must hold and possess either a medical certificate issued under part 67 of this chapter or a U.S. driver’s license when—
(3) A person using a U.S. driver’s license to meet the requirements of paragraph (c) while operating under the conditions and limitations of §61.113(i) must meet the following requirements—

(i) The person must—

(A) Comply with all medical requirements or restrictions associated with his or her U.S. driver’s license;

(B) At any point after July 14, 2006, have held a medical certificate issued under part 67 of this chapter;

(C) Complete the medical education course set forth in §68.3 [BASIC MED] of this chapter during the 24-calendar months before acting as pilot in command in an operation conducted under §61.113(i) and retain a certification of course completion in accordance with §68.3(b)(1) of this chapter;

(D) Receive a comprehensive medical examination from a State-licensed physician during the 48 months before acting as pilot in command of an operation conducted under §61.113(i) and that medical examination is conducted in accordance with the requirements in part 68 of this chapter; and

(E) If the individual has been diagnosed with any medical condition that may impact the ability of the individual to fly, be under the care and treatment of a State-licensed physician when acting as pilot in command of an operation conducted under §61.113(i).

Survey instead of Checklist fro Takeoff and Landing

August 5th, 2019

An instructor I know prefers to use what he calls “Surveys” instead of checklists for takeoff and landing GA aircraft.

Pre-Takeoff Survey
Fuel Selector On ................... Left or Right?
Mixture Position ................... Full Rich or Leaned?
Propeller .......................... Max RPM, Yes or No?
Heading Index on Takeoff Runway .... Yes or No?
Trim Setting ....................... Cruise Climb or Best Rate?

After Takeoff Survey
Positive Rate ..................... Landing Gear Up, Yes or No?
1000'AGL .......................... Propeller RPM 2500 Yes or No?
Selected Climb Speed .............. Yes or No?
Mixture Position .................. Full Rich or Leaned?

Pre-Landing Survey
Fuel Selector on .................. Fullest Tank, Yes or No?
Mixture Position .................. Full Rich or Leaned?
Propeller ......................... 2500 RPM, Yes or No?
Landing Gear Down ................. Flag and Green, Yes or No?
Full Flaps on Final 500' .......... Gear Green and Yes or No?

Commercial ACS: KOEL

July 16th, 2019

I did not remember ever seeing this term before I ran across it in the Commercial ACS.

B. Airworthiness Requirements
c. Kinds of Operation Equipment List (KOEL)

But it turns out that is described in AC 91-67 Minimum Equipment Requirements

Kinds of Operations List (KOL).
The KOL specifies the kinds of operations (e.g., visual flight rules (VFR), instrument flight rules (IFR), day, or night) in which the aircraft can be operated. The KOL also indicates the installed equipment that may affect any operating limitation. Although the certification rules require this information, there is no standard format; consequently, the manufacturer may furnish it in various ways.

It turns out that this is part of the AFM in newer aircraft. I don’t fly airplanes with a serialized AFM, so I had never seen it before. The KOEL for a Cessna 172SP is pretty simple.


This is a portion of the KOEL from a Cessna 182T and is much more detailed. It has five pages of equipment with notes as to whether it is required for Day/Night and IFR/VFR.

The Cessna 182T Nav Ill airplane is approved for day and night VFR and IFR operations. Flight into known icing conditions is prohibited.

The minimum equipment for approved operations required under the Operating Rules are defined by 14 CFR Part 91 and 14 CFR Part 135, as applicable.
The following Kinds of Operations Equipment List (KOEL) identifies the equipment required to be operational for airplane airworthiness in the listed kind of operations.


Commercial Pilot Privileges

July 9th, 2019

When you get your commercial certificate you may be paid for your piloting services. However, Part 61 is somewhat vague on the details, especially the part referring to restrictions in other parts of the FARs.

