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Bead Boxes for Storing Hardware

November 15th, 2017

I don’t think I have ever mentioned how handy bead boxes are for storing the screws and bolts when taking apart a plane for the annual.

Bead Boxes

I use 40% off coupons at Michaels to purchase these bead boxes. The 210 takes four—one for each wing, two for the interior. I also use a half-dozen salsa containers for things like the baggage compartment, wheels, spinner, muffler shroud, etc. The Cherokee has far fewer inspection panels so it takes half the time and fewer boxes. I have eight of these that I use to hold hardware that I purchased from Aircraft Spruce. I got tired of spending $10 on shipping for a few 25¢ bolts when my IA didn’t have the ones we needed, so I bought a couple of screw and bolt kits and ordered 10 of everything that wasn’t in the kit.

How much you save on your annual depends on your mechanic. My original IA knocked $100 off the price claiming that he could take apart and put back together a C210 in 10 hours. (It takes me at least 25 hours to clean the plugs, pack the bearings, and disassemble/reassemble a 210 so I have a hard time believing he could do it in 10 hours.). My current IA charges $700 for the inspection and his time for squawks. And we do them in my hangar so I can work when he isn’t around. Annuals are $2,000 cheaper with him and usually take only a couple of days instead of the week or more with the old IA.

First Mention of AOA indicator?

November 4th, 2017

I ran across this article in the February 1914 issue of Popular Mechanics.

AOA Indicator Popular Mechanics Feb 1914

Transcript of FAASTeam sUAS Course

October 26th, 2017

This is a transcript of the excellent sUAS course that a private pilot can take to get their sUAS rating. If you are not a pilot, you might want to refer to these notes when studying for the Knowledge Test.

Overview
If you wish to operate small unmanned aircraft systems in the National Airspace System, or NAS, under 14 CFR part 107, this course will describe the certification and operational requirements you must satisfy.

This initial lesson defines the target audience and scope of this course.

The lesson then describes how the course prepares part 61 certificate holders (with a current flight review in accordance with 14 CFR part 61.56) to obtain a part 107 remote pilot certificate with a small unmanned aircraft system rating. The lesson also provides an overview of certification requirements for all other applicants.

The lesson then describes the structure for the remaining modules and lessons in this course.

If you wish to operate small unmanned aircraft systems in the National Airspace System, or NAS, under 14 CFR part 107, this course will describe the certification and operational requirements you must satisfy.

Primary Audience:
This course is designed for part 61 pilot certificate holders who have a current flight review (in accordance with 14 CFR part 61.56) and wish to obtain a part 107 remote pilot certificate with a small UAS rating.

References to “part 61 pilot certificate holders” specifically refer to holders of pilot certificates other than student pilot certificates. Part 61 pilot certificates include sport pilot, recreational pilot, private pilot, commercial pilot and air transport pilot certificates.

Secondary Audiences:
Applicants for a part 107 remote pilot certificate who do not hold a part 61 pilot certificate (or part 61 pilot certificate holders who do not meet the requirements of a current flight review or other provisions of 14 CFR part 61.56) may incorporate this training into their self-study curriculum to help prepare for the FAA Unmanned Aircraft General (UAG) Knowledge Test
Aviation Safety Inspectors (ASIs)
Those interested in learning more about 14 CFR part 107

This course assumes the learner has operational knowledge of 14 CFR part 61, Certification: Pilots, Flight Instructors, and Ground Instructors, and 14 CFR part 91, General Operating and Flight Rules.

The course focuses on the knowledge areas of 14 CFR part 107 that are beyond the operational knowledge of parts 61 and 91:

Applicable regulations relating to small UAS rating privileges, limitations, and flight operation
Effects of weather on small unmanned aircraft performance
Small unmanned aircraft loading
Determining the performance of small unmanned aircraft
Emergency procedures
Crew resource management
Maintenance and preflight inspection procedures

Eligibility for a Part 107 Remote Pilot Certificate
To apply for a part 107 remote pilot certificate with a small UAS rating, you must satisfy the following eligibility requirements:

Be at least 16 years old
Be able to read, speak, write, and understand the English language (FAA may make exceptions for medical reasons)
Be in a physical and mental condition that would not interfere with the safe operation of the small UAS

Sources: 14 CFR part 107.61; Advisory Circular (AC) 107-2, Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) (as amended)

Training and Knowledge Testing Requirements
Applicants for a part 107 remote pilot certificate with a small UAS rating must meet the requirements below in order to gain and retain the knowledge necessary to safely operate a small UAS in the NAS.

Applicant Initial Requirements
Recurrent Requirements (every 24 months)

Part 61 Pilot Certificate Holder with a Current Flight Review (per 14 CFR part 61.56)
This initial online course, or
The initial FAA Unmanned Aircraft General (UAG) Knowledge Test at a Knowledge Testing Center (KTC)
The recurrent online course, or
The recurrent FAA Unmanned Aircraft General (UAG) Knowledge Test at a Knowledge Testing Center (KTC)

Any Other Applicant
The initial FAA Unmanned Aircraft General (UAG) Knowledge Test at a Knowledge Testing Center (KTC)
The recurrent FAA Unmanned Aircraft General (UAG) Knowledge Test at a Knowledge Testing Center (KTC)
Visit the FAA Airman Testing website for more information about initial and recurrent requirements and for a list of Commercial Test Centers (Knowledge Testing Centers (KTCs)). All web resources described in this course are compiled on the Resources page for your future reference.

Testing: Part 61 Pilot Certificate Holders
If you are a part 61 pilot certificate holder and you have a current flight review (per 14 CFR part 61.56), successful completion of this course is your ONLY training and testing requirement. At the end of this course, complete the online knowledge check (exam) and print your completion certificate.

If you prefer, you have the option to complete the initial FAA Unmanned Aircraft General (UAG) Knowledge Test at a Knowledge Testing Center (KTC).

Testing: Non-Part 61 Pilot Certificate Holders
If you are not a part 61 pilot certificate holder (or do not hold a current flight review in accordance with 14 CFR part 61.56), you are required to demonstrate an understanding of all areas of knowledge specified in 14 CFR part 107.73(a) by passing the initial FAA Unmanned Aircraft General (UAG) Knowledge Test at an FAA-approved Knowledge Testing Center (KTC).

You may complete this course as one part of your independent study efforts to prepare for the FAA Unmanned Aircraft General (UAG) Knowledge Test. However, you are also encouraged to review reference materials that focus on the topic areas that are required in part 107.73(a), but are not covered in this course:

Airspace classification, operating requirements and flight restrictions affecting small unmanned aircraft operation
Aviation weather sources
Radio communication procedures
Physiological effects of drugs and alcohol
Aeronautical decision-making and judgment
Airport operations
Visit the Resources page to access the FAA Airman Testing website, UAS Airman Certification Standards (ACS), and other reference materials.

Self-Study Resources
To prepare for the FAA Unmanned Aircraft General (UAG) Knowledge Test at a Knowledge Testing Center (KTC), thoroughly review the materials provided on the Resources page for this course, including:

Regulations and policy documents, such as 14 CFR part 107 and Advisory Circular (AC) 107-2, Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) (as amended)
The FAA Airman Testing Standards Branch (AFS-630) Website that provides:
Reference Handbooks, such as the Aircraft Weight and Balance Handbook, Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge (PHAK), Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM), and Risk Management Handbook
UAS Airman Certification Standards (ACS)
General information about the FAA Unmanned Aircraft General (UAG) Knowledge Test
Sample FAA Unmanned Aircraft General (UAG) Knowledge Test questions
The FAA Unmanned Aircraft Systems Website

This module focuses on certification requirements and other responsibilities related to the aircraft and Remote Pilot in Command. You must satisfy all such requirements before operating small unmanned aircraft systems in the National Airspace System as a Remote Pilot in Command.

This lesson focuses on the aircraft itself. The lesson defines the characteristics of small unmanned aircraft systems, as stipulated in part 107. The lesson then identifies exclusions from the requirements in part 107 for model aircraft, other equipment, and certain operating conditions. The lesson examines the requirements for registering small unmanned aircraft systems with the FAA, displaying appropriate registration markings (per 14 CFR parts 47 or 48), and ensuring that the aircraft is in condition for safe operation.

Aircraft and Remote Pilot in Command Requirements: Small UAS Characteristics and Requirements
Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems
14 CFR part 107 applies to the operation of certain civil small unmanned aircraft within the NAS. Except for certain excluded aircraft operations, any aircraft that meets the criteria below is considered a small unmanned aircraft.

Small unmanned aircraft:
Weigh less than 55 pounds (25 kg), including everything that is onboard or otherwise attached to the aircraft
Are operated without the possibility of direct human intervention from within or on the aircraft
A small unmanned aircraft system includes the unmanned aircraft itself and its associated elements that are required for safe operation, such as communication links and components that control the aircraft.

Not all small unmanned aircraft are subject to 14 CFR part 107.

Sources: 14 CFR parts 107.1 and 107.3; AC 107-2, Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) (as amended)

Registration of Small UAS
Like other types of civil aircraft, most small UAS must be registered with the FAA prior to operating in the NAS.

Owners must register any small UAS that is greater than 0.55 lbs and operated under part 107.

The owner must satisfy the registration requirements described in 14 CFR part 47, Aircraft Registration, or part 48, Registration and Marking Requirements for Small Unmanned Aircraft for commercial operations. If the owner is less than 13 years of age, then the small unmanned aircraft must be registered by a person who is at least 13 years of age.

14 CFR part 48 establishes the streamlined online registration option for a small UAS that will be operated only within the territorial limits of the United States.

Sources: 14 CFR parts 107.13 and 48.25; AC 107-2, Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) (as amended)

Foreign Aircraft Permit Requirements
A small UAS operation requires a Foreign Aircraft Permit if it involves a civil aircraft that is:

Registered in a foreign country, or
Owned, controlled, or operated by someone who is not a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
If either criteria is met, the Remote PIC should obtain a Foreign Aircraft Permit pursuant to 14 CFR part 375.41 before conducting any operations. Application instructions are specified in 14 CFR part 375.43, Navigation of Foreign Civil Aircraft within the United States. Submit the application by electronic mail to the Department of Transportation (DOT) Office of International Aviation, Foreign Air Carrier Licensing Division.

Sources: 14 CFR part 107.13; AC 107-2, Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) (as amended)

Registration Markings
Before operation, mark the small UAS to identify that it is registered with the FAA.

The registration marking must be:

A unique identifier number. This is typically the registration number or N-number.
Legible and durable. Sample methods include engraving, permanent marker, or self-adhesive label.
Visible or accessible. The number may be enclosed in a compartment only if you can access the compartment without tools.

Sources: 14 CFR part 48; AC 107-2, Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) (as amended); FAA Small UAS Registration FAQs (https://www.faa.gov/uas/registration/faqs/#mou)

Condition for Safe Operation
An FAA airworthiness certification is not required for a small UAS. However, the Remote PIC must maintain and inspect the small UAS prior to each flight to ensure that it is in a condition for safe operation. For example, inspect all components of the small UAS for equipment damage or malfunctions.

Sources: 14 CFR part 107.15; AC 107-2, Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) (as amended)

Review Questions
Scenario 1: You are operating a 1280 g (2.8lb) quadcopter for your own enjoyment. Is this small UAS operation subject to 14 CFR part 107?
NO

Scenario 2: You have accepted football tickets in exchange for using your small UAS to videotape the field before and after the game. Is this small UAS operation subject to 14 CFR part 107?
YES

Scenario 3: You plan to operate a 33lb small UAS to capture aerial imagery over real estate for use in sales listings. Is this small UAS operation subject to 14 CFR part 107?
YES

Summary
This lesson examined the requirements for small UAS registration, markings, and condition.

In summary, 14 CFR part 107 applies to certain civil small unmanned aircraft operations conducted within the NAS for purposes other than hobby or recreation. Most small UAS must be registered with FAA and appropriately marked. Airworthiness certification is not required for small UAS. However, the Remote PIC must ensure that the small UAS is in a condition for safe operation prior to flight.

You should now be able to:

Define small unmanned aircraft systems (small UAS)
Identify exclusions from the requirements in part 107
Identify the requirements for small UAS registration, markings, and condition

Aircraft and Remote Pilot in Command Requirements: Remote Pilot in Command Responsibilities
In the previous lesson, you learned the characteristics of small unmanned aircraft systems and the requirements for registration, markings, and condition prior to flight.

This lesson defines the role of the Remote Pilot in Command. The lesson then identifies two crew roles that may support small unmanned aircraft system operations: a person manipulating the controls and a visual observer.

The lesson examines best practices for crew resource management to ensure the safety of small unmanned aircraft system operations.

The previous lesson described small UAS and the requirements for registration, markings, and condition prior to flight.

This lesson describes:

The role of the Remote Pilot in Command
Other supporting crew roles
Best practices for crew resource management

Defined Crew Roles in a Team Environment
A small UAS operation may involve one individual or a team of crewmembers. Part 107 defines the following small UAS crew roles:

Remote Pilot in Command (Remote PIC): A person who holds a current remote pilot certificate with a small UAS rating and has the final authority and responsibility for the operation and safety of the small UAS
Person manipulating the controls: A person controlling the small UAS under direct supervision of the Remote PIC
Visual observer: A person acting as a flight crewmember to help see and avoid air traffic or other objects in the sky, overhead, or on the ground
This section of the lesson examines each of these roles and describes best practices for crew resource management.

Remote Pilot in Command
The Remote PIC is directly responsible for and is the final authority as to the operation of the small UAS conducted under 14 CFR part 107.

He or she must:

Be designated before each flight (but can change during the flight)
Ensure that the operation:
Poses no undue hazard to people, aircraft, or property in the event of a loss of control of the aircraft for any reason
Complies with all applicable regulations of part 107
Operate the small unmanned aircraft to ensure compliance with all applicable provisions
Part 107 permits transfer of control of the small UAS between two or more certificated Remote PICs. The transfer of aircraft control (i.e. the Remote PIC designation) to each other must be accomplished while maintaining visual line of sight of the small UAS and without loss of control.

Sources: 14 CFR parts 107.19; AC 107-2, Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) (as amended)

Supporting Crew Roles: Person Manipulating the Controls
Person controlling a UAS
A non-certificated person may operate the small UAS under Part 107 only if:

He or she is directly supervised by the Remote PIC
and
The Remote PIC has the ability to immediately take direct control of the small UAS
The Remote PIC is ultimately responsible for identifying hazardous conditions. The Remote PIC’s ability to regain control of the small UAS is necessary to ensure that he or she can quickly intervene to ensure the safety of the flight and prevent a hazardous situation before an accident or incident occurs.

Source: AC 107-2, Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) (as amended)

Sample Methods to Regain Control
The ability for the Remote PIC to immediately take over the flight controls may be achieved by using a number of different methods.

For example, the Remote PIC could:

Stand close enough to physically take over the control station
Use a “buddy box” system with two control stations:
One for the person manipulating the flight controls
One that allows the Remote PIC to immediately override the other control station
Use a preprogrammed safe-mode system with “home” or “hover” functions

Source: AC 107-2, Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) (as amended)

Supporting Crew Roles: Visual Observer
The role of visual observers (VOs) is to alert the rest of the crew about potential hazards during operations involving a small UAS. The use of VOs is optional. However, the Remote PIC may use one or more VOs to supplement situational awareness and visual-line-of-sight responsibilities while the Remote PIC is conducting other mission-critical duties (such as checking displays).

The Remote PIC must make certain that all VOs:

Are positioned in a location where they are able to see the small UAS continuously and sufficiently to maintain visual line of sight
Possess a means to effectively communicate the small UAS position and the position of other aircraft to the Remote PIC and person manipulating the controls

Situational Awareness and Decision Making
The Remote PIC attains situational awareness by obtaining as much information as possible prior to a flight and becoming familiar with the performance capabilities of the small UAS, weather conditions, surrounding airspace, and Air Traffic Control (ATC) requirements. Sources of information include a weather briefing, ATC, FAA, local pilots, and landowners.

Technology, such as global positioning systems (GPS), mapping systems, and computer applications, can assist in collecting and managing information to improve your situational awareness and risk-based aeronautical decision making (ADM).

Source: PHAK, page 17-3; AC 60-22, Aeronautical Decision Making, Chapters 1, 3, and 4

Crew Resource Management
Crew resource management (CRM) is the effective use of all available resources—human, hardware, and information—prior to and during flight to ensure a successful outcome of the operation. The Remote PIC must integrate crew resource management techniques into all phases of the small UAS operation.

Many of the crew resource management techniques traditionally used in manned aircraft operations are also applicable for a small UAS, such as the ability to:

Delegate operational tasks and manage crewmembers
Recognize and address hazardous attitudes
Establish effective team communication procedures

Sources: AC 107-2, Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) (as amended); AC 60-22, Chapters 1 through 4; PHAK, page 17-4

Task Management
The Remote PIC identifies, delegates, and manages tasks for each small UAS operation.

Tasks can vary greatly depending on the complexity of the small UAS operation. Supporting crewmembers can help accomplish those tasks and ensure the safety of flight. For example, visual observers and other ground crew can provide valuable information about traffic, airspace, weather, equipment, and aircraft loading and performance.

The Remote PIC:

Assesses the operating environment (airspace, surrounding terrain, weather, hazards, etc.)
Determines the appropriate number of crewmembers that are needed to safely conduct a given operation. The Remote PIC must ensure sufficient crew support so that no one on the team becomes over-tasked, which increases the possibility of an incident or accident.
Informs participants of delegated tasks and sets expectations
Manages and supervises the crew to ensure that everyone completes their assigned tasks

Recognizing Hazardous Attitudes
Person with arms crossed and annoyed expression
Studies have identified five hazardous attitudes that can interfere with the ability to make sound decisions and properly exercise authority: anti-authority, impulsivity, invulnerability, machoism, and resignation.

Remote PICs should be alert for hazardous attitudes (in themselves or in other crewmembers), label it as hazardous, and correct the behavior.

Five Hazardous Attitudes
Attitude Motto Indicators Antidote

Anti-Authority “Don’t tell me what to do.” The person does not like or may resent anyone telling him or her what to do. The person may regard rules, regulations, and procedures as silly or unnecessary. (Note: it is always your prerogative to question authority if you feel it is in error.) “Follow the rules. They are usually right.”

Impulsivity “Do it quickly.” The person frequently feels the need to do something, anything, immediately. He or she does not stop to think about the best alternative and does the first thing that comes to mind. “Not so fast. Think first.”

Invulnerability “It won’t happen to me.” The person falsely believes that accidents happen to others, but never to him or her. The person knows accidents can happen and that anyone can be affected. However, the person never really feels or believes that he or she will be personally involved. Such people are more likely than others to take chances and increase risk. “It could happen to me.”

Machoism “I can do it—I’ll show them.” The person tries to prove that he or she is better than anyone else. The person takes risks to impress others. (Note: While this pattern is thought to be a male characteristic, women are equally susceptible.) “Taking chances is foolish.”
Resignation “What’s the use?” The person does not believe his or her actions make a difference in what happens. The person attributes outcomes to good or bad luck. He or she leaves the action to others, for better or worse. Sometimes, the person even goes along with unreasonable requests just to be a “nice guy.” “I’m not helpless. I can make a difference.”

Source: PHAK, 17-5

Effective Communication
The FAA requires that the Remote PIC and other crewmembers coordinate to:

Scan the airspace in the operational area for any potential collision hazard; and
Maintain awareness of the position of the small UAS through direct visual observation.
To achieve this goal, the Remote PIC should:

Foster an environment where open communication is encouraged and expected between the entire crew to maximize team performance
Establish effective communication procedures prior to flight
Select an appropriate method of communication, such as the use of hand-held radio or other effective means that would not create a distraction and allows all crewmembers to understand each other
Inform the crew as conditions change about any needed adjustments to ensure a safe outcome of the operation

Source: AC 107-2, Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) (as amended)

Review Questions
Crew Role 1: Who is responsible for ensuring that there are enough crewmembers for a given small UAS operation?

Remote Pilot in Command (Remote PIC)

Crew Role 2: Whose sole task during a small UAS operation is to watch the small UAS and report potential hazards to the rest of the crew?
Visual Observer

Crew Role 3: Which crewmember must hold a remote pilot certificate with a small UAS rating?
Remote Pilot in Command (Remote PIC)

Crew Role 4: Who is ultimately responsible for preventing a hazardous situation before an accident occurs?
Remote Pilot in Command (Remote PIC)

Crew Role 5: Which crewmember is required to be under the direct supervision of the Remote PIC when operating a small UAS?
Person manipulating the controls

Summary
This lesson described the Remote PIC’s responsibilities during a small UAS operation and best practices for crew resource management.

In summary, the Remote PIC holds a remote pilot certificate with a small UAS rating. He or she is ultimately responsible for the safe operation of the small UAS. The Remote PIC designates, prepares, and closely supervises any individuals serving as supporting crew members, such as the person manipulating the controls or visual observers.

You should now be able to:

Describe certification requirements for the Remote PIC
Define possible supporting crew roles in small UAS operations
Describe best practices for crew resource management

Rules for Safe Operation of Small UAS: Preflight Considerations
The previous modules examined the certification process, registration requirements, and crew roles for small UAS operations. This module focuses on requirements before, during, and after flight.

This lesson examines:

Recommended maintenance
Preflight inspection requirements
Loading considerations
Performance considerations
The effects of weather

The previous modules described the application process for a part 107 remote pilot certificate with a small unmanned aircraft system rating, small unmanned aircraft system characteristics and registration requirements, and crew roles.

This module describes operating rules for small unmanned aircraft systems operating in the National Airspace System. The Remote Pilot in Command has the final authority and responsibility to maintain and inspect the unmanned aircraft before flight, safely operate during flight, recognize abnormal and emergency situations, and report certain accidents.

This lesson focuses on preflight requirements. The lesson describes recommended maintenance and preflight inspection procedures to verify that the aircraft is in a condition for safe operation.

The lesson then describes the restrictions and best practices for safe loading of small unmanned aircraft systems.

The lesson examines factors to consider when evaluating performance in flight and the effects of weather.

Maintenance Requirements
Crewmembers check the condition of unmanned aircraft before flight
Maintenance for a small UAS includes scheduled and unscheduled overhaul, repair, inspection, modification, replacement, and system software upgrades for the unmanned aircraft itself and all components necessary for flight.

This first section of the lesson examines maintenance requirements and best practices.

Source: AC 107-2, Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) (as amended)

Manufacturers may recommend a maintenance or replacement schedule for the unmanned aircraft and system components based on time-in-service limits and other factors. Follow all manufacturer maintenance recommendations to achieve the longest and safest service life of the small UAS.

If the small UAS or component manufacturer does not provide scheduled maintenance instructions, it is recommended that you establish your own scheduled maintenance protocol.

For example:

Document any repair, modification, overhaul, or replacement of a system component resulting from normal flight operations
Record the time-in-service for that component at the time of the maintenance procedure
Assess these records over time to establish a reliable maintenance schedule for the small UAS and its components

Source: AC 107-2, Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) (as amended)

Unscheduled Maintenance
During the course of a preflight inspection, you may discover that a small UAS component requires some form of maintenance outside of the scheduled maintenance period.

For example, a small UAS component may require servicing (such as lubrication), repair, modification, overhaul, or replacement as a result of normal or abnormal flight operations. Or, the small UAS manufacturer or component manufacturer may require an unscheduled system software update to correct a problem.

In the event such a condition is found, do not conduct flight operations until the discrepancy is corrected.

Source: AC 107-2, Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) (as amended)

Performing Maintenance
In some instances, the small UAS or component manufacturer may require certain maintenance tasks be performed by the manufacturer or by a person or facility (personnel) specified by the manufacturer.

It is highly recommended that the maintenance be performed in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. However, if you decide not to use the manufacturer or the personnel recommended by the manufacturer and you are unable to perform the required maintenance yourself, you should:

Solicit the expertise of maintenance personnel familiar with the specific small UAS and its components
Consider using certificated maintenance providers, such as repair stations, holders of mechanic and repairman certificates, and persons working under the supervision of a mechanic or repairman
If you or the maintenance personnel are unable to repair, modify, or overhaul a small UAS or component back to its safe operational specification, then it is advisable to replace the small UAS or component with one that is in a condition for safe operation.

Complete all required maintenance before each flight—preferably in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions or, in lieu of that, within known industry best practices.

Preflight Inspection
Before beginning any flight operation involving a small UAS:

Assess the operating environment
Inform any supporting crewmembers about the operation and their roles
Inspect the small UAS to ensure that it is in a condition for safe operation
Maintain documents required in the event of an on-site FAA inspection

Sources: 14 CFR parts 107.15 and 107.49; AC 107-2, Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) (as amended)

Operating Environment
Before a small UAS operation, assess the operating environment.

The assessment must include, but is not limited to:

Local weather conditions
Local airspace and any flight restrictions
The location of persons and property on the surface
Other ground hazards

Source: AC 107-2, Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) (as amended)

Information for the Crew
Before any small UAS operation, at a minimum, ensure that all persons directly participating in the small UAS operation are informed about:

Operating conditions
Emergency procedures
Contingency procedures
Roles and responsibilities of each person involved in the operation
Potential hazards

Source: AC 107-2, Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) (as amended)

Condition of Aircraft
Before any small UAS operation, inspect the aircraft for equipment damage or malfunctions.

For example, ensure that:

All control links between the control station and the small unmanned aircraft are working properly
There is sufficient power to continue controlled flight operations to a normal landing
Any object attached or carried by the small unmanned aircraft is secure and does not adversely affect the flight characteristics or controllability of the aircraft
The unique identifier is readily accessible and visible upon inspection of the small unmanned aircraft

Benefits of Recordkeeping
Careful recordkeeping can be highly beneficial for small UAS owners and operators. For example, recordkeeping provides essential safety support for commercial operators who may experience rapidly accumulated flight operational hours/cycles.

Consider maintaining a hardcopy and/or electronic logbook of all periodic inspections, maintenance, preventative maintenance, repairs, and alterations performed on the small UAS.

Such records should include all components of the sUAS, including the:

Small unmanned aircraft itself
Control station
Launch and recovery equipment
Data link equipment
Payload
Any other components required to safely operate the small UAS

FAA Inspections
You must make available to the FAA, upon request, the small UAS for inspection or testing.

In addition, you must verify before flight that all required documentation is physically or electronically available in the event of an on-site FAA inspection. Such documentation may include:

Pilot certificate
Aircraft registration
Any necessary waiver, authorization, or exemption
Other documentation related to the operation

Loading and Performance
Prior to each flight, the Remote PIC must ensure that any object attached to or carried by the small unmanned aircraft is secure and does not adversely affect the flight characteristics or controllability of the aircraft.

Source: 14 CFR part 107.49; AC 107-2, Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) (as amended)

Loading Considerations: General Weight and Balance
As with any aircraft, compliance with weight and balance limits is critical to the safety of flight for a small UAS. An unmanned aircraft that is loaded out of balance may exhibit unexpected and unsafe flight characteristics.

Before any flight, verify that the unmanned aircraft is correctly loaded by determining the weight and balance condition.

Review any available manufacturer weight and balance data and follow all warnings, cautions, notes, and limitations
If the manufacturer does not provide specific weight and balance data, apply general weight and balance principals to determine limits for a given flight. For example, add weight to the unmanned aircraft in a manner that does not adversely affect the aircraft’s center of gravity (CG) location—a point at which the unmanned aircraft would balance if it were suspended at that point.

Sources: PHAK; FAA-H-8083-1, Weight & Balance Handbook, 4-4-5

Factors that Affect Maximum Gross Takeoff Weight
Although a maximum gross takeoff weight is normally specified for a given unmanned aircraft, the aircraft may not be able to launch with this load under all conditions. Or if it does become airborne, the unmanned aircraft may exhibit unexpected and unusually poor flight characteristics.

Factors that may require a reduction in weight prior to flight include:

High density altitude conditions
High elevations
High air temperatures
High humidity
Runway/launch area length
Surface
Slope
Surface wind
Presence of obstacles

Sources: AC 107-2, Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) (as amended); PHAK

Common Performance Deficiencies of Overloaded Aircraft
Excessive weight reduces the flight performance in almost every respect. In addition, operating above the maximum weight limitation can compromise the structural integrity of an unmanned aircraft.

The most common performance deficiencies of an overloaded aircraft are:

Reduced rate of climb
Lower maximum altitude
Shorter endurance
Reduced maneuverability

Loading Considerations: Effects of Weight Changes
Weight changes have a direct effect on aircraft performance.

Fuel burn is the most common weight change that takes place during flight.

For battery-powered unmanned aircraft, weight change during flight may occur when expendable items are used on board (e.g., water or other liquids dispensed for authorized agricultural use). Changes of mounted equipment between flights, such as the installation of cameras, battery packs, or other instruments, may also affect the weight and balance and performance of a small UAS.

Sources: AC 107-2, Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) (as amended); PHAK

Loading Considerations: Effects of Load Factor
Unmanned airplane performance can be decreased due to an increase in load factor when the airplane is operated in maneuvers other than straight and level flight.

The load factor increases at a terrific rate after a bank has reached 45° or 50°. The load factor for any aircraft in a coordinated level turn at 60° bank is 2 Gs. The load factor in an 80° bank is 5.76 Gs. The wing must produce lift equal to these load factors if altitude is to be maintained. The Remote PIC should be mindful of the increased load factor and its possible effects on the aircraft’s structural integrity and the results of an increase in stall speed.

As with manned aircraft, an unmanned airplane will stall when critical angle of attack is exceeded. Due to the low altitude operating environment, consideration should be given to ensure aircraft control is maintained and the aircraft isn’t operated outside its performance limits.

Carriage of Hazardous Material
A small unmanned aircraft may not carry hazardous material as defined in 49 CFR part 171.8:

Hazardous material means, “a substance or material that the Secretary of Transportation has determined is capable of posing an unreasonable risk to health, safety, and property when transported in commerce, and has designated as hazardous under section 5103 of Federal hazardous materials transportation law (49 U.S.C. 5103). The term includes hazardous substances, hazardous wastes, marine pollutants, elevated temperature materials, materials designated as hazardous in the Hazardous Materials Table (see 49 CFR 172.101), and materials that meet the defining criteria for hazard classes and divisions in part 173 of subchapter C of this chapter.”

Sources: 14 CFR part 107.36; 49 CFR part 171.8

Carriage of Lithium Batteries
Lithium batteries that are installed in a small UAS for power during the operation are not considered a hazardous material under part 107.

However, spare (uninstalled) lithium batteries would meet the definition of hazardous material and may not be carried as cargo on the small UAS.

Determining Performance: Sources of Performance Data
Performance or operational information may be provided by the manufacturer in the form of an Aircraft Flight Manual, Pilot’s Operating Handbook, or owner’s manual. Follow all manufacturer recommendations for evaluating performance to ensure safe and efficient operation.

Even when specific performance data is not provided, the Remote PIC should be familiar with:
The operating environment
All available information regarding the safe and manufacturer’s recommended operation of the small UAS

Source: PHAK

Remote PIC Responsibilities for Determining Performance
The Remote PIC is responsible for ensuring that every flight can be accomplished safely, does not pose an undue hazard, and does not increase the likelihood of a loss of positive control.

Consider how your decisions affect the safety of flight. For example:

If you attempt flight in windy conditions, the unmanned aircraft may require an unusually high power setting to ascend. This action may cause a rapid depletion of battery power and result in a failure mode.
If you attempt flight in wintery weather conditions, ice may accumulate on the unmanned aircraft’s surface. Ice increases the weight and adversely affects performance characteristics of the small unmanned aircraft.
Due to the diversity and rapidly-evolving nature of small UAS operations, individual Remote PICs have flexibility to determine what equipage methods, if any, mitigate risk sufficiently to meet performance-based requirements, such as the prohibition on creating an undue hazard if there is a loss of aircraft control.

Determining Performance: Operational Data
The FAA acknowledges that some manufacturers provide comprehensive operational data and manuals, such as Aircraft Flight Manuals or Pilot’s Operating Handbooks, and others do not. When operational data is provided, follow the manufacturer’s instructions and recommendations.

Even when operational data is not supplied by the manufacturer, the Remote PIC can better understand the unmanned aircraft’s capabilities and limitations by establishing a process for tracking malfunctions, defects, and flight characteristics in various environments and conditions. Use this operational data to establish a baseline for determining performance, reliability, and risk assessment for your particular system.

Effects of Weather on Performance
Field with storm clouds approaching
Even though small UAS operations are often conducted at very low altitudes, weather factors can greatly influence performance and safety of flight.

Specifically, factors that affect small UAS performance and risk management include:

Atmospheric pressure and stability
Wind and currents
Uneven surface heating
Visibility and cloud clearance
As with any flight, the Remote PIC should check and consider the weather conditions prior to and during every small UAS flight.

Wind
Wind and currents can affect small UAS performance and maneuverability during all phases of flight. Be vigilant when operating a small UAS at low altitudes, in confined areas, near buildings or other manmade structures, and near natural obstructions (such as mountains, bluffs, or canyons).

Consider the following effects of wind on performance:

Obstructions on the ground affect the flow of wind, may create rapidly changing wind gusts, and can be an unseen danger
The intensity of the turbulence associated with ground obstructions depends on the size of the obstacle and the primary velocity of the wind
Even when operating in an open field, wind blowing against surrounding trees can create significant low level turbulence
High winds may make it difficult to maintain a geographical position in flight and may consume more battery power

Source: PHAK

Example: Operations Near Buildings
Remember that local conditions, geological features, and other anomalies can change the wind direction and speed close to the Earth’s surface.

For example, when operating close to a building, winds blowing against the building could cause strong updrafts that can result in ballooning or a loss of positive control. On the other hand, winds blowing over the building from the opposite side can cause significant downdrafts that can have a dramatic sinking effect on the unmanned aircraft.

Currents
Different surfaces radiate heat in varying amounts.

The resulting uneven heating of the air creates small areas of local circulation called convective currents. Convective currents can cause bumpy, turbulent air that can dramatically affect the Remote PIC’s ability to control unmanned aircraft at lower altitudes.

For example:
Plowed ground, rocks, sand, and barren land give off a large amount of heat and are likely to result in updrafts
Water, trees, and other areas of vegetation tend to absorb and retain heat and are likely to result in downdrafts

Source: PHAK

Visibility and Clouds
As in manned aircraft operations, good visibility and safe distance from clouds enhances the Remote PIC’s ability to see and avoid other aircraft. Similarly, good visibility and cloud clearance may be the only means for other aircraft to see and avoid the unmanned aircraft.

The regulatory requirements for visibility and cloud clearance are discussed in a later module. But it should be noted here that adherence to the regulatory requirements in conjunction with good airmanship and effective scanning techniques can preclude in-flight collisions. And collision avoidance is an essential aspect to the safe integration of a small UAS into the NAS.

Source: PHAK

Review Questions
Which of the following source of information should you consult first when determining what maintenance should be performed on a small UAS or its components?
Manufacturer guidance

How often is the Remote PIC required to inspect the small UAS to ensure that it is in a condition for safe operation?
Before each flight

When loading cameras or other equipment on a small UAS, mount the items in a manner that:
A Is visible to the visual observer or other crewmembers.
B Does not adversely affect the center of gravity.
*C Can be easily removed without the use of tools.

Which of the following considerations is most relevant to a Remote PIC when evaluating unmanned aircraft performance?
*A Current weather conditions
B The number of available ground crew
C The type of the small UAS operation

Summary
This lesson examined preflight requirements for a small UAS.

In summary, the Remote PIC is responsible for maintenance and pre-flight inspection of the small UAS, safe loading techniques, and continuous assessment of performance in flight.

You should now be able to describe:

Recommended maintenance procedures for a small UAS
Inspection requirements to verify that the small UAS is in a condition for safe operation
Considerations for safe loading of unmanned aircraft
Procedures for evaluating performance
The effects of weather on performance

Rules for Safe Operation of Small UAS: Operating Rules
Introduction
The previous lesson examined preflight requirements for small unmanned aircraft system operations, including scheduled and unscheduled maintenance, preflight inspection procedures, loading considerations, and factors that could affect aircraft performance.

This lesson focuses on rules for safe operation of small unmanned aircraft systems in the National Airspace System. The lesson describes operational requirements and limitations and available certificates of waiver for select requirements in 14 CFR part 107.

Daylight Only Operations
14 CFR part 107 prohibits operation of a small UAS at night, defined in 14 CFR part 1 as the time between the end of evening civil twilight and the beginning of morning civil twilight, as published in the Federal Air Almanac, and converted to local time.

The Federal Air Almanac provides tables to determine sunrise and sunset at various latitudes. For example:

In the contiguous United States, evening civil twilight is the period of sunset until 30 minutes after sunset and morning civil twilight is the period of 30 minutes prior to sunrise until sunrise
In Alaska, the definition of civil twilight differs and is described in the Federal Air Almanac
Visit the Resources page to access the Naval Observatory website where you can download these tables and customize them for your location.

Source: 14 CFR part 107.29; AC 107-2, Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) (as amended)

Daylight: Operations in Civil Twilight
When small UAS operations are conducted during civil twilight, the small UAS must be equipped with anti-collision lights that are capable of being visible for at least 3 statute miles from the control station.

However, the Remote PIC may reduce the intensity of the lighting if he or she has determined that it would be in the interest of operational safety to do so. For example, the Remote PIC may momentarily reduce the lighting intensity if it impacts his or her night-vision.

Source: 14 CFR part 107.29; AC 107-2, Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) (as amended)

Visual Line of Sight
The small unmanned aircraft must remain within visual line-of-sight (VLOS) of flight crewmembers. Visual line of sight means any flight crewmember (i.e. the Remote PIC; person manipulating the controls; and visual observers, if used) is capable of seeing the aircraft with vision unaided by any device other than corrective lenses (spectacles or contact lenses).

Crewmembers must operate within the following limitations.

Minimum visibility, as observed from the location of the control station, must be no less than 3 statute miles
Minimum distance from clouds must be no less than 500 feet below a cloud and 2000 feet horizontally from the cloud
Crewmembers must be able to see the small unmanned aircraft at all times during flight. Therefore, the small unmanned aircraft must be operated closely enough to the control station to ensure visibility requirements are met during small unmanned aircraft operations.

Sources: 14 CFR parts 107.31 and 107.51; AC 107-2, Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) (as amended)

Restrictions on Vision Aids
Visual line of sight must be accomplished and maintained by unaided vision, except vision that is corrected by the use of eyeglasses (spectacles) or contact lenses.

Vision aids, such as binoculars, may be used only momentarily to enhance situational awareness. For example, the Remote PIC, person manipulating the controls, or visual observer may use vision aids briefly to avoid flying over persons or to avoid conflicting with other aircraft.

Regaining Visual Line of Sight
The Remote PIC or person manipulating the controls may have brief moments in which he or she is not looking directly at or cannot see the small unmanned aircraft, but still retains the capability to see it or quickly maneuver it back to line of sight.

These moments should be for:

The safety of the operation, such as briefly looking down at the control station or scanning the airspace. To scan for traffic, the crew should systematically focus on different segments of the sky for short intervals.
Operational necessity, such as intentionally maneuvering the aircraft for a brief period behind an obstruction
There is no specific time interval for which interruption of visual contact is permissible. Such parameters could potentially allow a hazardous interruption or prohibit a reasonable one.

The Remote PIC or person manipulating the controls must attempt to regain visual line of sight:

Immediately, if he or she unintentionally loses sight of the aircraft
As soon as practicable, if he or she loses sight of the aircraft for operational necessity

Operating Limitations for Small Unmanned Aircraft
The small unmanned aircraft must be operated in accordance with the following limitations:

Cannot be flown faster than a groundspeed of 87 knots (100 miles per hour)
Cannot be flown higher than 400 feet above ground level (AGL) unless flown within a 400-foot radius of a structure and is not flown higher than 400 feet above the structure’s immediate uppermost limit

Sources: 14 CFR part 107.51; AC 107-2, Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) (as amended)

Operation near Aircraft: Right of Way Rules
No person may operate a small unmanned aircraft in a manner that interferes with operations and traffic patterns at any airport, heliport, or seaplane base. The Remote PIC also has a responsibility to remain clear of and yield right-of-way to all other aircraft, manned or unmanned, and avoid other potential hazards that may affect the Remote PIC’s operation of the aircraft. This is traditionally referred to as “see and avoid”.

