February 4, 2011
Adjusting to in-flight conditions is one of the important lessons of cross-country flying. That sure-bet weather forecast could miss the mark without scrubbing your flight.
Conditions could require you to change your route, for instance if a VOR you planned to use for navigation is out of service. Or lower ceilings might mean you must re-plan your cruise altitudes and recalculate groundspeeds and fuel burn.
If your original choice of altitude was influenced by airspace along your route, you may have to make other decisions. Perhaps cruising at 6,500 feet looked good because you could overfly some Class C airspace directly along your route of flight as discussed in the Jan. 14 Training Tip. But now, lower ceilings eliminate that option.
What to do? If you are properly equipped (with two-way communications and an altitude-encoding transponder) and follow procedures, why not plan to fly through the airspace rather than taking the long way around?
Is it necessary to ask permission? No. Before entering, you must establish two-way radio communications. As illustrated in the Aeronautical Chart User’s Guide , sectional charts show recommended VFR checkpoints, typically about 20 nautical miles out, where you should call in on a designated frequency if you are not already receiving radar flight following.
As you near the airport at the center of the Class C airspace, be alert for instructions to fly assigned headings or altitudes intended to separate you from arriving or departing traffic. You may also receive crossing instructions such as being directed to fly over the hub airport at midfield.
Why midfield? For easy visibility from the tower and from other aircraft, and to keep you clear of approach and departure paths. Turn on your landing light to make your trainer easier to spot.
Similar contact procedures can be used to transit Class D airspace where the altitude-encoding transponder requirement does not apply.
Understand how to transit the airspace, but worry that your radio skills will let you down? Take the Air Safety Institute’s interactive courses Say It Right: Mastering Radio Communication and Know Before You Go . They will give you the confidence you need to seek access to the airspace that’s the best choice for today’s flight.
If you fly more than one aircraft and are concerned about monitoring carbon monoxide levels, the Pocket CO carbon monoxide detector can be carried around with you from airplane to airplane (and to your home or car). It fits on a key chain and weighs less than one ounce. The digital display shows the presence of CO in parts per million, and it can be set to trigger an 85-decibel audio alarm as well as a bright red light or vibration. The unit sells for $139.99 from Pilotmall.com.
Note: Products listed have not been evaluated by ePilot editors unless otherwise noted. AOPA assumes no responsibility for products or services listed or for claims or actions by manufacturers or vendors.
Question: When I moved last year, I filled out a change-of-address card, and sent it to the FAA in Oklahoma City; however, I never received a new certificate so my current pilot certificate still has my old address. Should I have received a new certificate with my updated address on it?
Answer: We get this question frequently, and the answer is no. The FAA will not send a replacement certificate for a change of address unless a new one is requested. There are several options for requesting a replacement certificate. One is to submit a signed, written request stating your name, date, and place of birth, Social Security number and/or certificate number, and the reason for replacement. You can also download a form from the FAA website to request a replacement. If you choose either of these options you will need to mail them to the FAA, Airmen Certification Branch, AFS-760, P.O. Box 25082, Oklahoma City, OK 73125-0082. Include a check or money order for $2 made payable to the FAA. If your current address is listed as a Post Office Box (POB), General Delivery, Rural Route, or Star Route, you must provide directions or a map for locating your residence. A third option is to make the request through Airmen Online Services. It is usually quick and easy and you will get your replacement certificate normally within seven to 10 business days. If you select the online option you will need to create an account first if you don’t already have one, but that only takes a few minutes.
Got a question for our technical services staff? E-mail email@example.com or call the Pilot Information Center, 800/872-2672. Don’t forget the online archive of “Final Exam” questions and answers, searchable by keyword or topic.
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AOPA thanks our members for their continued support in protecting the freedom to fly.