§61.133 Commercial pilot privileges and limitations.
(a) Privileges—(1) General. A person who holds a commercial pilot certificate may act as pilot in command of an aircraft—

(i) Carrying persons or property for compensation or hire, provided the person is qualified in accordance with this part and with the applicable parts of this chapter that apply to the operation; and

(ii) For compensation or hire, provided the person is qualified in accordance with this part and with the applicable parts of this chapter that apply to the operation.

There may be other restrictions dependent on the type of operation that is being conducted but in general you may fly for:

A company engaged in common carriage—you will carry persons or property for hire for the general public. Airlines and package delivery companies like FedEx and UPS fall into this category and they offer Scheduled Air Service or Chartered Large Aircraft. Part 121 governs passenger carrying operations and Part 119 governs package delivery companies. On-Demand Air Service where the customers generally charter the whole airplane at a time and destination that they choose fall under Part 135—commonly referred to as Charter Operators.

A company not involved in common carriage that operate large aircraft to carry their own goods or people or goods for a small number of customers (typically less than 4) Part 125 governs their activities.

Corporate Flight Departments operating smaller aircraft fall under Part 91. Part 91 operations also include flights that are incidental to the business of the company, e.g. aerial views of real estate or transporting customers to remote destinations in the course of business.

A commercial certificate is required to be paid in any of these operations. However, an ATP may be required depending on the aircraft and operation.

Part 119 list somethings that do not fall under the rules for Part 121, 125, and 135. These include things like:

• Nonstop Commercial Air Tours conducted within a 25-statute mile radius of that airport, in compliance with the Letter of Authorization issued under §91.147
• Ferry or training flights
• Crop dusting, seeding, spraying, and bird chasing
• Banner towing
• Aerial photography or survey
• Nonstop flights conducted within a 25-statute-mile radius of the airport of takeoff carrying persons or objects for the purpose of conducting intentional parachute operations
• Small UAS operations conducted under part 107 of this chapter

Holding Out
You can use your commercial certificate to transport persons or property for hire but the FAA doesn’t want you to be acting like a Part 121 or Part 135 carrier. The way they determine if you have been acting that way is whether you have been “holding out” your services. AC 120-12A Private Carriage Versus Common Carriage of Persons or Property defines it as:

A carrier is holding out when they represent themselves as willing to furnish transportation within the limits of its facilities to any person who wants it.

There are four elements in defining a common carrier: (1) a holding out of a willingness to (2) transport persons or property (3) from place to place (4) for compensation. This holding out which makes a person a common carrier can be done in many ways and it does not matter how it is done.

c. Physically holding out without advertising where a reputation to server all is gained is sufficient to constitute and offer to carry all customers.

If you are a newly minted commercial pilot with your instrument rating and you want to build hours toward your ATP or just make some money, you can’t put an ad on Craigslist advertising that you are willing to fly anyone anywhere in your airplane. You can mention to your fight school that you would be willing to fly people in their airplanes. If you get a customer who travels to one of their remote locations in their airplane every week and they want you to fly them, then that’s OK. If they mention to their friends how much more relaxed they feel when they arrive and you start flying them in their airplanes too, that’s OK too.

You can even use your airplane to fly them, but you have to comply with the 100-hour inspections, upgrade your insurance policy for commercial operations, and comply with Part 135 or Part 119 non-common carrier operations rules. You need a operating certificate for that.

Runway Approach Area Holding Position Sign

July 7th, 2019

On a recent flight from Fresno (KFAT) I noticed this marking on the taxiway.

Runway Approach Area Holding Position Sign

So I looked it up in the AIM 2-3-8.

2. Runway Approach Area Holding Position Sign.

At some airports, it is necessary to hold an aircraft on a taxiway located in the approach or departure area for a runway so that the aircraft does not interfere with operations on that runway. In these situations, a sign with the designation of the approach end of the runway followed by a “dash” (−) and letters “APCH” will be located at the holding position on the taxiway. Holding position markings in accordance with Paragraph 2−3−5, Holding Position Markings, will be located on the taxiway pavement. An example of this sign is shown in FIG 2−3−27. In this example, the sign may protect the approach to Runway 15 and/or the departure for Runway 33.