To satisfy this responsibility, the Remote PIC must:

Know the location and flight path of his or her small unmanned aircraft at all times
Be aware of other aircraft, persons, and property in the vicinity of the operating area
Be able to maneuver the small unmanned aircraft to:
Avoid a collision
Prevent other aircraft from having to take evasive action
Avoid operating anywhere where the presence of his or her unmanned aircraft may interfere with operations at the airport, such as approach corridors, taxiways, runways, or helipads
Yield right-of-way to all other aircraft, including aircraft operating on the surface of the airport
First-person view camera cannot satisfy ‘‘see-and-avoid’’ requirement. However, such cameras can be used as long as the “see-and-avoid” requirement is satisfied in other ways.

Sources: 14 CFR parts 107.37 and 43; AC 107-2, Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) (as amended)

Operation in Certain Airspace
Many small UAS operations can be conducted in uncontrolled, Class G airspace without further permission or authorization. However, operations require prior authorization from Air Traffic Control (ATC) in Class B, C, and D airspace and within the lateral boundaries of the surface area of Class E airspace designated for an airport.

It is incumbent on the Remote PIC to be aware of the type of airspace in which they will be operating their small UAS. As with other flight operations, the Remote PIC should refer to current aeronautical charts and other navigation tools to determine position and related airspace.

Notices to Airmen (NOTAMs)

Smartphone displaying the FAA mobile application
Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFRs) are inclusive of small UAS operations. For that reason, it is necessary for the Remote PIC to check for Notices to Airmen (NOTAMs) before each flight to determine if there are any applicable airspace restrictions.

Common TFRs that relate to small UAS operations include, but are not limited to:

Presidential TFRs and NOTAMs
Emergency response TFRs and NOTAMs
Standing TFRs that go into and out of effect (e.g., stadiums for sporting events)

Operation in Prohibited or Restricted Areas or Areas Designated in NOTAMs
Cover of 14 CFR, labeled with parts 99.7 and 91 subpart B
No person may operate a small unmanned aircraft in prohibited or restricted areas unless that person has permission from the using or controlling agency, as appropriate.

The Remote PIC must comply with the following provisions:

The provisions of 14 CFR part 99.7, Special Security Instructions
The following provisions of 14 CFR part 91 subpart B, Flight Rules:
14 CFR part 91.137 Temporary flight restrictions in the vicinity of disaster/hazard areas
14 CFR part 91.138 Temporary flight restrictions in national disaster areas in the State of Hawaii
14 CFR part 91.139 Emergency air traffic rules
14 CFR part 91.141 Flight restrictions in the proximity of the Presidential and other parties
14 CFR part 91.143 Flight limitation in the proximity of space flight operations
14 CFR part 91.144 Temporary restriction on flight operations during abnormally high barometric pressure conditions
14 CFR part 91.145 Management of aircraft operations in the vicinity of aerial demonstrations and major sporting events
Visit the Resources page to access these provisions.

Sources: 14 CFR parts 107.45 and 107.47; AC 107-2, Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) (as amended)

Obtaining Airspace Authorizations
ATC has the authority to approve or deny aircraft operations based on traffic density, controller workload, communication issues, or any other type of operations that could potentially impact the safe and expeditious flow of air traffic in that airspace.

When ATC authorization is required, it must be requested and granted before any operation in that airspace. There is currently no established timeline for approval after ATC permission has been requested because the time required for approval will vary based on the resources available at the ATC facility and the complexity and safety issues raised by each specific request.

For this reason, Remote PICs should request ATC authorization as soon as possible prior to any operation in Class B, C and D airspace and within the lateral boundaries of the surface area of Class E airspace designated for an airport.

Source: AC 107-2, Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) (as amended)

Frequency Spectrum
Most small UAS use radio frequencies to establish the data link between the control station and the small unmanned aircraft.

Considerations for radio frequencies used in small UAS operations include:

Frequency interference
Line of sight/obstructions

Source: AC 107-2, Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) (as amended)

Frequency Interference
Many small UAS utilize the same unlicensed frequency bands for control and command and video links

These unlicensed radio frequency bands used during a small UAS operation are regulated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and may require an FCC license.

These same frequency bands are also commonly used for wifi and other remote/wireless devices. Frequency congestion and interference may affect operation of the small UAS.

Before conducting a small UAS operation, consult the manufacturer’s operating manual to determine the frequencies for your specific small UAS.

Source: AC 107-2, Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) (as amended)

Line of Sight and Frequency Obstructions
Small UAS radio frequency bands are considered line of sight.

Be aware that the command and control link between the control station and the small unmanned aircraft may not work properly when barriers are between the control station and the unmanned aircraft.

Source: AC 107-2, Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) (as amended)

Spectrum Authorization
Radio transmissions, such as those used to control an unmanned aircraft and to downlink real-time video, must use frequency bands that are approved for use by the operating agency. Operations on licensed band frequencies require a user-specific license for all civil users, except federal agencies, to be obtained from the FCC.

Source: AC 107-2, Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) (as amended)

No Operation Over People
You may not operate a small unmanned aircraft directly over another person unless that person is:

Directly involved in the operation (such as a visual observer or other crewmember)
OR
Within a safe cover, such as inside a stationary vehicle or a protective structure that would protect a person from harm if the small unmanned aircraft were to crash into that structure

Protecting Non-Participants
To comply with limitations on small UAS operations near persons not participating in the operation, the Remote PIC should employ the strategies described below.

Select an appropriate operational area for the small UAS flight
Ideally, select an operational area (site) that is sparsely populated
If operating in populated/inhabited areas, make a plan to keep non-participants clear, indoors, or under cover
If operating from a moving vehicle, choose a sparsely populated (or unpopulated) area and make a plan to keep the small UAS clear of anyone who may approach
Adopt an appropriate operating distance from non-participants
Take reasonable precautions to keep the operational area free of non-participants

Operation from Moving Vehicles or Aircraft
14 CFR part 107 permits operation of a small UAS from a moving land or water-borne vehicle over a sparsely populated (or unpopulated) area. However, operation from a moving aircraft is prohibited.

Additionally, small unmanned aircraft that are transporting another person’s property for compensation or hire may not be operated from any moving vehicle.

Source: 14 CFR part 107.25; AC 107-2, Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) (as amended)

Transporting Another Person’s Property
You may also operate a small UAS to transport another person’s property (cargo) for compensation or hire provided you comply with the additional requirements described below.

The total weight of the small UAS (including the cargo) must remain below 55lbs
The small UAS operation must be within the boundaries of a State (intrastate)
No items may be dropped from the small unmanned aircraft in a manner that creates an undue hazard to persons or property
You may not operate the small UAS from a moving land vehicle or water-born vessel

Moving Vehicles: Part 107 Restrictions
Operations from moving vehicles are subject to the same restrictions that apply to all other part 107 small UAS operations.

Examples include:

Visual Line of Sight: The Remote PIC (and the person manipulating the controls, if applicable) operating from a moving vehicle or watercraft is still required to maintain visual line of sight for the small UAS
Operations over People: Operations are still prohibited over persons not directly involved in the operation of the small UAS, unless under safe cover. The Remote PIC is also responsible for ensuring that no person is subject to undue risk as a result of loss of control of the small unmanned aircraft for any reason.
Communication: The visual observer and Remote PIC must still maintain effective communication
No Careless or Reckless Operation: Part 107 also prohibits careless or reckless operation of a small UAS. Operating a small UAS while driving a moving vehicle is considered to be careless or reckless because the driver’s attention would be hazardously divided. Therefore, the driver of a land vehicle or the operator of a water-borne vehicle must not serve as the Remote PIC, person manipulating the controls, or visual observer.

Source: 14 CFR part 107.25

Moving Vehicles: State and Local Traffic Laws
Other laws, such as State and local traffic laws, may also apply to the conduct of a person driving a vehicle.

Many states currently prohibit distracted driving and state or local laws may also be amended in the future to impose restrictions on how cars and public roads may be used with regard to a small UAS operation. The FAA emphasizes that people involved in a small UAS operation are responsible for complying with all applicable laws and not just the FAA’s regulations.

No Operations While Impaired
Part 107 does not allow operation of a small UAS if the Remote PIC, person manipulating the controls, or visual observer is unable to safely carry out his or her duties and responsibilities.

While drug and alcohol use are known to impair judgment, certain over-the-counter medications and medical conditions could also affect the ability to safely operate a small unmanned aircraft. For example, certain antihistamines and decongestants may cause drowsiness.

You may not directly participate in the operation of a small UAS if you know or have reason to know that you have a physical or mental condition that would interfere with the safe operation of the small UAS.

Impaired Judgement: Prohibition Thresholds
Part 107 prohibits a person from serving as any small UAS crewmember if he or she:

Consumed any alcoholic beverage within the preceding 8 hours
Is under the influence of alcohol
Has a blood alcohol concentration of .04% or greater
Is using a drug that affects the person’s mental or physical capabilities

No Hazardous Operation
No person may operate a small UAS in a careless or reckless manner so as to endanger another person’s life or property. Part 107 also prohibits allowing an object to be dropped from a small UAS in a manner that creates an undue hazard to persons or property.

Examples of hazardous operation include, but are not limited to:

Operations that interfere with manned aircraft operations
Operating a small UAS over persons not directly participating in the operation
Loading the small UAS beyond its capabilities to the point of losing control

Privacy and Other Considerations
Other laws, such as State and local privacy laws, may apply to small UAS operations. The Remote PIC is responsible for reviewing and complying with such laws prior to operation.

In addition, Remote PICs are encouraged to review the Department of Commerce National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) best practices that address privacy, transparency and accountability issues related to private and commercial use of a small UAS.

Certificates of Waiver

If the Remote PIC determines that the operation cannot be conducted within the regulatory structure of part 107, he or she is responsible for applying for a Certificate of Waiver in accordance with 14 CFR part 107.200 and proposing a safe alternative to the operation.

The application for a Certificate of Waiver must be submitted at least 90 days prior to planned use.

This Certificate of Waiver will allow a small UAS operation to deviate from certain provisions of part 107 as long as the FAA finds that the proposed operation can be safely conducted under the terms of that Certificate of Waiver.

Visit the Resources page to access the online application for a UAS Certificate of Waiver.

Waivable Sections of Part 107
Your request for a waiver may be granted if the FAA finds that the proposed operation can be safely conducted under the terms of that Certificate of Waiver.

A list of the waivable sections of part 107 can be found in 14 CFR part 107.205 and are listed below:

§ 107.25 Operation from a moving vehicle or aircraft. However, no waiver of this provision will be issued to allow the carriage of property of another by aircraft for compensation or hire
§ 107.29 Daylight operation
§ 107.31 Visual line of sight aircraft operation. However, no waiver of this provision will be issued to allow the carriage of property of another by aircraft for compensation or hire
§ 107.33 Visual observer
§ 107.35 Operation of multiple small unmanned aircraft systems
§ 107.37(a) Yielding the right of way
§ 107.39 Operation over people
§ 107.41 Operation in certain airspace
§ 107.51 Operating limitations for small unmanned aircraft

FAA Waiver Review Process
After submitting your online application, the FAA will determine if the proposed operation can be safely conducted under the terms of that Certificate of Waiver.

If the application is denied, you will receive notification stating the reasons for denial.

If the waiver or authorization is granted, you will receive direct notification with:

The completed FAA Form 7711-1, Certificate of Waiver or Authorization, dated, signed, and approved by the FAA
Specific special provisions that become regulatory for the waiver holder

Review Questions
Scenario 1: A professional wildlife photographer operates a small UAS from a moving truck to capture aerial images of migrating birds in remote wetlands. The driver of the truck does not serve any crewmember role in the operation.

Is this small UAS operation in compliance with 14 CFR part 107?
YES Compliant with part 107

Scenario 2: Power company employees use a small UAS to inspect a long stretch of high voltage powerlines. Due to muddy conditions, their vehicle must stay beside the road and the crew uses binoculars to maintain visual line of sight with the aircraft.

Is this small UAS operation in compliance with 14 CFR part 107?
NO Not compliant with part 107

Scenario 3: Personnel at an outdoor concert venue use a small UAS to drop promotional t-shirts and CDs over the audience.

Is this small UAS operation in compliance with 14 CFR part 107?
NO Not compliant with part 107

Summary
This lesson examined rules for safe operation of a small UAS.

In summary, the Remote PIC and all crewmembers must comply with part 107 requirements by operating at appropriate times, in approved locations, and in a manner that protects the safety of persons, property, and the NAS.

You should now be able to:

Describe operational requirements and limitations for a small UAS
Describe potential certificates of waiver for select requirements in part 107

Rules for Safe Operation of Small UAS: Abnormal and Emergency Situations
Introduction
The previous lessons described preflight considerations and the rules for safe operation of a small UAS.

This lesson examines:

Abnormal and emergency situations
Accident reporting requirements

The previous lessons in this module described preflight considerations and the rules for safe operation of small unmanned aircraft systems.

This lesson examines the abnormal and emergency situations that could arise during a small unmanned aircraft system operation. The lesson then defines the requirements for notifying the FAA should an accident occur involving small unmanned aircraft.

Emergency Planning and Communication
A visitor inspects the Schiebel Camcopter during the unmanned aerial vehicle flight demonstration at Naval Air Station, Patuxent River, Maryland
In case of an in-flight emergency, the Remote PIC is permitted to deviate from any rule of part 107 to the extent necessary to meet that emergency. Upon FAA request, you must send a written report to the FAA explaining the deviation.

Become familiar with any manufacturer suggested emergency procedures prior to flight. Review emergency actions during preflight planning and inform crew members of their responsibilities.

Sources: 14 CFR part 107.21; AC 107-2, Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) (as amended)

Common Abnormal and Emergency Situations
The Remote PIC must be prepared to respond to abnormal and emergency situations during small UAS operations.

Refer to the manufacturer’s guidance for appropriate procedures in the following situations:

Abnormal situations, such as lost link, alternate landing/recovery sites, and flight termination (controlled flight to the ground)
Emergency situations, such as flyaways, loss of Global Positioning System (GPS), and battery fires

Lost Link
Without an onboard pilot, small UAS crewmembers rely on the command and control link to operate the aircraft. For example, an uplink transmits command instructions to the aircraft and a downlink transmits the status of the aircraft and provides situational awareness to the Remote PIC or person manipulating the controls.

Lost link is an interruption or loss of the control link between the control station and the unmanned aircraft, preventing control of the aircraft. As a result, the unmanned aircraft performs pre-set lost link procedures. Such procedures ensure that the unmanned aircraft:

Remains airborne in a predictable or planned maneuver, allowing time to re-establish the communication link
Autolands, if available, after a predetermined length of time or terminates the flight when the power source is depleted
A lost link is an abnormal situation, but not an emergency. A lost link is not considered a flyaway.

Lost Link: Pre-Flight Preparations
Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for programming lost link procedures prior to the flight.

Examples of lost link procedures may include, when applicable:

A lost link route of flight that avoids flight over populated areas
Communications procedures
Plan contingency measures in the event recovery of the small UAS is not feasible.

Contingency Planning
Contingency planning should include an alternate landing/recovery site to be used in the event of an abnormal condition that requires a precautionary landing away from the original launch location.

Incorporate the means of communication with ATC throughout the descent and landing (if required for the flight operation) as well as a plan for ground operations and securing/parking the aircraft on the ground. This includes the availability of control stations capable of launch/recovery, communication equipment, and an adequate power source to operate all required equipment.

Take into consideration all airspace constructs and minimize risk to other aircraft by avoiding congested areas to the maximum extent possible.

Flight Termination
Flight termination is the intentional and deliberate process of performing controlled flight to the ground. Flight termination may be part of lost link procedures, or it may be a contingency that you elect to use if further flight of the aircraft cannot be safely achieved, or if other potential hazards exist that require immediate discontinuation of flight.

Execute flight termination procedures if you have exhausted all other contingencies.

Flight termination points (FTPs), if used, or alternative contingency planning measures must:

Be located within power-off glide distance of the aircraft during all phases of flight
Be based on the assumption of an unrecoverable system failure
Take into consideration altitude, winds, and other factors

Flyaways
A flyaway begins as a lost link—an interruption or loss of the control link prevents control of the aircraft. As a result, the unmanned aircraft is not operating in a predicable or planned manner. However in a flyaway, the pre-set lost link procedures are not established or are not being executed by the unmanned aircraft, creating an emergency situation.

If a flyaway occurs while operating in airspace that requires authorization, notify ATC as outlined in the authorization.

Loss of Global Positioning System (GPS)
Global positioning system (GPS) tools can be a valuable resource for flight planning and situational awareness during a small UAS operation.

However, as with manned aviation, Remote PICs in small UAS operations must avoid overreliance on automation and must be prepared to operate the unmanned aircraft manually, if necessary.

Prior to flight, check NOTAMs for any known GPS service disruptions in the planned location of the small UAS operation
Make a plan of action to prevent or minimize damage in the event of equipment malfunction or failure

Risk of Battery Fires
Battery fires pose a significant hazard to a small UAS.

Both Lithium metal and lithium-ion batteries are:

Highly flammable
Capable of self-ignition when a battery short circuits or is overcharged, heated to extreme temperatures, mishandled, or otherwise defective
Subject to thermal runaway
During thermal runaway, lithium metal batteries generate sufficient heat to cause adjacent cells to go into thermal runaway. As a result, the lithium metal cell releases an explosive combination of a flammable electrolyte and molten lithium metal, accompanied by a large pressure pulse.

Source: Safety Alert for Operators (SAFO) 10017, Risks in Transporting Lithium Batteries in Cargo by Aircraft

Preventing Battery Fires: Storage
Ensure careful storage of spare (uninstalled) lithium batteries.

Take the following precautions to prevent a battery fire:

Prevent short circuits by placing each individual battery in the original retail packaging, a separate plastic bag, or a protective pouch or by insulating exposed terminals with tape
Do not allow spare batteries to come in contact with metal objects, such as coins, keys, or jewelry
Take steps to prevent objects from crushing, puncturing, or applying pressure on the battery

Source: SAFO 15010, Carriage of Spare Lithium Batteries in Carry-On and Checked Baggage

Preventing Battery Fires: Preflight
When preparing to conduct small UAS operations, do not use any battery with signs of damage or defect. For example, check carefully for small nicks in the battery casing and be alert for signs of bubbling or warping during charging.

Once the battery is installed and the small UAS takes flight, the Remote PIC or ground crew may not observe a battery fire until it is too late to land the aircraft safely.

If a battery fire occurs, follow any manufacturer guidance for response procedures.

Accident Reporting
The Remote PIC must report any small UAS accident to the FAA, within 10 calendar days of the operation, if any of the following thresholds are met:

Serious injury to any person or any loss of consciousness
Damage to any property, other than the small unmanned aircraft, if the cost is greater than $500 to repair or replace the property (whichever is lower)
File the report:

Electronically, via the FAA online small UAS accident reporting website
By phone to:
The appropriate FAA Regional Operations Center
The nearest Flight Standards District Office (FSDO)
Visit the Resources page to access the accident reporting website or contact information for the FSDOs and Regional Operations Centers (listed in AC 107-2, Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) (as amended))

Accident Reporting: Serious Injury Threshold
Under 14 CFR part 107, a serious injury qualifies as Level 3 or higher on the Abbreviated Injury Scale (AIS) of the Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine. This scale is an anatomical scoring system that is widely used by emergency medical personnel.

It would be considered a serious injury if a person requires hospitalization, but the injury is fully reversible including, but not limited to:

Head trauma
Broken bone(s)
Laceration(s) to the skin that requires suturing

Sources: 14 CFR part 107(III)(I)(2); AC 107-2, Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) (as amended)

Accident Reporting: Required Information
If the accident meets the previously described thresholds, report the following key information to FAA.

Category Required Information
Remote PIC Information
Name
Contact Information
FAA Airman Certificate Number
Aircraft Information

Registration Number (N-number or unique identifier issued in accordance with 14 CFR part 48)
Accident Information
Location of the Accident
Date and Time of the Accident
Person(s) Injured and Extent of Injury (if any or known)
Property Damaged and Extent of Damage (if any or known)
Description of What Happened
In addition to this FAA report, and in accordance with the criteria established by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), certain small UAS accidents must also be reported to the NTSB.

Review Questions
Scenario 1: During your preflight inspection, you discover a small nick in the casing of your small UAS battery.
What action should you take?

A Throw it away with your household trash.
B Use it as long as it will still hold a charge.
*C Follow the manufacturer’s guidance.

Scenario 2: You are part of a news crew, operating a small UAS to cover a breaking story. You experience a flyaway during landing. The unmanned aircraft strikes a vehicle, causing approximately $800 worth of damage.

When must you report the accident to the FAA?
Within 10 days

Summary
This lesson examined abnormal and emergency small UAS situations and accident reporting requirements.

In summary, the Remote PIC must take swift and appropriate action to avoid hazards and respond to equipment malfunction or failure. Should these response efforts fail and result in serious injury or damages, the Remote PIC must report the accident to FAA within 10 calendar days.

You should now be able to:

Identify common abnormal and emergency situations during small UAS operations
Identify requirements for reporting small UAS accidents

Section 336 of Public Law 112-95:

October 26th, 2017

This law is referenced in CFR 107 and at various other points in the sUAS documents so I thought it would be good to look it up. It is short, so I copied it.

SEC. 336. SPECIAL RULE FOR MODEL AIRCRAFT.

(a) IN GENERAL.—Notwithstanding any other provision of law relating to the incorporation of unmanned aircraft systems into Federal Aviation Administration plans and policies, including this subtitle, the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration may not promulgate any rule or regulation regarding a model aircraft, or an aircraft being developed as a model aircraft, if—

(1) the aircraft is flown strictly for hobby or recreational use;
(2) the aircraft is operated in accordance with a community-based set of safety guidelines and within the programming of a nationwide community-based organization;
(3) the aircraft is limited to not more than 55 pounds unless otherwise certified through a design, construction, inspection, flight test, and operational safety program adminis- tered by a community-based organization;
(4) the aircraft is operated in a manner that does not interfere with and gives way to any manned aircraft; and
(5) when flown within 5 miles of an airport, the operator of the aircraft provides the airport operator and the airport air traffic control tower (when an air traffic facility is located at the airport) with prior notice of the operation (model aircraft operators flying from a permanent location within 5 miles of an airport should establish a mutually-agreed upon operating procedure with the airport operator and the airport air traffic control tower (when an air traffic facility is located at the airport)).

(b) STATUTORY CONSTRUCTION.—Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit the authority of the Administrator to pursue enforcement action against persons operating model aircraft who endanger the safety of the national airspace system.

(c) MODEL AIRCRAFT DEFINED.—In this section, the term ‘‘model aircraft’’ means an unmanned aircraft that is—

(1) capable of sustained flight in the atmosphere;
(2) flown within visual line of sight of the person operating the aircraft; and
(3) flown for hobby or recreational purposes.

sUAS Sample Exam 2017-06-12

October 26th, 2017

Date effective: June 12, 2017 The following sample exam for Unmanned Aircraft General (UAG) is suitable study material for the Remote Pilot Certificate with a small UAS Rating. These questions are a representation of questions that can be found on all Unmanned Aircraft General tests. The applicant must realize that these questions are to be used as a study guide, and are not necessarily actual test questions. The full UAG test contains 60 questions.

Matching the learning statement codes with the codes listed on your Airman Knowledge Test Report assists in the evaluation of knowledge areas missed on your exam. It is available at http://www.faa.gov/training_testing/testing/media/LearningStatementReferenceGuide.pdf.

To see the answer, highlight the area next to the — as if you were going to copy it.

Sample UAG Exam with ACS Codes:

1. PLT064 UA.V.B.K6a (Refer to FAA-CT-8080-2G, Figure 21.) What airport is located approximately 47 (degrees) 40 (minutes) N latitude and 101 (degrees) 26 (minutes) W longitude?
A) Mercer County Regional Airport.
B) Semshenko Airport.
C) Garrison Airport.

Aeronautical Chart Users Guide 12th Edition A quadrant on Sectionals is the area bounded by ticked lines dividing each 30 minutes of latitude and each 30 minutes of longitude. On the chart we see 48° North, so the line of latitude below it is 47° 30′. We also see 101° longitude on the chart so the quadrant containing the red-circled 2 must be the one containing the airport. Each of the long hash marks is 10′ so if we count up from 47° 30′ by one hash mark, we are just above the Lake Nettie Refuge. Count over from the 101° longitude line and we are near the power plant. Garrison is the airport near those coordinates. If we look up Garrison in the Chart Supplement we can verify that its coordinates are N47°39.36′ W101°26.21′.

2. PLT064 UA.V.B.K6a (Refer to FAA-CT-8080-2G, Figure 26.) What does the line of latitude at area 4 measure?
A) The degrees of latitude east and west of the Prime Meridian.
B) The degrees of latitude north and south of the equator.
C) The degrees of latitude east and west of the line that passes through Greenwich, England.

Remote Pilot Study Guide Latitude and Longitude (Meridians and Parallels) The equator is an imaginary circle equidistant from the poles of the Earth. Circles parallel to the equator (lines running east and west) are parallels of latitude. They are used to measure degrees of latitude north (N) or south (S) of the equator. The angular distance from the equator to the pole is one-fourth of a circle or 90°. The 48 conterminous states of the United States are located between 25° and 49° N latitude. The arrows in Figure 11-3 labeled “Latitude” point to lines of latitude. Meridians of longitude are drawn from the North Pole to the South Pole and are at right angles to the Equator. The “Prime Meridian,” which passes through Greenwich, England, is used as the zero line from which measurements are made in degrees east (E) and west (W) to 180°. The 48 conterminous states of the United States are between 67° and 125° W longitude.

3. PLT040 UA.II.A.K1b (Refer to FAA-CT-8080-2G, Figure 23, area 3.) What is the floor of the Savannah Class C airspace at the shelf area (outer circle)?
A) 1,300 feet AGL.
B) 1,300 feet MSL.
C) 1,700 feet MSL.

Aeronautical Chart Users Guide 12th Edition The MSL ceiling and floor altitudes of each sector are shown in solid magenta figures with the last two zeros omitted. Savannah is on the lower left of the chart and the outer ring is labeled 41/13 so the floor is 1,300′ MSL.

4. PLT064 UA.II.A.K2 (Refer to FAA-CT-8080-2G, Figure 59, area 2.) The chart shows a gray line with “VR1667, VR1617, VR1638, and VR1668.” Could this area present a hazard to the operations of a small UA?
A) No, all operations will be above 400 feet.
B) Yes, this is a Military Training Route from the surface to 1,500 feet AGL.
C) Yes, the defined route provides traffic separation to manned aircraft.

Aeronautical Chart Users Guide 12th Edition MTRs are identified by designators (IR-107, VR-134) which are shown in brown on the route centerline. Arrows are shown to indicate the direction of ight along the route. The width of the route determines the width of the line that is plotted on the chart:
There are IFR (IR) and VFR (VR) routes as follows: Route identification:
a. Routes at or below 1500’ AGL (with no segment above 1500’) are identified by four-digit numbers; e.g., VR1007, etc. These routes are generally developed for flight under Visual Flight Rules.
b. Routes above 1500’ AGL (some segments of these routes may be below 1500’) are identified by three or fewer digit numbers; e.g., IR21, VR302, etc. These routes are developed for flight under Instrument Flight Rules.

5. PLT161 UA.II.A.K1b According to 14 CFR part 107 the remote pilot in command (PIC) of a small unmanned aircraft planning to operate within Class C airspace
A) must use a visual observer.
B) is required to file a flight plan.
C) is required to receive ATC authorization.

CFR §107.41 Operation in certain airspace.
No person may operate a small unmanned aircraft in Class B, Class C, or Class D airspace or within the lateral boundaries of the surface area of Class E airspace designated for an airport unless that person has prior authorization from Air Traffic Control (ATC).

6. PLT064 UA.II.A.K2 (Refer to FAA-CT-8080-2G, Figure 21.) You have been hired by a farmer to use your small UA to inspect his crops. The area that you are to survey is in the Devil’s Lake West MOA, east of area 2. How would you find out if the MOA is active?
A) Refer to the chart legend.
B) This information is available in the Small UAS database.
C) Refer to the Military Operations Directory.

Aeronautical Chart Users Guide 12th Edition CHART TABULATIONS Special Use Airspace (SUA): Prohibited, Restricted and Warning Areas are presented in blue and listed numerically for U.S. and other countries. Restricted, Danger and Advisory Areas outside the U.S. are tabulated separately in blue. A tabulation of Alert Areas (listed numerically) and Military Operations Areas (MOA) (listed alphabetically) appear on the chart in magenta. All are supplemented with altitude, time of use and the controlling agency/contact facility, and its frequency when available. The controlling agency will be shown when the contact facility and frequency data is unavailable.

7. PLT037 UA.II.B.K5 (Refer to FAA-CT-8080-2G, Figure 20, area 5.) How would a remote PIC “CHECK NOTAMS” as noted in the CAUTION box regarding the unmarked balloon?
A) By utilizing the B4UFLY mobile application.
B) By contacting the FAA district office.
C) By obtaining a briefing via an online source such as: 1800WXBrief.com.

Remote Pilot Study Guide NOTAMs are available… online at PilotWeb, which provides access to current NOTAM information. Local airport NOTAMs can be obtained online from various websites.

AIM 5−1−1. Preflight Preparation
a. Every pilot is urged to receive a preflight briefing and to file a flight plan. This briefing should consist of the latest or most current weather, airport, and en route NAVAID information.
d. FSSs are required to advise of pertinent NOTAMs if a standard briefing is requested, but if they are overlooked, don’t hesitate to remind the specialist that you have not received NOTAM information.
Lockheed Martin Flight Services
Internet Access: http://www.1800wxbrief.com For customer service: (866) 936−6826

AC 107-2 Notices to Airmen (NOTAM). Information on how to obtain NOTAMs can be found at PilotWeb.

8. PLT313 UA.IV.A.K1b To ensure that the unmanned aircraft center of gravity (CG) limits are not exceeded, follow the aircraft loading instructions specified in the
A) Pilot`s Operating Handbook or UAS Flight Manual.
B) Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM).
C) Aircraft Weight and Balance Handbook.

Remote Pilot Study Guide Adverse balance conditions (i.e., weight distribution) may affect flight characteristics in much the same manner as those mentioned for an excess weight condition. Limits for the location of the center of gravity (CG) may be established by the manufacturer.

From the course materials, As with any aircraft, compliance with weight and balance limits is critical to the safety of flight for a small UAS. An unmanned aircraft that is loaded out of balance may exhibit unexpected and unsafe flight characteristics.

Before any flight, verify that the unmanned aircraft is correctly loaded by determining the weight and balance condition.

Review any available manufacturer weight and balance data and follow all warnings, cautions, notes, and limitations.

If the manufacturer does not provide specific weight and balance data, apply general weight and balance principals to determine limits for a given flight. For example, add weight to the unmanned aircraft in a manner that does not adversely affect the aircraft’s center of gravity (CG) location—a point at which the unmanned aircraft would balance if it were suspended at that point.

From AC 107-2 1. Weight and Balance (W&B).
Before any flight, the remote PIC should verify the aircraft is correctly loaded by determining the W&B condition of the aircraft. An aircraft’s W&B restrictions established by the manufacturer or the builder should be closely followed. Compliance with the manufacturer’s W&B limits is critical to flight safety. The remote PIC must consider the consequences of an overweight aircraft if an emergency condition arises.

9. PLT310 UA.IV.A.K1a When operating an unmanned airplane, the remote pilot should consider that the load factor on the wings may be increased any time
A) the CG is shifted rearward to the aft CG limit.
B) the airplane is subjected to maneuvers other than straight-and-level flight.
C) the gross weight is reduced.

The Remote Pilot Study Guide Chapter 4 Load Factors in Steep Turns has a detailed description of how the load factor is affected by turns.

FAA-H-8083-25, Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge, Chapter 5 Critical load factors apply to all flight maneuvers except unaccelerated straight flight where a load factor of 1 G is always present.

10. PLT312 UA.IV.A.K1b A stall occurs when the smooth airflow over the unmanned airplane`s wing is disrupted and the lift degenerates rapidly. This is caused when the wing
A) exceeds the maximum speed.
B) exceeds maximum allowable operating weight.
C) exceeds its critical angle of attack.

FAA-H-8083-3, Airplane Flying Handbook, Chapter 4 A stall is an aerodynamic condition which occurs when smooth airflow over the airplane’s wings is disrupted, resulting in loss of lift. Specifically, a stall occurs when the AOA—the angle between the chord line of the wing and the relative wind—exceeds the wing’s critical AOA. It is possible to exceed the critical AOA at any airspeed, at any attitude, and at any power setting.

11. PLT309 UA.IV.A.K1a (Refer to FAA-CT-8080-2G, Figure 2.) If an unmanned airplane weighs 33 pounds, what approximate weight would the airplane structure be required to support during a 30° banked turn while maintaining altitude?
A) 34 pounds.
B) 47 pounds.
C) 38 pounds.

This figure is taken from Remote Pilot Study Guide Chapter 4 Load Factors in Steep Turns and is also found in FAA-H-8083-25, Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge, Chapter 5 Load Factors and Stalling Speeds. We can see from the chart that the load factor increase is small, on the side of the chart we see that it is 1.154. Multiply the load factor by the original weight to get 38 lbs.

12. PLT205 UA.V.E.K2 Which is true regarding the presence of alcohol within the human body?
A) A small amount of alcohol increases vision acuity.
B) Consuming an equal amount of water will increase the destruction of alcohol and alleviate a hangover.
C) Judgment and decision-making abilities can be adversely affected by even small amounts of alcohol.

Remote Pilot Study Guide Alcohol impairs the efficiency of the human body. Studies have shown that consuming alcohol is closely linked to performance deterioration. Pilots must make hundreds of decisions, some of them time-critical, during the course of a flight. The safe outcome of any flight depends on the ability to make the correct decisions and take the appropriate actions during routine occurrences, as well as abnormal situations. The influence of alcohol drastically reduces the chances of completing a flight without incident. Even in small amounts, alcohol can impair judgment, decrease sense of responsibility, affect coordination, constrict visual field, diminish memory, reduce reasoning ability, and lower attention span. As little as one ounce of alcohol can decrease the speed and strength of muscular reflexes, lessen the efficiency of eye movements while reading, and increase the frequency at which errors are committed. Impairments in vision and hearing can occur from consuming as little as one drink.

AC 107-2 It is the remote PIC’s responsibility to ensure all crewmembers are not participating in the operation while impaired. While drug and alcohol use are known to impair judgment, certain over-the-counter medications and medical conditions could also affect the ability to safely operate a small UA.

13. PLT441 UA.V.C.K1 When using a small UA in a commercial operation, who is responsible for briefing the participants about emergency procedures?
A) The FAA inspector-in-charge.
B) The lead visual observer.
C) The remote PIC.

CFR §107.49 Preflight familiarization, inspection, and actions for aircraft operation.
Prior to flight, the remote pilot in command must:
(b) Ensure that all persons directly participating in the small unmanned aircraft operation are informed about the operating conditions, emergency procedures, contingency procedures, roles and responsibilities, and potential hazards;

14. PLT403 UA.V.C.K1 To avoid a possible collision with a manned airplane, you estimate that your small UA climbed to an altitude greater than 600 feet AGL. To whom must you report the deviation?
A) Air Traffic Control.
B) The National Transportation Safety Board.
C) Upon request of the Federal Aviation Administration.

CFR §107.21 In-flight emergency.
(b) Each remote pilot in command who deviates from a rule under paragraph (a) of this section must, upon request of the Administrator, send a written report of that deviation to the Administrator.

15. PLT146 UA.V.A.K3 (Refer to FAA-CT-8080-2G, Figure 26, area 2.) While monitoring the Cooperstown CTAF you hear an aircraft announce that they are midfield left downwind to RWY 13. Where would the aircraft be relative to the runway?
A) The aircraft is East.
B) The aircraft is South.
C) The aircraft is West.

Runways are depicted on the charts in a blue or magenta circle. The orientation of the white line is the orientation of the runway with respect to true north. AIM 2-3-3 Runway Designators. Runway numbers and letters are determined from the approach direction. The runway number is the whole number nearest one-tenth the magnetic azimuth of the centerline of the runway, measured clockwise from the magnetic north. So depending on the magnetic deviation, there might be a difference in the orientation on the chart versus the name. In this case, there is one runway. The runway oriented northwest to southeast is RWY 13. Refer to AIM FIG 4−3−2 Traffic Pattern Operations Single Runway for a description of the labels of a traffic pattern. An aircraft on the left downwind would be to the East of the runway.

16. PLT446 UA.V.F.K1 Under what condition should the operator of a small UA establish scheduled maintenance protocol?
A) When the manufacturer does not provide a maintenance schedule.
B) UAS does not need a required maintenance schedule.
C) When the FAA requires you to, following an accident.

AC 107-2 7.2 Maintenance. sUAS maintenance includes scheduled and unscheduled overhaul, repair, inspection, modification, replacement, and system software upgrades of the sUAS and its components necessary for flight. Whenever possible, the operator should maintain the sUAS and its components in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions. The aircraft manufacturer may provide the maintenance program, or, if one is not provided, the applicant may choose to develop one.

17. PLT372 UA.V.F.K2 According to 14 CFR part 107, the responsibility to inspect the small UAS to ensure it is in a safe operating condition rests with the
A) remote pilot-in-command.
B) visual observer.
C) owner of the small UAS.

CFR §107.15 Condition for safe operation.
(a) No person may operate a civil small unmanned aircraft system unless it is in a condition for safe operation. Prior to each flight, the remote pilot in command must check the small unmanned aircraft system to determine whether it is in a condition for safe operation.

18. PLT103 UA.V.D.K4 Identify the hazardous attitude or characteristic a remote pilot displays while taking risks in order to impress others?
A) Impulsivity.
B) Invulnerability.
C) Macho.

Remote Pilot Study Guide Figure 10-2 and FAA-H-8083-25, Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge, Figure 2-4 The five hazardous attitudes identified through past and contemporary study. Invulnerability “It won’t happen to me.” Many people falsely believe that accidents happen to others, but never to them. They know accidents can happen, and they know that anyone can be affected. However, they never really feel or believe that they will be personally involved. Pilots who think this way are more likely to take chances and increase risk.

19. PLT272 UA.V.E.K5 You are a remote pilot for a co-op energy service provider. You are to use your UA to inspect power lines in a remote area 15 hours away from your home office. After the drive, fatigue impacts your abilities to complete your assignment on time. Fatigue can be recognized
A) easily by an experienced pilot.
B) as being in an impaired state.
C) by an ability to overcome sleep deprivation.

Remote Pilot Study Guide Fatigue is frequently associated with pilot error. Some of the effects of fatigue include degradation of attention and concentration, impaired coordination, and decreased ability to communicate. These factors seriously influence the ability to make effective decisions.

Remote Pilot Study Guide Fatigue continues to be one of the most insidious hazards to flight safety, as it may not be apparent to a pilot until serious errors are made.

FAA-H-8083-25, Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge Exhaustion Pilots who become fatigued during a night flight will not be mentally alert and will respond more slowly to situations requiring immediate action. Exhausted pilots tend to concentrate on one aspect of a situation without considering the total requirement. Their performance may become a safety hazard depending on the degree of fatigue and instead of using proper scanning techniques may get fixated on the instruments or stare off rather than multitask.

20. PLT104 UA.V.D.K1 Safety is an important element for a remote pilot to consider prior to operating an unmanned aircraft system. To prevent the final “link” in the accident chain, a remote pilot must consider which methodology?
A) Crew Resource Management.
B) Safety Management System.
C) Risk Management.

