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The following stories from the April 18, 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 – Student Interest, Training Tips
Even if you never plan to fly in the vicinity of Class B airspace, depicted inside a blue-bordered box on your sectional aeronautical chart, it's a good idea to spend some time studying the VFR terminal area charts (TACs) for those important blocks of airspace.

The enhanced detail of TACs helps VFR pilots to navigate busy airspace safely and accurately. And if the day does come for you to make a dual training flight into Class B airspace, or if you fly to an airport within the blue border as a private pilot, a current TAC will be a must-have item.

Scale is what makes a TAC so useful. Each inch of chart covers 3.43 nautical miles, creating room for more details than appear on a sectional chart, which depicts 6.86 nm of airspace per inch. A world aeronautical chart (WAC) packs 13.7 nm into every chart inch.

"Having more space to work with, the TAC can show a lot more terrain details. It also shows Class B areas, altitudes, VFR corridors, and suggested VFR routes around the Class B layers as they apply to each area. If you fly to a Class B airport or an airport shown on the TAC, this chart is invaluable," Robert N. Rossier wrote in " Chart Basics."

Like most sectionals, TACs are revised semiannually; check the expiration date before flying. [WACs are revised annually. All are discussed in Chapter 14 of the Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge .] Check out the VFR chart symbols from the NACO Aeronautical Chart User's Guide, which catalogs differences in the presentation of specific symbols and data on the charts used for VFR navigation.

Not for you because your home base is far from any Class B airspace? Knowing how to use TACs should still be a part of your study and flight test preparation, because you must be able to demonstrate ability to select and use appropriate charts for any cross-country flight assigned by your designated pilot examiner.

So get started by studying your area's nearest TAC in conjunction with the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's Safety Advisor Airspace For Everyone . Someday you'll be glad you learned how to navigate the busy airspace inside the blue box.

My ePilot – Training Product
Flashlights: Every pilot needs them, and you'll probably need more than one. A double-duty model like the Pilots 2 Color version offered by Aircraft Spruce and Specialty can be helpful for regular use and also to preserve your vision for night flying, because it features 20 white light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and six red LEDs. Switch back and forth between the red and white with one button. Three AAA batteries that are included power the unit. It sells for $17.95 and can be ordered online or by calling 877/477-7823.

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: Is my instructor required to have at least a second class medical certificate?

Answer: A certificated flight instructor is not required to have a second class medical. In fact, some operations do not require instructors to hold valid medicals at all. A CFI is only required to hold a valid medical when acting as pilot in command. For example, a CFI giving a flight review does not require a medical as long as the other pilot holds a valid medical and meets the recent flight experience requirements of 61.57 to be able to act as pilot in command. And in flight instruction situations where a valid medical certificate is required, a CFI only needs a third class medical. FAR 61.23 lists the operations requiring a valid medical. It is important to note, though, that even when the FAA doesn't require a medical, the insurance company may. Want to put your knowledge of medical certification to the test? Check out this Safety Quiz from the AOPA Air Safety Foundation.

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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