Runway Approach Area Holding Position Sign

So basically it is like an ILS critical area and you only have to hold short when ATC (or the ATIS) tells you to.

Commercial vs Private Pilot Checkride

June 11th, 2019

The commercial checkride is in many respects just a private checkride with higher standards. The Oral portion of the ACS is essentially identical for both except that the commercial ACS asks about risk management, and skills associated with operating as pilot-in-command (PIC) as a commercial pilot.—rather than as a private pilot—in the Pilot Qualifications section. And the answers to the Privileges and Limitations section will be different. The maneuvers in IV. Takeoffs, Landings, and Go-Arounds are even the same but with different tolerances. For example, on takeoff a commercial applicant is expected to maintain VY ±5 knots to a safe maneuvering altitude whereas a private pilot can be within +10 and -5 knots of VY.

There are a few differences in the maneuvers. Both are required to perform VII. Slow Flight and Stalls The private pilot requires a forward slip to a landing and the commercial does not. Steep turns have the same tolerances except that the commercial pilot does the maneuver at 50° and private is at 45°. Where the two diverge is in the ground reference maneuvers.

The private pilot needs to fly rectangular course, S-turns, and turns around a point. The commercial pilot is expected to demonstrate power-off 180° approach and landing. The commercial pilot flies a steep spiral, chandelles, lazy eights, and eights on pylons.

The navigation sections are identical except that the commercial pilot is expected to fly within 100′ of the assigned altitude and the private pilot gets 200′.

The private pilot is only required to have three hours of instrument training and is tested on basic instrument maneuvers so that they can safely get out of inadvertent flight into IMC. Most commercial applicants will have an instrument rating and have an additional 10 hours of instrument training so aren’t tested on this. The private pilot is also tested on night operations and because the commercial requirements specify five hours of solo night flight, they are not tested on night operations.

They will however, most likely be flying at higher altitudes, so they are tested on High Altitude Operations.

The emergency and post flight operations are also identical.

From each applicable Task the applicant will be tested on:
• at least one knowledge element;
• at least one risk management element;
• all skill elements; and
• any Task elements in which the applicant was shown to be deficient on the knowledge test.

Unless otherwise noted in the Task, the evaluator must test each item in the skills section by asking the applicant to perform each one.

Weather Legends

May 17th, 2019

Leidos Flight Service has a website that allows you to view current and forecast weather and file flight plans. One of the things that I recently noticed is that it has detailed legends for the three most useful charts. The legends are useful for understand the charts and also for taking Knowledge Tests.


Current WX

Surface Analysis

Radar Summary Chart – Detail

Radar Summary and Legend

TVS = Tornado Vortex Signature. The radar/algorithms think there is a tornado, or a forming tornado, there. “VFR flight not recommended.”

Meso = Mesocyclone. From Wikipedia – A mesocyclone is a vortex of air within a convective storm. It is air that rises and rotates around a vertical axis, usually in the same direction as low pressure systems in a given hemisphere. They are most often cyclonic, that is, associated with a localized low-pressure region within a severe thunderstorm.

FAA Email: How do I obtain initial approval for my ADS-B Out system?

May 10th, 2019

I got this from the FAA and thought it would be good to post it where others can find it.

FAA Safety Team | Safer Skies Through Education
Your ADS-B Questions Answered: How do I obtain initial approval for my ADS-B Out system?
Notice Number: NOTC8340

Your ADS-B Questions Answered: Get the Facts Here

How do I obtain initial approval for my ADS-B Out system?

Initial ADS-B Out system pairings (transmitter/GPS) must be approved for installation using the Type Certificate (TC), Amended TC (ATC), or Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) process. Aircraft and equipment manufacturers, and others seeking initial pairing approval should consult their Aircraft Certification Office to determine the appropriate approval process for these initial installations. Once the performance of the initial pairing has been established, the FAA considers follow-on installations of the same pairing to be approved. Organization Designation Authorization (ODA) holders can issue an ATC and an STC when authorized by their FAA Organization Management Team (OMT).