The answer to this question is most likely A. Risk Assessment is a term that is used in AC 107-2 but Risk Management is not mentioned. Safety Management System is a term that the FAA uses in relation to airports, but not pilots. Crew Resource Management is mentioned in the FAR as one of the areas tested in the Knowledge Test so it is probably the answer.

21. PLT104 UA.V.D.K2 When adapting crew resource management (CRM) concepts to the operation of a small UA, CRM must be integrated into
A) the flight portion only.
B) all phases of the operation.
C) the communications only.

AC 107-2 A.2.5 A characteristic of CRM is creating an environment where open communication is encouraged and expected, and involves the entire crew to maximize team performance. Many of the same resources that are available to manned aircraft operations are available to UAS operations. For example, remote PICs can take advantage of traditional CRM. These crewmembers can provide information about traffic, airspace, weather, equipment, and aircraft loading and performance.

22. PLT103 UA.V.D.K4 You have been hired as a remote pilot by a local TV news station to film breaking news with a small UA. You expressed a safety concern and the station manager has instructed you to `fly first, ask questions later.` What type of hazardous attitude does this attitude represent?
A) Machismo.
B) Invulnerability.
C) Impulsivity.

Remote Pilot Study Guide Figure 10-2 and FAA-H-8083-25, Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge, Figure 2-4 The five hazardous attitudes identified through past and contemporary study. Impulsivity “Do it quickly.” This is the attitude of people who frequently feel the need to do something, anything, immediately. They do not stop to think about what they are about to do, they do not select the best alternative, and they do the first thing that comes to mind.

23. PLT271 UA.V.D.K1 A local TV station has hired a remote pilot to operate their small UA to cover news stories. The remote pilot has had multiple near misses with obstacles on the ground and two small UAS accidents. What would be a solution for the news station to improve their operating safety culture?
A) The news station should implement a policy of no more than five crashes/incidents within 6 months.
B) The news station does not need to make any changes; there are times that an accident is unavoidable.
C) The news station should recognize hazardous attitudes and situations and develop standard operating procedures that emphasize safety.

Remote Pilot Study Guide During each flight, the single pilot makes many decisions under hazardous conditions. To fly safely, the pilot needs to assess the degree of risk and determine the best course of action to mitigate the risk.

FAA-H-8083-25, Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge, Chapter 2 Aeronautical Decision Making Being fit to fly depends on more than just a pilot’s physical condition and recent experience. For example, attitude affects the quality of decisions. Attitude is a motivational predisposition to respond to people, situations, or events in a given manner.

It is not clear from the question whether the incidents are due to hazardous attitudes, lack of skill, or a combination of both. In any case, the remote pilot in command has not adequately assessed the risk of flying in these situations.

24. PLT064 UA.V.B.K6a (Refer to FAA-CT-8080-2G, Figure 22, area 2.) At Coeur D`Alene which frequency should be used as a Common Traffic Advisory Frequency (CTAF) to monitor airport traffic?
A) 122.05 MHz.
B) 135.075 MHz.
C) 122.8 MHz.

Aeronautical Chart Users Guide 12th Edition A ‘C’ in a dark circle follows the Common Traffic Advisory Frequency (CTAF). In this case it shows 122.8.

You could also purchase or download a copy of the Chart Supplement for your area. Remote Pilot Study Guide The Chart Supplement U.S. (formerly Airport/Facility Directory) provides the most comprehensive information on a given airport. It contains information on airports, heliports, and seaplane bases that are open to the public.

25. PLT101 UA.V.B.K6a (Refer to FAA-CT-8080-2G, Figure 26, area 4.) You have been hired to inspect the tower under construction at 46.9N and 98.6W, near Jamestown Regional (JMS). What must you receive prior to flying your unmanned aircraft in this area?
A) Authorization from the military.
B) Authorization from ATC.
C) Authorization from the National Park Service.

This is an odd way of writing the coordinates of the tower, but if we assume that they mean N46°54″ W98°36″ then it lies in the airspace for JMS and according to CFR §107.41 Operation in certain airspace. No person may operate a small unmanned aircraft in Class B, Class C, or Class D airspace or within the lateral boundaries of the surface area of Class E airspace designated for an airport unless that person has prior authorization from Air Traffic Control (ATC).

26. PLT064 UA.V.B.K6a (Refer to FAA-CT-8080-2G, Figure 20, area 3.) With ATC authorization, you are operating your small unmanned aircraft approximately 4 SM southeast of Elizabeth City Regional Airport (ECG). What hazard is indicated to be in that area?
A) High density military operations in the vicinity.
B) Unmarked balloon on a cable up to 3,008 feet AGL.
C) Unmarked balloon on a cable up to 3,008 feet MSL.

The charted box clearly indicates that there is an unmarked balloon up to 3,008 feet MSL.

27. PLT281 UA.V.B.K6b The most comprehensive information on a given airport is provided by
A) the Chart Supplements U.S. (formerly Airport Facility Directory).
B) Notices to Airmen (NOTAMS).
C) Terminal Area Chart (TAC).

Remote Pilot Study Guide The Chart Supplement U.S. (formerly Airport/Facility Directory) provides the most comprehensive information on a given airport. It contains information on airports, heliports, and seaplane bases that are open to the public.

28. PLT454 UA.I.B.K20 According to 14 CFR part 107, who is responsible for determining the performance of a small unmanned aircraft?
A) Remote pilot-in-command.
B) Manufacturer.
C) Owner or operator.

CFR §107.15 Condition for safe operation.
(a) No person may operate a civil small unmanned aircraft system unless it is in a condition for safe operation. Prior to each flight, the remote pilot in command must check the small unmanned aircraft system to determine whether it is in a condition for safe operation.

29. PLT194 UA.I.B.K14a Which technique should a remote pilot use to scan for traffic? A remote pilot should
A) systematically focus on different segments of the sky for short intervals.
B) concentrate on relative movement detected in the peripheral vision area.
C) continuously scan the sky from right to left.

Remote Pilot Study Guide To scan effectively, pilots must look from right to left or left to right. They should begin scanning at the greatest distance an object can be perceived (top) and move inward toward the position of the aircraft (bottom). For each stop, an area approximately 30° wide should be scanned. The duration of each stop is based on the degree of detail that is required, but no stop should last longer than 2 to 3 seconds. When moving from one viewing point to the next, pilots should overlap the previous field of view by 10°.

FAA-H-8083-25, Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge Effective scanning is accomplished with a series of short, regularly spaced eye movements that bring successive areas of the sky into the central visual field. Each movement should not exceed 10°, and each should be observed for at least 1 second to enable detection. Although back and forth eye movements seem preferred by most pilots, each pilot should develop a scanning pattern that is most comfortable and then adhere to it to assure optimum scanning.

30. PLT530 UA.I.B.K1 Under what condition would a small UA not have to be registered before it is operated in the United States?
A) When the aircraft weighs less than .55 pounds on takeoff, including everything that is on-board or attached to the aircraft.
B) When the aircraft has a takeoff weight that is more than .55 pounds, but less than 55 pounds, not including fuel and necessary attachments.
C) All small UAS need to be registered regardless of the weight of the aircraft before, during, or after the flight.

You need to register your aircraft if it weighs between 0.55 lbs. (250 grams) and up to 55 lbs. (25 kg) and you are not flying under the Special Rule for Model Aircraft. Register My sUAS

The lower limit is contained in CFR §48.15 Requirement to register. CFR §48.15 Requirement to register.
No person may operate a small unmanned aircraft that is eligible for registration under 49 U.S.C. 44101-44103 unless one of the following criteria has been satisfied:
(a) The owner has registered and marked the aircraft in accordance with this part;
(b) The aircraft weighs 0.55 pounds or less on takeoff, including everything that is on board or otherwise attached to the aircraft;

The upper limit is defined by a combination of FARs.
CFR §107.3 Definitions.
Small unmanned aircraft means an unmanned aircraft weighing less than 55 pounds on takeoff, including everything that is on board or otherwise attached to the aircraft.

and

CFR §48.5 Compliance dates.
a) Small unmanned aircraft used exclusively as model aircraft.… (b) Small unmanned aircraft used as other than model aircraft. Small unmanned aircraft owners authorized to conduct operations other than model aircraft operations must register the small unmanned aircraft in accordance with part 47 of this chapter…

31. PLT530 UA.I.B.K1 According to 14 CFR part 48, when must a person register a small UA with the Federal Aviation Administration?
A) All civilian small UAs weighing greater than .55 pounds must be registered regardless of its intended use.
B) When the small UA is used for any purpose other than as a model aircraft.
C) Only when the operator will be paid for commercial services.

CFR §48.15 Requirement to register.
No person may operate a small unmanned aircraft that is eligible for registration under 49 U.S.C. 44101-44103 unless one of the following criteria has been satisfied:
(a) The owner has registered and marked the aircraft in accordance with this part;
(b) The aircraft weighs 0.55 pounds or less on takeoff, including everything that is on board or otherwise attached to the aircraft; or
(c) The aircraft is an aircraft of the Armed Forces of the United States.

32. PLT530 UA.I.B.K1 According to 14 CFR part 48, when would a small UA owner not be permitted to register it?
A) If the owner is less than 13 years of age.
B) All persons must register their small UA.
C) If the owner does not have a valid United States driver`s license.

CFR §48.25 Applicants.
(b) A small unmanned aircraft must be registered by its owner using the legal name of its owner, unless the owner is less than 13 years of age. If the owner is less than 13 years of age, then the small unmanned aircraft must be registered by a person who is at least 13 years of age.

33. PLT161 UA.I.B.K16 According to 14 CFR part 107, how may a remote pilot operate an unmanned aircraft in Class C airspace?
A) The remote pilot must have prior authorization from the Air Traffic Control (ATC) facility having jurisdiction over that airspace.
B) The remote pilot must monitor the Air Traffic Control (ATC) frequency from launch to recovery.
C) The remote pilot must contact the Air Traffic Control (ATC) facility after launching the unmanned aircraft.

CFR §107.41 Operation in certain airspace.
No person may operate a small unmanned aircraft in Class B, Class C, or Class D airspace or within the lateral boundaries of the surface area of Class E airspace designated for an airport unless that person has prior authorization from Air Traffic Control (ATC).

34. PLT119 UA.I.B.K9 According to 14 CFR part 107, what is required to operate a small UA within 30 minutes after official sunset?
A) Use of anti-collision lights.
B) Must be operated in a rural area.
C) Use of a transponder.

CFR §1
Night means the time between the end of evening civil twilight and the beginning of morning civil twilight, as published in the Air Almanac, converted to local time.

CFR §107.29 Daylight operation.
(a) No person may operate a small unmanned aircraft system during night.
(b) No person may operate a small unmanned aircraft system during periods of civil twilight unless the small unmanned aircraft has lighted anti-collision lighting visible for at least 3 statute miles. The remote pilot in command may reduce the intensity of the anti-collision lighting if he or she determines that, because of operating conditions, it would be in the interest of safety to do so.

Note that civil twilight is about a half hour after sunset and before sunrise so anti-collision lights are required if operating in that period.

35. PLT301 UA.III.B.K1j You have received an outlook briefing from flight service through 1800wxbrief.com. The briefing indicates you can expect a low-level temperature inversion with high relative humidity. What weather conditions would you expect?
A) Smooth air, poor visibility, fog, haze, or low clouds.
B) Light wind shear, poor visibility, haze, and light rain.
C) Turbulent air, poor visibility, fog, low stratus type clouds, and showery precipitation.

Remote Pilot Study Guide When the temperature of the air rises with altitude, a temperature inversion exists. Inversion layers are commonly shallow layers of smooth, stable air close to the ground. The temperature of the air increases with altitude to a certain point, which is the top of the inversion. The air at the top of the layer acts as a lid, keeping weather and pollutants trapped below. If the relative humidity of the air is high, it can contribute to the formation of clouds, fog, haze, or smoke resulting in diminished visibility in the inversion layer.

FAA-H-8083-25, Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge Inversion As air rises and expands in the atmosphere, the temperature decreases. There is an atmospheric anomaly that can occur; however, that changes this typical pattern of atmospheric behavior. When the temperature of the air rises with altitude, a temperature inversion exists. Inversion layers are commonly shallow layers of smooth, stable air close to the ground. The temperature of the air increases with altitude to a certain point, which is the top of the inversion. The air at the top of the layer acts as a lid, keeping weather and pollutants trapped below. If the relative humidity of the air is high, it can contribute to the formation of clouds, fog, haze, or smoke resulting in diminished visibility in the inversion layer.

36. PLT351 UA.III.B.K1a What effect does high density altitude have on the efficiency of a UA propeller?
A) Propeller efficiency is increased.
B) Propeller efficiency is decreased.
C) Density altitude does not affect propeller efficiency.

FAA-H-8083-25, Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge The density of the air, of course, has a pronounced effect on aircraft and engine performance. Regardless of the actual altitude at which the aircraft is operating, it will perform as though it were operating at an altitude equal to the existing density altitude.… High density altitude refers to thin air while low density altitude refers to dense air. The conditions that result in a high density altitude are high elevations, low atmospheric pressures, high temperatures, high humidity, or some combination of these factors.

37. PLT511 UA.III.B.K1d What are characteristics of a moist, unstable air mass?
A) Turbulence and showery precipitation.
B) Poor visibility and smooth air.
C) Haze and smoke.

Remote Pilot Study Guide Stability of an air mass determines its typical weather characteristics. When one type of air mass overlies another, conditions change with height. Characteristics typical of an unstable and a stable air mass are as follows:
Unstable Air: Cumuliform clouds, Showery precipitation, Rough air (turbulence), Good visibility (except in blowing obstructions).
Stable Air: Stratiform clouds and fog, Continuous precipitation, Smooth air, Fair to poor visibility in haze and smoke.

FAA-H-8083-25, Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge Moist, unstable air causes cumulus clouds, showers, and turbulence to form.

38. PLT173 UA.III.B.K1c What are the characteristics of stable air?
A) Good visibility and steady precipitation.
B) Poor visibility and steady precipitation.
C) Poor visibility and intermittent precipitation.

Remote Pilot Study Guide Stability of an air mass determines its typical weather characteristics. When one type of air mass overlies another, conditions change with height. Characteristics typical of an unstable and a stable air mass are as follows:
Unstable Air: Cumuliform clouds, Showery precipitation, Rough air (turbulence), Good visibility (except in blowing obstructions).
Stable Air: Stratiform clouds and fog, Continuous precipitation, Smooth air, Fair to poor visibility in haze and smoke.

FAA-H-8083-25, Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge …a stable air mass with poor surface visibility. The poor surface visibility is due to the fact that smoke, dust, and other particles cannot rise out of the air mass and are instead trapped near the surface. A stable air mass can produce low stratus clouds and fog.

AC 00-6B Aviation Weather Stability of an air mass determines its typical weather characteristics. When one type of air mass overlies another, conditions change with height. Characteristics typical of an unstable and a stable air mass are as follows:
Unstable air: Cumuliform clouds, Showery precipitation, Rough air (turbulence), Good Visibility.
Stable air; Stratiform clouds and fog, Continuous precipitation, Smooth air, Fair to poor visibility in haze and smoke.

39. PLT059 UA.III.A.K2 (Refer to FAA-CT-8080-2G, Figure 12.) The wind direction and velocity at KJFK is from
A) 180° true at 4 knots.
B) 180° magnetic at 4 knots.
C) 040° true at 18 knots.

Remote Pilot Study Guide Chapter 3a: Aviation Weather Sources has a good description of how to decode METARs and TAFs.

Aviation Weather also does a good job of explaining how to decode. The METARs site lets you see the decoded weather next to the coded weather so you can test yourself. They are produced by NOAA and WIND DIRECTION AND SPEED: Direction in tens of degrees from true north (first three digits); next two digits: speed in whole knots; as needed Gusts (character) followed by maximum observed speed; always followed by KT to indicate knots; 00000KT for calm>

18004kt translates to 180° true and 4 kts.

40. PLT059 UA.III.A.K2 (Refer to FAA-CT-8080-2G, Figure 12.) What are the current conditions for Chicago Midway Airport (KMDW)?
A) Sky 700 feet overcast, visibility 1-1/2SM, rain.
B) Sky 7,000 feet overcast, visibility 1-1/2SM, heavy rain.
C) Sky 700 feet overcast, visibility 11, occasionally 2SM, with rain.

Remote Pilot Study Guide Chapter 3a: Aviation Weather Sources has a good description of how to decode METARs and TAFs.

Aviation Weather also does a good job of explaining how to decode. Aviation Weather does a good job of explaining it. The METARs site lets you see the decoded weather next to the coded weather so you can test yourself. They are produced by NOAA and
VISIBILITY: Prevailing visibility in statue miles and fractions (space between whole miles and fractions); always followed by SM to indicate statute miles; values less than 1/4 reported as M1/4SM.

OVC 007 is overcast at 700 feet, 1 1/2SM translates to visibilty of 1-1/2SM, RA is rain.

Exam: Part 107 small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS)

October 26th, 2017

Welcome to the exam for Part 107 small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS).
You must complete the entire exam in one session. If the exam is not completed and graded in 90 minutes or less, you will need to retake the entire exam when you log into the course again.
You may review course material as you take the test. Many questions have references links available. (A separate window will open. Close that window when ready to continue with this exam.)
When complete, press the “Grade Exam” button at the bottom.
If you get wrong answers you will be brought back to the exam with the incorrect answers marked.
You must get 100% to pass the exam.

1. Which of the following individuals may process an application for a part 107 remote pilot certificate with a small UAS rating? [Sources: 14 CFR parts 107.63 and 61.56]
A) Commercial Balloon pilot
B) Remote Pilot in Command
C) Designated Pilot Examiner

CFR §107.63 Issuance of a remote pilot certificate with a small UAS rating.
(1) The application must be submitted to a Flight Standards District Office, a designated pilot examiner, an airman certification representative for a pilot school, a certificated flight instructor, or other person authorized by the Administrator;

2. After receiving a part 107 remote pilot certificate with a small UAS rating, how often must you satisfy recurrent training requirements? [Sources: 14 CFR part 107.63 and 107.65; AC 107-2, Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) (as amended)]
A) Every 24 months
B) Every 12 months
C) Every 6 months

CFR §107.65 Aeronautical knowledge recency.
A person may not operate a small unmanned aircraft system unless that person has completed one of the following, within the previous 24 calendar months:
(b) Passed a recurrent aeronautical knowledge test covering the areas of knowledge specified in §107.73(b); or
(c) If a person holds a pilot certificate (other than a student pilot certificate) issued under part 61 of this chapter and meets the flight review requirements specified in §§61.56, passed either an initial or recurrent training course covering the areas of knowledge specified in §107.74(a) or (b) in a manner acceptable to the Administrator.

3. According to 14 CFR part 107, a small UAS is a unmanned aircraft system weighing: [Sources: 14 CFR parts 107.1 and 107.3; AC 107-2, Small UAS (sUAS)(as amended)]
A) 55 lbs
B) Less than 55 lbs
C) 55kg or less

CFR §107.3 Definitions.
Small unmanned aircraft means an unmanned aircraft weighing less than 55 pounds on takeoff, including everything that is on board or otherwise attached to the aircraft.

4. Unmanned aircraft means an aircraft operated: [Sources: 14 CFR parts 107.1 and 107.3; AC 107-2, Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems(sUAS)(as amended)]
A) Autonomously by onboard computers
B) During search and rescue operations other than public
C) Without the possibility of direct human intervention from within or on the aircraft

CFR §107.3 Definitions.
Small unmanned aircraft means an unmanned aircraft weighing less than 55 pounds on takeoff, including everything that is on board or otherwise attached to the aircraft.

5. Which of the following types of operations are excluded from the requirements in part 107? [Sources: 14 CFR parts 101.41 and 107.1]
A) Model aircraft for hobby use flown in accordance with 14 CFR part 101
B) Quadcopter capturing aerial imagery for crop monitoring
C) UAS used for motion picture filming

CFR §107.1 Applicability.
(a) Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section, this part applies to the registration, airman certification, and operation of civil small unmanned aircraft systems within the United States.

CFR §101.41 Applicability.
This subpart prescribes rules governing the operation of a model aircraft (or an aircraft being developed as a model aircraft) that meets all of the following conditions as set forth in section 336 of Public Law 112-95:
(a) The aircraft is flown strictly for hobby or recreational use;

6. Which of the following operations require adherence to 14 CFR 107? [Sources: 14 CFR parts 101.41 and 107.1]
A) Flying for enjoyment with family and friends
B) Operating your small UAS for an imagery company
C) Conducting public operations during a search mission

CFR §107.1 Applicability.
(3) Any operation that a remote pilot in command elects to conduct pursuant to an exemption issued under section 333 of Public Law 112-95, unless otherwise specified in the exemption.

7. According to 14 CFR part 48, when would a small unmanned aircraft owner not be permitted to register it? [Source: 14 CFR 48.25(b)]
A) If the owner does not have a valid United States driver`s license
B) All persons are eligible to register a small unmanned aircraft
C) If the owner is less than 13 years of age

CFR §48.25 Applicants.
(b) A small unmanned aircraft must be registered by its owner using the legal name of its owner, unless the owner is less than 13 years of age. If the owner is less than 13 years of age, then the small unmanned aircraft must be registered by a person who is at least 13 years of age.

8. Under what condition would a small unmanned aircraft not have to be registered before it is operated in the United States? [Source: 14 CFR 48.15]
A) When the aircraft has a takeoff weight that is more than 0.55 pounds, but less than 55 pounds, not including fuel and necessary attachments
B) When the aircraft weighs less than 0.55 pounds on takeoff, including everything that is on-board or attached to the aircraft
C) All small unmanned aircraft need to be registered regardless of the weight of the aircraft before, during, or after the flight

You need to register your aircraft if it weighs between 0.55 lbs. (250 grams) and up to 55 lbs. (25 kg) and you are not flying under the Special Rule for Model Aircraft. Register My sUAS

The lower limit is contained in CFR §48.15 Requirement to register.
No person may operate a small unmanned aircraft that is eligible for registration under 49 U.S.C. 44101-44103 unless one of the following criteria has been satisfied:
(a) The owner has registered and marked the aircraft in accordance with this part;
(b) The aircraft weighs 0.55 pounds or less on takeoff, including everything that is on board or otherwise attached to the aircraft;

The upper limit is defined by a combination of FARs.
CFR §107.3 Definitions.
Small unmanned aircraft means an unmanned aircraft weighing less than 55 pounds on takeoff, including everything that is on board or otherwise attached to the aircraft.

and

CFR §48.5 Compliance dates.
a) Small unmanned aircraft used exclusively as model aircraft.… (b) Small unmanned aircraft used as other than model aircraft. Small unmanned aircraft owners authorized to conduct operations other than model aircraft operations must register the small unmanned aircraft in accordance with part 47 of this chapter…

9. When using a small unmanned aircraft in a commercial operation, who is responsible for informing the participants about emergency procedures? [Source: AC 107-2, Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS)(as amended)]
A) The FAA Inspector-in-Charge
B) The Remote Pilot in Command
C) The lead visual observer

CFR §107.49 Preflight familiarization, inspection, and actions for aircraft operation.
Prior to flight, the remote pilot in command must:
(b) Ensure that all persons directly participating in the small unmanned aircraft operation are informed about the operating conditions, emergency procedures, contingency procedures, roles and responsibilities, and potential hazards;

10. A person without a part 107 remote pilot certificate may operate a small UAS for commercial operations: [Source: AC-107-2, Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) (as amended)]
A) Only when visual observers participate in the operation
B) Under the direct supervision of a Remote PIC
C) Alone, if operating during daylight hours

CFR §107.12 Requirement for a remote pilot certificate with a small UAS rating.
(a) Except as provided in paragraph (c) of this section, no person may manipulate the flight controls of a small unmanned aircraft system unless:
(1) That person has a remote pilot certificate with a small UAS rating issued pursuant to subpart C of this part and satisfies the requirements of §107.65; or
(2) That person is under the direct supervision of a remote pilot in command and the remote pilot in command has the ability to immediately take direct control of the flight of the small unmanned aircraft.

11. A person whose sole task is watching the small UAS to report hazards to the rest of the crew is called: [Sources: 14 CFR part 107.3; AC 107-2, Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS)(as amended)]
A) Remote PIC
B) Visual observer
C) Person manipulating the controls

§107.3 Definitions.
Visual observer means a person who is designated by the remote pilot in command to assist the remote pilot in command and the person manipulating the flight controls of the small UAS to see and avoid other air traffic or objects aloft or on the ground.

12. When adapting crew resource management (CRM) concepts to the operation of a small unmanned aircraft, CRM must be integrated into: [Source: FAA-H-8083-25, Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge (PHAK), 17-2]
A) All phases of the operation
B) The communications only
C) The flight portion only

AC 107-2 A.2.5 A characteristic of CRM is creating an environment where open communication is encouraged and expected, and involves the entire crew to maximize team performance. Many of the same resources that are available to manned aircraft operations are available to UAS operations. For example, remote PICs can take advantage of traditional CRM. These crewmembers can provide information about traffic, airspace, weather, equipment, and aircraft loading and performance.

13. You have been hired as a Remote Pilot in Command by a local TV news station to film breaking news with a small unmanned aircraft. You expressed a safety concern and the station manager has instructed you to “hurry up and get it done.” What type of hazardous attitude does this attitude represent? [Source: FAA-H-8083-25, Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge (PHAK), 17-4]
A) Impulsivity
B) Invulnerability
C) Machoism

Remote Pilot Study Guide Figure 10-2 and FAA-H-8083-25, Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge, Figure 2-4 The five hazardous attitudes identified through past and contemporary study. Invulnerability “It won’t happen to me.” Many people falsely believe that accidents happen to others, but never to them. They know accidents can happen, and they know that anyone can be affected. However, they never really feel or believe that they will be personally involved. Pilots who think this way are more likely to take chances and increase risk.

14. Under what condition should the Remote Pilot in Command of a small unmanned aircraft establish a scheduled maintenance protocol? [Source: AC 107-2, Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS)(as amended)]
A) Small unmanned aircraft systems do not require maintenance
B) When the manufacturer does not provide a maintenance schedule
C) When the FAA requires you to, following an accident

AC 107-2 7.2 Maintenance. sUAS maintenance includes scheduled and unscheduled overhaul, repair, inspection, modification, replacement, and system software upgrades of the sUAS and its components necessary for flight. Whenever possible, the operator should maintain the sUAS and its components in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions. The aircraft manufacturer may provide the maintenance program, or, if one is not provided, the applicant may choose to develop one.

15. Scheduled maintenance should be performed in accordance with the: [Source: AC-107-2, Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS)(as amended)]
A) Stipulations in 14 CFR part 43
B) Manufacturer’s suggested procedures
C) Contractor requirements

AC 107-2 7.2 Maintenance. sUAS maintenance includes scheduled and unscheduled overhaul, repair, inspection, modification, replacement, and system software upgrades of the sUAS and its components necessary for flight. Whenever possible, the operator should maintain the sUAS and its components in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions. The aircraft manufacturer may provide the maintenance program, or, if one is not provided, the applicant may choose to develop one.

16. According to 14 CFR part 107, the responsibility to inspect the small unmanned aircraft system (small UAS) to ensure it is in a safe operating condition rests with the: [Source: 14 CFR 107.49(a)]
A) Visual observer
B) Remote Pilot in Command
C) Owner of the small UAS

AC 107-2 7.3 Preflight Inspection. Before each flight, the remote PIC must inspect the sUAS to ensure that it is in a condition for safe operation, such as inspecting for equipment damage or malfunction(s). The preflight inspection should be conducted in accordance with the sUAS manufacturer’s inspection procedures when available (usually found in the manufacturer’s owner or maintenance manual) and/or an inspection procedure developed by the sUAS owner or operator.

CFR 107.49 Preflight familiarization, inspection, and actions for aircraft operation.
Prior to flight, the remote pilot in command must: (c) Ensure that all control links between ground control station and the small unmanned aircraft are working properly;
(d) If the small unmanned aircraft is powered, ensure that there is enough available power for the small unmanned aircraft system to operate for the intended operational time; and
(e) Ensure that any object attached or carried by the small unmanned aircraft is secure and does not adversely affect the flight characteristics or controllability of the aircraft.

17. Before each flight, the Remote PIC must ensure that: [Source: AC-107-2, Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS)(as amended)]
A) ATC has granted clearance
B) The site supervisor has approved the flight
C) Objects carried on the small UAS are secure

CFR 107.49 Preflight familiarization, inspection, and actions for aircraft operation.
(e) Ensure that any object attached or carried by the small unmanned aircraft is secure and does not adversely affect the flight characteristics or controllability of the aircraft.

18. When operating an unmanned aircraft, the Remote Pilot in Command should consider that the load factor on the wings or rotors may be increased anytime when: [Source: FAA-H-8083-25, Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge, Chapter 4-12]
A) The gross weight is reduced
B) The center of gravity (CG) is shifted rearward to the aft CG limit
C) The aircraft is subjected to maneuvers other than straight and level flight.

The Remote Pilot Study Guide Chapter 4 Load Factors in Steep Turns has a detailed description of how the load factor is affected by turns.

FAA-H-8083-25, Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge, Chapter 5 Critical load factors apply to all flight maneuvers except unaccelerated straight flight where a load factor of 1 G is always present.

19. A stall occurs when the smooth airflow over the unmanned airplane`s wing is disrupted, and the lift degenerates rapidly. This is caused when the wing: [Source: FAA-H-8083-3, Airplane Flying Handbook, 4-3]
A) Exceeds maximum allowable operating weight
B) Exceeds its critical angle of attack
C) Exceeds the maximum speed

FAA-H-8083-3, Airplane Flying Handbook, Chapter 4 A stall is an aerodynamic condition which occurs when smooth airflow over the airplane’s wings is disrupted, resulting in loss of lift. Specifically, a stall occurs when the AOA—the angle between the chord line of the wing and the relative wind—exceeds the wing’s critical AOA. It is possible to exceed the critical AOA at any airspeed, at any attitude, and at any power setting.

20. What could be a consequence of operating a small unmanned aircraft above its maximum allowable weight? [Source: Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge (PHAK), 9-2]
A) Faster speed
B) Increased maneuverability
C) Shorter endurance

Remote Pilot Study Guide
Important performance deficiencies of an overloaded aircraft are:
• Higher takeoff speed
• Longer takeoff run
• Reduced rate and angle of climb
• Lower maximum altitude
• Shorter range
• Reduced cruising speed
• Reduced maneuverability
• Higher stalling speed
• Higher approach and landing speed
• Longer landing roll

For purposes of this question I think we can interpret “Shorter range” as “Shorter endurance”.

21. According to 14 CFR part 107, who is responsible for ensuring that all control links between the ground control station and the small unmanned aircraft are working properly? [Source: 14 CFR 107.49]
A) Manufacturer
B) Remote Pilot in Command
C) Owner or operator

CFR 107.49 Preflight familiarization, inspection, and actions for aircraft operation.
Prior to flight, the remote pilot in command must: (c) Ensure that all control links between ground control station and the small unmanned aircraft are working properly;

22. To ensure that the unmanned aircraft center of gravity (CG) limits are not exceeded, follow the aircraft loading instructions specified in the: [Source: FAA-H-8083-1, Weight & Balance Handbook, 4-4-5]
A) Pilot’s Operating Handbook or UAS Flight Manual
B) Aircraft Weight and Balance Handbook
C) Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM)

Remote Pilot Study Guide Adverse balance conditions (i.e., weight distribution) may affect flight characteristics in much the same manner as those mentioned for an excess weight condition. Limits for the location of the center of gravity (CG) may be established by the manufacturer.

From the course materials, As with any aircraft, compliance with weight and balance limits is critical to the safety of flight for a small UAS. An unmanned aircraft that is loaded out of balance may exhibit unexpected and unsafe flight characteristics.

Before any flight, verify that the unmanned aircraft is correctly loaded by determining the weight and balance condition.

Review any available manufacturer weight and balance data and follow all warnings, cautions, notes, and limitations.

If the manufacturer does not provide specific weight and balance data, apply general weight and balance principals to determine limits for a given flight. For example, add weight to the unmanned aircraft in a manner that does not adversely affect the aircraft’s center of gravity (CG) location—a point at which the unmanned aircraft would balance if it were suspended at that point.

From AC 107-2 1. Weight and Balance (W&B).
Before any flight, the remote PIC should verify the aircraft is correctly loaded by determining the W&B condition of the aircraft. An aircraft’s W&B restrictions established by the manufacturer or the builder should be closely followed. Compliance with the manufacturer’s W&B limits is critical to flight safety. The remote PIC must consider the consequences of an overweight aircraft if an emergency condition arises.

23. How would high density altitude affect the performance of a small unmanned aircraft? [Source: Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge (PHAK), Chapter 10]
A) Increased performance
B) Decreased performance
C) No change in performance

FAA-H-8083-25, Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge The density of the air, of course, has a pronounced effect on aircraft and engine performance. Regardless of the actual altitude at which the aircraft is operating, it will perform as though it were operating at an altitude equal to the existing density altitude.… High density altitude refers to thin air while low density altitude refers to dense air. The conditions that result in a high density altitude are high elevations, low atmospheric pressures, high temperatures, high humidity, or some combination of these factors.

24. While operating around buildings, the Remote Pilot in Command should be aware of the creation of wind gusts that: [Source: Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge (PHAK), Chapter 11]
A) Increase performance of the aircraft
B) Change rapidly in direction and speed causing turbulence
C) Enhance stability and imagery

Remote Pilot Study Guide Another atmospheric hazard exists that can create problems for pilots. Obstructions on the ground affect the flow of wind and can be an unseen danger. Ground topography and large buildings can break up the flow of the wind and create wind gusts that change rapidly in direction and speed. These obstructions range from man-made structures, like hangars, to large natural obstructions, such as mountains, bluffs, or canyons.

25. According to 14 CFR part 107, what is required to operate a small unmanned aircraft within 30 minutes after official sunset? [Source: 14 CFR 107.29(b)]
A) Must be operated in a rural area
B) Use of lighted anti-collision lights
C) Use of a transponder

CFR §1
Night means the time between the end of evening civil twilight and the beginning of morning civil twilight, as published in the Air Almanac, converted to local time.

CFR §107.29 Daylight operation.
(a) No person may operate a small unmanned aircraft system during night.
(b) No person may operate a small unmanned aircraft system during periods of civil twilight unless the small unmanned aircraft has lighted anti-collision lighting visible for at least 3 statute miles. The remote pilot in command may reduce the intensity of the anti-collision lighting if he or she determines that, because of operating conditions, it would be in the interest of safety to do so.

Note that civil twilight is about a half hour after sunset and before sunrise so anti-collision lights are required if operating in that period.

26. According to 14 CFR part 107, how may a Remote Pilot in Command (Remote PIC) operate an unmanned aircraft in class C airspace? [Source: Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM), 3-2-6]
A) The Remote PIC must contact the Air Traffic Control (ATC) facility after launching the unmanned aircraft
B) The Remote PIC must monitor the Air Traffic Control (ATC) frequency from launch to recovery
C) The Remote PIC must have prior authorization from Air Traffic Control (ATC)

CFR §107.41 Operation in certain airspace.
No person may operate a small unmanned aircraft in Class B, Class C, or Class D airspace or within the lateral boundaries of the surface area of Class E airspace designated for an airport unless that person has prior authorization from Air Traffic Control (ATC).

27. In accordance with 14 CFR part 107, you may operate a small UAS from a moving vehicle when no property is carried for compensation or hire: [Sources: 14 CFR part 107.25; AC 107-2, Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS)(as amended)]
A) Over suburban areas
B) Over a parade or other social events
C) Over a sparsely populated area

CFR §107.25 Operation from a moving vehicle or aircraft.
No person may operate a small unmanned aircraft system—
(a) From a moving aircraft; or
(b) From a moving land or water-borne vehicle unless the small unmanned aircraft is flown over a sparsely populated area and is not transporting another person’s property for compensation or hire.

28. In accordance with 14 CFR part 107, except when within a 400’ radius of a structure, at what maximum altitude can you operate a small UAS? [Source: 14 CFR part 107.51]
A) 600 feet AGL
B) 400 feet AGL
C) 500 feet AGL

CFR §107.51 Operating limitations for small unmanned aircraft.
(b) The altitude of the small unmanned aircraft cannot be higher than 400 feet above ground level, unless the small unmanned aircraft:

29. The FAA may approve your application for a waiver of provisions in part 107 only when it has been determined that the proposed operation: [Sources: 14 CFR Parts 101.41. 107.1, 107.200, and 107.205; AC 107-2, Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS)(as amended)]
A) Will be conducted outside of the United States
B) Can be safely conducted under the terms of that certificate of waiver
C) Involves public aircraft or air carrier operations

§107.200 Waiver policy and requirements.
(a) The Administrator may issue a certificate of waiver authorizing a deviation from any regulation specified in §107.205 if the Administrator finds that a proposed small UAS operation can safely be conducted under the terms of that certificate of waiver.

30. When requesting a waiver, the required documents should be presented to the FAA at least how many calendar days prior to the planned operation? [Source: AC 107-2, Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS)(as amended)]
A) 90 days
B) 10 days
C) 30 days

AC 107-2 Although not required by part 107, the FAA encourages applicants to submit their application at least 90 days prior to the start of the proposed operation. The FAA will strive to complete review and adjudication of waivers within 90 days; however, the time required for the FAA to make a determination regarding waiver requests will vary based on the complexity of the request.

31. To avoid a possible collision with a manned airplane, you climb your unmanned aircraft to yield the right of way. In doing so, your unmanned aircraft reached an altitude greater than 600 feet AGL. To whom must you report the deviation? [Source: 14 CFR 107.21(b)]
A) The Federal Aviation Administration, upon request
B) Air Traffic Control
C) The National Transportation Safety Board

CFR §107.21 In-flight emergency.
(b) Each remote pilot in command who deviates from a rule under paragraph (a) of this section must, upon request of the Administrator, send a written report of that deviation to the Administrator.

32. Damaged lithium batteries can cause: [Source: Safety Alert for Operators (SAFO) 10017, Risks in Transporting Lithium Batteries in Cargo by Aircraft]
A) A change in aircraft center of gravity
B) An inflight fire
C) Increased endurance

AC 107-2 A battery fire could cause an in-flight emergency by causing a LOC of the small UA. Lithium battery fires can be caused when a battery short circuits, is improperly charged, is heated to extreme temperatures, is damaged as a result of a crash, is mishandled, or is simply defective. The remote PIC should consider following the manufacturer’s recommendations, when available, to help ensure safe battery handling and usage.

33. While operating a small unmanned aircraft system (small UAS), you experience a flyaway and several people suffer injuries. Which of the following injuries requires reporting to the FAA? [Source: 14 CFR 107.9 and 107(III)(I)(2); AC-107-2, Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS)(as amended)]
A) Minor bruises
B) Scrapes and cuts bandaged on site
C) An injury requiring an overnight hospital stay

§107.9 Accident reporting.
No later than 10 calendar days after an operation that meets the criteria of either paragraph (a) or (b) of this section, a remote pilot in command must report to the FAA, in a manner acceptable to the Administrator, any operation of the small unmanned aircraft involving at least:
(a) Serious injury to any person or any loss of consciousness; or
(b) Damage to any property, other than the small unmanned aircraft, unless one of the following conditions is satisfied:
  (1) The cost of repair (including materials and labor) does not exceed $500; or
  (2) The fair market value of the property does not exceed $500 in the event of total loss.

34. Within how many calendar days must a small UAS accident be reported to the FAA? [Sources: 14 CFR part 107.9; AC 107-2, Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS)(as amended)]
A) 30 days
B) 10 days
C) 90 days

§107.9 Accident reporting.
No later than 10 calendar days after an operation that meets the criteria of either paragraph (a) or (b) of this section, a remote pilot in command must report to the FAA, in a manner acceptable to the Administrator, any operation of the small unmanned aircraft involving at least:
(a) Serious injury to any person or any loss of consciousness; or
(b) Damage to any property, other than the small unmanned aircraft, unless one of the following conditions is satisfied:
  (1) The cost of repair (including materials and labor) does not exceed $500; or
  (2) The fair market value of the property does not exceed $500 in the event of total loss.

