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The following stories from the April 4, 2008, edition of AOPA ePilot were provided to AOPA members who expressed an interest in the particular subject areas. Any AOPA member can receive information tailored to their areas of interest by updating their preferences online.

~ My ePilot – Other Interest ~
Interested in stepping into the lighter-than-air aircraft category? The FAA has posted its new Balloon Flying Handbook online. The downloadable handbook features more than 160 color graphics and illustrations. It covers topics including an introduction to balloon flight training; hot air balloon design, systems, and theory; preflight planning; weather theory and reports; layout to launch procedures; in-flight maneuvers; and landing and recovery. Read more about lighter-than-air flying in "Riding the wind: It's beautiful to be an aeronaut" in the June 2003 AOPA Pilot.

My ePilot – Student Interest, Training Tips
Most pilots spend most of their flying time operating in controlled airspace. But for the different classes of controlled airspace, there are varying degrees of control. The largest swath of controlled airspace isn't controlled beyond your obligation to observe weather requirements for VFR flight within its boundaries.

The basic differences can be summed up in the term "positive control." As defined in the Pilot/Controller Glossary of the Aeronautical Information Manual, positive control "means control of all air traffic, within designated airspace, by air traffic control."

Class A airspace, starting at 18,000 feet, is an example. Entry requires a clearance under instrument flight rules from ATC. Before airspace was classified by letters, Class A airspace was known as the positive control area. Pilots operate under positive control in Class B airspace, surrounding the busiest airports. You may not enter Class B airspace without a specific clearance from ATC. "Class B airspace provides for positive control of both VFR and IFR traffic. By enlarging the area of radar coverage, Class B airspace is able to provide separation to all aircraft through a mandatory communications requirement," explains the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's Safety Advisor Airspace for Everyone.

Class C airspace, surface-based and centered on a towered airport with radar service, requires that communications be established, but specific clearance into the airspace is not required. In Class D airspace, centered on an airport with an operating control tower, there is also a requirement to establish two-way communications. The airspace reverts to Class E when the tower is not operating [ Class G if weather information is not available].

In the vast reaches of Class E airspace a pilot may fly with no ATC interaction—provided the appropriate weather requirements for VFR flight are satisfied. However, it is recommended that pilots make use of radar flight following when and where it is available. And nowadays it is prudent to check notams for temporary flight restrictions along any route.

Positive control can require different procedures for different kinds of flights in airspace such as the Washington Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ).

My ePilot – Training Product
If there's anything as nerve-wracking as a checkride, it might just be a job interview for an airline or other commercial carrier. Here's where you're expected to pull out all your knowledge about any and all aircraft operations, the federal aviation regulations, and more. Ace the Technical Pilot Interview, by Gary V. Bristow, is a study tool aimed at helping you get to know material likely to be asked in an interview. The 346-page book includes nearly 1,000 exam-style questions and answers and more than 50 black-and-white illustrations. It sells for $19.95 at

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.

My ePilot – Student Interest, Final Exam
Question: What kind of items should be included in block 11 (remarks) of a flight plan?

Answer: Pilots often place non-flight critical information relating to passengers or crew into the remarks section of a flight plan. However, comments should be limited to information pertinent to air traffic control (ATC) or to clarify other flight plan information, such as a particular call sign associated with the designator filed in block 2. Items of a personal nature are not automatically transmitted to every controller, so you don't need to include them. Specific ATC or en route requests should be made directly to the appropriate controller. More information on flight plans is available on AOPA Online.

Got a question for our technical services staff? E-mail to [email protected] 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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