Equipment manufacturers are the best source for previously approved pairing information. The FAA also maintains a list of approved pairings at the following a href=’https://www.faa.gov/nextgen/equipadsb/installation/equipment/adsb_ready/’>link

After initial approval, can applicable ADS-B Out systems be installed on aircraft not covered by that approval?

Yes, ADS-B Out systems that have previously received FAA approval and meet all of the conditions listed in the FAA’s policy memo on Installation Approval for ADS-B OUT Systems, may be installed and returned to service on other aircraft without further data approval.

Please note that if an Approved Model List (AML) STC is available that provides for the installation of specific ADS-B transmitter and GPS pairings on listed aircraft, consider using the data from that AML STC for the ADS-B Out system installation.

What is the single most common ADS-B Out installation problem?

The single most common ADS-B Out installation problem is incorrect configuration of the flight identification code. Currently, more than 600 ADS-B Out equipped aircraft are operating with a misconfigured flight identification code with no other equipment issues. For general aviation, the flight identification code is configured in ADS-B equipment to transmit the aircraft’s assigned N-number (e.g., N1234). However, many misconfigured aircraft are transmitting flight identification codes with missing alphanumeric characters (1234 vs N1234, N123 vs N1234), no flight identification code (no data entered during installation), improper characters (???????), all zeros (000000), and others simply have a single character transposed (N1235 vs N1234).

You can verify that your aircraft is transmitting the correct flight identification code by requesting a Public ADS-B Performance Report at the following web address. Ensure the Tail Number and Last Flight ID on the cover page of the report match.

For more information on what to consider before and after installation of your ADS-B Out system, go to: this link.

The Installation Approval for ADS-B Out Systems memo explains the FAA’s policy regarding installation of ADS-B Out systems into civil aircraft.

You can also read several ADS-B related articles in the January/February 2019 issue of FAA Safety Briefing, including Is My ADS-B Broadcasting Me: A Look at Non-Performing Emitters (link) and Clearing the Crypto-Fog: Tips for Decoding and Deciding Among ADS-B Equipment options (link).

Don’t Get Left in the Hangar. Equip Now!

There’s less than 10 months remaining before the January 1, 2020 ADS-B Out equipage deadline.

For more information, please visit the Equip ADS-B website.

Technically Advanced Aircraft

May 10th, 2019

I just re-read

§61.129 Aeronautical experience.
(j) Technically advanced airplane. Unless otherwise authorized by the Administrator, a technically advanced airplane must be equipped with an electronically advanced avionics system that includes the following installed components:

(1) An electronic Primary Flight Display (PFD) that includes, at a minimum, an airspeed indicator, turn coordinator, attitude indicator, heading indicator, altimeter, and vertical speed indicator;

(2) An electronic Multifunction Display (MFD) that includes, at a minimum, a moving map using Global Positioning System (GPS) navigation with the aircraft position displayed;

(3) A two axis autopilot integrated with the navigation and heading guidance system; and

(4) The display elements described in paragraphs (j)(1) and (2) of this section must be continuously visible.

For the Cessna 172 with a KAP 140 Autopilot, KLN 94 GPS, and a KMD 550 Multi-Function Display I think that one G5 with a magnetometer for heading would satisfy the requirement for logging time in a technically advanced airplane. You might need two G5s if the FSDO doesn’t think that one will provide the required heading info. So your cost would be in the $7-10,000 neighborhood. I think one should be fine since you have the heading info at the top of the screen. I don’t know if the GPS will send info to the G5 but I think it should.

Garmin G5

A Rule by the Federal Aviation Administration on 06/27/2018

FAA is retaining the terms “Primary Flight Display,” “Multifunction Display,” and “advanced” in the TAA requirements. The FAA disagrees that the terms PFD and MFD will cause confusion. These terms are currently used and described in several FAA publications that are recognized by the aviation industry…

PFD is defined as “a display that provides increased situational awareness to the pilot by replacing the traditional six instruments used for instrument flight with an easy-to-scan display that provides the horizon, airspeed, altitude, vertical speed, trend, trim, and rate of turn among other key relevant indications.” MFD is defined as a “small screen (CRT or LCD) in an aircraft that can be used to display information to the pilot in numerous configurable ways. Often an MFD will be used in concert with a primary flight display.”