35. The effective use of all available resources—human, hardware, and information — prior to and during flight – to ensure the successful outcome of the operation is called: [Source: AC-107-2, Small Unmanned Aircraft Sysems (sUAS)(as amended)]
A) Safety Management System
B) Crew Resource Management
C) Risk Management

AC 107-2 5.3 Aeronautical Decision-Making (ADM) and Crew Resource Management (CRM). manage these resources effectively. CRM is a component of ADM, where the pilot of sUAS makes effective use of all available resources: human resources, hardware, and information. Many remote pilots operating under part 107 may use a VO, oversee other persons manipulating the controls of the small UA, or any other person who the remote PIC may interact with to ensure safe operations. Therefore, a remote PIC must be able to function in a team environment and maximize team performance.

FAASTeam Course: Part 107 small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS)

October 26th, 2017

Regulations for small Unmanned Aircraft Systems went into effect in the summer of 2016 and the FAA has developed a UAS page. I read the FAR carefully and took the course and got all of the questions right the first time. A non-pilot might have more trouble, but if they really studied the Remote Pilot Study Guide and AC then they should have no trouble with the Knowledge Test. There are other FARs and FAA publications that are relevant but I think that they are covered enough in these documents that you could easily pass the test.

The rest of this post is the description of the course and the review section at the end of the course. It is a good overview of the things you need to know. Other posts in this series cover the exam I took at the end of the course and sample knowledge tests.

Description
The part 107 small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) course describes the certification and operational requirements to operate sUAS in the National Airspace System (NAS) under Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) part 107, small Unmanned Aircraft Systems. For part 61 pilot certificate holders with a current flight review, successful completion of this online course satisfies the training requirement before applying for a part 107 remote pilot certificate with an sUAS rating. All other interested individuals may complete this online course as a self-study resource. Individuals without a part 61 pilot certificate or current flight review are required to take the FAA Unmanned Aircraft General (UAG) Knowledge Test at an FAA-approved Knowledge Testing Center before applying for a part 107 certificate.

Review Introduction
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has adopted specific rules to allow the operation of civil small unmanned aircraft systems (small UAS) in the National Airspace System (NAS) for purposes other than hobby and recreation. The rules are specified in Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) part 107, Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems. 14 CFR part 107 addresses small UAS classification, certification, and operating rules.

Remote Pilot in Command Eligibility Requirements
To apply for a part 107 remote pilot certificate with a small UAS rating, you must be at least 16 years old; able to read, speak, write, and understand the English language (FAA may make exceptions for medical reasons); and in a physical and mental condition that would not interfere with the safe operation of a small UAS.

Training and Testing Requirements
A part 61 pilot certificate holder with a current flight review (per 14 CFR part 61.56) may complete this initial online course or the initial FAA Unmanned Aircraft General (UAG) Knowledge Test at a Knowledge Testing Center (KTC). Every 24 months, such individuals may then take the recurrent online course or the recurrent FAA UAG Knowledge Test at a KTC.

Any other applicant is required to take the initial FAA UAG Knowledge Test at a KTC, followed by the recurrent FAA UAG Knowledge Test at a KTC (every 24 months).

Application Process for a Remote Pilot Certificate
After satisfying the applicable initial training or testing requirements, apply for a part 107 remote pilot certificate with a small UAS rating through an online or paper process. Apply online through the Integrated Airman Certificate and/or Rating Application (IACRA) website whenever possible. Or submit a paper FAA Form 8710-13, Remote Pilot Certificate and/or Rating Application. You may be required to meet with an FAA-authorized individual, such as a Certificated Flight Instructor (CFI), Airman Certification Representative (ACR) for a pilot school, a person designated by a Flight Standards District Office (FSDO), or Designated Pilot Examiner (DPE).

Small Unmanned Aircraft System (small UAS) Characteristics

Small unmanned aircraft:
Weigh less than 55 pounds (25 kg), including everything that is onboard or otherwise attached to the aircraft.
Are operated without the possibility of direct human intervention from within or on the aircraft.
A small unmanned aircraft system includes the unmanned aircraft itself and its associated elements that are required for safe operation, such as communication links and components that control the aircraft.

Exclusions
14 CFR part 107 does not apply to model aircraft that meet the criteria in 14 CFR part 101.41, amateur rockets, moored balloons or unmanned free balloons, kites, operations conducted outside the United States, public aircraft operations, and air carrier operations.

Registration Requirements
Owners must register small UAS with the FAA prior to operating in the NAS if the aircraft is greater than 0.55 lbs and operated under part 107. If the owner is less than 13 years of age, then the small unmanned aircraft must be registered by a person who is at least 13 years of age.

Obtain a Foreign Aircraft Permit before conducting any operation that involves a civil aircraft that is registered in a foreign country or owned, controlled, or operated by someone who is not a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.

Marking Requirements
Before operation, mark the small UAS to identify that it is registered with the FAA. The registration marking must be a unique identifier number, legible and durable, and visible or accessible without tools.

Crew Resource Management
A small UAS operation may involve one individual or a team of crewmembers:

The Remote Pilot in Command (Remote PIC) holds a current remote pilot certificate with a small UAS rating and has the final authority and responsibility for the operation and safety of the small UAS
A person manipulating the controls operates the small UAS under direct supervision of the Remote PIC
A visual observer acts as a flight crewmember to help see and avoid air traffic or other objects in the sky, overhead, or on the ground
Many techniques from manned aircraft operations apply to the operation of unmanned aircraft. Examples include situational awareness, risk-based aeronautical decision making, and crew resource management.

Maintenance and Inspection
Follow all manufacturer recommendations for scheduled and unscheduled overhaul, repair, inspection, modification, replacement, and system software upgrades for the unmanned aircraft itself and all components necessary for flight.

Before beginning any small UAS flight operation, inspect the small UAS to ensure that it is in a condition for safe operation.

Loading and Performance
Prior to each flight, ensure that any object attached to or carried by the small unmanned aircraft is secure and does not adversely affect the flight characteristics or controllability of the aircraft.

Follow all manufacturer recommendations for evaluating performance to ensure safe and efficient operation. Check weather conditions prior to and during every small UAS flight and consider the effects of weather on aircraft performance.

Operating Rules
The Remote PIC must ensure that the small UAS operation complies with all operational requirements and limitations described in 14 CFR part 107. All crewmembers must comply with part 107 requirements by operating at appropriate times, in approved locations, and in a manner that protects the safety of the persons, property, and the NAS.

Certificates of Waiver
If the operation cannot be conducted within the regulatory structure of part 107, the Remote PIC is responsible for submitting an application for a Certificate of Waiver and proposing a safe alternative. Only certain provisions of part 107 are waivable. FAA will determine if the proposed operation can be safely conducted under the terms of that Certificate of Waiver.

Abnormal and Emergency Situations
Follow any manufacturer guidance for appropriate response procedures in abnormal or emergency situations. In case of an in-flight emergency, the Remote PIC is permitted to deviate from any rule of part 107 to the extent necessary to meet that emergency. FAA may request a written report explaining the deviation.

Accident Reporting
Report any small UAS accident to the FAA, within 10 days of the operation, if any of the following thresholds are met:
Serious injury to any person or any loss of consciousness
Damage to any property, other than the small unmanned aircraft, if the cost is greater than $500 to repair or replace the property (whichever is lower).

Aircraft Equipment Suffixes for Flight Following

October 14th, 2017

When asking for flight following you need to give your N-Number, type of aircraft, destination, and initial altitude. These codes are the old domestic IFR flight plans. They are intended for IFR navigation so they assume that the aircraft has at least one VOR receiver.

IFR flights now require FAA Flight Plan Form 7233−4 which has more detailed equipment codes. Codes for the new ICAO compliant flight plans can be found in the AIM TBL 5−1−4 and TBL 5−1−5. If you use an EFB, like ForeFlight or WingsX, it can guide you through filing with the right code.

Aircraft Classification

RVSM stands for Reduced Vertical Separation Minimums. RVSM airspace is where air traffic control separates aircraft by a minimum of 1,000 feet vertically between flight level (FL) 290 and FL 410 inclusive. Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) is a generic term for satellite-based navigation systems like GPS/WAAS, Russia’s GLONASS, and Europe’s Galileo systems.

My Cherokee has a Mode C transponder and one VOR so it is a /U
An Arrow I fly has a non-WAAS Garmin 530 so it is /G.
My Cessna 210 has a WAAS Garmin 430 and it is also /G.

Antennas

October 10th, 2017

The VOR/Localizer/Glide Slope antenna is usually V-shaped and points backwards on the vertical stabilizer of the plane. On some aircraft, they point forward. They look like old-fashioned wire clothes hanger wire. Newer versions can be blade shaped. sometimes they are boomerang shaped like the old car phone antennas of the 90s.) They usually have a splitter that allows two radios to use the same antenna.

COM Antennas are usually a white rod or blade. You can’t split the signal for a COM radio using a rod antenna so one antenna is required for each radio. Not sure about blade antennas.

A GPS antenna is usually somewhat teardrop or ovoid shaped. You can’t split the GPS signal, so one antenna per device is required. Some ADSB systems have an embedded WAAS chip and need their own GPS antenna.

GPS and COM antennas can be combined.

IFR capable airplanes also have a marker beacon antenna. These can be embedded in the fuselage or external.

A transponder is required in most airplanes and they have their own antenna. These are a small 2″ or so stick with a ball on the end. They are mounted on the bottom of the fuselage.

Airplanes in the US at least are required to have an ELT. Old style ELTs and some of the newer ones have a piece of steel with a spring-like coil in them. Newer versions are more aerodynamic.

ADF antennas come in a wide variety of shapes. Some of the newer ones look like GPS antennas.

DME antennas usually look like a shark’s fin.

Composite aircraft often have the antenna embedded in the frame so it is not visible.

This Cessna video describes all of the antennas on a modern C182. I don’t have most of them on my airplanes and the ones I do have look a lot different.

Here are some images of different antennas. These are all from aluminum bodied planes. Composite planes often have the antenna embedded in the skin, except for GPS and I don’t have any images of them.

In general, VOR, ELT, and GPS antennas are on the top of the plane. Marker beacon, DME, and transponder antennas are on the bottom.

Here’s a picture of the most common arrangement. VOR antenna on the tail pointing backward. Two COM antennas. If you look closely at the bump on the right, that’s a GPS antenna. The long wire is an ADF antenna.

All 1

Here’s another aircraft with a common arrangement. In this one you can see the ELT antenna just behind the cover. ELTs are always on the top.

All 2

Here’s a good picture of an ELT antenna.

ELT

Beechcraft often have a boomerang antenna for Com/ Nav/ Loc/ GS antenna.

Boomerang

Another type of ADF and a good view of VOR and one COMM.

ADF

I don’t have a good picture of GPS antennas. The bump on the right is the antenna.

GPS

VOR blade antenna and an antenna on the stabilizer that I can’t identify.

VOR Blade

I haven’t seen many VOR antennas like this one.

VOR Odd

Replaced a Cylinder.

September 24th, 2017

We have one cylinder that has always had a lower pressure reading when we checked it at annual. This year it was 35/80 so we pulled it. If you look at the cylinder, it has a ton of corrosion that caused the rings to no longer seal. I suspect the rest of the cylinders are the same. When we borescoped them last year, we were looking for valves that weren’t seating properly and I don’t remember looking for corrosion.

Mike Busch has an article at AVWeb that talks about proper operation of big bore Continentals (ours is a TSIO 520-H4). I think I’ve read all of his articles. I don’t know if you do these things, but I always do. (Except for avoiding shock cooling.)

Lean Until the Engine Stumbles if you give it more than Taxi Power
One the engines are running and it’s time to taxi out, perhaps the most common mistake I see pilots make is failing to lean the engine properly. The Continental fuel-injection system is set up with a very rich idle mixture in order to facilitate cold starts. Taxiing with the mixture full-rich is like driving a car with the choke on…the engine is literally awash in excess fuel. This often results in fouled plugs, contaminated exhaust valves, and fuel dilution of the oil film on the cylinder walls.

Taxi
Incidentally, big-bore Continentals are supposed to idle smoothly at 600 RPM

I don’t think ours will. I usually need taxi at 800 or more and use a little braking from time to time.

Runup – Leaned Out
My preference is to leave the mixture leaned for idle when I do my runup. Others prefer to go full-rich for runup, and then re-lean for idle if there’s a delay.

I also lean for runup and when I make my call to the tower, I keep my hand on the mixture until cleared for takeoff. The plugs don’t have much in the way of lead deposits—especially compared to the Cherokee.

Takeoff – Slow increase in power. I don’t take as long as he does, maybe 5 seconds.
For optimum engine longevity, we want to minimize the gradient of this thermal event by throttling up as slowly as possible. If the runway is relatively long, I’ll try to advance the throttles just fast enough to reach full takeoff power as the airplane achieves rotation speed.

Climb
Normal cruise-climb in a Continental-powered airplane is normally 75% power. In many aircraft (including most Cessna singles and twins), this occurs at top-of-the-green manifold pressure and top-of-the-green RPM.

I normally pull the prop to 2300 at the end of the runway to reduce noise and then MP to 1” below the top of the green at pattern altitude. Our MP gauge reads 1″ high. I generally climb at 130 MPH.

You should be leaned for climb, cruise, descent, landing, and taxi. The only time you should be full-rich is for start, takeoff, and go-around.

If I am just burning gas or doing manuevers, I pull the power (usually a lot) and lean while climbing. CHTs are usually in the 250 range and TIT below 1200.

Cruise
I recommend reducing to a more conservative cruise power setting between 55% and 65% power. 55% provides near-optimum fuel economy, while 65% provides a good compromise between fuel economy and airspeed.

If I am flying with with passengers who want to get somewhere fast, I set the cruise to top of the green and 20-21 gph. If I flying to pick someone up, (or on the rare occasions when I am going somewhere) I do the more conservative power settings.

If your engines don’t feel smooth at bottom-of-the-green RPM, experiment to find the lowest RPM at which they do feel smooth, and cruise at that.

There is a Continental Service Bulletin (CSB09-11A) that says to never run below 2300 RPM in cruise. When we checked the prop, 2300 RPM was actually 2453. 2200 RPM is 2352. So I suppose I could cruise at 2200 RPM.

Descent
The one I use is to allow one minute for each 1″ of MP that I need to reduce to get from cruise power to approach power. …I recommend not enrichening the mixtures for descent unless the engines start running rough.

I do this if I am in cruise, but since I am usually running at much lower power settings, I don’t have to lose many inches. The consensus on AVweb is that shock-cooling is a myth. I think even Mike Busch no longer holds with this recommendation. Mike Busch, … has found it unusual to have them [CHTs] drop at a rate of even 30 degrees per minute with aggressive power reductions when ATC gives a slam dunk approach.

Landing
Every POH I’ve ever read instructs you to advance the mixture to full-rich on final prior to landing. Don’t do it! Pouring cold fuel on a hot cylinder head simply can’t be a good thing for cylinder longevity. I recommend leaving the mixture leaned out for landing and taxi. I also recommend setting the props to top-of-the-green RPM, not shoving them full forward the way the POH instructs.

I don’t do this. I normally set the prop to full when I am in the pattern and it is already at the stops. I also go full rich on final.

Shutdown
A turbocharger should be given the opportunity to cool down (and spin down) at idle for 3 to 5 minutes before shutting down the engine and thereby cutting off the flow of oil to the turbocharger. In many cases, the landing roll and taxi-in take enough time that no additional cool-down is required.

If the TIT is below 1000, I just shut down, if not I wait a couple of minutes.

Interesting Winds Today

September 19th, 2017

Checking out the hurricanes on Earth Wind Map I happened to notice two lows in the Pacific.

Earth Wind Map

Communications with ATC

September 17th, 2017

A recent forum post asked about the correct way to contact ATC. Specifically, they had heard that pilots use their aircraft type and color. I think they were confusing communication with ATC and talking to other pilots at a non-towered airport.

The AIM discusses communications with ATC in Chapter 4.

4−2−3. Contact Procedures
a. Initial Contact.
1. The terms initial contact or initial callup means the first radio call you make to a given facility or the first call to a different controller or FSS specialist within a facility. Use the following format:

(a) Name of the facility being called;
(b) Your full aircraft identification as filed in the flight plan or as discussed in paragraph 4−2−4, Aircraft Call Signs (below);
(c) When operating on an airport surface, state your position.
(d) The type of message to follow or your request if it is short; and
(e) The word “Over” if required.

c. Subsequent Contacts and Responses to Callup from a Ground Facility. Use the same format as used for the initial contact except you should state your message or request with the callup in one transmission.

4−2−4. Aircraft Call Signs
2. ATC specialists may initiate abbreviated call signs of other aircraft by using the prefix and the last three digits/letters of the aircraft identification after communications are established.

…The pilot may use the abbreviated call sign in subsequent contacts with the ATC specialist.

When operating at a non-towered field, many pilots have begun to identify their aircraft by type and color. I’m not sure when this started, but if you listen to popular YouTube flyers like steveo1kinevo, you will notice that when they are flying into non-towered fields, they just give the aircraft type, e.g. Caravan or TBM. From a practical standpoint, it makes a lot of sense. You can’t see the numbers but you can see the type and color. And unless there are lots of white Cessnas in the pattern, it is easy to keep track of who is where. What you want to know in the pattern is where are the other planes and how fast are they going.

Type and color gives you the necessary information. For me at least, it is easier to keep track of type and color than it is to keep track of N numbers.

Flying with an HSI

September 12th, 2017

My brother just got a Piper Arrow with a Sandel 3308 HSI. I can’t find any videos on how to use the 3308, but there are lots on how to use an HSI. These are some of the best.

For those of you who like to read, rather than watch an explanation, this Introduction to HSIs is a good start.

This video explains how to use the setup to figure out how VORs and HSIs work. Lots of tricks to figure out where you are based on the TO/FROM indicator and the location of the needle. For some reason, I never ran across these tricks before, but they are quite handy.

If you don’t have a sim, you can check out the basics of an HSI on the website from Luiz Monteiro that was references in the above video. Nav Sim (Requires Flash). Be sure to check out the instructions so you can see which keys move the wings.

There are lots of HSI questions on the writtens, and most of them have no relation to real-world flying. Here’s a video that helps explain how to answer these questions.

Touch and Goes

July 31st, 2017

In primary training, touch-and-goes do not reflect reality. In the world we are preparing student pilots to enter, airplanes take off, go somewhere (even if it is the pattern) and return to land. The goal of getting a pilot certificate is to be able to travel by air rather than on the ground. Accordingly, for primary students the takeoff and climb to pattern altitude and the approach to land are different things and should not be conflated. After I got my CFI head screwed on properly I had students land to a full stop, at which time I took over the controls to taxi back to the departure end. During that time I could discuss the most recent landing and the student could assimilate what I was saying without having to divide his/her attention between listening to me and taxiing. The human brain can assimilate a limited number of simultaneous inputs, so why push it??

Bob Gardner

Bob’s view is in line with mine. One of the first things I learned when taking lessons is that you need to Fly the airplane all the way to the hangar. If you do touch and goes, you aren’t practicing techniques that you will use later.

I learned to fly in a 182 so there is a lot going on when you land. The 182 requires a lot of trim, is fairly heavy and has huge 40° flaps so it sinks like a rock, and it has a powerful engine that needs a lot of right rudder. To do a touch and go, you need to reach down to open the cowl flaps, hold the flap lever up for 10 seconds, verify that the flaps retracted, check that you remembered to push the prop in, give it power while also giving it right rudder, and then watch your airspeed while moving quickly down the runway. I don’t process things that fast so I always felt that I was behind the plane. When we got the Cessna 210, you had all of the same issues with a much heavier and more powerful plane. It still has electric flaps, but you can move them to the detent so it is easier to select 10° of flaps for takeoff. Slowing it down to make the turnoff requires that you stick the landing and landing speed. I have done touch and goes in the 210, but I really want to practice complete energy management, so I always do taxi-backs. Like Bob said, it gives me time to evaluate the last landing and go through my pre-takeoff checklist.

CFI is acting as PIC

July 27th, 2017

In a footnote to Administrator v Strobel, the NTSB states:

Our precedent makes clear that, “[r]egardless of who is manipulating the controls of the aircraft during an instructional flight, or what degree of proficiency the student has attained, the flight instructor is always deemed to be the pilot-in-command.” Administrator v. Hamre, 3 NTSB 28, 31 (1977). This principle was reaffirmed in Administrator v. Walkup, 6 NTSB 36 (1988).

THE PILOT IN COMMAND AND THE FARS: THE BUCK STOPS HERE (ALMOST ALWAYS) has some other examples of determining who is PIC.

Captain Warren VanderBurgh

July 20th, 2017

He combines lessons learned from accidents as well as trying things out in the simulator to explain lots of good techniques that apply to GA pilots as well as those flying big jets.

Children of the Magenta Line

Unusual Attitude Recovery

Windshear and Microburst Review

CFIT – Advanced Aircraft Maneuvering Program

Control Malfunctions & Flight Instrument Anomalies

AIM 6−4−1. Two-way Radio Communications Failure

July 7th, 2017

a. It is virtually impossible to provide regulations and procedures applicable to all possible situations associated with two-way radio communications failure. During two-way radio communications failure, when confronted by a situation not covered in the regulation, pilots are expected to exercise good judgment in whatever action they elect to take. Should the situation so dictate they should not be reluctant to use the emergency action contained in 14 CFR Section 91.3(b).

ForeFlight has an enhanced radar feature that you can turn on to show cloud cover. It doesn’t show the depth of the clouds or the tops, but you can use it to see where the nearest VFR conditions are. Along the central coast, it usually shows how far inland the fog is. In the summer in the midwest, it can show widespread cloud cover. This image shows that there is widespread IFR to the east with a pocket of VFR down the left side. Here’s a smaller version.

IFR Flight Deviation

Suppose you have three hours to go on an IFR flight and you have crossed the Pioneer VOR and are approaching the MANON intersection when you lose radio communication. What do you do? The standard response is that you would maintain the highest of the Minimum IFR Altitude, Expected Altitude, or Assigned Altitude and fly the Assigned, Vectored, Expected or Filed route. But is that the best thing to do? I would say no.

First, unless you know exactly what caused the comms failure, you could be setting yourself up for a bad outcome. Maybe the alternator belt is broken and lying lose in the cowl, but maybe it is rubbing agains the alternator and just about to catch fire. Or maybe you have a gear-driven alternator and the gears are being tossed around in the engine.

Second, how are you going to safely navigate the next three hours? If you still have nav functions, are they going to continue?

Third, how comfortable are you descending at your destination? What are the altitudes along the way?

Wouldn’t it make more sense to head west to VFR conditions? You can see from the chart that the Minimum IFR Sector Altitude is 3,400′. Climb to at least 4,000′ and head west or southwest to VFR conditions. Or turn around and go back where there were VFR conditions over Pioneer. That way you have less than a half hour in IFR. ATC should be able to track you, and if you go in a reasonable straight line, they will be able to keep other IFR traffic away from you. If you know the cloud tops, and have a capable aircraft, you might be able to climb to VFR on top and then you can do your own traffic avoidance.

When are you established on the approach?

June 30th, 2017

I’ve been doing a lot of practice approaches lately and if a procedure turn (or hold) is required, they tell me to ‘report procedure turn (hold) inbound’. Then they clear me for the approach. I think this is why:

AIM 5−4−7. Instrument Approach Procedures

b. When operating on an unpublished route or while being radar vectored, the pilot, when an approach clearance is received, must, in addition to complying with the minimum altitudes for IFR operations (14 CFR Section 91.177), maintain the last assigned altitude unless a different altitude is assigned by ATC, or until the aircraft is established on a segment of a published route or IAP. After the aircraft is so established, published altitudes apply to descent within each succeeding route or approach segment unless a different altitude is assigned by ATC. Notwithstanding this pilot responsibility, for aircraft operating on unpublished routes or while being radar vectored, ATC will, except when conducting a radar approach, issue an IFR approach clearance only after the aircraft is established on a segment of a published route or IAP, or assign an altitude to maintain until the aircraft is established on a segment of a published route or instrument approach procedure. For this purpose, the procedure turn of a published IAP must not be considered a segment of that IAP until the aircraft reaches the initial fix or navigation facility upon which the procedure turn is predicated.

IFR Checkride—Flight Prep

June 29th, 2017

For the IFR checkride the local examiner has you plan a few flights. He gives the destinations in advance and on the day of the checkride you use current weather or he gives you the weather at each destination. The exercise tests your ability to plan alternates, check for icing along the route, and know whether your aircraft can actually fly the approaches and the missed approach. Hint: a Cessna 172 would have trouble flying the missed on a hot day in Tahoe but my Turbo Cessna 210 would not have an issue on most days.

ForeFlight is really good at showing routes using Victor airways and recently cleared routes. You do need to pay attention to the altitudes on longer distances since many of the cleared routes are for jets or turboprops. If you have more than the basic subscription, you can also get a profile view so you can check that your planned altitude is more than 2,000′ above obstacles.

Santa Maria to Paso Robles
KSMX GLJ MQO V113 PRB RNAV (GPS) RWY 19 KPRB 5000ft⁩ 90nm

The trick on this one is the departure. Paso Robles is Northwest of Santa Maria and the only departure procedure has you flying 22 miles southeast of the airport, making a U-turn and flying back to the Guadalupe VOR (just 4nm NW of the takeoff runway). However, there is a departure procedure that takes you directly to the GLJ terminal VOR and from there to MQO.

DEPARTURE PROCEDURE:
Rwy 2, climbing left turn;
Rwy 12, climbing left turn (do not exceed 230 KIAS until established northwest bound to GLJ VOR).
Rwy 30, climb heading 294°.

All aircraft: climb direct GLJ VOR, then continue climb to airway MEA via GLJ R-300 to intercept MQO R-137 to MQO VORTAC. Cross MQO VORTAC at or above MEA/ MCA for assigned route of flight.

You can play around with ForeFlight to get an idea of where you will intercept the MQO R-137 and it is at around 5nm. (Hint: Add GLJ/300/5 between GLJ and MQO on your flight plan and note that your course from there to MQO is 318°M.)

The approach with the lowest minimums is RNAV RWY19 and that is the no-wind runway, so we’ll plan for that. The approach starts at the airport at 4,700 MSL, proceeds outbound, and has a procedure turn.

There is no approach lighting, but there is a REIL and MIRL runway lighting.

An interesting feature of the approach plate is that there are two feeder routes (there is an altitude, direction, and distance). FIKDU and NEFDE are IAFs that are on airways and the chart show you how to get to the intermediate fix (HOVLI) from there.

There aren’t any other airports nearby, so KSBP or a return to KSMX would be your best bet for alternates.

Paso Robles to Harris Ranch
KPRB V113 ROM 3O8 7000ft 50nm

When you see this symbol AlternateTakeoffMinimums on the approach plate, it means that either there are non-standard takeoff minimums or that there is a published departure procedure. All of the approaches have the AlternateTakeoffMinimums. There are no SIDS at KPRB, so we look in the TPP for obstacle departure procedures.

DEPARTURE PROCEDURE: All departures maintain 250 kts or less until inbound to PRB. …

Rwy 19, climb to 3000 via heading 150° to intercept PRB R- 179 outbound. V113 southbound continue climb on course. All others climbing left turn to 4500 direct PRB.

Rwy 1, climb to 3000 via heading 280° to intercept PRB R-326 outbound. V248 northbound climb on course. All others climbing right turn to 4500 direct PRB.

Harris Ranch does not have an instrument procedure so an alternate is required. The only good alternate is to return to KPRB and there are no restrictions applicable to us on RNAV (GPS) Rwy 19 approach.

PASO ROBLES MUNI (PRB)
RNAV (GPS) Rwy 191
RNAV (GPS) Rwy 312,3
VOR Rwy 191
VOR-B1

1 Category D, 900-3.
2 NA when local weather not available.
3 Category D, 900-3.

Because it does not have an instrument approach, the ceiling and visibility minima are those allowing descent from the MEA, approach, and landing under basic VFR.

V113 from PRB to ROM has an MEA of 6,000′. The Grid MORA at Harris Ranch is 7,600′. However, if we look at the VFR charts, we see that the highest point from ROM to 3O8 is is no higher than 4,000′. The profile view shows that 3,950 is the highest elevation. If we stay at 7,000′ from ROM to 3O8 until 10 miles from the airport we should have plenty of room to spare. 3O8 is in Class G airspace so the VFR minimums are 1 mile and COC. There are some antennas around the airport, so we would want to have higher minimums if we were not familiar with the area.

The runway at Harris Ranch is only 2,820′ long and there are obstacles, so you would want to make sure your aircraft is capable of taking off, especially if you have a full load on a hot day—which it often is in the valley.

Harris Ranch to Lake Tahoe
3O8 PXN ECA LIN HNW SWR HETRY GPS RWY 18 KTVL 11000ft⁩ 231nm

Alternative using T-Routes
3O8 PXN MKNNA OXJEF TIPRE SWR HETRY GPS RWY 18 KTVL 11000ft⁩ 229nm

Because there is no approach into Harris Ranch, there is no departure procedure. We are responsible for our own terrain clearance until reaching the Minimum IFR Altitude.

Harris Ranch Departure
I’d follow the runway heading for 4nm to clear the towers near the airport, then follow the freeway for another 20 miles before turning to Panoche. This route is completely flat, and you won’t hit anything before ATC will start vectoring you.

According to the Legal Interpretation in the Lamb inquiry, “takeoff into clouds without an ATC clearance or release was’extremely dangerous’ and in violation of section 91.13(a)” so you will need to file a flight plan and get a void time before you take off if conditions are below VFR.

As an aside, I was flying a practice approach using the RNAV 29 approach into KSBP and flew over Oceano (L52)—an airport with no appraches. It was clear everywhere except over the airport and immediate coast. An aircraft on the ground was asking for and IFR clearance to climb through a layer that was probably at 700′ and less than 1,000′ thick. I was listening for probably 10 minutes and the controller was working on getting a clearance, but didn’t get one in the time I was listening. I think that they didn’t get the clearance while I was listening because the controller was trying to get a clearance all the way to Hawthorne, when they really just needed a clearance to VFR on top.

Picking up you flight plan might be difficult. Rancho Murieta Flight Service can receive on 122.1 and transmit on the VOR 112.6 but the VOR is in the hills, so you might not be able to contact them. If you can’t contact them, you can call Clearance Delivery on 888-766-8267 to get a void time. Alternatively, if the weather is VFR you can depart and pick up your clearance before entering IMC. You are probably in Lemoore Approach airspace on 118.15 but it might be Oakland Center on 128.7.

GPS RWY 18
You are 900′ above the runway at the MAP. You have 2.6 nm to descend 900′, so you really need to have the runway in sight before the MAP to comfortably make a descent to a landing on the intended runway at a normal rate of descent using normal maneuvers. (At 90kts, you are moving at 1.5nm per minute. That’s 1.7 minutes so you need to descend at 523 fpm.)

The missed approach requires a climbing right turn from 7,160′ to 12,000′ and holding at HETRY. That might be beyond the climb capabilities of many training aircraft when the weather is warm. You are over the lake so the climb rate isn’t too important, just whether you can actually climb that high. But since you made it from SWR to HETRY on the way in at 12,000′, you should be able to make it on the way out since you have 20 miles to do it in and the terrain around HETRY is less than the missed approach height.

Lake Tahoe to Van Nuys
KTVL SHOLE2.SPOOK 38.39508N/120.54896W FRA CZQ EHF AMONT LHS.LYNXX8 VNY ILS Z RWY 16R KVNY 9000ft⁩ 377nm

Alternative
KTVL SHOLE2.SPOOK 38.42523N/120.52736W FRA TTE AMONT LHS.LYNXX8 Vectors to Final ILS Z RWY 16R KVNY 9000ft 352nm

LAKE TAHOE (TVL)
TAKEOFF MINIMUMS AND (OBSTACLE) DEPARTURE PROCEDURES
AMDT 7 15008 (FAA)
TAKEOFF MINIMUMS:
Rwy 18, std. w/min. climb of 804’ per NM to 11500, or 1600-3 w/min. climb of 741’ per NM to 11500, or 5000-3 for climb in visual conditions.
Rwy 36, 300-1 1⁄4 or std. w/min. climb of 269’ per NM to 6500.

DEPARTURE PROCEDURE: Rwy 18, climb heading 177° to 7900 then climbing right turn to intercept and climb on SWR R-133 to SWR VOR/DME thence …
Rwy 36, climb heading 357° to intercept and climb on SWR R-113 to SWR VOR/DME thence …
… proceed on course.

VCOA: Rwy 18, Obtain ATC approval for climb in visual conditions when requesting IFR clearance. Remain within 3 NM, climb in visual conditions to cross South Lake Tahoe airport at or above 11100 MSL then intercept and proceed on SWR-127 to SWR VOR/DME.

NOTE: [Lots of obstacles]

There are two interesting things about the departure procedures. First, the required climb rate for a Rwy 18 takeoff is rather steep—remember that a standard instrument departure climb is 200 fpnm. And second, it has a VOCA (Visual Climb Over Airport) departure procedure.

The back cover of the TPP has Climb/Descent Table that gives the climb rate in feet per minute required for various fpnm climbs at various ground speeds. At 90 kts groundspeed, we’d need to be climbing at 1,200 feet per minute—and that’s from a starting altitude of 6,254′. Fortunately, departing over the lake the climb rate is only 269 fpnm (400 feet per minute at 90 kts), which is doable in many turbocharged aircraft like my C210.

The Visual Climb Over Airport departure procedure is one of the five IFR departure procedures but it is not very common—in fact this is the only one I’ve seen.

The SHOLE.TWO Departure requires a climb to 9,000′ at 300 fpnm and has an MEA of 15,000′. It is a bit shorter than the ODP for departures to the south, so if your airplane can do it, it would be slightly faster.

There is a 30nm segment where the MEA is 15,000′. The regulations require that crew members use oxygen any time they are above 14,000′ so oxygen would be required for the pilot and recommended (but not required) for passengers. The recommended altitude for using oxygen at night is 5,000′ and 10,000′ during the day.

The approach into Van Nuys is a little complicated. You’d most likely get vectors-to-final but for the exercise, he wants you to plan for the LYNXX.EIGHT arrival which takes you from Lake Hughes VOR to LYNXX and then the Van Nuys VOR.

LAKE HUGHES TRANSITION (LHS.LYNXX8):From over LHS VORTAC via LHSR-170 to LYNXX INT. Thence….
From over LYNXX INT via VNY R-329 to VNY VOR/DM E. Expect radar vectors to final approach course after VNY VOR/DME.

For this approach, assume that you lost comms on the arrival and were going to use the ILS Z RWY 16R approach approach since it has the lowest DA. However, if you read the notes, RADAR is required, so if yo lost comms, that would not be a viable option and you would need to use the ILS Y RWY 16R approach. They are identical until DA. The ILS Y approach has a higher DA and a different missed approach procedure.

So how do you get to the approach from the VOR? You fly the feeder route to ZIDOM.

For lost comms, you fly the highest of the Minimum IFR Altitude, expected altitude, or assigned altitude. If you were flying at an assigned altitude of 9,000′ and lost comms before Lake Hughes, you could not descend to 7,000′ at Lake Hughes and 6,000′ at LYNXX. The only way you can descend to those levels is if you were told to “Descend via the LYNXX.EIGHT arrival, Lake Hughes transition.” and if you lost comms before that clearance, you could not descend. You could start your descent when flying from the VOR to ZIDOM because you are on the approach.

Whiteman to Long Beach
KWHP VNY BURN19 GUNEY ILS OR LOC RWY 30 KLGB 5000ft⁩ 78nm

BURN19 TEC route is V186 (DARTS PURMS ELMOO ITSME PIRRO) — VNY to ADAMM
then V394—ADAMM to POWUP to AHEIM turning on V394 at AHEIM to SLI.

If you are looking at the paper copy of the TPP you may not find Whiteman since it is located under LOS ANGELES, CA (CON’T) for some reason.

WHITEMAN (WHP)
TAKEOFF MINIMUMS AND (OBSTACLE) DEPARTURE PROCEDURES
ORIG 94034 (FAA)
TAKEOFF MINIMUMS: Rwys 12, 30, 2900-2 or std. with a min. climb of 350′ per NM to 4300.

DEPARTURE PROCEDURE:
Rwy 12, climbing right turn direct VNY VOR/DME.
Rwy 30, climbing left turn heading 260°. All aircraft climb to 4500 via VNY R-325, then climbing left turn direct VNY VOR/DME.

The examiner wants you to assume the winds favor Rwy 30. For IFR departures, climb to 400′ before starting any turns, in ForeFlight I used 1/2 mile from the airport before turning and intercepting the VNY 325 radial at about 3 miles. This gives a heading of 262°. Close enough to visualize the route you will fly.

KWHP Obstacle Departure

Northern and Southern California have TEC routes. Within the national airspace system it is possible for a pilot to fly IFR from one point to another without leaving approach control airspace. This is referred to as “Tower Enroute” which allows flight beneath the enroute structure. Most of us will not be flying jets or turbo-props, so our aircraft classification code will be either (P) =Non-jet (cruise speed 190 knots or greater) or(Q) =Non-jet (cruise speed 189 knots or less).

We need to look at flights in the Burbank area.

BURN19, BURN24, and BURN25 go to Long Beach. However, only BURN19 is a P or Q route.

LGB FUL SLI TOA………………………………BURN19
V186 ADAMM V394 SLI …………………….. PQ50

The altitude is 5,000′.

Lost Comms
Let’s use the ILS or LOC RWY 30 approach into Long Beach. So how do you get from SLI to an IAF? GUNEY is right next to the VOR and there is a feeder route (2,000′, 196°, 2nm) from SLI to GUNEY. The intercept angle to the ILS is greater than 90° so you would need to fly the hold to do a course reversal.

AIM 5-4-6 (FEEDER) ROUTES THAT LEAD FROM THE EN ROUTE STRUCTURE TO THE IAF ARE PART OF THE APPROACH CLEARANCE.

If you lost comms before SLI, you would need to stay at 5,000′ until SLI (even though the MEAs are lower—remember its the highest of MIA, expected, or assigned—and then you could begin your descent because you would be established on the Instrument Approach Procedure.

Under lost comms, to fly the approach into Long Beach you need to get from SLI to an IAF. the RNAV (GPS) Z RWY 30 approach has an FAF at GUNEY but there is no way to get there from SLI. If the GPS approaches had TAAs instead of MSAs we could probably use them, but they don’t. The RNAV (RNP) approaches don’t apply to us. We could do the VOR or TACAN RWY 30 approach, since it starts at SLI. The minimums are 640/50 which is worse than the 258/18 for the ILS, but if the weather is good, it would be fine.

Long Beach to Camarillo
KLBG CSTN23 SUANA RNAV (GPS) Z RWY 26 KCMA 5000ft 73nm

CSTN23 TEC route is SLI POPPR SMO VNY

LONG BEACH/DAUGHERTY FIELD (LGB) TAKEOFF MINIMUMS AND (OBSTACLE) DEPARTURE PROCEDURES
AMDT 6 16147 (FAA)
TAKEOFF MINIMUMS: Rwy 25L/R, std. w/min. climb of 225’ per NM to 2300.

DEPARTURE PROCEDURE:
Rwy 7L/R, climb heading 076° to 800, then climbing right turn SLI VORTAC and to SLI R-210 to PADDR INT.
Rwy 12, climb heading 121° to intercept SLI VORTAC R-210 to PADDR INT.

Rwy 25L/R, climb heading 256° to 800, then climbing left turn heading 200° and LAX VORTAC R-145 to PADDR INT.
Rwy 30, climb heading 301° to 800, then climbing left turn heading 200° and lax VORTAC R- 145 to PADDR INT.
NOTE: (Lots of obstacles)

DIVERSE VECTOR AREA (RADAR VECTORS) AMDT 1 16231 (FAA)
Rwys 7L/R, 12, 30, heading as assigned by ATC.
Rwy 25L, heading as assigned by ATC; requires minimum climb of 330’ per NM to 700.
Rwy 25R, heading as assigned by ATC; requires minimum climb of 230’ per NM to 1600.

