Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association Protecting Your Freedom to Fly

Safety Publications/Articles

Care to read?

Do you like to read? Most folks do. I even heard of a guy who couldn't read so he purchased reading glasses. Then he discovered he was illiterate. OK, I'm just kidding about that one. But I'm not kidding when I say that the Aeronautical Information Manual is about as important as anything you can read in aviation.

How important is the AIM to a flight instructor? Let me put it this way. On his last vacation, my friend, aviation columnist Ralph Butcher, took one along to read. Read it, he did-the whole thing, just as he does periodically. That's why Ralph has such a wonderful command of aviation's most important concepts. We should all strive to be as educated as Ralph is, especially if we're flight instructors.

As young instructors, my friends and I would sit in the FBO on Saturday evenings and challenge each other with aviation questions. Part of the reason for this is that we couldn't dance, so we had to do something constructive with our time.

"What's the power output of a marker beacon?" one of us would say.

"Three watts," another would shout.

"Hey, check it out in the AIM," a third would insist, "and while you're at it, see if you can find something about dancing in there, too. I'm l-o-o-o-nely!"

We enjoyed challenging each other. The consistent winner was the person who spent the most time reading the AIM.

Make it a practice to periodically read the AIM cover to cover. Then, the next time you're sitting around the FBO, pull out your copy and ask, "Let's have some fun. How many audio sweeps are allowed when testing the ELT?" You're sure to have a good time. Don't, however, be surprised if someone says, "I knew I should have taken those dance lessons."

By Rod Machado

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