The FAA believes the terms PFD and MFD add clarity to the TAA requirements by describing and prioritizing the display features and elements for TAA avionics and their respective functions. For example, the term PFD is specific to the use of the primary flight controls to maintain aircraft attitude and positive control. The PFD is used by the pilot to execute appropriate use of the control stick or yoke for pitch and bank, rudder pedals for yaw, and throttle for engine power. The PFD is designed specific to controlling the aircraft attitude and altitude relative to the horizon and the surface of the earth, especially when outside visibility is poor or unavailable. The MFD has a different priority; its function is secondary to the PFD. The MFD is designed for navigational use and position awareness information, even though it may include some PFD features for redundancy. Furthermore, the FAA is requiring certain minimum display elements for both a PFD and MFD, respectively, thereby clarifying what will be considered a PFD or MFD…

Section 61.129(j)(2) requires only the minimum elements of a MFD; it does not preclude the use of a split-screen display or two independent screens contained within a single physical unit. Therefore, a manufacturer may use a split-screen display or two independent screens for the PFD and MFD provided the displays contain the minimum elements required for each…

FAA is clarifying the MFD requirements by first describing what the display shows (i.e., a moving map) and then describing how the display is facilitated (i.e., using GPS navigation). Accordingly, § 61.129(j)(2) now requires the MFD to include, at a minimum, a moving map using GPS navigation. The FAA believes this revision to the proposed language clarifies that a system with a moving map display common to GPS/WAAS navigators would satisfy the MFD requirement. Additionally, the FAA is requiring the aircraft position to be displayed on the moving map…

FAA removing the phrase “independent additional” from the proposed language to allow a single piece of equipment or single display to satisfy the requirement for both a PFD and MFD. However, to ensure that both displays are visible at the same time, the FAA is requiring the display elements for both the PFD and MFD (paragraphs (j)(1) and (2)) to be continuously visible…

FAA did not intend to exclude systems that provide autopilot functions separate from the MFD. The FAA is therefore separating the “two-axis autopilot” requirement from the MFD requirement. Accordingly, under new § 61.129(j)(3), the two axis autopilot is no longer required to be included as part of the MFD. This change from what was proposed allows the use of independent/aftermarket autopilot systems…

The TAA requirements in no way restrict the use of peripheral or supporting equipment that enables the display functionality described for the PFD and MFD in the TAA requirements…

While there may be different TSOs for the various functions of GPS, moving map, and navigation resulting in separate pieces of underlying equipment, this equipment can support the MFD requirements so long as the MFD includes a moving map that uses GPS navigation with the aircraft position displayed…

The TAA requirements of § 61.129(j) do not require the autopilot to have GPSS. However, § 61.129(j) specifies only the minimum requirements for a TAA. Therefore, an autopilot may have additional features, including GPSS. The “two axis” requirement refers to the lateral and longitudinal axes. The autopilot at a minimum must be able to track a predetermined GPS course or heading selection, and also be able to hold a selected altitude. The autopilot is not, however, required to control vertical navigation other than holding a selected altitude…

Atmospheric River – Part 3

May 7th, 2019

NASA Earth Observatory

Flying a DME arc

May 7th, 2019

Utility Category

May 7th, 2019

All aircraft have restrictions on the types of maneuvers that they are certificated for. My Cherokee has a Normal Category of operations with corresponding Weight and Balance limitations, and a Utility Category where limited aerobatics are allowed.

With the rewrite of Part 23, the FAA proposes to eliminate commuter, utility, and acrobatic airplane categories from Part 23. All newly certificated airplanes under Part 23 would be certified in the normal category. Airplanes already certified in the commuter, utility, acrobatic, or normal categories will continue to fall in those categories. AOPA

In the rewrite, spins are not included in the normal category and since there is no utility category, in order to spin an aircraft, it would have to fall under the aerobatics rules.