You’ll probably be given radar vectors from Rwy 25L or 25R, since the obstacle departure procedures take you way out of your way to PADDR. You might be given a partial obstacle departure, since you TEC route starts at SLI and the departure procedures for 7L/R and 12 have SLI as a fix.

IF you have WAAS, you can start the approach at SUANA for the RNAV (GPS) Z RWY 26 and get down to 327 for a DA. If you are GPS equipped but not WAAS enabled, then you would need to use the RNAV (GPS) Y RWY 26 approach. If no GPS, then you could use the VOR RWY 26 and start your approach at the VNY VOR. Minimims are 1100/1 1/4.

Alternates
An alternate is always required for flights to airfields without an instrument approach like Harris Ranch. Otherwise, it depends on the weather. I’ll cover them in a separate post.

Takeoff and Landing
§91.103 Preflight action.
(b) For any flight, runway lengths at airports of intended use, and the following takeoff and landing distance information:

There are two airports on these flights where that might be a concern, Harris Ranch, because it is short, and Lake Tahoe, because of its elevation. I’ll cover them in a separate post.

Feeder Routes

June 28th, 2017

Sometimes when you look at an approach chart, you see fixes that are labeled as IAF but have a gap between the arrow and the next fix (usually an IF).

For example, FIKDU on the KPRB RNAV RWY19 does not have a continuous arrow leading to the approach. However, it does have an altitude, direction, and distance so you can fly from FIKDU to MEETL.

It gets more complicated on the ILS Y RWY 16R approach. Notice that there are three arrows going from the Filmore VOR to the localizer. Only one of them is flyable. The other two are cross radials used to identify the JINAT and FURRY intersections. The R-235 radial from Van Nuys looks like it is a cross radial used to identify ZIDOM, but it is also flyable since there is an altitude, direction, and distance to ZIDOM labeled near the VOR.

If you are flying the LYNXX.EIGHT arrival it would take you to the VNY VORTAC. So how do you get to the approach from the VOR? You fly the feeder route to ZIDOM—an IAF.

Things to Remember IFR Checkride—Abbreviations

June 19th, 2017

IFR
INSTRUMENT FLIGHT RULES A set of rules governing the conduct of flight under instrument meteorological conditions

IMC
INSTRUMENT METEOROLOGICAL CONDITIONS Meteorological conditions expressed in terms of visibility, distance from cloud, and ceiling less than the minima specified for visual meteorological conditions.

DP
INSTRUMENT DEPARTURE PROCEDURE A preplanned instrument flight rules (IFR) departure procedure published for pilot use, in graphic or textual format, that provides obstruction clearance from the terminal area to the appropriate en route structure. There are two types of DP, Obstacle Departure Procedure (ODP), printed either textually or graphically, and Standard Instrument Departure (SID), which is always printed graphically.

STAR
STANDARD TERMINAL ARRIVAL A preplanned instrument flight rules (IFR) air traffic control arrival procedure published for pilot use in graphic and/or textual form. STARs provide transition from the en route structure to an outer fix or an instrument approach fix/arrival waypoint in the terminal area.

IAP
INSTRUMENT APPROACH PROCEDURE A series of predetermined maneuvers by reference to flight instruments with specified protection from obstacles from the initial approach fix, or where applicable, from the beginning of a defined arrival route to a point from which a landing can be completed and thereafter, if a landing is not completed, to a position at which holding or en route obstacle clearance criteria apply.

MIA
MINIMUM IFR ALTITUDES (MIA) Minimum altitudes for IFR operations as prescribed in 14 CFR Part 91. These altitudes are published on aeronautical charts and prescribed in 14 CFR Part 95 for airways and routes, and in 14 CFR Part 97 for standard instrument approach procedures. If no applicable minimum altitude is prescribed in 14 CFR Part 95 or 14 CFR Part 97, the following minimum IFR altitude applies:
a. In designated mountainous areas, 2,000 feet above the highest obstacle within a horizontal distance of 4 nautical miles from the course to be flown; or
b. Other than mountainous areas, 1,000 feet above the highest obstacle within a horizontal distance of 4 nautical miles from the course to be flown; or
c. As otherwise authorized by the Administrator or assigned by ATC.

MEA
MINIMUM EN ROUTE IFR ALTITUDE The lowest published altitude between radio fixes which assures acceptable navigational signal coverage and meets obstacle clearance requirements between those fixes. The MEA prescribed for a Federal airway or segment thereof, area navigation low or high route, or other direct route applies to the entire width of the airway, segment, or route between the radio fixes defining the airway, segment, or route.

MOCA
MINIMUM OBSTRUCTION CLEARANCE ALTITUDE (MOCA) The lowest published altitude in effect between radio fixes on VOR airways, off-airway routes, or route segments which meets obstacle clearance requirements for the entire route segment and which assures acceptable navigational signal coverage only within 25 statute (22 nautical) miles of a VOR.

MSA
MINIMUM SAFE ALTITUDE−
a. The minimum altitude specified in 14 CFR Part 91 for various aircraft operations.
b. Altitudes depicted on approach charts which provide at least 1,000 feet of obstacle clearance for emergency use. These altitudes will be identified as Minimum Safe Altitudes or Emergency Safe Altitudes and are established as follows:
1. Minimum Safe Altitude (MSA). Altitudes depicted on approach charts which provide at least 1,000 feet of obstacle clearance within a 25-mile radius of the navigation facility, waypoint, or airport reference point upon which the MSA is predicated. MSAs are for emergency use only and do not necessarily assure acceptable navigational signal coverage.
(See ICAO term Minimum Sector Altitude.)
2. Emergency Safe Altitude (ESA). Altitudes depicted on approach charts which provide at least 1,000 feet of obstacle clearance in nonmountainous areas and 2,000 feet of obstacle clearance in designated mountainous areas within a 100-mile radius of the navigation facility or waypoint used as the ESA center. These altitudes are normally used only in military procedures and are identified on published procedures as “Emergency Safe Altitudes.”

MVA
MINIMUM VECTORING ALTITUDE The lowest MSL altitude at which an IFR aircraft will be vectored by a radar controller, except as otherwise authorized for radar approaches, departures, and missed approaches. The altitude meets IFR obstacle clearance criteria. It may be lower than the published MEA along an airway or J-route segment. It may be utilized for radar vectoring only upon the controller’s determination that an adequate radar return is being received from the aircraft being controlled. Charts depicting minimum vectoring altitudes are normally available only to the controllers and not to pilots.

MSA
MINIMUM SECTOR ALTITUDE The lowest altitude which may be used under emergency conditions which will provide a minimum clearance of 300 m (1,000 feet) above all obstacles located in an area contained within a sector of a circle of 46 km (25 NM) radius centered on a radio aid to navigation.

MCA
MINIMUM CROSSING ALTITUDE The lowest altitude at certain fixes at which an aircraft must cross when proceeding in the direction of a higher minimum en route IFR altitude (MEA).

MAA
MAXIMUM AUTHORIZED ALTITUDE A published altitude representing the maximum usable altitude or flight level for an airspace structure or route segment. It is the highest altitude on a Federal airway, jet route, area navigation low or high route, or other direct route for which an MEA is designated in 14 CFR Part 95 at which adequate reception of navigation aid signals is assured.

MTA
MINIMUM TURNING ALTITUDE Due to increased airspeeds at 10,000 ft MSL or above, the published minimum enroute altitude (MEA) may not be sufficient for obstacle clearance when a turn is required over a fix, NAVAID, or waypoint. In these instances, an expanded area in the vicinity of the turn point is examined to determine whether the published MEA is sufficient for obstacle clearance. In some locations (normally mountainous), terrain/obstacles in the expanded search area may necessitate a higher minimum altitude while conducting the turning maneuver. Turning fixes requiring a higher minimum turning altitude (MTA) will be denoted on government charts by the minimum crossing altitude (MCA) icon (“x” flag) and an accompanying note describing the MTA restriction

MRA
MINIMUM RECEPTION ALTITUDE The lowest altitude at which an intersection can be determined.

COP
CHANGEOVER POINT A point along the route or airway segment between two adjacent navigation facilities or waypoints where changeover in navigation guidance should occur.

OROCA/MORA
OFF ROUTE OBSTRUCTION CLEARANCE AREA/MINIMUM OFF ROUTE ALTITUDE 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 United States. This altitude may not provide signal coverage from ground-based navigational aids, air traffic control radar, or communications coverage.

FAF
FINAL APPROACH FIX The fix from which the final approach (IFR) to an airport is executed and which identifies the beginning of the final approach segment. It is designated on Government charts by the Maltese Cross symbol for nonprecision approaches and the lightning bolt symbol, designating the PFAF, for precision approaches; or when ATC directs a lower-than-published glideslope/path or vertical path intercept altitude, it is the resultant actual point of the glideslope/path or vertical path intercept.

FAP
FINAL APPROACH POINT The point, applicable only to a nonprecision approach with no depicted FAF (such as an on airport VOR), where the aircraft is established inbound on the final approach course from the procedure turn and where the final approach descent may be commenced. The FAP serves as the FAF and identifies the beginning of the final approach segment.

DA
DECISION ALTITUDE A specified altitude in the precision approach, charted in feet MSL, at which a missed approach must be initiated if the required visual reference to continue the approach has not been established.

DH
DECISION HEIGHT A specified altitude in the precision approach, charted in height above threshold elevation, at which a decision must be made either to continue the approach or to execute a missed approach.

MDA
MINIMUM DESCENT ALTITUDE The lowest altitude (in feet MSL) to which descent is authorized on final approach, or during circle-to-land maneuvering in execution of a nonprecision approach.

TCH
THRESHOLD CROSSING HEIGHT The theoretical height above the runway threshold at which the aircraft’s glideslope antenna would be if the aircraft maintains the trajectory established by the mean ILS glideslope or the altitude at which the calculated glidepath of an RNAV or GPS approaches.

HAT
HEIGHT ABOVE TOUCHDOWN The height of the Decision Height or Minimum Descent Altitude above the highest runway elevation in the touchdown zone (first 3,000 feet of the runway). HAT is published on instrument approach charts in conjunction with all straight-in minimums.

HAA
HEIGHT ABOVE AIRPORT The height of the Minimum Descent Altitude above the published airport elevation. This is published in conjunction with circling minimums.

TDZE
Touchdown zone elevation (TDZE). The highest elevation in the first 3,000 feet of the landing surface, TDZE is indicated on the instrument approach procedure chart when straight-in landing minimums are authorized.

MAP
MISSED APPROACH POINT A point prescribed in each instrument approach procedure at which a missed approach procedure shall be executed if the required visual reference does not exist.

CLIMB VIA– An abbreviated ATC clearance that requires compliance with the procedure lateral path, associated speed restrictions, and altitude restrictions along the cleared route or procedure.

DESCEND VIA– An abbreviated ATC clearance that requires compliance with a published procedure lateral path and associated speed restrictions and provides a pilot-discretion descent to comply with published altitude restrictions.

LVP
Localizer Performance with Vertical Guidance
LPV approaches take advantage of the refined accuracy of WAAS lateral and vertical guidance to provide an approach very similar to a Category I ILS. Like an ILS, an LPV has vertical guidance and is flown to a Decision Altitude (DA). The design of an LPV approach incorporates angular guidance with increasing sensitivity as an aircraft gets closer to the runway (or point in space (PinS) type approaches for helicopters). Sensitivities are nearly identical to those of the ILS at similar distances. This is intentional to aid pilots in transferring their ILS flying skills to LPV approaches.

LNAV/VNAV
Lateral Navigation/Vertical Navigation
LNAV/VNAV approaches provide both horizontal and approved vertical approach guidance. Vertical Navigation (VNAV) utilizes an internally generated glideslope based on WAAS or baro-VNAV systems. Minimums are published as a DA. If baro-VNAV is used instead of WAAS, the pilot may have approach restrictions as a result of temperature limitations and must check predictive RAIM (Receiver Autonomous Integrity Monitoring). [Airplanes that are commonly approved in these types of operations include Boeing 737NG, 767, and 777, as well as the Airbus A300 series.]

LP/LNAV
Localizer Performance without Vertical Guidance (LP) and Lateral Navigation (LNAV)
LPs are non-precision approaches with WAAS lateral guidance. They are added in locations where terrain or obstructions do not allow publication of vertically guided LPV procedures. Lateral sensitivity increases as an aircraft gets closer to the runway. LP is not a fail-down mode for an LPV. LP and LPV are independent. LP minimums will not be published with lines of minima that contain approved vertical guidance (LNAV/VNAV or LPV).

LNAV approaches are non-precision approaches that provide lateral guidance. The pilot must check RAIM (Receiver Autonomous Integrity Monitoring) prior to the approach when not using WAAS equipment.

LNAV+V
Depending on the manufacturer, a few WAAS-enabled GPS units provide advisory vertical guidance in association with LP or LNAV approaches. Typically, the manufacturer will use the notation of LNAV+V. The system includes an artificially created advisory glide path from the final approach fix to the touchdown point on the runway. This may aid the pilot in flying constant descent to the MDA.

All definitions above from the Pilot Controller Glossary except MDA, MORA, COP, DA, DH, and TDZE are from the Instrument Flying Handbook. MTA from the AIM. LPV, lNAV/VNAV, LP/LNAV, LNAV+V from RNAV (GPS) Approaches

Things to Remember IFR Checkride—Weather

June 14th, 2017

§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—

(a) For a flight under IFR or a flight not in the vicinity of an airport, weather reports and forecasts, fuel requirements, alternatives available if the planned flight cannot be completed, and any known traffic delays of which the pilot in command has been advised by ATC;

Ceiling is Broken or Overcast
Ceiling means the height above the earth’s surface of the lowest layer of clouds or obscuring phenomena that is reported as broken, overcast, or obscuration, and not classified as thin or partial.

1/8-2/8 Few
3/8-4/8 Scattered
5/8-7/8 Broken
8/8 Overcast

Pre-Flight Weather & Notices
Always know where the nearest VFR is along the route of flight.
TFRs and NOTAMs

Departure and Destination Airports
METAR
TAF
Progs

EnRoute
Surface Analysis
Satellite
Radar
Ceilings along route
Freezing Levels relative to MEAs and MOCAs
Winds and Temps Aloft
Pireps
Airmets and Sigmets

Highs and Lows
Low is rising column of counterclockwise air. Sucks in moisture and dust.
High is clockwise movement of air. Air goes downward pushing bad weather away.

Trough is an elongated low.
Ridge is an elongated high.

DUATS Surface Analysis

Surface Analysis

Surface Analysis Legend

Radar
Shows cells, Cell movement, Precip Intensity, Cloud/Cell Tops

DUATS Radar

Radar

Prog Charts
Ceiling, turbulence, freezing levels

Prog Charts

Prog Charts

Inflight Flight Weather
If you call for weather on 122.2, make sure you let them know where you are. If you use an RCO make sure you identify it.

These are the sites that I have been using to check local weather and flight restrictions.

WAAS Outages

May 29th, 2017

This airport if the first one that I’ve run across that has this symbol. It it located in the Florida Keys, which probably explains why it may be outside the reach of WAAS.

NOTE: The W symbol indicates outages of the WAAS vertical guidance may occur daily due to initial system limitations. WAAS NOTAMS for vertical outages are not provided for this approach. Use LNAV minima for flight planning at these locations, whether as a destination or alternate. For flight operations at these locations, when the WAAS avionics indicate that LNAV/VNAV or LPV service is available, then vertical guidance may be used to complete the approach using the displayed level of service. Should an outage occur during the procedure, reversion to LNAV minima may be required.
As the WAAS coverage is expanded, the W will be removed.

WAAS Outage May Occur.png

From the AIM 1−1−18. Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS)

7. When the approach chart is annotated with the symbol, W site−specific WAAS MAY NOT BE AVBL NOTAMs or Air Traffic advisories are not provided for outages in WAAS LNAV/VNAV and LPV vertical service. Vertical outages may occur daily at these locations due to being close to the edge of WAAS system coverage. Use LNAV or circling minima for flight planning at these locations, whether as a destination or alternate. For flight operations at these locations, when the WAAS avionics indicate that LNAV/VNAV or LPV service is available, then the vertical guidance may be used to complete the approach using the displayed level of service. Should an outage occur during the procedure, reversion to LNAV minima may be required.

Diverse Departure Assessment

May 28th, 2017

When you see this symbol AlternateTakeoffMinimumson the approach plate, it means that either there are non-standard takeoff minimums or that there is a published departure procedure. So one way to find airports with a diverse departure is to look for ones without that symbol. It is a necessary, but not sufficient condition.

I downloaded the TPP documents for Florida and California and started looking for airports without the symbol. The only ones I found were a couple of military fields in FLorida. Kansas and Nebraska are pretty flat, so I looked at the TPP NC2 plates and found KAIA.

KAIA VOR 12
There are no notes for this approach and none of the approaches at this airport have Alternate Takeoff Minimums symbol. If you look at the approach plate there is only one obstacle several miles away and about 1800′ above the airport. It would be hard to hit it with a standard IFR climb.

Dodge City, Harper Muni, Neodesha Muni, Platsmouth Muni, Pratt Regional, Smith Center Regional, Cessna Aircraft Field (but not the Beech Aircraft field just a few miles away) all have diverse departure assessment departures. So there aren’t a lot of them, but they aren’t unicorns.

ELTs

May 25th, 2017

I previously wrote about replacing the battery in an ELT. This post talks about testing the ELT at each annual or after battery replacement.

§91.207 Emergency locator transmitters.
(d) Each emergency locator transmitter required by paragraph (a) of this section must be inspected within 12 calendar months after the last inspection for—
  (1) Proper installation;
  (2) Battery corrosion;
  (3) Operation of the controls and crash sensor; and
  (4) The presence of a sufficient signal radiated from its antenna.

I’ve done around 30 annuals and we never tested the crash sensors. It turns out that there is a procedure for it in AC 43.13-1B

A TSO-C91 ELT can be activated by using a quick rap with the palm. A TSO-C91a ELT can be activated by using a rapid forward (throwing) motion coupled by a rapid reversing action. Verify that the ELT can be activated using a watt meter, the airplane’s VHF radio communications receiver tuned to 121.5 MHz, or other means (see NOTE 1). Insure that the “G” switch has been reset if applicable.

If I am reading the ACK manual correctly, the listening for the sweeps when the unit is switched to ON is all you need to do. From the ACK website,

Model E-01 Emergency Locator Transmitter The model E-01 ELT must be inspected yearly to insure continued airworthiness. The procedures as described in section 7 (Periodic Maintenance) of the installation and operation manual part number E-01-M (all revision dates) should be followed. These tests also fulfill the requirements of FAR 91.207.

There is no mention of performing a test of the crash sensor.

Things to Remember IFR Checkride

May 24th, 2017

Common Mistakes
Make sure you ask the examiner to clear the area before maneuvers.
Use checklists for all phases of flight—if using a mnemonic, tell the examiner what you are doing.
Use rudder for small corrections on final.

Approach
Setup for stabilized approach 4 miles before FAF.
10° Flaps, Landing Gear down, Prop in, Mixture in, Boost Pump on
Missed reviewed and set up.

Going Missed
Cram – Power In
Climb – Nose on Horizon
Clean – Gear first, then flaps
Cool – Mixture and Cowl Flaps
Communicate – Let the tower know you are going missed.

IFR Privileges
For Part 91 pilots an instrument flight plan is required to enter IMC in controlled airspace and to enter Class A airspace.

Fly in Instrument Meteorological Conditions (IMC) including Class G.
File and fly under Instrument Flight Rules (IFR).
Fly in Class A airspace.
Fly Special VFR at Night (if airplane is also IFR)
If a commercial pilot, carry passengers for hire at night or in excess of 50 NM.

Pilot Requirements to fly IFR
Six approaches, holding patterns, and intercepting courses in previous six months.
Current and appropriate medical for the type of flight.
Current flight review.

If flying with passengers: Within the previous 90 days
Three takeoffs and landings
If flying between 1 hour after sunset and 1 hour before sunrise:
Three takeoffs and landing to a full stop in that time.

IFR Equipment Required
Everything from Day plus:
Generator or alternator of adequate capacity.
Two-way radio communication and navigation equipment suitable for the route to be flown.
Clock capable of displaying seconds.

(Normal six pack except VSI)
Sensitive altimeter adjustable for barometric pressure.
Gyroscopic rate-of-turn indicator
Slip-skid indicator
Gyroscopic pitch and bank indicator (artificial horizon).
Gyroscopic direction indicator (directional gyro or equivalent).

IFR Mnemonic— GRABCARD
Generator or Alternator
Radios for Communication and Navigation
Altimeter – Sensitive
Ball – Slip/Skid Indicator
Clock
Attitude Indicator
Rate of Turn Indicator
Directional Gyro (Heading Indicator)

Directional gyro
Check, in straight and level flight, about every 15 minutes, after a holding pattern, and before starting an approach.

At Each Waypoint
Morse, Source, Course
If ILS or Localizer, listen for Morse Code, Verify Source on GPS, Set Course on Heading Indicator and OBS

Altitude for Leg
Airspeed
Attitude on Heading Indicator
Active Leg Is Shown On GPS
ATC Communication

Next Leg, Waypoint, or Missed Approach. Load frequencies for Nav and Coms.

VOR
At 30 NM each dot is appoximately 1 NM displacement.
So 1 NM is ~200′.

Airworthy Aircraft
Current Registration
Annual
100 Hour AD items
Transponder – 24 months
Altimeter- 24 months
Pitot/Static- 24 months
ELT – 12 Months Inspection, Replaced at 24 months or 50%

GPS Database Current (New version every 28 days.)
VOR check within 30 days

Inoperative Equipment
As long as it is not required you may:
Use Minimum Equipment List (MEL) if applicable,
Inop Sticker and Deactiveate,
Inop Sticker and Remove (W&B may be required).

Ferry Permit if Required Equipment is inoperative

Unusual Attitudes
Nose High
Add power, Reduce Pitch, Level the Wings – Leveling the wings first may result in a spin.

Nose Low
Reduce power, Level the Wings, Increase Pitch – Increasing the pitch first will increase the bank and may overstress the airframe.

To level off at an airspeed higher than the descent speed, the addition of power should be made, assuming a 500 FPM rate of descent, at approximately 100 to 150 feet above the desired altitude.

ATC Reports
All Times-STALLMUUVA
Safety of flight—Icing, Turbulence, Bird Strike, Engine Trouble, etc.
Time and altitude reaching a holding fix
Airspeed (true) change of 10 kts or 5% whichever is greater.
Loss of nav equipment and degree to which ability to operate in system is affected
Leaving hold
Missed approach
Unable to climb or descend at 500 fpm
Unforecast weather
Vacating assigned altitude
Altitude change VFR-On-Top

§91.183 IFR communications.
(a) The time and altitude of passing each designated reporting point…
(b) Any unforecast weather conditions encountered; and
(c) Any other information relating to the safety of flight.

§91.187 Operation under IFR in controlled airspace: Malfunction reports.
any malfunctions of navigational, approach, or communication equipment occurring in flight.

Reports that should be made without a specific request from ATC
• VFR-on-top change in altitude
• Missed approach
• Leaving one assigned flight altitude for another
• Leaving any assigned holding fix or point
• Unable to climb or descend at least 500 feet per minute
• TAS variation from filed speed of 5% or 10 knots, whichever is greater
• Time and altitude upon reaching a holding fix
• Loss of NAV/Comm capability
• Unforecasted weather conditions or other information relating to the safety of flight

Non-RADAR Reports
If radar contact has been lost the CFRs require pilots to provide ATC with position reports over designated VORs
• Compulsory reporting points as depicted on IFR en route charts by solid triangles.
• Leaving FAF or OM inbound on final approach.
• Revised ETA of more than three minutes.

Position Reports
IPTAEN
ID
Position
Time
Altitude
ETA Next fix
Name of succeeding fix

Operating Below DA/DH or MDA
Flight Visibility > Minimums
Land Using Normal Manuevers (in the Touchdown Zone Part 121 and 135)
Have the Runway Environment in sight

14 CFR §91.175 Takeoff and landing under IFR.

(c) Operation below DA/DH or MDA.
Except as provided in paragraph (l) of this section, where a DA/DH or MDA is applicable, no pilot may operate an aircraft, except a military aircraft of the United States, below the authorized MDA or continue an approach below the authorized DA/DH unless—

(1) The aircraft is continuously in a position from which a descent to a landing on the intended runway can be made at a normal rate of descent using normal maneuvers, and for operations conducted under part 121 or part 135 unless that descent rate will allow touchdown to occur within the touchdown zone of the runway of intended landing;

(2) The flight visibility is not less than the visibility prescribed in the standard instrument approach being used; and

(3) Except for a Category II or Category III approach where any necessary visual reference requirements are specified by the Administrator, at least one of the following visual references for the intended runway is distinctly visible and identifiable to the pilot:

(i) The approach light system, except that the pilot may not descend below 100 feet above the touchdown zone elevation using the approach lights as a reference unless the red terminating bars or the red side row bars are also distinctly visible and identifiable.

(ii) The threshold.
(iii) The threshold markings.
(iv) The threshold lights.
(v) The runway end identifier lights.
(vi) The visual approach slope indicator.
(vii) The touchdown zone or touchdown zone markings.
(viii) The touchdown zone lights.
(ix) The runway or runway markings.
(x) The runway lights.

Threshold—The beginning of that portion of the runway usable for landing.
Displaced Threshold—A threshold that is located at a point on the runway other than the designated beginning of the runway.
Touchdown zone—The first three thousand feet of the runway, beginning at the threshold. Note: This is why there are three sets of stripes along the runway. The first set and the aiming point are in the first 1,000′. Two sets with two stipes are in the second 1,000′. Two sets with 1 stripe are in the final 1,000′ of the TDZ.

Filing IFR
No person may operate a civil aircraft in IFR conditions unless it carries enough fuel (considering weather reports and forecasts and weather conditions) to—
Complete the flight to the first airport of intended landing;
Fly from that airport to the alternate airport; and
Fly after that for 45 minutes at normal cruising speed.

Non-WAAS equipped aircraft may file based on a GPS−based IAP at either the destination or the alternate airport, but not at both locations. When using WAAS at an alternate airport, flight planning must be based on flying the RNAV (GPS) LNAV or circling minima line, or minima on a GPS approach procedure, or conventional approach procedure with “or GPS” in the title. (Not LPV.)

Alternates
If the forecast weather at the destination airport, for at least 1 hour before and for 1 hour after the estimated time of arrival (ETA), the ceiling is less than 2,000 feet above the airport elevation, and the visibility is less than 3 SM.

Standard alternate minimums for non-precision approaches and approaches with vertical guidance [NDB, VOR, LOC, TACAN, LDA, SDF, VOR/DME, ASR, RNAV (GPS) or RNAV (RNP)] are 800-2. At the estimated time of arrival.

Standard alternate minimums for precision approaches (ILS, PAR, or GLS) are 600-2. At the estimated time of arrival.

If no instrument approach procedure at the destination the ceiling and visibility minima are those allowing descent from the MEA, approach, and landing under basic VFR. An alternate is required.

When using WAAS at an alternate airport, flight planning must be based on flying the RNAV (GPS) LNAV or circling minima line, or minima on a GPS approach procedure, or conventional approach procedure with “or GPS” in the title.

Departures
FAA designated standard minimums: 1 statute mile (SM) visibility for single- and twin-engine aircraft, and 1⁄2 SM for helicopters and aircraft with more than two engines. Part 91 has no takeoff minimums—a 0/0 departure is legal.

Unless specified otherwise, required obstacle clearance for all departures, including diverse, is based on the pilot crossing the departure end of the runway (DER) at least 35 feet above the DER elevation, climbing to 400 feet above the DER elevation before making the initial turn, and maintaining a minimum climb gradient of 200 feet per nautical mile (FPNM), unless required to level off by a crossing restriction until the minimum IFR altitude is reached.

If an aircraft may turn in any direction from a runway within the limits of the assessment area and remain clear of obstacles that runway passes what is called a diverse departure assessment and no ODP is published.
Obstacle Departure Procedures (ODP) are only used for obstruction clearance and do not include ATC related climb requirements.
A Standard Instrument Departure (SID) is an ATC-requested and developed departure route. Must have at least the textual description of the procedure.
A visual climb over airport (VCOA) is a departure option for an IFR aircraft, operating in VMC equal to or greater than the specified visibility and ceiling.
A radar departure is another option.

Using GPS
Databases must be updated for IFR operations and should be updated for all other operations.
Always load the full approach — not vectors-to-final — even if that is what they give you.

Ground−based navigation equipment is not required to be installed and operating for en route IFR operations when using GPS/WAAS navigation systems. All operators should ensure that an alternate means of navigation is available in the unlikely event the GPS/WAAS navigation system becomes inoperative.

Pilots are not authorized to fly a published RNAV or RNP departure procedure unless it is retrievable by the procedure name from the navigation database and conforms to the charted procedure.

Use of a STAR 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.

As soon as you turn onto a localizer or ILS, you need to display course guidance from the Nav radio… For a VOR approach, the answer is different you can fly all the way to the FAF before you need to switch the CDI or HSI to the Nav radio.

IFR Approach and Departure
GPS IFR approach/departure operations can be conducted when approved avionics systems are installed and the following requirements are met:
  (1) The aircraft is [GPS/WAAS certified]… and
  (2) The approach/departure must be retrievable from the current airborne navigation database in the navigation computer. The system must be able to retrieve the procedure by name from the aircraft navigation database. Manual entry of waypoints using latitude/longitude or place/bearing is not permitted for approach procedure.

GPS overlay approaches are designated non−precision instrument approach procedures that pilots are authorized to fly using GPS avionics. Overlay procedures are identified by the “name of the procedure” and “or GPS” (e.g., VOR/DME or GPS RWY 15) in the title.

Minimums at Controlled Airports
No person may operate an aircraft beneath the ceiling under VFR within the lateral boundaries of controlled airspace designated to the surface for an airport when the ceiling is less than 1,000 feet ground visibility at that airport is at least 3 statute miles.

The same minimums apply to visual approaches. Contact approaches only require 1 SM visibility and COC.

Lost Comms
Route – AVEnue F
Assigned, Vectored, Expected, Filed

Altitude – MEA
Minimum IFR Altitude
Expected
Assigned
Highest for route.

Squawk 7600

Oxygen
Recommended altitude for using oxygen at night is 5,000′ and 10,000′ during the day.

12.500 for more than 30 minutes
14,000 for crew
15,000 made available for passengers

Filing
Tower Enroute Control route can be requested from Ground.
On initial call say you have an IFR request.
Ask for a TEC to your destination. Know the route when you request because they will give you a route, e.g. SBAN47 or CSTN24

With GPS you can file or request MOCA altitudes if the MEA requires oxygen, icing is possible at the MEA, or you want a better ride below the cloud deck.

MRAs for identifying intersections aren’t necessary if you have GPS.

Required Documents in the Airplane

May 17th, 2017

We are all taught the ARROW acronym—Airworthiness Certificate, Registration, Radio License, Operating Limitations, Weight and Balance. I previously wrote about this topic and thought that it deserved a revisit.

There are three occasions when you may be asked for these documents. When being ramp checked, when the aircraft goes in for an annual inspection, or when the aircraft is involved in an accident or incident.

CHAPTER 56 CONDUCT A FAR PART 91 RAMP INSPECTION
AIRCRAFT DOCUMENTS. Following are considerations when examining aircraft documents, including registration and airworthiness certificates and approved flight manuals. Discrepancies found concerning the airworthiness or registration certificates shall be brought to the attention of the operator, documented, and given to the airworthiness unit for action.
A. N-Numbers. The N-number on the registration certificate must match the N-number on the airworthi­ness certificate.
B. Registration Certificate. If the registered owner has changed you may see a temporary registration (Pink Slip) which is good for 120 days. If the ownership has changed without a Pink Slip or the N- numbers do not match, the registration is not valid.
C. Radio Station License. An aircraft FCC radio license is required although the FAA does not regulate the requirement. The license may be for that particular N-number or a fleet license. The expiration date of the license is in the upper right hand corner. Any discrep­ancy concerning the radio license should be brought to the attention of the operator only.
D. Flight Manual. An Aircraft Flight Manual is required to be on board the aircraft (FAR § 91.9 {91.31}) along with the appropriate markings and placards.
E. Weight and Balance Information. Weight and balance documents, including a list of equipment, must be on board the aircraft. Some multiengine operators have Minimum Equipment Lists (MEL’s) with a letter of authorization issued by a district office. These constitute a supplemental type certificate for the aircraft and must be on board. The inspector should compare inop­erative equipment to the MEL to assure compliance. (Refer to Related Task #58, Approve a Minimum Equipment List.)
F. Airworthiness Certificate. The certificate most often seen by an inspector is a standard airworthiness certificate, which is issued for normal, utility, acrobatic, and transport category aircraft. A restricted, limited, or experimental certificate must be accompanied by a list of limitations and conditions (FAR § 21.183 -191) necessary for safe operation. A Special Flight Permit (Ferry Permit) is issued to aircraft that may not be airworthy but are capable of safe flight under certain conditions which are listed and issued with the permit (FAR §§ 21.197 , 91.203 {91.27}, and 91.213 {91.30}). Review the list of limitations and conditions to assure a valid airworthiness certificate. The N-number on the certificate must match the N-number on the fuselage to be valid.

Airworthiness Certificate and Registration Certificate
The standard airworthiness certificate is issued when the airplane is manufactured or when the N number changes. In addition to the standard Airworthiness Certificate, there are Experimental, Restricted, or Special Flight Certificates that may apply to your aircraft.

Registrations must be renewed every three years. The FAA has a page that explains the process. You can also check the status of an aircrafts registration and who it is registered to on the FAA website.

§91.203 Civil aircraft: Certifications required.
(a) Except as provided in §91.715, no person may operate a civil aircraft unless it has within it the following:

(1) An appropriate and current airworthiness certificate. Each U.S. airworthiness certificate used to comply with this subparagraph (except a special flight permit, a copy of the applicable operations specifications issued under §21.197(c) of this chapter [Special flight permits], …
(2) An effective U.S. registration certificate issued to its owner or, for operation within the United States, the second copy of the Aircraft registration Application as provided for in §47.31(c), a Certificate of Aircraft registration as provided in part 48, or a registration certification issued under the laws of a foreign country.

Radio Station License
A radio station and operators license is required if you make international flights or communicate with foreign stations. As far as I can tell, this requirement is not enforced for flights to Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean. I got my restricted operators permit in 1980 when they were still required for domestic operations but have not flown internationally.

…you do not need a license to operate a two-way VHF radio, radar, or emergency locator transmitter (ELT) aboard aircraft operating domestically. All other aircraft radio stations must be licensed by the FCC either individually or by fleet. Aircraft operating domestically do not land in a foreign country or communicate via radio with foreign ground stations.FAA

You must obtain an FCC Aircraft Radio Station License if you make international flights or communicate with foreign stations. If you are not required to obtain a license – you do not need to file this form [Form 605] with the FCC. The license has a term of 10 years.

At least one person on each aircraft flying or communicating internationally must have a Restricted Radiotelephone Operator Permit. This requirement is in addition to the requirement to have an aircraft radio station license for the aircraft. No Restricted Radiotelephone Operator Permit is required to operate VHF radio equipment on board an aircraft when that aircraft is flown domestically. You may obtain a Restricted Permit using FCC Form 605. No test is required to obtain this permit. The permit when issued will be valid for your lifetime. The fee for a Restricted Permit is in addition to any fee paid for an aircraft license.FAA

PART 87—AVIATION SERVICES
§87.18 Station license required.
(a) Except as noted in paragraph (b) of this section, stations in the aviation service must be licensed by the FCC either individually or by fleet.

(b) An aircraft station is licensed by rule and does not need an individual license issued by the FCC if the aircraft station is not required by statute, treaty, or agreement to which the United States is signatory to carry a radio, and the aircraft station does not make international flights or communications. Even though an individual license is not required, an aircraft station licensed by rule must be operated in accordance with all applicable operating requirements, procedures, and technical specifications found in this part.

§87.87 Classification of operator licenses and endorsements.
(b) The following licenses are issued by the Commission. International classification, if different from the license name, is given in parentheses. The licenses and their alphanumeric designator are listed in descending order.
(7) RP Restricted Radiotelephone Operator Permit (radiotelephone operator’s restricted certificate)

§87.89 Minimum operator requirements.
(a) A station operator must hold a commercial radio operator license or permit…

Acceptable Radios
As of January 1, 1997, each VHF aircraft radio used on board a U.S. aircraft must be type accepted by the FCC as meeting a 30 parts-per-million (ppm) frequency tolerance (47 C.F.R. § 87.133). The vast majority of aircraft radios that have been type accepted under the 30 ppm frequency tolerance utilize 25 kHz spacing and have 720 or 760 channels. Each aircraft radio has a label with an FCC ID number on the unit. See this post for a short history of radio frequencies.

Operating Limitations
This part of the acronym seems to generate the most confusion. Per §21.5 aircraft delivered after March 1, 1979 must have an FAA approved flight manual (AFM). Aircraft prior to that date were delivered with an Owner’s Handbook, Pilot’s Operating Handbook, Owner’s Manual, Information Manual or similarly named booklet. These did not have a standard format and the information contained in them varied wildly. They are not required to be in the airplane, however since they give information like landing and takeoff distances—which are required to be calculated for each flight—it would make sense to have them readily available. Many aircraft were sold with an Airplane Flight Manual that listed the operating limitations, required placards, instrument markings, installed equipment, and the weight and balance information when the aircraft left the factory. There is no regulation requiring that they be in the plane.

The placards listed in the type certificate are required, so if you get your panel redone—as we did—then you’ll need to make sure you have all of the required placards. The placards list operating limitations like maximum baggage weight, spins prohibited, fuel tank switching procedures, etc. They also mark things like the throttle, mixture, fuel selector, etc.

There are a few ADs that require placards and if you aircraft is subject to the AD, then you must have the placard displayed.

If you have equipment like a GPS or autopilot installed, the STC may require that the operating manual for the equipment be carried in the aircraft. These are generally referred to as flight manual supplements.

If an FAA approved flight manual is required, it is specific to that airplane and is required to be in the aircraft along with any required flight manual supplements.

§91.9 Civil aircraft flight manual, marking, and placard requirements.
(a) Except as provided in paragraph (d) of this section, no person may operate a civil aircraft without complying with the operating limitations specified in the approved Airplane or Rotorcraft Flight Manual, markings, and placards, or as otherwise prescribed by the certificating authority of the country of registry.

(b) No person may operate a U.S.-registered civil aircraft—

(1) For which an Airplane or Rotorcraft Flight Manual is required by §21.5 of this chapter unless there is available in the aircraft a current, approved Airplane or Rotorcraft Flight Manual or the manual provided for in §121.141(b); and

(2) For which an Airplane or Rotorcraft Flight Manual is not required by §21.5 of this chapter, unless there is available in the aircraft a current approved Airplane or Rotorcraft Flight Manual, approved manual material, markings, and placards, or any combination thereof.

(c) No person may operate a U.S.-registered civil aircraft unless that aircraft is identified in accordance with part 45 of this chapter.

The reference it part 45 is regarding the placement and size of the N number.

§21.5 Airplane or Rotorcraft Flight Manual.
(a) With each airplane or rotorcraft not type certificated with an Airplane or Rotorcraft Flight Manual and having no flight time before March 1, 1979, the holder of a type certificate (including amended or supplemental type certificates) or the licensee of a type certificate must make available to the owner at the time of delivery of the aircraft a current approved Airplane or Rotorcraft Flight Manual.

(b) The Airplane or Rotorcraft Flight Manual required by paragraph (a) of this section must contain the following information:

(1) The operating limitations and information required to be furnished in an Airplane or Rotorcraft Flight Manual or in manual material, markings, and placards, by the applicable regulations under which the airplane or rotorcraft was type certificated.