§23.2005 Certification of normal category airplanes.
(d) Airplanes not certified for aerobatics may be used to perform any maneuver incident to normal flying, including—
(1) Stalls (except whip stalls); and
(2) Lazy eights, chandelles, and steep turns, in which the angle of bank is not more than 60 degrees.

Weight and Balance Chart

The restrictions only apply if you intend to perform aerobatics. It is perfectly fine to fly with passengers in the back seat and with baggage if you fall in the Utility range. Your Pilot Handbook or AFM should have some wording similar to my Cherokee.

In the Pilot Handbook it says:
The airplane is approved for certain aerobatic maneuvers up to a gross weight of 1950 lbs., provided it is loaded within the approved weight and center of gravity limits. The maneuvers are spins, steep turns, lazy eights, and chandelles.

In the Airplane Flight Manual (not a real AFM since mine is a 1968 model) it says:

The T210 on the other hand does not have a Utility Category. The POH states that: This aircraft is certified in the normal category. The normal category is applicable to aircraft intended for non-aerobatic operations. These include any maneuvers incidental to to normal flying, stalls (except whip stalls) and turns in which the angle of bank is not more than 60°.

Weight and Balance Chart Cessna 210

Things to Remember IFR Checkride—Takeoff and Landing

May 7th, 2019

§91.103 Preflight action.
Each pilot in command shall, before beginning a flight, become familiar with all available information concerning that flight. This information must include—

(b) For any flight, runway lengths at airports of intended use, and the following takeoff and landing distance information:

(1) For civil aircraft for which an approved Airplane or Rotorcraft Flight Manual containing takeoff and landing distance data is required, the takeoff and landing distance data contained therein; and

Density Altitude
In order to calculate takeoff and landing distances you need to know the density altitude of the airport. At high-altitude airports, and many airports on hot days, the ATIS will tell you the density altitude. You can also use your E6B to calculate it. Or you can just do the math as explained in an article in Flying.

density altitude = pressure altitude + [120 x (OAT – ISA Temp)]

pressure altitude = (standard pressure – your current pressure setting) x 1,000 + field elevation

Right now the altimeter setting at KSBP is 29.95 so the pressure altitude is:

(29.92 – 29.95) * 1000) + 212 = -300 + 212 = -88′

Temperature decreases by 2°C per thousand feet so to find ISA standard temperature for a given altitude, double the altitude and subtract that number from the starting standard temperature of 15°C.

Standard temperature at 212′ is 15 – .212 * 2 = 14.6
Temperature is currently 25.6°C so our formula is:

density altitude = -88 + [120 * (25.6 – 14.6)] = -88 + 1320 = 1,232

Let’s do Paso Robles where the temperature is 34.4, altimeter is 29.94, and the elevation is 838′

pressure altitude = (29.92 – 29.94) * 1000 + 838 = .02 * 1000 + 838 = 858′
ISA Temp = 15 – .838 * 2 = -13.3°C
density altitude = 858 + [120 * (34.4 – 13.3)] = 3,370′

That’s starting to get to the point where the takeoff roll is noticeably longer.

According to the LyCon STC for the Cherokee, the 160 HP engine will have approx. 2.2 speed and range increase over the standard model. Take off, stall speeds, landing distances and maximum glide data can be used directly from the Piper Cherokee Manual.

Climb rate will be better than the stock engine.

Cherokee Climb Performance

A Commercial Knowledge Test Question

May 7th, 2019

There was a question on the knowledge test that I had never seen before about what is required to act as second-in-command of a turbojet and one for SIC of a piston plane. The piston just requires a current flight review and certificate for the category and class of airplane. The turbojet also requires a pilot proficiency check.

§61.58 Pilot-in-command proficiency check: Operation of an aircraft that requires more than one pilot flight crewmember or is turbojet-powered.
(a) Except as otherwise provided in this section, to serve as pilot in command of an aircraft that is type certificated for more than one required pilot flight crewmember or is turbojet-powered, a person must—

(1) Within the preceding 12 calendar months, complete a pilot-in-command proficiency check in an aircraft that is type certificated for more than one required pilot flight crewmember or is turbojet-powered; and

(2) Within the preceding 24 calendar months, complete a pilot-in-command proficiency check in the particular type of aircraft in which that person will serve as pilot in command, that is type certificated for more than one required pilot flight crewmember or is turbojet-powered.

Opening and Closing Flight Plans

May 7th, 2019

Flight plans can be filed through Leidos at 800-WX-BRIEF or with most EFBs like ForeFlight. They can be filed in the air as well as Jason Miller describes.

AIM 5−1−7. Composite Flight Plan (VFR/IFR Flights)
a. Flight plans which specify VFR operation for one portion of a flight, and IFR for another portion, will be accepted by the FSS at the point of departure. If VFR flight is conducted for the first portion of the flight, pilots should report their departure time to the FSS with whom the VFR/IFR flight plan was filed; and, subsequently, close the VFR portion and request ATC clearance from the FSS nearest the point at which change from VFR to IFR is proposed. Regardless of the type facility you are communicating with (FSS, center, or tower), it is the pilot’s responsibility to request that facility to “CLOSE VFR FLIGHT PLAN.” The pilot must remain in VFR weather conditions until operating in accordance with the IFR clearance.

You can also file a flight plan that starts with IFR and then becomes VFR, but I don’t see the point. You can cancel anytime or just ask for VFR-On-Top if you are in VFR conditions and not in Class A (or possibly Class B or C depending on circumstances).

AIM 4−4−9. VFR/IFR Flights
A pilot departing VFR, either intending to or needing to obtain an IFR clearance en route, must be aware of the position of the aircraft and the relative terrain/obstructions. When accepting a clearance below the MEA/MIA/MVA/OROCA, pilots are responsible for their own terrain/obstruction clearance until reaching the MEA/MIA/MVA/OROCA. If pilots are unable to maintain terrain/obstruction clearance, the controller should be advised and pilots should state their intentions.

NOTE−OROCA is an off−route altitude which provides obstruction clearance with a 1,000 foot buffer in nonmountainous terrain areas and a 2,000 foot buffer in designated mountainous areas within the U.S. This altitude may not provide signal coverage from ground−based navigational aids, air traffic control radar, or communications coverage.

You can pick up your flight plan 30 minutes before the ETD and up to 2 hours after. They will come with a void time so be ready to depart at your ETD if you call before. You can file up to 24 hours in advance,

You pick up your clearance either on ground control or dedicated clearance delivery frequencies. Both ForeFlight and FltPlan.com offer GA pilots convenient access to the pre-departure clearance system that the airlines have been using for years. After enrolling in this service, and when departing from one of more than 70 approved airports in the United States, your IFR clearance will be sent via email and text message 30 minutes before departure. Flying Magazine

If you are departing from a non-towered field you can call the Clearance Delivery number at 888-766-8267 to get your clearance. They will give you a void time when you must be off or the clearance is cancelled. You can also call the number you were given by Leidos when you filed, the phone number published on the airport’s page in the Chart Supplement, the nearest RCO frequency, or ARTCC frequency.

Closing Your Flight Plan
If you are on an IFR flight plan to an open towered airport the tower will close the flight plan. If the tower is closed or you land at an non-towered airport, you can cancel with the last ARTCC frequency you were on if you can still get it on the ground, ask for a number to call before starting the approach, or call 800-WX-BRIEF.n

5−1−14. Closing VFR/DVFR Flight Plans
A pilot is responsible for ensuring that his/her VFR or DVFR flight plan is canceled. You should close your flight plan with the nearest FSS, or if one is not available, you may request any ATC facility to relay your cancellation to the FSS. Control towers do not automatically close VFR or DVFR flight plans since they do not know if a particular VFR aircraft is on a flight plan.

Is a TAF required at the alternate?