(2) The maximum ambient atmospheric temperature for which engine cooling was demonstrated must be stated in the performance information section of the Flight Manual, if the applicable regulations under which the aircraft was type certificated do not require ambient temperature on engine cooling operating limitations in the Flight Manual.

Weight and Balance
Neither of my airplanes is required to have a §21.5 “approved Airplane or Rotorcraft Flight Manual” ergo, they are not required to have a W&B in the plane. You could also argue that “§23.1589 (a) The weight and location of each item of equipment that can be easily removed, relocated, or replaced and that is installed when the airplane was weighed under the requirement of §23.25.” does not require that an updated W&B be included in the AFM only that one must be provided by the manufacturer.

I am not aware of any FAR that requires that a current weight and balance be in the airplane if it is not required to have an approved AFM. However, since the list of things that an FAA inspector is looking for on a ramp check includes a W&B, most people carry it.

§23.1589 Loading information.
The following loading information must be furnished:

(a) The weight and location of each item of equipment that can be easily removed, relocated, or replaced and that is installed when the airplane was weighed under the requirement of §23.25.

(b) Appropriate loading instructions for each possible loading condition between the maximum and minimum weights established under §23.25, to facilitate the center of gravity remaining within the limits established under §23.23.

Chasing the Needles

May 9th, 2017

One of the reasons pilots often chase the needles on an ILS approach is that they don’t have a clear understanding of how the sweet spot narrows as they approach the runway.

From the Pilot and Air Traffic Controller Guide to Wake Turbulence

Glideslope Deviation
Glideslope Deviation

Localizer Deviation
Localizer Deviation

The Outer Marker, which normally identifies the final approach fix (FAF), is four to seven nautical miles before the runway threshold.

I don’t have a chart for the VOR, but is is similar, just not as sensitive
At 30 NM each dot is approximately 1 NM displacement.
At 15 NM each dot is approximately 1/2 NM displacement.

So when you are tracking a VOR to the airport, at the FAF you are usually about 6 nm from the runway threshold. If the VOR is on the field, then each dot is about 1/5 NM (1,200′) displacement.

Designated Mountainous Areas

May 7th, 2017

Flying on the West Coast, I am used to just about everywhere being considered mountainous except for portions of California’s Central Valley. I had a picture of the map in my mind, but couldn’t remember where I had seen it.

Designated Mountainous Areas

After a little digging, I found two sources:

CFR §95 Subpart B—Designated Mountainous Areas has a map that you can download.

The AIM 5−6−5. ADIZ Boundaries and Designated Mountainous Areas also has a map.

The MEA and MOCA on airways in mountainous areas provide 2,000′ of obstacle clearance while in non-mountainous areas they only provide 1,000′.

How a magneto works.

May 6th, 2017

If you ever wondered how a magneto works, you can stop wondering.

There is no requirement to have the magnetos refurbished, but I always do when they have around 500 hours on them. It is fairly expensive, around $500 each depending on which parts need to be replaced. But is is much cheaper than new or overhauled mags.

Here’s an old video explaining how magneto’s work. A little bit boring, but good stuff.

We do a timing check like this at every annual.

And here are some goofy A&P students running through the whole process.

And while we are on the subject of magnetos, it is important to do a check to make sure both the switch and the leads are grounding. There is an AD on my Bendix switch that requires this every 100 hours. It can be done and logged by the pilot, so I do it every month when I do my monthly maintenance checks.

Wobbly Tire

May 3rd, 2017

On takeoff last week, I noticed a lot of shimmy so I aborted the takeoff. We put the plane on jacks and it looked like this.

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

May 1st, 2017

I just took the instrument knowledge test and one of the questions referred to this STAR. I got this question right, but for the wrong reason.

STELLA.ONE Arrival

The question stated that you were cleared for the STELA ONE arrival from the west and asked what altitude you should be at when crossing STELA. My understanding of a clearance for a STAR was that, unless otherwise instructed, you should use both the lateral and vertical guidance on the chart. So at STELA, you should be at 11000′. The notation for expect isn’t applicable unless you were told to fly at a higher altitude when given your clearance. Even then, you wouldn’t descend to 11000′ until instructed.

However, I was mistaken. Unlike departure procedures and approach procedures, a STAR only provides lateral and airspeed guidance unless an alitude is specified with underlines or overlines.

AIM 5−4−1. Standard Terminal Arrival (STAR) Procedures
a. A STAR is an ATC coded IFR arrival route established for application to arriving IFR aircraft destined for certain airports. STARs simplify clearance delivery procedures, and also facilitate transition between en route and instrument approach procedures.

1. STAR procedures may have mandatory speeds and/or crossing altitudes published. Other STARs may have planning information depicted to inform pilots what clearances or restrictions to “expect.” “Expect” altitudes/speeds are not considered STAR procedures crossing restrictions unless verbally issued by ATC. Published speed restrictions are independent of altitude restrictions and are mandatory unless modified by ATC. Pilots should plan to cross waypoints with a published speed restriction, at the published speed, and should not exceed this speed past the associated waypoint unless authorized by ATC or a published note to do so.

Pilots navigating on STAR procedures must maintain last assigned altitude until receiving authorization to descend so as to comply with all published/issued restrictions. This authorization may contain the phraseology “DESCEND VIA.” If vectored or cleared to deviate off of a STAR, pilots must consider the STAR canceled, unless the controller adds “expect to resume STAR;” pilots should then be prepared to rejoin the STAR at a subsequent fix or procedure leg. If a descent clearance has been received that included a crossing restriction, pilots should expect the controller to issue an altitude to maintain.

  (a) Clearance to “descend via” authorizes pilots to:
  (1) Descend at pilot’s discretion to meet published restrictions and laterally navigate on a STAR.
  (2) When cleared to a waypoint depicted on a STAR, to descend from a previously assigned altitude at pilot’s discretion to the altitude depicted at that waypoint.
  (3) Once established on the depicted arrival, to descend and to meet all published or assigned altitude and/or speed restrictions.

In the case of the exam question, the instruction did not include the phrase “Descend via” and so the altitude to cross STELA would be whatever altitude the pilot was last cleared to, which to the best of my recollection, was not one of the answers.

Night Flying

April 30th, 2017

Here’s an old FAA film about night flying. The film does a good job of covering the risks and rewards of night flight. Except for the outdated “Over” at the end of each transmission and the presence of Flight Service Stations on the airport, everything they say still applies.

Things to Remember IRA Knowledge Test

April 16th, 2017

Instruments

Alternate static source:
Altimeter higher, Airspeed greater than actual

Altimeter
High to low, look out below. Applies to pressure and temperature.
Altitude goes in the same direction as the pressure setting in the Kollsman window.
1″ decrease for each 1000′ decrease in altitude.
In colder than standard air temperature true altitude will be lower than indicated altitude with an altimeter setting of 29.92 inches Hg.

Inclinometer
In a turn made with a bank angle that is too steep, the force of gravity is greater than the inertia and the ball rolls down to the inside of the turn (slip). If the turn is made with too shallow a bank angle, the inertia is greater than gravity and the ball rolls upward to the outside of the turn (skid).

Return to coordinated flight from a skid, increase the bank angle and/or reduce the rate of turn with rudder.
Return to coordinated flight from a slip, decrease the bank angle and/or increase the rate of turn with rudder.

Airspeed
As altitude increases Vx increases
As altitude increases Vy decreases

Attitude indicator
There may be a slight nose-up indication during a rapid acceleration and a nose-down indication during a rapid deceleration. There is also a possibility of a small bank angle and pitch error after a 180° turn.

Directional gyro
Check, in straight and level flight, about every 15 minutes or after holding pattern.

Turn Coordinator
First shows the rate of bank, and once established, the rate of turn.

VOR
At 30 NM each dot is appoximately 1 NM displacement.
So 1 NM is ~200′.
Minutes to station = Time (seconds)/Bearing Change (degrees)

VOT
With the CDI centered, the OBS should read 0° showing FROM or 180° showing TO.
RMI indicates 180° TO on any OBS setting.

HSI
The slaving meter indicates the difference between the displayed heading and the magnetic heading. A right deflection indicates a clockwise error of the compass card; a left deflection indicates a counterclockwise error.

Fundamental Skills of Instrument Flying
Cross-check, Interpretation, Control

Unusual Attitude—Nose High
Add power, Reduce Pitch, Level the Wings – Leveling the wings first may result in a spin.

Unusual Attitude—Nose Low
Reduce power, Level the Wings, Increase Pitch – Increasing the pitch first will increase the bank and may overstress the airframe.

Wake Turbulence
Wingtip vortices are greatest when the generating aircraft is “heavy, clean, and slow.” This condition is most commonly encountered during approaches or departures because an aircraft’s AOA is at the highest to produce the lift necessary to land or take off.

Approach the runway above a preceding aircraft’s path when landing behind another aircraft and touch down after the point at which the other aircraft wheels contacted the runway.

Close to the ground (within 100 to 200 feet), they tend to move laterally over the ground at a speed of 2 or 3 knots. A wind speed of 10 knots causes the vortices to drift at about 1,000 feet in a minute in the wind direction.

Clear Air Turbulence
Moderate CAT is considered likely when the vertical wind shear is 5 kts per 1,000 feet or greater, and/or the horizontal wind shear is 40 kts per 150 miles or greater.

Jet streams stronger than 110 kts (at the core) have potential for generating significant turbulence near the sloping tropopause above the core, in the jet stream front below the core, and on the low-pressure side of the core.

Wind Shear
Directional wind changes of 180° and speed changes of 50 knots or more are associated with low-level wind shear. Low-level wind shear is commonly associated with passing frontal systems, thunderstorms, and temperature inversions with strong upper level winds (greater than 25 knots).

With a warm front, the most critical period is before the front passes.

Microburst
Microburst activity may be indicated by an intense rain shaft at the surface but virga at cloud base and a ring of blowing dust is often the only visible clue. A typical microburst has a horizontal diameter of 1–2 miles and a nominal depth of 1,000 feet. The lifespan of a microburst is about 5–15 minutes during which time it can produce downdrafts of up to 6,000 feet per minute (fpm) and headwind losses of 30–90 knots,

Airport Markings

Threshold -> Touchdown Markings 500′
Threshold -> Aiming Point 1,000′
Threshold Markings -> 4 Stripes: 60′ to 16 Stripes: 200′
Centerline Stripe
Centerline lights are white until the last 3,000 feet of the runway. The white lights begin to alternate with red for the next 2,000 feet, and for the last 1,000 feet of the runway, all centerline lights are red.
Precision Runways have Touchdown Zone and Side Stripe

VASI provides obstacle clearance 4nm from threshold and 10° laterally.

Approach
Parallel ILS approaches provide aircraft a minimum of 1 1/2 miles radar separation between successive aircraft on the adjacent localizer course.

When the approach procedure involves a procedure turn, the maximum speed should not be greater than 200 kts.

The Glide Path Qualification Surface (GQS) limits the height of obstructions between the decision altitude and the runway threshold.

Approach Category
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.


    Category A: Speed less than 91 knots.                          1.3 NM Protected Area
    Category B: Speed 91 knots or more but less than 121 knots.    1.5 NM
    Category C: Speed 121 knots or more but less than 141 knots.   1.7 NM
    Category D: Speed 141 knots or more but less than 166 knots.   2.3 NM
    Category E: Speed 166 knots or more.                           4.5 NM 

Expanded circling area (after 2012) varies by MSL.

Missed Approach
Missed approach obstacle clearance is assured only if the missed approach is commenced at the published MAP. Before initiating an IAP that contains a “Fly Visual to Airport” segment, the pilot should have preplanned climb out options based on aircraft performance and terrain features. Obstacle clearance is the responsibility of the pilot when the approach is continued beyond the MAP.

Holding


     Altitude (MSL)    Airspeed (KIAS)    Leg Time
     MHA - 6,000'           200           1 minute
     6,001' - 14,000’       230           1 minute 30 seconds
     14,001' and above      265           1 minute 30 seconds

Most GA aircraft use approach airspeed.

The pilot should begin outbound timing over or abeam the fix, whichever occurs later. If the abeam position cannot be determined, start timing when the turn to outbound is completed.

En Route
When ATC has not imposed any climb or descent restrictions and aircraft are within 1,000 feet of assigned altitude, pilots should attempt to both climb and descend at a rate of between 500 and 1,500′.

Hyperventilation
Breathing normally is both the best prevention and the best cure for hyperventilation. In addition to slowing the breathing rate, breathing into a paper bag or talking aloud helps to overcome hyperventilation.

Hypoxia
The reactions of the average person become impaired at an altitude of about 10,000 feet, but for some people impairment can occur at an altitude as low as 5,000 feet. The physiological reactions to hypoxia or oxygen deprivation are insidious and affect people in different ways. These symptoms range from mild disorientation to total incapacitation, depending on body tolerance and altitude.

Hypoxic hypoxia is a result of insufficient oxygen available to the body as a whole.
High altitude.

Hypemic hypoxia occurs when the blood is not able to take up and transport a sufficient amount of oxygen to the cells in the body.
CO poisoning

Stagnant hypoxia or ischemia results when the oxygen-rich blood in the lungs is not moving, for one reason or another, to the tissues.
Excessive acceleration of gravity (Gs). Cold temperatures can also reduce circulation and decrease the blood supplied to extremities.

Histotoxic hypoxia is the inability of the cells to effectively use oxygen.
Alcohol and other drugs, such as narcotics and poisons

Weather
Unstable Air
Moist, unstable air causes cumulus clouds, showers, and turbulence to form.
Unstable air masses usually have good surface visibility.

Unstable air: Cumuliform clouds, Showery precipitation, Rough air (turbulence), Good Visibility.

Stable Air
A stable air mass can produce low stratus clouds and fog.
Stable air masses usually have poor surface visibility. The poor surface visibility is due to the fact that smoke, dust, and other particles cannot rise out of the air mass and are instead trapped near the surface.

Stable air; Stratiform clouds and fog, Continuous precipitation, Smooth air, Fair to poor visibility in haze and smoke.

Lapse Rates
Rising dry air cools at a lapse rate of 3°C per 1000′. The dewpoint decreased .5°C per 1000′.
Moist adiabatic lapse rate, which varies between approximately 1.2°C per 1,000 feet for very warm saturated parcels to 3°C per 1,000 feet for very cold saturated parcels.

Squall
A sudden increase in wind speed by at least 15 knots to a peak of 20 knots or more and lasting for at least one minute. Essential difference between a gust and a squall is the duration of the peak speed

A squall line is a non-frontal, narrow band of active thunderstorms. Often it develops ahead of a cold front in moist, unstable air, but it may develop in unstable air far removed from any front. The line may be too long to easily detour and too wide and severe to penetrate. It often contains severe steady-state thunderstorms and presents the single most intense weather hazard to aircraft.

Icing
Freezing Drizzle— precipitation at ground level or aloft in the form of liquid water drops that have diameters less than 0.5 mm and greater than 0.05 mm. In freezing drizzle, the pilot cannot assume that a warm layer exists above the aircraft.
Freezing Rain—precipitation at ground level or aloft in the form of liquid water drops which have diameters greater than 0.5 mm. Freezing rain will result in ice forming in areas far aft of where it would normally form in icing conditions without freezing rain.
Supercooled Large Drops (SLD). Water drops with a diameter greater than 50 micrometers (0.05 mm) that exist in a liquid form at air temperatures below 0 °C.

Supercooled Clouds—Nearly all aircraft icing occurs in supercooled clouds. Liquid drops are present at outside air temperatures (OAT) below 0 °C (32°F) in these clouds. At temperatures below about -20°C (-4°F), most clouds are made up entirely of ice particles.

SLD may result in drops impinging aft of protected surfaces and causing ice accumulation behind the protected area of leading edges. These surfaces may be very effective ice collectors, and ice accumulations may persist as long as the aircraft remains in icing conditions.

Cloud water drops are generally very small, averaging 20 micrometers (.02 mm) in diameter, and are of such small mass that they can be held aloft by small air currents within clouds. If the temperatures are cold enough at the tops (below or around -15 °C (5 °F)), ice particles will usually start to form that tend to deplete the liquid water.

Reporting Icing
Trace Icing—Ice becomes noticeable. The rate of accumulation is slightly greater than the rate of sublimation.
Light Icing—The rate of ice accumulation may create a problem if flight is prolonged in this environment (over 1 hour). Requires occasional cycling of manual deicing systems. 1⁄4 inch to 1 inch (0.6 to 2.5 cm) per hour on the outer wing.
Moderate Icing—Requires frequent cycling of manual deicing systems Anything more than a short encounter is potentially hazardous. 1 to 3 inches (2.5 to 7.5 cm) per hour on the outer wing.
Severe Icing—Ice protection systems fail to remove the accumulation of ice and accumulation occurs in areas not normally prone to icing. More than 3 inches (7.5 cm) per hour on the outer wing.

Clear Ice—Temperatures close to the freezing point, large amounts of liquid water, high aircraft velocities, and large drops are conducive to the formation of clear ice.
Rime Ice—Low temperatures, lesser amounts of liquid water, low velocities, and small drops favor formation of rime ice.

Carburetor Icing—May occur at temperatures between 20°F (-7°C) and 70°F (21°C).

Deicing
Boots—The amount of ice increases as airspeed or temperature decreases. The FAA recommends that the deicing system be activated at the first indication of icing.

Ice protection systems on airplanes certificated prior to 1973 should be considered a means to help exit icing conditions.

For small amounts of ice accretion, effects not apparent while operating in the middle of the flight envelope may be noticeable when operating at the edge of the flight envelope. The most common are an increase in stall speed (with a late or no warning) or the inability to climb at altitude.

Roll Upsets
Ice on the wings forward of the ailerons can affect roll control. The tips are usually thinner than the rest of the wing, and so they most efficiently collect ice. This can lead to a partial stall of the wings at the tips, which can affect the ailerons and thus roll control.

• Reduce the AOA by reducing the aircraft pitch. Roll the wings level.
• Set the appropriate power and monitor the airspeed and AOA.
• If the flaps are extended, do not retract them unless it can be determined that the upper surface of the airfoil is clear of ice. Retracting the flaps will increase the AOA at a given airspeed.
• Verify that the wing ice protection is functioning normally.

Blocked Pitot/Static System Effects
If the pitot tube inlet becomes blocked, air already in the system will vent through the drain hole, and the remaining will drop to ambient (i.e., outside) pressure. Airspeed indicator decreases to zero.

If the pitot tube, drain hole, and static system all become blocked in flight changes in airspeed will not be indicated, due to the trapped pressures.

If the static system remains clear, the airspeed indicator would display a higher­ than-actual airspeed as the altitude increased. As altitude is decreased, the airspeed indicator would display a lower-than-actual airspeed.

If the static port becomes blocked, the airspeed indicator would still function; however, it would be inaccurate. At altitudes above where the static port became blocked, the airspeed indicator would indicate a lower-than-actual airspeed. At lower altitudes, the airspeed indicator would display a higher-than-actual airspeed.

The trapped air in the static system would cause the altimeter to remain at the altitude where the blockage occurred.

If an alternate source is vented inside the airplane, where static pressure is usually lower than outside static pressure, selection of the alternate source may result in the following erroneous instrument indications: The altimeter reads higher than normal, the indicated airspeed reads greater than normal the vertical speed indicator momentarily shows a climb.

Icing conditions in stratiform clouds often are confined to a relatively thin layer, either climbing or descending may be effective in exiting the icing conditions within the clouds. Icing encountered in cumulus clouds may be of limited duration; it may be possible to deviate around the cloud.

Weather Products
ATIS
Absence of the sky condition and visibility on an ATIS broadcast specifically implies that the ceiling is more than 5,000 feet and visibility is 5 miles or more.

TAF
The body of a Terminal Aerodrome Forecast (TAF) covers a geographical proximity within a 5 statute mile radius from the center of an airport runway complex.

Area Forecast (FA)
“WND” is appended to any category if the sustained surface wind is expected to be 20 kts or more, or surface wind gusts are expected to be 25 kts or more during the majority of the 6-hour outlook period.

The VFR CLDS/WX section describes conditions consisting of MVFR cloud ceilings (1,000 to 3,000 feet AGL), MVFR obstructions to visibility (3-5 statute miles), and any other significant VFR clouds (bases at or below FL180) or VFR precipitation.

Wind and Temperature Aloft Forecast (FB)
The symbolic form of the forecasts is DDff+TT in which DD is the wind direction, ff the wind speed, and TT the temperature. Wind direction is indicated in tens of degrees (two digits) with reference to true north and wind speed is given in knots (two digits). Light and variable wind or wind speeds of less than 5 knots are expressed by 9900. Forecast wind speeds of 100 through 199 knots are indicated by adding 100 to the speed and subtracting 50 from the coded direction.
No winds forecast within 1,500′ of station elevation. No temp within 2,500′.
Temps are negative above 24,000′

Weather Depiction Chart
The Weather Depiction Chart is being phased out by the NWS, in favor of newer ceiling and visibility products, like the CVA product.

Weather Advisory
A warning of hazardous weather conditions not predicted in the forecast area that may affect air traffic operations.

AIRMET, SIGMET
An AIRMET is a weather advisory issued only to amend the area forecast concerning weather phenomena which are of operational interest to all aircraft and potentially hazardous to aircraft having limited capability because of lack of equipment, instrumentation, or pilot qualifications. A SIGMET is a weather advisory issued concerning weather significant to the safety of all aircraft.

AIRMETs and SIGMETs are considered to be widespread because they must be affecting or be forecast to affect an area of at least 3000 square miles at any one time.

AIRMET
Sierra—Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) or Mountain Obscuration—Ceilings less than 1000 feet and/or visibility less than 3 miles affecting over 50% of the area at one time. Extensive mountain obscuration
Tango—Turbulence, Moderate Turbulence, Sustained surface winds of greater than 30 knots at the surface
Zulu—Icing, Moderate icing, Freezing levels
Routinely issued for 6 hour periods.

SIGMET—Severe Icing, Severe or Extreme Turbulence, Dust storms and/or sand storms lowering visibilities to less than three (3) miles, Volcanic Ash. Issued for 6 hour periods for conditions associated with hurricanes and 4 hours for all other events.

Convective SIGMETs—Severe surface weather including: surface winds greater than or equal to 50 knots, hail at the surface greater than or equal to 3/4 inches in diameter, tornadoes, embedded thunderstorms, line of thunderstorms, thunderstorms greater than or equal to VIP level 4 affecting 40% or more of an area at least 3000 square miles. Valid for up to 2 hours.

CWAs are advisories issued by the Center Weather Service Units (CWSUs) that are for conditions just below severe criteria. CWAs are issued for: Thunderstorms, Turbulence, Icing, Ceiling & Visibility (IFR)

Vestibular Illusions
The Leans
When a banked attitude, to the left for example, may be entered too slowly to set in motion the fluid in the “roll” semicircular tubes. An abrupt correction of this attitude sets the fluid in motion, creating the illusion of a banked attitude to the right.

Coriolis Illusion
The coriolis illusion occurs when a pilot has been in a turn long enough for the fluid in the ear canal to move at the same speed as the canal. A movement of the head in a different plane, such as looking at something in a different part of the flight deck, may set the fluid moving and create the illusion of turning or accelerating on an entirely different axis.

Graveyard Spiral
A pilot in a prolonged coordinated, constant-rate turn, will have the illusion of not turning. During the recovery to level flight, the pilot experiences the sensation of turning in the opposite direction.

Somatogravic Illusion
A rapid acceleration, such as experienced during takeoff, stimulates the otolith organs in the same way as tilting the head backwards. This action creates the somatogravic illusion of being in a nose-up attitude.

Inversion Illusion
An abrupt change from climb to straight-and-level flight can stimulate the otolith organs enough to create the illusion of tumbling backwards or inversion illusion.

Elevator Illusion
An abrupt upward vertical acceleration, as can occur in an updraft, can stimulate the otolith organs to create the illusion of being in a climb.

Turning Illusions
Without visual aid, a pilot often interprets centrifugal force as a sensation of rising or falling.
While in the turn, without outside visual references and under the effect of the slight positive G, the usual illusion produced is that of a climb. On recovery from the turn, at approximately one-half completed the usual illusion will be that the aircraft is diving.

Visual Illusions
False Horizon
A sloping cloud formation, an obscured horizon, an aurora borealis, a dark scene spread with ground lights and stars, and certain geometric patterns of ground lights can provide inaccurate visual information, or false horizon, for aligning the aircraft correctly with the actual horizon.

Autokinesis
In the dark, a stationary light will appear to move about when stared at for many seconds.

Optical Illusions
Runway and Terrain Slopes Illusion
A narrower-than-usual or an upsloping runway, upsloping terrain can create an illusion the aircraft is at a higher altitude than it actually is.

Featureless Terrain Illusion
An absence of surrounding ground features, as in an overwater approach, over darkened areas, or terrain made featureless by snow, can create an illusion the aircraft is at a higher altitude than it actually is.

Water Refraction
Rain on the windscreen can create an illusion of being at a higher altitude due to the horizon appearing lower than it is.

Haze
Atmospheric haze can create an illusion of being at a greater distance and height from the runway.

Fog
Flying into fog can create an illusion of pitching up.

Ground Lighting Illusions
Lights along a straight path, such as a road or lights on moving trains, can be mistaken for runway and approach lights.

ATC Reports
Reports

Reports that should be made without a specific request from ATC
• VFR-on-top change in altitude
• Missed approach
• Leaving one assigned flight altitude for another
• Leaving any assigned holding fix or point
• Unable to climb or descend at least 500 feet per minute
• TAS variation from filed speed of 5% or 10 knots, whichever is greater
• Time and altitude upon reaching a holding fix
• Loss of NAV/Comm capability
• Unforecasted weather conditions or other information relating to the safety of flight

Non RADAR Reports
If radar contact has been lost the CFRs require pilots to provide ATC with position reports over designated VORs
• Compulsory reporting points as depicted on IFR en route charts by solid triangles
• Leaving FAF or OM inbound on final approach
• Revised ETA of more than three minutes

Miscellaneous Things I Can’t Remember

To level off at an airspeed higher than the descent speed, the addition of power should be made, assuming a 500 FPM rate of descent, at approximately 100 to 150 feet above the desired altitude.

If severe turbulence is encountered during your IFR flight, the airplane should be slowed to the design maneuvering speed because the amount of excess load that can be imposed on the wing will be decreased.

FDC NOTAMs Advise of changes in flight data which affect instrument approach procedure (IAP), aeronautical charts, and flight restrictions prior to normal publication.
NOTAM (D) Consists of information that requires wide dissemination via telecommunication and pertains to: En Route navigational aids, Civil public-use airports listed in the Airport Facility, Directory (AFD), Facilities Services
NOTAM (L) information pertinent to the departure and/or local area.

ATC may request a detailed report of an emergency even though a rule has not been violated when priority has been given.

DME Arc

April 13th, 2017

Both the Gleim and the ASA Knowledge Test Study Guides give a formula for for calculating the distance travelled along a DME arc that just didn’t look right to me.

The formula is (# of degrees x DME arc) ÷ 60. But the true formula should be based on the percentage of the circle that the airplane travels.

The formula for the circumference of a circle (the distance around it) is 2πr where r is the radius of the circle (DME arc in their notation). So the distance travelled should be the percentage of the circle. The formula is (2π x DME arc) x (# of degrees / 360). You can rewrite it as (# of degrees x DME arc) ÷ 57.3. Which is close to 60.

In the example with the GNATS.ONE departure, their method gives (15*(333-251))/60 = 20.5 miles. The correct method gives (2π * 15) * (82/360) = 21.5. About 5% more.

I don”t know which method the people who wrote the test use, but if they use the incorrect method, it helps explain why none of the answers is ever the right one.

New Tools for My Toolbag

April 10th, 2017

After doing a bunch of oil changes under A&P supervision, I decided to give it a shot myself. There is not a lot of room for my big torque wrench and I don’t feel particularly comfortable using the rule of thumb method of ¾ turn past finger tight, so I bought this torque wrench specifically designed for oil filters that comes pre-set at 17 ft/lbs. of torque. Works like a charm.

Oil Filter Wrench

Cutting the oil filter without an oil filter cutter is an exercise in frustration. Put the filter in a vise and with a couple of turns, the bottom cuts right off.

Oil Filter Cutter

The other tool you will need, that might not come with your wrench set, is a 1″ box wrench to get the filter off. I also use the silicone lube, like the filter manufacturer recommends, instead of oil on the gasket.

Oil Change Notes

April 9th, 2017

Before I changed the oil on the Cherokee and Cessna 210 I took pictures of the oil filter safety wire and drain plug safety wire so that I could make sure I got it right when I redid it. So for the next time, here is what they look like.

Cherokee Oil Filter

Note how the wire is looped through the plug, wraps around the oil pan, and is tied in the hole in the oil pan. Also note the copper gasket on the plug. Don’t lose this, since it is not the same size as the spark plug gaskets and if you lose it, you’ll be down while you order another.

Cessna Oil Plug

Here’s my version. The first time I did it, I couldn’t see the image very well on the phone, but when I cropped it and blew it up, it is easy to see that the wire starts in the plug. I got the direction right, but not the order. So I tried it again. I wasn’t happy with how tight it was, so I tried it again. After five tries, I’m pretty happy with the quality. I took this picture with my iPad and I couldn’t get as good an angle.

Cessna Oil Plug My Version

Which Limitations On Approaches/Departures Apply to Part 91 Pilots?

April 7th, 2017

I answered a question on StackExchange about the meaning of Takeoff Minimum NA and indicated that they do not apply to Part 91 pilots, but after thinking about it, I’m not so sure.

§ 91.175 does require a minimum flight visibility, The flight visibility is not less than the visibility prescribed in the standard instrument approach being used; and at least one of the items in the runway environment must be visible in order to continue the approach below DA or DH. We are not bound by reported visibility or ceiling. The charted DA or DH must be complied with as well as the rest of the charted procedure, including circling minimums, direction, etc.

It is well known that takeoff minimums do not apply to Part 91 pilots, we can depart in 0/0 weather, though it might not be advisable. And the reason for that is because § 91.175 (f) Civil airport takeoff minimums. This paragraph applies to persons operating an aircraft under part 121, 125, 129, or 135 of this chapter. does not include Part 91 operators.

Fuel requirements and alternates are specifically spelled out in §91.167 and §91.169 respectively. But I can’t find anything specifically saying that you must comply with any charted limitations.

Often the reason that the runway is not available would make using it a very unwise decision. e.g. terrain or obstacles. On the other hand an unmonitored ground facility when the tower is closed wouldn’t be an issue if you were using GPS to fly the departure.

The AIM 5-2-8 just says,

Pilots operating under 14 CFR Part 91 are strongly encouraged to file and fly a DP at night, during marginal Visual Meteorological Conditions (VMC) and Instrument Meteorological Conditions (IMC), when one is available.

At a towered field with an operating control tower, they are unlikely to allow you to to takeoff under IFR on a runway marked as Takeoff Minimum NA but is there any restriction when the tower is closed or there is no tower?

I’m inclined to think that any charted restriction, noting the exceptions mentioned above, applies to Part 91 pilots. What do you think?

Pre-Flight Briefing

April 7th, 2017

Briefing

Radar Loop
Aviation Weather Center

1800WXBRIEF

Earth Wind Map
GOES Satellite – NCAR
Radar Stations – NCAR
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ForeFlight message: “geo-referencing disabled”

March 30th, 2017

This is the first chart update cycle since I upgraded to geo-refereced approach charts. While flying the simulator I got this message when I tried to add an approach to the flight plan. All of my charts are updated and I am connected to the internet so the message is puzzling. I can add the chart to the map page via the Airports/Procedures page. I’m guessing Foreflight is confused about the current date of the charts. I reset ForeFlight by double-tapping the home button to get the list of current apps and then pulling the app up off the screen. Then I started ForeFlight and it seems to be fine now.

I don’t know if you need to do this every month or if it is something that happened because I just upgraded.We’ll know next month.

AC 00-6B Aviation Weather: Icing

March 29th, 2017

In general, icing is any deposit of ice forming on an object. It is one of the major weather hazards to aviation. Icing is a cumulative hazard. The longer an aircraft collects icing, the worse the hazard becomes.

Supercooled Water
Freezing is a complex process. Pure water suspended in the air does not freeze until it reaches a temperature of -40 °C. This occurs because surface tension of the droplets inhibits freezing. The smaller and purer the water droplet, the more likely it is supercooled. Also, supercooled water can exist as large drops known as Supercooled Large Drops (SLD). SLDs are common in freezing rain and freezing drizzle situations.

Supercooled water content of clouds varies with temperature. Between 0 and -10 °C clouds consist mainly of supercooled water droplets. Between -10 and -20 °C, liquid droplets coexist with ice crystals. Below -20 °C, clouds are generally composed entirely of ice crystals. However, strong vertical currents (e.g., cumulonimbus) may carry supercooled water to great heights where temperatures are as low as -40 °C.

Supercooled water will readily freeze if sufficiently agitated. This explains why airplanes collect ice when they pass through a liquid cloud or precipitation composed of supercooled droplets.

Structural Icing
Structural icing is the stuff that sticks to the outside of the airplane. It occurs when supercooled water droplets strike the airframe and freeze. Structural icing can be categorized into three types: rime, clear (or glaze), and mixed.

Rime ice is rough, milky, and opaque ice formed by the instantaneous freezing of small, supercooled water droplets after they strike the aircraft. Rime icing formation favors colder temperatures, lower liquid water content, and small droplets. It grows when droplets rapidly freeze upon striking an aircraft. The rapid freezing traps air and forms a porous, brittle, opaque, and milky-colored ice. Rime ice grows into the air stream from the forward edges of wings and other exposed parts of the airframe.

Clear ice (or glaze ice) is a glossy, clear, or translucent ice formed by the relatively slow freezing of large, supercooled water droplets. Clear icing conditions exist more often in an environment with warmer temperatures, higher liquid water contents, and larger droplets. Clear ice forms when only a small portion of the drop freezes immediately while the remaining unfrozen portion flows or smears over the aircraft surface and gradually freezes. Few air bubbles are trapped during this gradual process.

Clear icing is a more hazardous ice type for many reasons. It tends to form horns near the top and bottom of the airfoils leading edge, which greatly affects airflow. This results in an area of disrupted and turbulent airflow that is considerably larger than that caused by rime ice. Since it is clear and difficult to see, the pilot may not be able to quickly recognize that it is occurring.

Supercooled Large Drops (SLD) is a type of clear icing that is especially dangerous to flight operations is ice formed from SLDs. These are water droplets in a subfreezing environment with diameters larger than 40 microns, such as freezing drizzle (40 to 200 microns) and freezing rain (>200 microns). These larger droplets can flow along the airfoil for some distance prior to freezing. SLDs tend to form a very lumpy, uneven, and textured ice similar to glass in a bathroom window.

Mixed ice is a mixture of clear ice and rime ice. It forms as an airplane collects both rime and clear ice due to small-scale (tens of kilometers or less) variations in liquid water content, temperature, and droplet sizes. Mixed ice appears as layers of relatively clear and opaque ice when examined from the side.

Icing Factors
Structural icing is determined by many factors. The meteorological quantities most closely related to icing type and severity are, in order of importance: Supercooled Liquid Water Content (SLWC), temperature (altitude), and droplet size. However, aircraft type/design and airspeed are also important factors.

For icing to occur, the outside air temperature must be below 0 °C. As clouds get colder, SLWC decreases until only ice crystals remain. Thus, almost all icing tends to occur in the temperature interval between 0 °C and -20 °C, with about half of all reports occurring between -8 °C and -12 °C. In altitude terms, the peak of occurrence is near 10,000 feet, with approximately half of incidents occurring between 5,000 feet and 13,000 feet. The only physical cold limit to icing is at -40 °C because liquid droplets freeze without nuclei present.

In general, rime icing tends to occur at temperatures colder than -15 °C, clear when the temperature is warmer than -10 °C, and mixed ice at temperatures in between.

Icing in Stratiform Clouds
Icing in middle and low-level stratiform clouds is confined, on the average, to a layer between 3,000 and 4,000 feet thick. Thus, a change in altitude of only a few thousand feet may take the aircraft out of icing conditions, even if it remains in clouds. High-level stratiform clouds (i.e., at temperatures colder than -20 °C) are composed mostly of ice crystals and produce little icing.

Icing in Cumuliform Clouds
The icing layer in cumuliform clouds is smaller horizontally, but greater vertically than in stratiform clouds. Icing is more variable in cumuliform clouds because many of the factors conducive to icing depend on the particular cloud’s stage of development.

Icing with Fronts
Most icing reports occur in the vicinity of fronts. This icing can occur both above and below the front. For significant icing to occur above the front, the warm air must be lifted and cooled to saturation at temperatures below zero, making it contain supercooled water droplets. The supercooled water droplets freeze on impact with an aircraft. If the warm air is unstable, icing may be sporadic; if it is stable, icing may be continuous over an extended area. A line of showers or thunderstorms along a cold front may produce icing, but only in a comparatively narrow band along the front.

A favored location for severe clear icing is freezing rain and/or freezing drizzle below a front. Rain forms above the frontal surface at temperatures warmer than freezing. Subsequently, it falls through air at temperatures below freezing and becomes supercooled. Ice pellets indicate icing above.

Icing with Mountains
Icing is more likely and more severe in mountainous regions. Mountain ranges cause upward air motions on their windward side. These vertical currents support large supercooled water droplets above the freezing level.

The most severe icing occurs above the crests and on the ridges’ windward side. This zone usually extends to about 5,000 feet above the mountaintops, but can extend much higher if cumuliform clouds develop. Icing with mountains can be especially hazardous because a pilot may be unable to descend to above freezing temperatures due to terrain elevation.

Icing Hazards
Wind tunnel and flight tests have shown that frost, snow, and ice accumulations (on the leading edge or upper surface of the wing) no thicker or rougher than a piece of coarse sandpaper can reduce lift by 30 percent and increase drag up to 40 percent. Larger accretions can reduce lift even more and can increase drag by 80 percent or more.

The airplane may stall at much higher speeds and lower angles of attack than normal. It can roll or pitch uncontrollably, and recovery might be impossible.

Test you knowledge of icing.

AC 00-6B Aviation Weather: Thunderstorms

March 29th, 2017

A thunderstorm is a local storm, invariably produced by a cumulonimbus cloud, and always accompanied by lightning and thunder, usually with strong gusts of wind, heavy rain, and sometimes with hail.

Thunderstorm cell formation requires three ingredients: sufficient water vapor, unstable air, and a lifting mechanism (see Figure 19-1).Sufficient water vapor (commonly measured using dewpoint) must be present to produce unstable air. Virtually all showers and thunderstorms form in an air mass that is classified as conditionally unstable.
A conditionally unstable air mass requires a lifting mechanism strong enough to release the instability. Lifting mechanisms include: converging winds around surface lows and troughs, fronts, upslope flow, drylines, outflow boundaries generated by prior storms, and local winds, such as sea breeze, lake breeze, land breeze, and valley breeze circulations.

Thunderstorm Cell Life Cycle
A thunderstorm cell is the convective cell of a cumulonimbus cloud having lightning and thunder. It undergoes three distinct stages during its life cycle: towering cumulus, mature, and dissipating. The total life cycle is typically about 30 minutes.

The distinguishing feature of the towering cumulus stage is a strong convective updraft. The updraft is a bubble of warm, rising air concentrated near the top of the cloud which leaves a cloudy trail in its wake. Updraft speeds can exceed 3,000 feet per minute.

The cell transitions to the mature stage when precipitation reaches the surface. Precipitation descends through the cloud and drags the adjacent air downward, creating a strong downdraft alongside the updraft. The downdraft spreads out along the surface, well in advance of the parent thunderstorm cell, as a mass of cool, gusty air.

The dissipating stage is marked by a strong downdraft embedded within the area
of precipitation. Subsiding air replaces the updraft throughout the cloud, effectively cutting off the supply of moisture provided by the updraft. Precipitation tapers off and ends. Compression warms the subsiding air and the relative humidity drops. The convective cloud gradually vaporizes from below, leaving only a remnant anvil cloud.

Thunderstorm Types
There are three principal thunderstorm types: single cell, multicell (cluster and line), and supercell.

A single cell (also called ordinary cell) thunderstorm consists of only one cell. It is easily circumnavigated by pilots, except at night or when embedded in other clouds. Single cell thunderstorms are rare; almost all thunderstorms are multicell.

A multicell cluster thunderstorm consists of a cluster of cells at various stages of their life cycle. With an organized multicell cluster, as the first cell matures, it is carried downwind, and a new cell forms upwind to take its place. A multicell cluster may have a lifetime of several hours (or more).

Sometimes thunderstorms will form a squall line that can extend laterally for hundreds of miles. New cells continually re-form at the leading edge of the system with rain, and sometimes hail, following behind. Sometimes storms which comprise the line can be supercells. The line can persist for many hours (or more) as long as the three necessary ingredients continue to exist.

A supercell thunderstorm is an often dangerous convective storm that consists primarily of a single, quasi-steady rotating updraft that persists for an extended period of time. It has a very organized internal structure that enables it to produce especially dangerous weather for pilots who encounter them. Updraft speeds may reach 9,000 feet per minute (100 knots). This allows hazards to be magnified to an even greater degree. Nearly all supercells produce severe weather (e.g., large hail or damaging wind) and about 25 percent produce a tornado. A supercell may persist for many hours (or longer).

Hazards
A thunderstorm can pack just about every aviation weather hazard into one vicious bundle. These hazards include: lightning, adverse winds, downbursts, turbulence, icing, hail, rapid altimeter changes, static electricity, and tornadoes.

A microburst is particularly dangerous during landing if the pilot has reduced power and lowered the nose in response to the headwind shear. This leaves the aircraft in a nose-low, power-low configuration when the tailwind shear occurs, which makes recovery more difficult. It can cause the airplane to stall or land short of the runway.

Rapid Altimeter Changes
Pressure usually falls rapidly with the approach of a thunderstorm, then rises sharply with gust frontal passage and arrival of heavy rain showers in the cold downdraft, falling back to normal as the storm moves away. This cycle of pressure change may occur in as little as 15 minutes.

Test you knowledge of thunderstorms.

Aviation Weather: Fronts

March 29th, 2017

AC 00-6B Aviation Weather
Air Masses
An air mass is a large body of air with generally uniform temperature and humidity. The area from which an air mass originates is called a source region. Air mass source regions range from extensive snow-covered polar areas to deserts to tropical oceans. The United States is not a favorable source region because of the relatively frequent passage of weather disturbances that disrupt any opportunity for an air mass to stagnate and take on the properties of the underlying region. The longer the air mass stays over its source region, the more likely it will acquire the properties of the surface below.

Fronts
Air masses can control the weather for a relatively long time period ranging from days to months. Most weather occurs along the periphery of these air masses at boundaries called fronts. A front is a boundary or transition zone between two air masses. Fronts are classified by which type of air mass (cold or warm) is replacing the other.

Fronts are usually detectable at the surface in a number of ways: significant temperature gradients, or differences, exist along fronts (especially on the cold air side); winds usually converge, or come together, at fronts; and pressure typically decreases as a front approaches and increases after it passes.

Fronts do not exist only at the surface of the Earth; they have a vertical structure in which the front slopes over the colder (denser) air mass. Cold fronts have a steep slope, and the warm air is forced upward abruptly. This often leads to a narrow band of showers and thunderstorms along, or just ahead of, the front if the warm rising air is unstable. Warm fronts typically have a gentle slope, so the warm air rising along the frontal surface is gradual. This favors the development of widespread layered or stratiform cloudiness and precipitation along, and ahead of, the front if the warm rising air is stable. Stationary frontal slope can vary, but clouds and precipitation would still form in the warm rising air along the front.

Types of Fronts

FAA-H-8083-25B Pilots Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge
Warm Front
A warm front occurs when a warm mass of air advances and replaces a body of colder air. Warm fronts move slowly, typically 10 to 25 miles per hour (mph). The slope of the advancing front slides over the top of the cooler air and gradually pushes it out of the area. Warm fronts contain warm air that often has very high humidity. As the warm air is lifted, the temperature drops and condensation occurs.

Generally, prior to the passage of a warm front, cirriform or stratiform clouds, along with fog, can be expected to form along the frontal boundary. In the summer months, cumulonimbus clouds (thunderstorms) are likely to develop

Light to moderate precipitation is probable, usually in the form of rain, sleet, snow, or drizzle, accentuated by poor visibility. The wind blows from the south-southeast, and the outside temperature is cool or cold with an increasing dew point. Finally, as the warm front approaches, the barometric pressure continues to fall until the front passes completely.

During the passage of a warm front, stratiform clouds are visible and drizzle may be falling. The visibility is generally poor, but improves with variable winds. The temperature rises steadily from the inflow of relatively warmer air. For the most part, the dew point remains steady and the pressure levels off. After the passage of a warm front, stratocumulus clouds predominate and rain showers are possible. The visibility eventually improves, but hazy conditions may exist for a short period after passage. The wind blows from the south-southwest. With warming temperatures, the dew point rises and then levels off. There is generally a slight rise in barometric pressure, followed by a decrease of barometric pressure.

Cold Front
A cold front occurs when a mass of cold, dense, and stable air advances and replaces a body of warmer air.
Cold fronts move more rapidly than warm fronts, progressing at a rate of 25 to 30 mph. However, extreme cold fronts have been recorded moving at speeds of up to 60 mph. A typical cold front moves in a manner opposite that of a warm front. It is so dense, it stays close to the ground and acts like a snowplow, sliding under the warmer air and forcing the less dense air aloft. The rapidly ascending air causes the temperature to decrease suddenly, forcing the creation of clouds. The type of clouds that form depends on the stability of the warmer air mass. A cold front in the Northern Hemisphere is normally oriented in a northeast to southwest manner and can be several hundred miles long, encompassing a large area of land.

Prior to the passage of a typical cold front, cirriform or towering cumulus clouds are present, and cumulonimbus clouds may develop. Rain showers may also develop due to the rapid development of clouds. A high dew point and falling barometric pressure are indicative of imminent cold front passage.

As the cold front passes, towering cumulus or cumulonimbus clouds continue to dominate the sky. Depending on the intensity of the cold front, heavy rain showers form and may be accompanied by lightning, thunder, and/or hail. More severe cold fronts can also produce tornadoes. During cold front passage, the visibility is poor with winds variable and gusty, and the temperature and dew point drop rapidly. A quickly falling barometric pressure bottoms out during frontal passage, then begins a gradual increase.

After frontal passage, the towering cumulus and cumulonimbus clouds begin to dissipate to cumulus clouds with a corresponding decrease in the precipitation. Good visibility eventually prevails with the winds from the west-northwest. Temperatures remain cooler and the barometric pressure continues to rise.

Fast-Moving Cold Front
Fast-moving cold fronts are pushed by intense pressure systems far behind the actual front. The friction between the ground and the cold front retards the movement of the front and creates a steeper frontal surface. This results in a very narrow band of weather, concentrated along the leading edge of the front. If the warm air being overtaken by the cold front is relatively stable, overcast skies and rain may occur for some distance behind the front. If the warm air is unstable, scattered thunderstorms and rain showers may form. A continuous line of thunderstorms, or squall line, may form along or ahead of the front. Squall lines present a serious hazard to pilots as squall-type thunderstorms are intense and move quickly. Behind a fast-moving cold front, the skies usually clear rapidly, and the front leaves behind gusty, turbulent winds and colder temperatures.

Violent weather activity is associated with cold fronts, and the weather usually occurs along the frontal boundary, not in advance. However, squall lines can form during the summer months as far as 200 miles in advance of a strong cold front. Warm fronts bring low ceilings, poor visibility, and rain, cold fronts bring sudden storms, gusty winds, turbulence, and sometimes hail or tornadoes.
Cold fronts are fast approaching with little or no warning, and they bring about a complete weather change in just a few hours. The weather clears rapidly after passage and drier air with unlimited visibilities prevail. Warm fronts, on the other hand, provide advance warning of their approach and can take days to pass through a region.

Stationary Front
When the forces of two air masses are relatively equal, the boundary or front that separates them remains stationary and influences the local weather for days. This front is called a stationary front. The weather associated with a stationary front is typically a mixture that can be found in both warm and cold fronts.

Occluded Front
An occluded front occurs when a fast-moving cold front catches up with a slow-moving warm front. As the occluded front approaches, warm front weather prevails but is immediately followed by cold front weather. There are two types of occluded fronts that can occur, and the temperatures of the colliding frontal systems play a large part in defining the type of front and the resulting weather. A cold front occlusion occurs when a fast moving cold front is colder than the air ahead of the slow moving warm front. When this occurs, the cold air replaces the cool air and forces the warm front aloft into the atmosphere. Typically, the cold front occlusion creates a mixture of weather found in both warm and cold fronts, providing the air is relatively stable. A warm front occlusion occurs when the air ahead of the warm front is colder than the air of the cold front. When this is the case, the cold front rides up and over the warm front. If the air forced aloft by the warm front occlusion is unstable, the weather is more severe than the weather found in a cold front occlusion. Embedded thunderstorms, rain, and fog are likely to occur.

Prior to the passage of the typical occluded front, cirriform and stratiform clouds prevail, light to heavy precipitation falls, visibility is poor, dew point is steady, and barometric pressure drops. During the passage of the front, nimbostratus and cumulonimbus clouds predominate, and towering cumulus clouds may also form. Light to heavy precipitation falls, visibility is poor, winds are variable, and the barometric pressure levels off. After the passage of the front, nimbostratus and altostratus clouds are visible, precipitation decreases, and visibility improves.

Test you knowledge of fronts.

AC 00-6B Aviation Weather: Part 2

March 28th, 2017

Vertical Motion and Cloud Formation
A cloud is a visible aggregate of minute water droplets and/or ice particles in the atmosphere above the Earth’s surface. Fog differs from cloud only in that the base of fog is at the Earth’s surface while clouds are above the surface.

Clouds form in the atmosphere as a result of condensation of water vapor in rising currents of air, or by the evaporation of the lowest layer of fog. Rising currents of air are necessary for the formation of vertically deep clouds capable of producing precipitation heavier than light intensity.

Vertical Motion Effects on an Unsaturated Air Parcel
As a bubble or parcel of air ascends (rises), the pressure decreases with height. As this occurs, the parcel expands. This requires energy, or work, which takes heat away from the parcel, so the air cools as it rises. This is called an adiabatic process. The term adiabatic means that no heat transfer occurs into, or out of, the parcel. Air has low thermal conductivity, so transfer of heat by conduction is negligibly small.

The rate at which the parcel cools as it is lifted is called the lapse rate. The lapse rate of a rising, unsaturated parcel (air with relative humidity less than 100 percent) is approximately 3 °C per 1,000 feet (9.8 °C per kilometer). This is called the dry adiabatic lapse rate. Concurrently, the dewpoint decreases approximately 0.5 °C per 1,000 feet (1.8 °C per kilometer). The parcel’s temperature-dewpoint spread decreases, while its relative humidity increases.

This process is reversible if the parcel remains unsaturated and, thus, does not lose any water vapor. A descending (subsiding) air parcel compresses. The atmosphere surrounding the parcel does work on the parcel, and energy is added to the compressed parcel, which warms it. Thus, the temperature of a descending air parcel increases approximately 3 °C per 1,000 feet.

The Lifting Condensation Level (LCL) is the level at which a parcel of moist air lifted dry adiabatically becomes saturated. At this altitude, the temperature-dewpoint spread is zero and relative humidity is 100 percent.

Further lifting of the saturated parcel results in condensation, cloud formation, and latent heat release. Because the heat added during condensation offsets some of the cooling due to expansion, the parcel now cools at the moist adiabatic lapse rate, which varies between approximately 1.2 °C per 1,000 feet (4 °C per kilometer) for very warm saturated parcels to 3 °C per 1,000 feet (9.8 °C per kilometer) for very cold saturated parcels.

As the saturated air parcel expands and cools, however, its water vapor content decreases. This occurs because some of the water vapor is condensed to water droplets or deposited into ice crystals to form a cloud. This process is triggered by the presence of microscopic cloud condensation (and ice) nuclei, such as dust, clay, soot, sulfate, and sea salt particles. The cloud grows vertically deeper as the parcel continues to rise.

Common Sources of Vertical Motion
Orographic Effects
Winds blowing across mountains and valleys cause the moving air to alternately ascend and descend.

Frictional Effects
In the Northern Hemisphere, the surface wind spirals clockwise and outward from high pressure, and counterclockwise and inward into low pressure due to frictional force. The end result is that winds diverge away from surface high pressure, causing the air to sink, compress, and warm, which favors the dissipation of clouds and precipitation. Conversely, winds converge into surface low pressure, causing the air to rise, expand, and cool, which favors the formation of clouds and precipitation given sufficient moisture

Frontal Lift
Frontal lift occurs when the cold, denser air wedges under the warm, less dense air, plowing it upward, and/or the warmer air rides up and over the colder air in a process called overrunning. Cloud and precipitation will form given sufficient lift and moisture content of the warm air.

Buoyancy
Air near the ground can warm at different rates depending on the insular properties of the ground with which it is in contact.

Measurements of Stability
Several stability indexes and other quantities exist that evaluate atmospheric stability and the potential for convective storms. The most common of these are Lifted Index (LI) and Convective Available Potential Energy (CAPE).

Lifted Index
The LI is the temperature difference between an air parcel (usually at the surface) lifted adiabatically and the temperature of the environment at a given pressure (usually 500 millibars) in the atmosphere. A positive value indicates a stable column of air (at the respective pressure), a negative value indicates an unstable column of air, and a value of zero indicates a neutrally stable column of air. The larger the positive (negative) LI value, the more stable (unstable) the column of air.

Convective Available Potential Energy
CAPE is the maximum amount of energy available to an ascending air parcel for convection. CAPE is represented on a sounding by the area enclosed between the environmental temperature profile and the path of a rising air parcel over the layer within which the latter is warmer than the former. Units are joules per kilogram of air (J/kg). Any value greater than 0 joules per kilogram indicates instability and the possibility of thunderstorms.

CAPE is directly related to the maximum potential vertical speed within an updraft; thus, higher values indicate the potential for stronger updrafts. Observed values in thunderstorm environments often exceed 1,000 joules per kilogram, and in extreme cases may exceed 5,000 joules per kilogram.

Precipitation
Precipitation is any of the forms of water particles, whether liquid or solid, that fall from the atmosphere and reach the ground. The precipitation types are: drizzle, rain, snow, snow grains, ice crystals, ice pellets, hail, and small hail and/or snow pellets.

Precipitation formation requires three ingredients: water vapor, sufficient lift to condense the water vapor into clouds, and a growth process that allows cloud droplets to grow large and heavy enough to fall as precipitation. Significant precipitation usually requires clouds to be at least 4,000 feet thick. The heavier the precipitation, the thicker the clouds are likely to be.

Growth Process
An average cloud droplet falling from a cloud base at 3,300 feet (1,000 meters) would require about 48 hours to reach the ground. It would never complete this journey because it would evaporate within minutes after falling below the cloud base.

In the collision-coalescence, or warm rain process, collisions occur between cloud droplets of varying size and different fall speeds, sticking together or coalescing to form larger drops. Finally, the drops become too large to be suspended in the air, and they fall to the ground as rain. This is thought to be the primary growth process in warm, tropical air masses where the freezing level is very high.

The other process is the ice crystal process. This occurs in colder clouds when both ice crystals and water droplets are present. In this situation, it is easier for water vapor to deposit directly onto the ice crystals so the ice crystals grow at the expense of the water droplets. The crystals eventually become heavy enough to fall. If it is cold near the surface, it may snow; otherwise, the snowflakes may melt to rain. This is thought to be the primary growth process in mid- and high-latitudes.

Precipitation Types
Snow occurs when the temperature remains below freezing throughout the entire depth of the atmosphere.

Ice pellets (sleet) occur when there is a shallow layer aloft with above freezing temperatures and with a deep layer of below freezing air based at the surface. As snow falls into the shallow warm layer, the snowflakes partially melt. As the precipitation reenters air that is below freezing, it refreezes into ice pellets.

Freezing rain occurs when there is a deep layer aloft with above freezing temperatures and with a shallow layer of below freezing air at the surface. It can begin as either rain and/or snow, but becomes all rain in the warm layer. The rain falls back into below freezing air, but since the depth is shallow, the rain does not have time to freeze into ice pellets. The drops freeze on contact with the ground or exposed objects.

Rain occurs when there is a deep layer of above freezing air based at the surface.

Adverse Wind
Adverse wind is a category of hazardous weather that is responsible for many weather-related accidents. Adverse winds include: crosswinds, gusts, tailwind, variable wind, and a sudden wind shift.

A crosswind is a wind that has a component directed perpendicularly to the heading of an aircraft.

A gust is a fluctuation of wind speed with variations of 10 knots or more between peaks and lulls.

A tailwind is a wind with a component of motion from behind the aircraft.

A variable wind is a wind that changes direction frequently, while a sudden wind shift is a line or narrow zone along which there is an abrupt change of wind direction.

Wind shear is the change in wind speed and/or direction, usually in the vertical.

Weather and Obstructions to Visibility
Weather and obstructions to visibility include: fog, mist, haze, smoke, precipitation, blowing snow, dust storm, sandstorm, and volcanic ash.

Fog
Fog forms when the temperature and dewpoint of the air become identical (or nearly so). This may occur through cooling of the air to a little beyond its dewpoint (producing radiation fog, advection fog, or upslope fog), or by adding moisture and thereby elevating the dewpoint (producing frontal fog or steam fog). Fog seldom forms when the temperature-dewpoint spread is greater than 2 °C (4 °F).

Advection Fog
Advection fog forms when moist air moves over a colder surface, and the subsequent cooling of that air to below its dewpoint. It is most common along coastal areas, but often moves deep in continental areas. At sea, it is called sea fog. Advection fog deepens as wind speed increases up to about 15 knots. Wind much stronger than 15 knots lifts the fog into a layer of low stratus or stratocumulus clouds.

Upslope Fog
Upslope fog forms as a result of moist, stable air being adiabatically cooled to or below its dewpoint as it moves up sloping terrain. Winds speeds of 5 to 15 knots are most favorable since stronger winds tend to lift the fog into a layer of low stratus clouds.

Frontal Fog
When warm, moist air is lifted over a front, clouds and precipitation may form. If the cold air below is near its dewpoint, evaporation (or sublimation) from the precipitation may saturate the cold air and form fog. The result is a more or less continuous zone of condensed water droplets reaching from the ground up through the clouds.

Steam Fog
When very cold air moves across relatively warm water, enough moisture may evaporate from the water surface to produce saturation. As the rising water vapor meets the cold air, it immediately recondenses and rises with the air that is being warmed from below. Because the air is destabilized, fog appears as rising filaments or streamers that resemble steam.

Mist
Mist is a visible aggregate of minute water droplets or ice crystals suspended in the atmosphere that reduces visibility to less than 7 statute miles (11 kilometers), but greater than, or equal to, 5/8 statute mile (1 kilometer).

Haze
Haze is a suspension in the air of extremely small particles invisible to the naked eye and sufficiently numerous to give the air an opalescent appearance. It reduces visibility by scattering the shorter wavelengths of light. Haze produces a bluish color when viewed against a dark background and a yellowish veil when viewed against a light background. Haze may be distinguished by this same effect from mist, which yields only a gray obscuration.

Smoke
Smoke is a suspension in the air of small particles produced by combustion due to fires, industrial burning, or other sources. It may transition to haze when the particles travel 25-100 miles (40-160 kilometers) or more, and the larger particles have settled and others become widely scattered through the atmosphere.

Precipitation
Precipitation is any of the forms of water particles, whether liquid or solid, that fall from the atmosphere and reach the ground. Snow, rain, and drizzle are types of precipitation.

Blowing Snow
Blowing snow is snow lifted from the surface of the Earth by the wind to a height of 6 feet (2 meters) or more above the ground, and blown about in such quantities that the reported horizontal visibility is reduced to less than 7 statute miles (11 kilometers).

Turbulence
Aircraft turbulence is irregular motion of an aircraft in flight, especially when characterized by rapid up-and-down motion caused by a rapid variation of atmospheric wind velocities. Turbulence is caused by convective currents (called convective turbulence), obstructions in the wind flow (called mechanical turbulence), and wind shear.

Convective Turbulence
Convective turbulence is turbulent vertical motions that result from convective currents and the subsequent rising and sinking of air. As air moves upward, it cools by expansion. A convective current continues upward until it reaches a level where its temperature cools to the same as that of the surrounding air. If it cools to saturation, a cumuliform cloud forms. Billowy cumuliform clouds, usually seen over land during sunny afternoons, are signposts in the sky indicating convective turbulence.

When the air is too dry for cumuliform clouds to form, convective currents can still be active. This is called dry convection, or thermals.

Mechanical Turbulence
Mechanical turbulence is turbulence caused by obstructions to the wind flow, such as trees, buildings, mountains, and so on. Obstructions to the wind flow disrupt smooth wind flow into a complex snarl of eddies.

Mountain waves are a form of mechanical turbulence which develop above and downwind of mountains. The waves remain nearly stationary while the wind blows rapidly through them. The waves may extend 600 miles (1,000 kilometers) or more downwind from the mountain range.

When sufficient moisture is present in the upstream flow, mountain waves produce interesting cloud formations including: cap clouds, cirrocumulus standing lenticular (CCSL), Altocumulus Standing Lenticular (ACSL), and rotor clouds. These clouds provide visual proof that mountain waves exist. However, these clouds may be absent if the air is too dry.

Wind Shear Turbulence
Wind shear is the rate of change in wind direction and/or speed per unit distance. Wind shear generates turbulence between two wind currents of different directions and/or speeds.

A temperature inversion is a layer of the atmosphere in which temperature increases with altitude. Inversions commonly occur within the lowest few thousand feet above ground due to nighttime radiational cooling, along frontal zones, and when cold air is trapped in a valley. Strong wind shears often occur across temperature inversion layers.

Clear Air Turbulence (CAT) is a higher altitude (~20,000 to 50,000 feet) turbulence phenomenon occurring in cloud-free regions associated with wind shear, particularly between the core of a jet stream and the surrounding air.

AC 00-6B Aviation Weather: Part 1

March 27th, 2017

Weather is not a capricious act of nature, but rather the atmosphere’s response to unequal rates of radiational heating and cooling across the surface of the Earth and within its atmosphere.

Troposphere.
The troposphere begins at the Earth’s surface and extends up to about 11 kilometers (36,000 feet) high.

The vertical depth of the troposphere varies due to temperature variations which are closely associated with latitude and season. It decreases from the Equator to the poles, and is higher during summer than in winter. At the Equator, it is around 18-20 kilometers (11-12 miles) high, at 50° N and 50° S latitude, 9 kilometers (5.6 miles), and at the poles, 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) high.

Tropopause
The transition boundary between the troposphere and the stratosphere.

Stratosphere
The stratosphere extends from the tropopause up to 50 kilometers (31 miles) above the Earth’s surface. This layer holds 19 percent of the atmosphere’s gases, but very little water vapor.

Temperature increases with height as radiation is increasingly absorbed by oxygen molecules, leading to the formation of ozone. The temperature rises from an average -56.6 °C (-70 °F) at the tropopause to a maximum of about -3 °C (27 °F) at the stratopause due to this absorption of ultraviolet radiation. The increasing temperature also makes it a calm layer, with movements of the gases being slow.

Mesosphere
The mesosphere extends from the stratopause to about 85 kilometers (53 miles) above the Earth. On average, temperature decreases from about -3 °C (27 °F) to as low as -100 °C (-148 °F) at the mesopause.

Thermosphere.
The thermosphere extends from the mesopause to 690 kilometers (430 miles) above the Earth. This layer is known as the upper atmosphere.

Thermopause
The transition boundary that separates the exosphere from the thermosphere.

Exosphere
The exosphere is the outermost layer of the atmosphere, and extends from the thermopause to 10,000 kilometers (6,200 miles) above the Earth.

Standard Atmosphere
1013.25 Hectopascals
15°C

29.92 Inches of Mercury
59°F

Lapse rate 2°C per 1,000′

Thermal Response
Water has the highest specific heat capacity of any naturally occurring substance. That means it has a much higher capacity for storing heat energy than other substances, such as soil, sand, rock, or air. Water can store large amounts of heat energy while only experiencing a small temperature change. A body of water exhibits greater resistance to temperature change, called thermal inertia, than does a land mass.

Water temperature changes occur to depths of six meters (20 feet) or more on a daily basis, and 200 to 600 meters (650 to 1950 feet) annually. Over land heat must be transferred via the slow process of conduction. Land temperature changes occur to depths of only 10 centimeters (4 inches) on a daily basis and 15 meters (50 feet) or less annually.

Temperature Inversion
A surface-based inversion typically develops over land on clear nights when wind is light. The ground radiates and cools much faster than the overlying air. Air in contact with the ground becomes cool, while the temperature a few hundred feet above changes very little. Thus, temperature increases with height.

An inversion may also occur at any altitude when conditions are favorable. For example, a current of warm air aloft overrunning cold air near the surface produces an inversion aloft. Inversions are common in the stratosphere.

The principal characteristic of an inversion layer is its marked stability, so that very little turbulence can occur within it.

Temperature-Dewpoint Spread (Dewpoint Depression)
Surface temperature-dewpoint spread is important in anticipating fog, but has little bearing on precipitation. To support precipitation, air must be saturated through thick layers aloft.

Sensible Heating
Sensible heating involves both conduction and convection. It occurs due to differences in air density. Warm air is less dense than cool air. Because air is a poor conductor of heat, convection is much more important than conduction as a heat transport mechanism within the atmosphere.

Latent Heat
The phase transition of water and associated latent heat exchanges are largely responsible for transferring the excess heat from the surface of the Earth into its atmosphere. As the Earth’s surface absorbs radiation, some of the heat produced is used to evaporate (vaporize) water from oceans, lakes, rivers, soil, and vegetation. The water absorbs heat energy due to the latent heat of vaporization. Some of this water vapor condenses to microscopic water droplets or deposits as ice crystals that are visible as clouds. During cloud formation, the water vapor changes state, and latent heat is released into the atmosphere. During this process, the excess heat is transferred from the Earth’s surface into its atmosphere.

Heat Imbalance Variations with Latitude
About 35° latitude in both hemispheres is where incoming and outgoing radiation is equal. The excess heat in the tropics must be transported polar by some mechanism(s). This poleward heat transport is accomplished by atmospheric circulations, weather, and ocean currents.

Sea Level Pressure
Since pressure varies greatly with altitude, we cannot readily compare station pressures between stations at different altitudes. To make them comparable, we adjust them to some common level. Mean sea level (MSL) is the most useful common reference.

Sea Level Pressure Analyses (Surface Chart)
After plotting sea level pressure on a surface chart, lines are drawn connecting points of equal sea level pressure. These lines of equal pressure are isobars. Hence, the surface chart is an isobaric analysis showing identifiable, organized pressure patterns. Four pressure systems are commonly identified: low, high, trough and ridge.

Low: A minimum of atmospheric pressure in two dimensions (closed isobars) on a surface chart, or a minimum of height (closed contours) on a constant pressure chart. Also known as a cyclone.

High: A maximum of atmospheric pressure in two dimensions (closed isobars) on a surface chart, or a maximum of height (closed contours) on a constant pressure chart. Also known as an anticyclone.

Trough: An elongated area of relatively low atmospheric pressure.

Ridge: An elongated area of relatively high atmospheric pressure.

Surface Analysis

Constant Pressure Surface Analysis (Upper Air Chart)
These heights measured by the rawinsonde (and other types of instruments) are plotted on a constant pressure chart and analyzed by drawing a line connecting points of equal height. These lines are called height contours.

These charts can be found at the Standard Briefing page for various pressures. Here’s the one for 700MB ~10,000′.

Surface Analysis

Density
Density is directly related to pressure. Assuming constant mass and temperature, an air parcel with a higher pressure is denser than an air parcel with a lower pressure.

Density is inversely related to temperature. Assuming constant mass and pressure, an air parcel with a higher temperature is less dense than an air parcel with a lower temperature. In the atmosphere, temperature has the most effect on density in the horizontal direction; that is, with horizontal changes of location.

Density of an air parcel is inversely related to its quantity of water vapor. Assuming constant pressure, temperature, and volume, air with a greater amount of water vapor is less dense than air with a lesser amount of water vapor. This is because dry air molecules have a larger mass (weight) than water vapor molecules, and density is directly related to mass.

Altitude

True Altitude
Since existing conditions in a real atmosphere are seldom standard, altitude indications on the altimeter are seldom actual or true altitudes. True altitude is the actual vertical distance above MSL.

Indicated Altitude
Indicated altitude is the altitude above MSL indicated on the altimeter when set at the local altimeter setting.

Altimeter Setting
Since the altitude scale is adjustable, a pilot can set the altimeter to read true altitude at some specified height. Takeoff and landing are the most critical phases of flight; therefore, airport elevation is the most desirable altitude for a true reading of the altimeter. The altimeter setting is the value to which the scale of the pressure altimeter is set so the altimeter indicates true altitude at field elevation.

Corrected (Approximately True) Altitude.
If a pilot could always determine mean temperature of a column of air between the aircraft and the surface, flight computers would be designed to use this mean temperature in computing true altitude. However, the only guide a pilot has to temperature below him is free air temperature at his altitude. Therefore, the flight computer uses outside air temperature to correct indicated altitude to approximate true altitude. The corrected (approximately true) altitude is indicated altitude corrected for the temperature of the air column below the aircraft, the correction being based on the estimated deviation of the existing temperature from standard atmosphere temperature. It is a close approximation to true altitude and is labeled true altitude on flight computers. It is close enough to true altitude to be used for terrain clearance, provided the pilot has his altimeter set to the value reported from a nearby reporting station.

Pressure Altitude
In the standard atmosphere, sea level pressure is 29.92 inches of mercury (1013.2 millibars). Pressure decreases at a fixed rate upward through the standard atmosphere. Therefore, in the standard atmosphere, a given pressure exists at any specified altitude. Pressure altitude is the altitude (above MSL) shown by the altimeter when set to 29.92 inches of mercury.

Density Altitude
Density altitude is the pressure altitude corrected for temperature deviations from the standard atmosphere. Density altitude bears the same relation to pressure altitude as true altitude does to indicated altitude.

Density altitude equals field elevation during standard atmospheric conditions, but conditions are rarely standard. Density altitude is higher (lower) than standard at airports that report lower (higher) than standard pressures (29.92 inches of mercury) and/or higher (lower) than standard temperatures. Temperature is the most important factor since temperature has the greatest effect on density horizontally in the atmosphere.

Density altitude and aircraft performance.
Higher (lower) density altitude decreases (increases) performance. High density altitude is a hazard since it reduces aircraft performance in the following three ways:
  1. It reduces power because the engine takes in less air to support combustion.
  2. It reduces thrust because there is less air for the propeller to work with, or a jet has less mass of gases to force out of the exhaust.
  3. It reduces lift because the light air exerts less force on the airfoils.

The aircraft lifts off, climbs, cruises, glides, and lands at the prescribed indicated airspeeds; but at a specified indicated airspeed, the pilot’s true airspeed and groundspeed increase proportionally as density altitude becomes higher.

The net results are that high density altitude lengthens a pilot’s takeoff, and landing rolls and reduces his or her rate of climb. Before lift-off, the plane must attain a faster groundspeed, and, therefore, needs more runway; and the reduced power and thrust add a need for still more runway. The plane lands at a faster groundspeed and, therefore, needs more room to stop. At a prescribed indicated airspeed, it is flying at a faster true airspeed, and, therefore, covers more distance in a given time, which means climbing at a shallower angle. Adding to this are the problems of reduced power and rate of climb.

Forces That Affect the Wind
Three primary forces affect the flow of wind: Pressure Gradient Force (PGF), Coriolis force, and friction.

Pressure Gradient Force (PGF)
Wind is driven by pressure differences which create a force called the Pressure Gradient Force (PGF). Whenever a pressure difference develops over an area, the PGF makes the wind blow in an attempt to equalize pressure differences. This force is identified by height contour gradients on constant pressure charts and by isobar gradients on surface charts.

The wind would flow from high to low pressure if the PGF was the only force acting on it. However, because of the Earth’s rotation, there is a second force called the Coriolis force that affects the direction of wind flow.

Coriolis Force
A moving mass travels in a straight line until acted on by some outside force. However, if one views the moving mass from a rotating platform, the path of the moving mass relative to his platform appears to be deflected or curved.

The force deflects air to the right in the Northern Hemisphere and to the left in the Southern Hemisphere. Coriolis force is at a right angle to wind direction and directly proportional to wind speed; that is, as wind speed increases, Coriolis force increases. At a given latitude, double the wind speed and you double the Coriolis force.

Coriolis force varies with latitude from zero at the Equator to a maximum at the poles. It influences wind direction everywhere except immediately at the Equator, but the effects are more pronounced in middle and high latitudes. At a given latitude, double the wind speed and you double the Coriolis force.

Friction Force
Friction between the wind and the terrain surface slows the wind. The rougher the terrain, the greater the frictional effect. Also, the stronger the wind speed, the greater the friction.

Upper Air Wind
In the atmosphere above the friction layer (lowest few thousand feet), only PGF and Coriolis force affect the horizontal motion of air. Remember that the PGF drives the wind and is oriented perpendicular to height contours. When a PGF is first established, wind begins to blow from higher to lower heights directly across the contours. However, the instant air begins moving, Coriolis force deflects it to the right. Soon the wind is deflected a full 90° and is parallel to the contours. At this time, Coriolis force exactly balances PGF. With the forces in balance, wind will remain parallel to contours. This is called the geostrophic wind.

Upper Air Wind

Surface Wind
At the surface of the Earth, all three forces come into play. As frictional force slows the wind speed, Coriolis force decreases. However, friction does not affect PGF. PGF and Coriolis force are no longer in balance. The stronger PGF turns the wind at an angle across the isobars toward lower pressure until the three forces balance

Surface Wind Forces

The angle of surface wind to isobars is about 10° over water, increasing to as high as 45° over rugged terrain. The end result is, in the Northern Hemisphere, the surface wind spirals clockwise and outward from high pressure, and counterclockwise and inward into low pressure (see Figure 7-11). In mountainous regions, one often has difficulty relating surface wind to pressure gradient because of immense friction, and also because of local terrain effects on pressure.

Surface Wind Flow

Jet Streams
Jet streams are relatively narrow bands of strong wind in the upper levels of the atmosphere. The winds blow from west to east in jet streams, but the flow often meanders southward and northward in waves. Jet streams follow the boundaries between hot and cold air. Since these hot and cold air boundaries are most pronounced in winter, jet streams are the strongest for both the Northern and Southern Hemisphere winters.

The momentum of air as it travels around the Earth is conserved, which means as the air that is over the Equator starts moving toward one of the poles, it keeps its eastward motion constant. The Earth below the air, however, moves slower, as that air travels toward the poles. The result is that the air moves faster and faster in an easterly direction (relative to the Earth’s surface below) the farther it moves from the Equator.

In addition, with the three cell circulations mentioned previously, the regions around 30° N/S and 50°-60° N/S are areas where temperature changes are the greatest. As the difference in temperature between the two locations increases, the strength of the wind increases. Therefore, the regions around 30° N/S and 50°-60° N/S are also regions where the wind in the upper atmosphere is the strongest.

Cell Circulations

The jet stream is often indicated by a line on maps, and shown by television meteorologists. The line generally points to the location of the strongest wind. In reality, jet streams are typically much wider. They are less a distinct location, and more a region where winds increase toward a core of highest speed.

Local Winds
Local winds are small-scale wind field systems driven by diurnal heating or cooling of the ground. Air temperature differences develop over adjacent surfaces. Air in contact with the ground heats during the day and cools at night. Low-level pressure gradients develop with higher pressure over the cooler, denser air, and lower pressure over the warmer, less dense air.

Low-level winds develop in the direction of the Pressure Gradient Force (PGF). Coriolis force is insignificant because the circulation’s dimension (less than 100 miles) and life span (less than 12 hours) are too short for significant Coriolis deflection. Thus, the wind generally blows from a high-pressure cool surface to a low-pressure warm surface.

Rod Machado’s Five Step Teaching Process

March 25th, 2017

Identify the Big Picture
Define Your Objectives in Behavioral Terms
Simulate Experience
Identify the Specific Clues You Use and Give These To Your Students
Critique the Behavior Not the Student.

Aviation Training Device

March 25th, 2017

I use a flight simulator (X-Plane) to practice instrument approaches and have used FlyThisSim at the local flight school for training. However, these are not flight simulators in the eyes of the FAA so you need to understand the terminology in order to log the time on them.

A good place to start is AC 61-136A Aviation Training Devices. This lays out the difference between Basic and Advanced Aviation Training Devices. The FlyThisSim device 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 more sophisticated and are Advanced Aviation Training Devices.

You can use the time in an Aviation Training Device to fulfill part of the experience requirements for various pilot ratings. The part that was confusing to me was the ability to maintain currency for IFR flight. Here’s where the difference in semantics becomes important. A BATD or AATD is not a flight simulator or flight training device. Therefore you can use it to maintain IFR currency if you comply with §61.57 (c) Instrument experience. but only the third section.

(3) Use of an aviation training device for maintaining instrument experience. Within the 2 calendar months preceding the month of the flight, that person performed and logged at least the following tasks, iterations, and time in an aviation training device and has performed the following—

(i) Three hours of instrument experience.
(ii) Holding procedures and tasks.
(iii) Six instrument approaches.
(iv) Two unusual attitude recoveries while in a descending, Vne airspeed condition and two unusual attitude recoveries while in an ascending, stall speed condition.
(v) Interception and tracking courses through the use of navigational electronic systems.

§61.51 Pilot logbooks. details the requirements for logging time and requires an instructor to be present and sign the logbook if an Aviation Training Device is used to satisfy the recency requirement.

(g) Logging instrument time. (1) A person may log instrument time only for that flight time when the person operates the aircraft solely by reference to instruments under actual or simulated instrument flight conditions.

(4) A person can use time in a flight simulator, flight training device, or aviation training device for acquiring instrument aeronautical experience for a pilot certificate, rating, or instrument recency experience, 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.

FAA Order JO 7110.65W Air Traffic Control.

March 22nd, 2017

I ran across this order when researching the previous post. If you want to know what ATC is going to have you do, this order will give you a heads-up.

This order prescribes air traffic control procedures and phraseology for use by personnel providing air traffic control services. Controllers are required to be familiar with the provisions of this order that pertain to their operational responsibilities and to exercise their best judgment if they encounter situations not covered by it.

Timed Approaches From a Holding Fix

March 22nd, 2017

I had never heard of this or seen an approach with a holding fix at the FAF or outer marker when I ran across a question on times approaches from a holding fix in Gardner’s Complete Advanced Pilot. As you can see from the quotes at the bottom of the post, it is unlikely to ever be used. But they are still available to the controller, FAA Order JO 7110.65W Air Traffic Control.

FAA_H_8083-15B Instrument Flying Handbook 2012
Timed approaches from a holding fix are conducted when many aircraft are waiting for an approach clearance. Although the controller does not specifically state “timed approaches are in progress,” the assigning of a time to depart the FAF inbound (nonprecision approach), or the outer marker or fix used in lieu of the outer marker inbound (precision approach), indicates that timed approach procedures are being utilized.

In lieu of holding, the controller may use radar vectors to the final approach course to establish a distance between aircraft that ensures the appropriate time sequence between the FAF and outer marker or fix used in lieu of the outer marker and the airport. Each pilot in the approach sequence is given advance notice of the time they should leave the holding point on approach to the airport. When a time to leave the holding point is received, the pilot should adjust the flightpath in order to leave the fix as closely as possible to the designated time.