April 25th, 2019

A recent post on Aviation StackExchange got me thinking about this. All of the Knowledge Test questions assume that a TAF will be available at the destination, but if you read the actual FAR that is not necessarily the case. You don’t need to have a TAF at the alternate and can use other sources of weather.

Keep in mind that there are two reasons that an alternate is required. First is to assure that the pilot has evaluated the weather at the destination and considered what to do if the destination is unavailable. Second is to let ATC know what the pilot intends to do if they lose communication. In the modern ATC system, with near universal radar coverage, that isn’t as much an issue as when the regulations were written.

In the US, the destination and alternates must comply with 91.169. It specifically says that there must be weather reports or weather forecasts for the airport. It doesn’t say anything about where the forecasts must come from. Normally when you flight plan you would rely on the Terminal Area Forecast to determine whether the weather one hour before and one hour after the estimated time of arrival at your destination is above the minimums. If that is not the case then an alternate is required. And again you would rely on the TAF for the forecast.

However, TAFs are not the only way to get a forecast. NOAA publishes Graphical Forecasts for Aviation and if the weather for the area is above minimums, you could use that as a means of satisfying the requirement.

Here is an example where the coastal forecast is below minimums but the airports inland will be VFR.

Alternate Forecast Graphical

Or you could look at airports around the alternate and if they are above minimums, then your alternate would be as well. In the TAFs below, there are lots of airports that inland that do not have TAFs but that you can surmise that they will be VFR.

Alternate Forecast TAFs

In practice, picking an airport with a TAF as an alternate is much easier. There is no requirement that you actually go to the alternate if you can’t make the destination. And with ADSB-In, you can monitor the weather while you fly, so you have a much better idea of what the weather is doing at your destination. You can divert to an alternate at any time it doesn’t look like the weather at your destination is below your personal minimums.

§91.169 IFR flight plan: Information required.

2) Appropriate weather reports or weather forecasts, or a combination of them, indicate the following:

(i) For aircraft other than helicopters. For at least 1 hour before and for 1 hour after the estimated time of arrival, the ceiling will be at least 2,000 feet above the airport elevation and the visibility will be at least 3 statute miles.

(c) IFR alternate airport weather minima. Unless otherwise authorized by the Administrator, no person may include an alternate airport in an IFR flight plan unless appropriate weather reports or weather forecasts, or a combination of them, indicate that, at the estimated time of arrival at the alternate airport, the ceiling and visibility at that airport will be at or above the following weather minima:

(1) If an instrument approach procedure has been published in part 97 of this chapter, or a special instrument approach procedure has been issued by the Administrator to the operator, for that airport, the following minima:

(i) For aircraft other than helicopters: The alternate airport minima specified in that procedure, or if none are specified the following standard approach minima:

(A) For a precision approach procedure. Ceiling 600 feet and visibility 2 statute miles.

(B) For a nonprecision approach procedure. Ceiling 800 feet and visibility 2 statute miles.

Prep for the IRA Knowledge Test

April 23rd, 2019

The Knowledge Test is pretty easy but there are lots of things that you need to memorize. Since I am horrible at memorizing things, I put together these posts. I also reviewed these pages before my checkride and didn’t encounter anything that wasn’t on here.

Things to Remember IRA Knowledge Test

Things to Remember IFR Checkride

Things to Remember IFR Checkride—Weather

Things to Remember IFR Checkride—Abbreviations

VOR Navigation

What altitude to fly on a STAR when it reads “expect”?

What are the minimum requirements to file and fly IFR?

Understanding IFR Charts

Checkride Videos

The content on this web site is provided for your information only and does not purport to provide or imply legal advice.
Should opinions, explanations, or discussions conflict with current FARs, other rules, regulations, or laws, then appropriate provisions of those rules, regulations, or laws prevail.
Navigation charts are provided for illustrative purposes only and are Not for Navigation.
TouringMachine.com is not responsible or liable for any errors, omissions, or incorrect information contained within this site.
Use at your own risk.
Copyright © 2002-2024 Touring Machine Company. All Rights Reserved.