Timed approaches may be conducted when the following conditions are met:
1. A control tower is in operation at the airport where the approaches are conducted.
2. Direct communications are maintained between the pilot and the Center or approach controller until the pilot is instructed to contact the tower.
3. If more than one MAP is available, none require a course reversal.
4. If only one MAP is available, the following conditions are met:
  a) Course reversal is not required; and
  b) Reported ceiling and visibility are equal to or greater than the highest prescribed circling minimums for the IAP.
5. When cleared for the approach, pilots should not execute a procedure turn.

Timed Approaches From Holding Fix Chart

The AIM has an example of how they might be used.

Timed Approaches From Holding Fix

Ths actual order specifies that Timed approaches using either nonradar procedures or radar vectors to the final approach course may be used at airports served by a tower if the following conditions are met and goes on to give similar conditions.

The sons of the guys who wrote that procedure are now in the “Old Controllers’ Home”, I can only guess at their intent. The last time I had to run timed approaches was when I was taking non-radar problems to certify on Denver Sector 26 (COS/PUB low) in 1968! R Butler – ATC Controller

We did some timed approaches when I worked a U.S. non-radar approach control in the ’80s. Don’t believe there are any non-radar approach controls left, and I don’t know a single radar controller who would try it if there were a radar outage of some sort. We also had to run them at the FAA Academy in training back in the ’70s. You would need to assign different missed approaches to succeeding aircraft, so #2 doesn’t catch #1 on the miss.
It’s a lot of radio and brain work to do successfully. Non-radar at a radar facility, (because of an outage) is usually very limited now. (One in, one out) Backup radar systems preferred, even if not as accurate.
vector4fun

Vg diagram explained | Load Factor and Accelerated Stalls

March 21st, 2017

FAA-H-8083-25B Pilots Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge

Vg Diagram
The flight operating strength of an aircraft is presented on a graph whose vertical scale is based on load factor. The diagram is called a Vg diagram—velocity versus G loads or load factor. Each aircraft has its own Vg diagram that is valid at a certain weight and altitude.

If the aircraft is flown at a positive load factor greater than the positive limit load factor, structural damage is possible. When the aircraft is operated in this region, objectionable permanent deformation of the primary structure may take place and a high rate of fatigue damage is incurred. Operation above the limit load factor must be avoided in normal operation.

There are two other points of importance on the Vg diagram. One point is the intersection of the positive limit load factor and the line of maximum positive lift capability. The airspeed at this point is the minimum airspeed at which the limit load can be developed aerodynamically. Any airspeed greater than this provides a positive lift capability sufficient to damage the aircraft. Conversely, any airspeed less than this does not provide positive lift capability sufficient to cause damage from excessive flight loads. The usual term given to this speed is “maneuvering speed,” since consideration of subsonic aerodynamics would predict minimum usable turn radius or maneuverability to occur at this condition. The maneuver speed is a valuable reference point, since an aircraft operating below this point cannot produce a damaging positive flight load. Any combination of maneuver and gust cannot create damage due to excess airload when the aircraft is below the maneuver speed.

The other point of importance on the Vg diagram is the intersection of the negative limit load factor and line of maximum negative lift capability. Any airspeed greater than this provides a negative lift capability sufficient to damage the aircraft; any airspeed less than this does not provide negative lift capability sufficient to damage the aircraft from excessive flight loads.

Maneuvering speed at gross weight can be found in the Type Certificate Data Sheet for your airplane. Newer airplanes also have it in the Airplane Flight Manual or Pilots Handbook. Maximum structural cruising speed and never exceed speed are found on your airspeed indicator.

The very best explanation of maneuvering speed that I have seen is in this video by Rod Machado.

And this one explains why maneuvering speed varies with weight.

Rule of thumb: For eery 2% decrease in aircraft weight from max gross, decrease maneuvering speed by 10%.

SBAS

March 15th, 2017

I was reading the Airplane Flight Manual Supplement for my Garmin 430W and ran across this acronym.

GPS/SBAS TSO-C146a Class 3 Operation
The GNS complies with AC 20-138A and has airworthiness approval for navigation using GPS and SBAS (within the coverage of a Satellite Based Augmentation System complying with ICAO Annex 10) for IFR en route, terminal area, and non-precision approach operations (including those approaches titled “GPS”, “or GPS”, and “RNAV (GPS)” approaches). The Garmin GNSS navigation system is composed of the GNS navigator and antenna, and is approved for approach procedures with vertical guidance including “LPV” and “LNAV/VNAV” and without vertical guidance including “LP” and “LNAV,” within the U.S. National Airspace System.

AIM 1−1−18. Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS)
WAAS 2. The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has defined Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) for satellite−based augmentation systems (SBAS) such as WAAS. Japan, India, and Europe are building similar systems: EGNOS, the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay System; India’s GPS and Geo-Augmented Navigation (GAGAN) system; and Japan’s Multi-functional Transport Satellite (MT-SAT)-based Satellite Augmentation System (MSAS). The merging of these systems will create an expansive navigation capability similar to GPS, but with greater accuracy, availability, and integrity.

For users in the US, it just means WAAS. Overseas users have different systems for accomplishing the same objectives.

GBAS and GLS

March 15th, 2017

I had seen these terms before but I forgot what they meant. TL;DR, they are a new system of ground based augmentation that will improve navigation performance in the immediate vicinity of an airport. Currently only Newark and Houston-Hobby have the systems installed and the required equipment is installed on some Boeing aircraft flown by United Airlines.

Pilot Controller Glossary
GROUND BASED AUGMENTATION SYSTEM (GBAS) LANDING SYSTEM (GLS)- A type of precision IAP based on local augmentation of GNSS data using a single GBAS station to transmit locally corrected GNSS data, integrity parameters and approach information. This improves the accuracy of aircraft GNSS receivers’ signal in space, enabling the pilot to fly a precision approach with much greater flexibility, reliability and complexity. The GLS procedure is published on standard IAP charts, features the title GLS with the designated runway and minima as low as 200 feet DA. Future plans are expected to support Cat II and CAT III operations.

The FAA has a page describing the system.

Satellite Navigation – Ground Based Augmentation System (GBAS)
Ground-Based Augmentation System (GBAS) is a system that provides differential corrections and integrity monitoring of Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS). GBAS provides navigation and precision approach service in the vicinity of the host airport (approximately a 23 nautical mile radius), broadcasting its differential correction message via a very high frequency (VHF) radio data link from a ground-based transmitter. GBAS yields the extremely high accuracy, availability, and integrity necessary for Category I, and eventually Category II, and III precision approaches. GBAS demonstrated accuracy is less than one meter in both the horizontal and vertical axis.

Notes from the Instrument Procedures Handbook – Departure Procedures

March 13th, 2017

FAA-H-8083-16 Instrument Procedures Handbook
Chapter 1 Departures

Instrument departure procedures are preplanned IFR procedures that provide obstruction clearance from the terminal area to the appropriate en route structure. Primarily, these procedures are designed to provide obstacle protection for departing aircraft. There are two types of Departure Procedures (DPs): Obstacle Departure Procedures (ODPs) and Standard Instrument Departures (SIDs).

If an aircraft may turn in any direction from a runway within the limits of the assessment area and remain clear of obstacles that runway passes what is called a diverse departure assessment, and no ODP is published. A diverse departure assessment ensures that a prescribed, expanding amount of required obstacle clearance (ROC) is achieved during the climb-out until the aircraft can obtain a minimum 1,000 feet ROC in non-mountainous areas or a minimum 2,000 feet ROC in mountainous areas. Unless specified otherwise, required obstacle clearance for all departures, including diverse, is based on the pilot crossing the departure end of the runway (DER) at least 35 feet above the DER elevation, climbing to 400 feet above the DER elevation before making the initial turn, and maintaining a minimum climb gradient of 200 feet per nautical mile (FPNM), unless required to level off by a crossing restriction until the minimum IFR altitude is reached.

All departure procedures are initially assessed for obstacle clearance based on a 40:1 Obstacle Clearance Surface (OCS). If no obstacles penetrate this 40:1 OCS, the standard 200 FPNM climb gradient provides a minimum of 48 FPNM of clearance above objects that do not penetrate the slope.

Low, Close-In Obstacles
Obstacles that are located within 1 NM of the DER and penetrate the 40:1 OCS are referred to as “low, close-in obstacles” and are also included in the TPP. These obstacles are less than 200 feet above the DER elevation, within 1 NM of the runway end, and do not require increased takeoff minimums. The standard ROC to clear these obstacles would require a climb gradient greater than 200 FPNM for a very short distance, only until the aircraft was 200 feet above the DER. To eliminate publishing an excessive climb gradient, the obstacle above ground level (AGL)/ MSL height and location relative to the DER is noted in the Takeoff Minimums and (Obstacle) Departure Procedures section of a given TPP booklet.

Obstacle Departure Procedures (ODPs)
The term ODP is used to define procedures that simply provide obstacle clearance. ODPs are only used for obstruction clearance and do not include ATC related climb requirements. In fact, the primary emphasis of ODP design is to use the least restrictive route of flight to the en route structure or to facilitate a climb to an altitude that allows random (diverse) IFR flight, while attempting to accommodate typical departure routes.

ODPs are textual in nature. However, due to the complex nature of some procedures, a visual presentation may given. If the ODP is charted graphically, the chart itself includes the word “Obstacle” in parentheses in the title. Additionally, all newly-developed RNAV ODPs are issued in graphical form.

Standard Instrument Departures (SIDs)
A SID is an ATC-requested and developed departure route, typically used in busy terminal areas. It is designed at the request of ATC in order to increase capacity of terminal airspace, effectively control the flow of traffic with minimal communication, and reduce environmental impact through noise abatement procedures. ATC clearance must be received prior to flying a SID.

If you cannot comply with a SID, if you do not possess the charted SID procedure, or if you simply do not wish to use SIDs, include the statement “NO SIDs” in the remarks section of your flight plan. Doing so notifies ATC that they cannot issue you a clearance containing a SID, but instead will clear you via your filed route to the extent possible, or via a Preferential Departure Route (PDR).

Transition Routes
Charted transition routes allow pilots to transition from the end of the basic SID to a location in the en route structure. Typically, transition routes fan out in various directions from the end of the basic SID to allow pilots to choose the transition route that takes them in the direction of intended departure. A transition route includes a course, a minimum altitude, and distances between fixes on the route.

To fly a SID, you must receive approval to do so in a clearance. In order to accept a clearance that includes a SID, you must have the charted SID procedure in your possession at the time of departure.

DPs are also categorized by equipment requirements as follows:
Non-RNAV DP—established for aircraft equipped with conventional avionics using ground-based NAVAIDs. These DPs may also be designed using dead reckoning navigation.

RNAV DP—established for aircraft equipped with RNAV avionics (e.g., GPS, VOR/DME, DME/DME). Automated vertical navigation is not required.

Radar DP—radar may be used for navigation guidance for SID design. Radar SIDs are established when ATC has a need to vector aircraft on departure to a particular ATS Route, NAVAID, or fix.

All public RNAV SIDs and graphic ODPs are RNAV 1. These procedures generally start with an initial RNAV or heading leg near the departure end runway. From a required navigation performance (RNP) standpoint, RNAV departure routes are designed with 1 or 2 NM performance standards as listed below. This means you as the pilot and your aircraft equipment must be able to maintain the aircraft within 1 or 2 NM either side of route centerline.

• RNAV 1 procedures require that the aircraft’s total system error remain bounded by ±1 NM for 95 percent of the total flight time.
• RNAV 2 requires a total system error of not more than 2 NM for 95 percent of the total flight time.

RNP is RNAV with on-board monitoring and alerting; RNP is also a statement of navigation performance necessary for operation within defined airspace. RNP-1 (in-lieu-of RNAV- 1) is used when a DP that contains a constant radius to a fix (RF) leg or when surveillance (radar) monitoring is not desired for when DME/DME/IRU is used. These procedures are annotated with a standard note: “RNP-1.”

For details on RNP refer to this answer by DeltaLima on Aviation StackExchange.

Pilots are not authorized to fly a published RNAV or RNP procedure unless it is retrievable by the procedure name from the navigation database and conforms to the charted procedure. No other modification of database waypoints or creation of user-defined waypoints on published RNAV or RNP procedures is permitted, except to change altitude and/or airspeed waypoint constraints to comply with an ATC clearance/ instruction, or to insert a waypoint along the published route to assist in complying with an ATC instruction.

There are two types of waypoints currently in use: fly-by (FB) and fly-over (FO). A FB waypoint typically is used in a position at which a change in the course of procedure occurs. Charts represent them with four-pointed stars. This type of waypoint is designed to allow you to anticipate and begin your turn prior to reaching the waypoint, thus providing smoother transitions. Conversely, RNAV charts show a FO waypoint as a four-pointed star enclosed in a circle. This type of waypoint is used to denote a missed approach point, a missed approach holding point, or other specific points in space that must be flown over.

SID Altitudes
SID altitudes can be charted in four different ways. The first are mandatory altitudes, the second, minimum altitudes, the third, maximum altitudes and the fourth is a combination of minimum and maximum altitudes or also referred to as block altitudes. Below are examples of how each will be shown on a SID approach plate.

• Mandatory altitudes – 5500

• Minimum altitudes – 2300

• Maximum altitudes – 3300

• Combination of minimum and maximum –
7000
4600

Radar Departures
A radar departure is another option for departing an airport on an IFR flight. You might receive a radar departure if the airport does not have an established departure procedure, if you are unable to comply with a departure procedure, or if you request “No SIDs” as a part of your flight plan. Terrain and obstacle clearance remain your responsibility until the controller begins to provide navigational guidance in the form of radar vectors.

Visual Climb Over Airport (VCOA)
A visual climb over airport (VCOA) is a departure option for an IFR aircraft, operating in VMC equal to or greater than the specified visibility and ceiling, to visually conduct climbing turns over the airport to the published “climb-to” altitude from which to proceed with the instrument portion of the departure. [These are not very common. KTVL has one. VCOA: Rwy 18, Obtain ATC approval for climb in visual conditions when requesting IFR clearance. Remain within 3 NM, climb in visual conditions to cross South Lake Tahoe airport at or above 11100 MSL then intercept and proceed on SWR-127 to SWR VOR/DME.]

Notes from the Instrument Procedures Handbook – Departure Weather

March 13th, 2017

FAA-H-8083-16 Instrument Procedures Handbook
Chapter 1 Departures

Takeoff Minimums

Takeoff minimums are typically lower than published landing minimums, and ceiling requirements are only included if it is necessary to see and avoid obstacles in the departure area.

The FAA establishes takeoff minimums for every airport that has published Standard Instrument Approaches. These minimums are used by commercially operated aircraft, namely Part 121 and Part 135 operators.

FAA designated standard minimums: 1 statute mile (SM) visibility for single- and twin-engine aircraft, and 1⁄2 SM for helicopters and aircraft with more than two engines.

Aircraft operating under 14 CFR Part 91 are not required to comply with established takeoff minimums. Legally, a zero/ zero departure may be made, but it is never advisable.

If an airport has non-standard takeoff minimums, a Alternate Takeoff Minimums is placed in the notes sections of the instrument procedure chart. In the front of the TPP booklet, takeoff minimums are listed before the obstacle departure procedure.

Ceiling and Visibility Requirements
All takeoffs and departures have visibility minimums (some may have minimum ceiling requirements) incorporated into the procedure.

Visibility
Visibility is the ability, as determined by atmospheric conditions and expressed in units of distance, to see and identify prominent unlighted objects by day and prominent lighted objects by night. Visibility is reported as statute miles, hundreds of feet, or meters.

Prevailing Visibility
Prevailing visibility is the greatest horizontal visibility equaled or exceeded throughout at least half the horizon circle, which need not necessarily be continuous. Prevailing visibility is reported in statute miles or fractions of miles.

Runway Visibility Value (RVV)
Runway visibility value is the visibility determined for a particular runway by a transmissometer. A meter provides continuous indication of the visibility (reported in statute miles or fractions of miles) for the runway. RVV is used in lieu of prevailing visibility in determining minimums for a particular runway.

Tower Visibility
Tower visibility is the prevailing visibility determined from the airport traffic control tower at locations that also report the surface visibility.

Runway Visual Range (RVR)
Runway visual range is an instrumentally derived value, based on standard calibrations, that represents the horizontal distance a pilot sees down the runway from the approach end. RVR, in contrast to prevailing or runway visibility, is based on what a pilot in a moving aircraft should see looking down the runway.

Ceilings
Ceiling is the height above the earth’s surface of the lowest layer of clouds or obscuring phenomena that is reported as broken, overcast, or obscuration and not classified as thin or partial.

IFR Alternate Requirements
On AeroNav Products charts, standard alternate minimums are not published. If the airport has other than standard alternate minimums, they are listed in the front of the approach chart booklet.

For airplane 14 CFR Part 91 requirements, an alternate airport must be listed on IFR flight plans if the forecast weather at the destination airport, for at least 1 hour before and for 1 hour after the estimated time of arrival (ETA), the ceiling is less than 2,000 feet above the airport elevation, and the visibility is less than 3 SM.

For an airport to be used as an alternate, the forecast weather at that airport must meet certain qualifications at the ETA. Standard airplane alternate minimums for a precision approach are a 600-foot ceiling and a 2 SM visibility. For a non-precision approach, the minimums are an 800-foot ceiling and a 2 SM visibility.

Holding Patterns

March 12th, 2017

Someone asked why there are different speeds and leg times on holding patterns. I gave up on trying to figure out why the designers do what they do. However, here’s a guess on this one.


     Altitude (MSL)    Airspeed (KIAS)    Leg Time
     MHA - 6,000'           200           1 minute
     6,001' - 14,000’       230           1 minute 30 seconds
     14,001' and above      265           1 minute 30 seconds

If you are holding below 6,000′ you are most likely on an approach to an airport or holding at the missed approach point. By limiting speed to 200kts and legs to 1 minute the protected area is much smaller. Often you will also see a note on the chart limiting the distance from the holding fix. The designer can make the hold closer to the airport elevation which makes the approach easier for the pilot.

The purpose of the hold on an approach chart is for a course reversal or missed approach. On other forums, general aviation pilots have stated that they have never, or almost never, been given a hold for spacing when on an approach. I was given the option to hold once when on a practice approach but opted instead for vectors.

If you are holding above 6,000′ you are most likely not a Cessna 152—you are probably in a much faster airplane. So the protected space needs to be substantially larger. That’s why the airspeed is limited to 230 kts between 6,001′ – 14,000’ and legs are 1 minute 30 seconds.

Above 14,000′ you are probably an airliner or business plane that is holding for spacing purposes. The highest mountain peak in the continental US is 14,505′ and we know that in mountainous areas the MEA is 2,000′ above the highest obstacle. So a hold along an airway has 4 miles on the holding side already protected. And outside of California and Colorado there is plenty of room. ATC can have an aircraft hold without worrying about them hitting the ground. But limiting airspeed to 230 kts and making legs 1 minute 30 Seconds makes it easier to ensure that the airplane won’t hit anyone else.

Holds used to be much more common in the US airspace but the FAA computers do a much better job of estimating traffic and the implementation of ground stops and EDCTs has made them much less common than in the past. From what I have read on other blogs, they are mostly used for unanticipated weather delays.

ELT Battery Replacement

March 9th, 2017

§91.207 Emergency locator transmitters.

(c) Batteries used in the emergency locator transmitters required by
paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section must be replaced (or recharged,
if the batteries are rechargeable)—
  (1) When the transmitter has been in use for more than 1 cumulative
hour; or
  (2) When 50 percent of their useful life (or, for rechargeable
batteries, 50 percent of their useful life of charge) has expired, as
established by the transmitter manufacturer under its approval.

The battery replacement is preventive maintenance per Part 43 Appendix A(c) and may be owner-performed (and must be logged). The annual functional check per 91.207 requires an A&P and is normally performed at the same time as the annual inspection and normally documented in the annual inspection logbook entry, although it’s not actually part of an annual inspection per Part 43 Appendix D. Mike Busch

Getting information on how long they must transmit is surprisingly hard. Many of the technical documents cost money to access, e.g. DO-204A, Minimum Operational Performance Standards (MOPS) for 406 MHz Emergency Locator Transmitters (ELTs) so I can’t read them.

I found one reputable source for the lifetime once activated.

“Depends on a lot of factors. The design criteria is that they transmit for at least 48 hours at 0-degrees, some will transmit much longer if the weather is warm, the battery fresh, etc. Or they will transmit for less if it’s colder, if the battery hasn’t been replaced when it was supposed to, etc.” Richard A. De Castro -N6RCX NREMT SAR Tech

Flavors of FAA Approval for Certified Aircraft

March 8th, 2017

On one of the blogs I follow, a poster asked about installing a non-TSO’d part on an older aircraft. It is an interesting question, so I decided to write about it.

Certified aircraft meet either the rules of CAR 3 or more recently CFR 14 Part 23. This is called the Type Certificate. In general, you cannot add or remove anything from a certificated airplane without approval by the FAA. That approval comes in lots of flavors. (Note: I’m simplifying this. It gets really complicated.)

Type Certificate
You can replace any part with a part that is listed in the original type certificate. Those part numbers are found in the original Aircraft Flight Manual or the parts manual for the aircraft. Many of the parts are also covered by TSOs, PMAs, or Standard Parts as described below.

Technical Standards Orders
A TSO is a minimum performance standard for specified materials, parts, and appliances used on civil aircraft. When authorized to manufacture a material, part, or appliances to a TSO standard, this is referred to as TSO authorization. Receiving a TSO authorization is both design and production approval.

An altimeter is common to all aircraft and the FAA has issued TSO-C10b that tells manufacturers the standards that altimeters must meet. If it meets the standards, and the manufacturer hasn’t specified something different when it certified the airplane, then it can be installed on the aircraft by a licensed A&P. When he makes a logbook entry for it, it is legal to fly the airplane. You can buy non-TSO’d altimeters for much less than TSO’d ones, and they might even be “better” but you can only install them on experimental airplanes.

Parts Manufacturer Approval (PMA)
Is a combined design and production approval for modification and replacement articles. It allows a manufacturer to produce and sell these articles for installation on type certificated products.

This is another way you can replace parts on your airplane. These cover generic type items. Oil filters, spark plugs, tires, etc. It also covers things that are made by reference to the original manufacturers specifications. Things like muffler shrouds and engine mounts come to mind.

Standard Parts
The parts manual for an aircraft will refer to things like screws and gaskets by industry standard nomenclature. e.g. Cad Plated MS24694-S1 screws, MS24665 cotter pins.

You can replace the carpet in your plane with new carpet, provided it meets the flame resistant standards.

Often however, you can’t substitute a part from the hardware store that is as good or better than the original and you end up paying $150 for a 50 cent gasket. I once bought 25 feet of gasket for the landing gear doors from Cessna for $250. The exact same product is sold at Home Depot for $18. But it doesn’t have a PMA certificate.

Supplemental Type Certificates
A supplemental type certificate (STC) is a type certificate (TC) issued when an applicant has received FAA approval to modify an aeronautical product from its original design. The STC, which incorporates by reference the related TC, approves not only the modification but also how that modification affects the original design.

My airplane came with navigation and communication radios that we replaced with a Garmin GPS 430. Garmin conforms to TSO−C146() so we can use it as an approved primary navigation i.e. to fly en route, terminal, and WAAS approaches. There is an STC that details Limitations, Emergency Procedures, and Normal Procedures. As long as it was installed according to the STC we’re legal. That STC required adding pages to our Aircraft Flight Manual.

The autopilot on my plane was installed on the basis of an STC. This STC must be carried in the plane and there are a bunch of pages added to the AFM. STCs are filed with the FAA with a Form 337.

Some examples are: Ski holder for Cessna 182, Mirrors for checking if your wheels are down on Cessna 210, Gross weight increase for certain model Cessnas.

Owner Produced
This gets complicated, but a simple example would be if you lost an inspection plate. You could have a local machine shop cut out a new piece from the same gauge aluminum and use it on your plane. The A&P would make a logbook entry stating that they replaced the missing plate with an owner-produced plate.

AC 23-27 – Parts and Materials Substitution for Vintage Aircraft
This advisory circular (AC) provides guidance for substantiating parts or materials substitutions to maintain the safety of old or out-of-production general aviation (GA) aircraft, or other GA aircraft where the parts or materials are either difficult or impossible to obtain.

This gives the owner some flexibility in keeping our older aircraft flying.

Field Approval
If you want to make a modification to an aircraft that is not covered by any of the above, you can ask the local FSDO to approve it.

There was some discussion about whether LED landing lights were PMA’d or required a field approval. To be on the safe side, some people got field approval before installing them. Field approval is often used to install a TSO’d part on an aircraft that was not originally installed on. i.e. bigger brakes and wheels on a bush plane.

I think that covers everything. Let me know if I left out a category.

The original poster, who is not familiar with airplane maintenance, posted a follow-up question.

“Now what about aircraft certified before TSO standards were issued?”

If the part you want to replace has no TSO or PMA standard, then you could replace it with a part from another aircraft of the same type or the same part that is called out in the type certificate. For example, the Airplane Flight Manual that came with my Cherokee specifies a Harrison #C-8526250 Oil Cooler. If I can find the same oil cooler at a junkyard, I can install it—provided that it is in serviceable condition. Otherwise, I’d need to comply with one of the other items on the list.

In your altimeter example, there is a TSO for altimeters. Altimeters are one of the items required to be in an aircraft and working. Even if the TSO didn’t exist when the aircraft was manufactured, it does now, so you cannot go to Aircraft Spruce and buy a non-TSO’d altimeter and install it in the aircraft.

You can do an end-run around the TSO requirement. For example, Dynon has been making a poor-man’s glass-panel for experimental aircraft. Dynon’s EFIS-D10A. It displays all of the six-pack instruments. The EAA obtained an STC that allows you to replace the attitude indicator on many certificated airplanes. You buy the EFIS from a vendor and pay EAA $100 and you can replace your TSO’d attitude indicator.

If you are going to replace a part on a certificated airplane, you need some legal basis for doing so. TSO’s, PMA’d, and Original Equipment Manufacture (OEM) parts meet the legal test. STCs are slightly more difficult to use, but they also easily meet the test. The other items on the list require judgement calls by your A&P or the FSDO.

Notes on the Instrument Procedures Handbook – Approaches

March 7th, 2017

FAA-H-8083-16 Instrument Procedures Handbook
Chapter 4 Approaches

Primary NAVAID
Most conventional approach procedures are built around a primary final approach NAVAID; others, such as RNAV (GPS) approaches, are not. If a primary NAVAID exists for an approach, it should be included in the IAP briefing, set into the appropriate backup or active navigation radio, and positively identified at some point prior to being used for course guidance.

Area Navigation Courses
Approach waypoints, except for the missed approach waypoint (MAWP) and the missed approach holding waypoint (MAHWP), are normally FlyBy WPs.

Altitudes
Prescribed altitudes may be depicted in four different configurations: minimum, maximum, recommended, and mandatory.

Minimum Safe Altitude
Minimum safe altitudes (MSAs) are published for emergency use on IAP charts. For conventional navigation systems, the MSA is normally based on the primary omnidirectional facility on which the IAP is predicated.

For RNAV approaches, the MSA is based on either the runway waypoint (RWY WP), the MAWP for straight-in approaches, or the airport waypoint (APT WP) for circling only approaches. For RNAV (GPS) approaches with a terminal arrival area (TAA), the MSA is based on the IAF WP.

MSAs provide 1,000 feet clearance over all obstructions but do not necessarily assure acceptable navigation signal coverage.

Final Approach Fix Altitude
Another important altitude that should be briefed during an IAP briefing is the FAF altitude, designated by the cross on a non-precision approach, and the lightning bolt symbol designating the glideslope intercept altitude on a precision approach. Adherence and cross-check of this altitude can have a direct effect on the success and safety of an approach.

Minimum Descent Altitude (MDA), Decision Altitude (DA), And Decision Height (DH)

MDA—the lowest altitude, expressed in feet MSL, to which descent is authorized on final approach or during circle-to-land maneuvering in execution of a standard instrument approach procedure (SIAP) where no electronic glideslope is provided.

DA—a specified altitude in the precision approach at which a missed approach must be initiated if the required visual reference to continue the approach has not been established.

DH—with respect to the operation of aircraft, means the height at which a decision must be made during an ILS, MLS, or PAR IAP to either continue the approach or to execute a missed approach.

CAT II and III approach DHs are referenced to AGL and measured with a radio altimeter.

Vertical Navigation
Modern RNAV avionics can display an electronic vertical path that provides a constant-rate descent to minimums.

The pilots, airplane, and operator must be approved to use advisory VNAV inside the FAF on an instrument approach.

VNAV information appears on selected conventional nonprecision, GPS, and RNAV approaches (see “Types of Approaches” later in this chapter). It normally consists of two fixes (the FAF and the landing runway threshold), a FAF crossing altitude, a vertical descent angle (VDA), and may provide a visual descent point ( VDP).

VISUAL DESCENT POINT− A defined point on the final approach course of a nonprecision straight-in approach procedure from which normal descent from the MDA to the runway touchdown point may be commenced, provided the approach threshold of that runway, or approach lights, or other markings identifiable with the approach end of that runway are clearly visible to the pilot. (Pilot Controller Glossary)

Wide Area Augmentation System
WAAS enabled vertically guided approach procedures are called LPV, which stands for “localizer performance with vertical guidance,” and provide ILS equivalent approach minimums as low as 200 feet at qualifying airports.

RNAV (GPS) approach charts presently can have up to four lines of approach minimums: LPV, LNAV/VNAV, LNAV, and Circling.

GPS receivers (non-WAAS) can fly to the LNAV MDA.

GPS and FMS (with approach-certified barometric vertical navigation, or Baro-VNAV) can fly to the LNAV/VNAV MDA.

WAAS-LPV avionics can fly an LPV approach

If for some reason the WAAS service becomes unavailable, all GPS or WAAS equipped aircraft can revert to the LNAV MDA and land safely using GPS only, which is available nearly 100 percent of the time.

LNAV/VNAV identifies APV minimums developed to accommodate an RNAV IAP with vertical guidance, usually provided by approach certified Baro-VNAV, but with vertical and lateral integrity limits larger than a precision approach or LPV. Airplanes that are commonly approved in these types of operations include Boeing 737NG, 767, and 777, as well as the Airbus A300 series.

Ground-Based Augmentation System (GBAS)
GBAS is comprised of ground equipment and avionics. The ground equipment includes four reference receivers, a GBAS ground facility, and a VHF data broadcast transmitter. This ground equipment is complemented by GBAS avionics installed on the aircraft. Signals from GPS satellites are received by the GBAS GPS reference receivers (four receivers for each GBAS) at the GBAS equipped airport. The reference receivers calculate their position using GPS. The GPS reference receivers and GBAS ground facility work together to measure errors in GPS provided position.

The GBAS ground facility produces a GBAS correction message based on the difference between actual and GPS calculated position. Included in this message is suitable integrity parameters and approach path information. This GBAS correction message is then sent to a VHF data broadcast (VDB) transmitter. The VDB broadcasts the GBAS signal throughout the GBAS coverage area to avionics in GBAS equipped aircraft. GBAS provides its service to a local area (approximately a 20–30 mile radius). The signal coverage is designed support the aircraft’s transition from en route airspace into and throughout the terminal area airspace.

Approaches are named GLS in the TPP. GLS RWY 4L at Newark is an example.

Required Navigation Performance (RNP)
To attain the benefits of RNP approach procedures, a key component is curved flight tracks. Constant radius turns around a fix are called “radius-to-fix legs (RF legs).” These turns, which are encoded into the navigation database, allow the aircraft to avoid critical areas of terrain or conflicting airspace while preserving positional accuracy by maintaining precise, positive course guidance along the curved track. The introduction of RF legs into the design of terminal RNAV procedures results in improved use of airspace and allows procedures to be developed to and from runways that are otherwise limited to traditional linear flight paths or, in some cases, not served by an IFR procedure at all. Navigation systems with RF capability are a prerequisite to flying a procedure that includes an RF leg. Garmin GTN-series avionics should be able to fly the RF legs used as transitions/feeder routes on those approaches

Baro-VNAV
Baro-VNAV is an RNAV system function that uses barometric altitude information from the aircraft’s altimeter to compute and present a vertical guidance path to the pilot. The specified vertical path is computed as a geometric path, typically computed between two waypoints or an angle based computation from a single waypoint. Operational approval must also be obtained for Baro−VNAV systems to operate to the LNAV/VNAV minimums. Baro−VNAV may not be authorized on some approaches due to other factors, such as no local altimeter source being available. Baro−VNAV is not authorized on LPV procedures.

Hot and Cold Temperature Limitations
A minimum and maximum temperature limitation is published on procedures that authorize Baro−VNAV operation.

e.g. RNAV (GPS) RWY 11 KSPB Note: For uncompensated Baro VNAV systems, LNAV/VNAV NA below -15°C or above 42°C.

Transition to a Visual Approach
The visibility published on an approach chart is dependent on many variables, including the height above touchdown for straight-in approaches or height above airport elevation for circling approaches. Other factors include the approach light system coverage, and type of approach procedure, such as precision, non-precision, circling or straight-in. Another factor determining the minimum visibility is the penetration of the 34:1 and 20:1 surfaces. These surfaces are inclined planes that begin 200 feet out from the runway and extend outward to the DA point (for approaches with vertical guidance), the VDP location (for non-precision approaches) and 10,000 feet for an evaluation to a circling runway. If there is a penetration of the 34:1 surface, the published visibility can be no lower than three-fourths SM. If there is penetration of the 20:1 surface, the published visibility can be no lower than 1 SM with a note prohibiting approaches to the affected runway at night (both straight-in and circling).

For RNAV approaches only, the presence of a grey shaded line from the MDA to the runway symbol in the profile view is an indication that the visual segment below the MDA is clear of obstructions on the 34:1 slope. Absence of the gray shaded area indicates the 34:1 OCS is not free of obstructions.

Missed Approach
Many reasons exist for executing a missed approach. The primary reasons, of course, are that the required flight visibility prescribed in the IAP being used does not exist.

In addition, according to 14 CFR Part 91, the aircraft must continuously be in a position from which a descent to a landing on the intended runway can be made at a normal rate of descent using normal maneuvers, and for operations conducted under Part 121 or 135, unless that descent rate allows touchdown to occur within the TDZ of the runway of intended landing.

A clearance for an instrument approach procedure includes a clearance to fly the published missed approach procedure, unless otherwise instructed by ATC. Once descent below the DA, DH, or MDA is begun, a missed approach must be executed if the required visibility is lost or the runway environment is no longer visible, unless the loss of sight of the runway is a result of normal banking of the aircraft during a circling approach.

Course Reversal
On U.S. Government charts, a barbed arrow indicates the maneuvering side of the outbound course on which the procedure turn is made. Headings are provided for course reversal using the 45° type procedure turn. However, the point at which the turn may be commenced and the type and rate of turn is left to the discretion of the pilot (limited by the charted remain within XX NM distance). Some of the options are the 45° procedure turn, the racetrack pattern, the teardrop procedure turn, or the 80° procedure turn, or the 80° 260° course reversal. Racetrack entries should be conducted on the maneuvering side where the majority of protected airspace resides.

Some procedure turns are specified by procedural track. These turns must be flown exactly as depicted.

Descent to the PT completion altitude from the PT fix altitude (when one has been published or assigned by ATC) must not begin until crossing over the PT fix or abeam and proceeding outbound.

A holding pattern in lieu of procedure turn may be specified for course reversal in some procedures. In such cases, the holding pattern is established over an intermediate fix or a FAF. The holding pattern distance or time specified in the profile view must be observed. If pilots elect to make additional circuits to lose excessive altitude or to become better established on course, it is their responsibility to so advise ATC upon receipt of their approach clearance.

Initial Approach Segment
The purposes of the initial approach segment are to provide a method for aligning the aircraft with the intermediate or final approach segment and to permit descent during the alignment. This is accomplished by using a DME arc, a course reversal, such as a procedure turn or holding pattern, or by following a terminal route that intersects the final approach course. The initial approach segment begins at an IAF and usually ends where it joins the intermediate approach segment or at an IF.

Many RNAV approaches make use of a dual-purpose IF/IAF associated with a hold-in-lieu-PT (HILPT) anchored at the Intermediate Fix. The HILPT forms the Initial Approach Segment when course reversal is required.

Intermediate Approach Segment
The intermediate segment is designed primarily to position the aircraft for the final descent to the airport. Like the feeder route and initial approach segment, the chart depiction of the intermediate segment provides course, distance, and minimum altitude information.

In some cases, an IF is not shown on an approach chart. In this situation, the intermediate segment begins at a point where you are proceeding inbound to the FAF, are properly aligned with the final approach course, and are located within the prescribed distance prior to the FAF.

Final Approach Segment
The final approach segment for an approach with vertical guidance or a precision approach begins where the glideslope intercepts the minimum glideslope intercept altitude shown on the approach chart.

For a non-precision approach, the final approach segment begins either at a designated FAF, which is depicted as a cross on the profile view, or at the point where the aircraft is established inbound on the final approach course.

There are three types of procedures based on the final approach course guidance:
Precision approach (PA)—an instrument approach based on a navigation system that provides course and glidepath deviation information meeting precision standards of ICAO Annex 10. For example, PAR, ILS, and GLS are precision approaches.

Approach with vertical guidance (APV) —an instrument approach based on a navigation system that is not required to meet the precision approach standards of ICAO Annex 10, but provides course and glidepath deviation information. For example, Baro-VNAV, LDA with glidepath, LNAV/VNAV and LPV are APV approaches.

Non-precision approach (NPA)—an instrument approach based on a navigation system that provides course deviation information but no glidepath deviation information. For example, VOR, TACAN, LNAV, NDB, LOC, and ASR approaches are examples of NPA procedures.

Missed Approach Segment
The missed approach segment begins at the MAP and ends at a point or fix where an initial or en route segment begins.

Precision or an APV approach, the MAP occurs at the DA or DH on the glideslope.

For non-precision approaches, the MAP is either a fix, NAVAID, or after a specified period of time has elapsed after crossing the FAF.

Vectors To Final Approach Course
The approach gate is an imaginary point used within ATC as a basis for vectoring aircraft to the final approach course. The gate is established along the final approach course one mile from the FAF on the side away from the airport and is no closer than 5 NM from the landing threshold.

The controller should always assign an altitude to maintain until the aircraft is established on a segment of a published route or IAP.

Visual and Contact Approaches
To expedite traffic, ATC may clear pilots for a visual approach in lieu of the published approach procedure if flight conditions permit. Requesting a contact approach may be advantageous since it requires less time than the published IAP and provides separation from IFR and special visual flight rules (SVFR) traffic. A contact or visual approach may be used in lieu of conducting a SIAP, and both allow the flight to continue as an IFR flight to landing while increasing the efficiency of the arrival.

For a visual approach clearance, the controller must verify that pilots have the airport, or a preceding aircraft that they are to follow, in sight. May be assigned by ATC. It is authorized when the ceiling is reported or expected to be at least 1,000 feet AGL and the visibility is at least 3 SM.

Contact Approaches
Pilots can request a contact approach, which is then authorized by the controller. A contact approach cannot be initiated by ATC. The airport must have a SIAP the reported ground visibility is at least 1 SM, and pilots are able to remain clear of clouds with at least one statute mile flight visibility throughout the approach.

Terminal Arrival Areas
TAAs are the method by which aircraft equipped with a FMS and/or GPS are transitioned from the RNAV en route structure to the terminal area with minimal ATC interaction.

ILS Approach Categories
There are three general classifications of ILS approaches: CAT I, CAT II, and CAT III (autoland). The basic ILS approach is a CAT I approach and requires only that pilots be instrument rated and current, and that the aircraft be equipped appropriately. CAT II and CAT III ILS approaches typically have lower minimums and require special certification for operators, pilots, aircraft, and airborne/ground equipment. Because of the complexity and high cost of the equipment, CAT III ILS approaches are used primarily in air carrier and military operations.


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