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Nights and aircraft lights
You’re ready for engine start following a night preflight inspection. A question arises: What aircraft lights should you use, and when should you use them? That was the thrust of a question to AOPA’s Pilot Information Center, and this was the excerpted response: "Whenever the master switch is on, the position (navigation) lights should be illuminated. Prior to engine start, the red beacon lights should be turned on to alert the ground crew and other pilots that the airplane is ready to move. When taxiing, the pilot should turn on the taxi light. However, when not in motion, many pilots turn the taxi light off to make it easier for others to know the aircraft is not moving. Only when cleared onto the runway should strobe lights be turned on. Finally, when cleared for takeoff, every exterior light is turned on for maximum visibility. Because lighting equipment varies in general aviation aircraft, these procedures may need to be modified."
Lighting systems are described in the AOPA Flight Training article "No Dumb Questions." Position lights are the red and green lights installed at wingtips (red on the left, green on the right) and a white tail-mounted or rear-facing light. The anticollision light system "can be either a rotating beacon (usually aviation red) or strobe lights (usually aviation white), or a combination thereof."
General guidance on using lights comes from FAR 91.209. It states that "no person may:
The regulation has equivalent requirements for seaplanes. Anticollision lights must also be used if installed; however, the rule authorizes pilots to turn them off for safety as elaborated in Chapter 4-3-23 of the Aeronautical Information Manual.
YOUR PARTNER IN TRAINING
If the weather outside is frightful, you can still indulge your aviation interests while warm and snug at home. Take a tour of the new AOPA Internet Flight Planner and become familiar with all of the new options, including the ability to see fuel prices at your destination as well as airports along your route; pre-loaded performance data for many of general aviation’s most popular aircraft; and weather downloaded automatically as soon as the "Plan This Route" button is clicked.
Did you know that student pilots who join AOPA are three times more likely to complete their flight training? Membership includes unlimited access to aviation information by phone (800/USA-AOPA, weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern time) or from AOPA Flight Training Online or AOPA Online. If you're not already a member, join today and get the pilot's edge. Login information is available online.
Some 60 testing centers will once again be allowed to administer pilot knowledge exams after AOPA called on the FAA to reverse a policy change that revoked testing privileges from about 160 testing centers nationwide. The FAA has said it will reinstate testing privileges at all centers that applied for reconsideration earlier this year. The centers had lost the right to administer FAA knowledge tests because they gave fewer than 25 tests in a 12-month period. The agency had also said it would set minimum distance requirements between testing centers and require testing center employees to become FAA designees. AOPA successfully argued that market demand, not mileage requirements, should determine the number of testing centers in any given area. Read more >>
Imagine doing your very first preflight walkaround as a student pilot on an Army C-23 Sherpa aircraft, incoming mortars and rockets disrupting your private pilot ground school, or scheduling your knowledge test around deployment times. That’s business as usual for soldiers deployed to Iraq. Some troops used what little free time they had to take a private pilot ground school class and even completed the knowledge test while overseas. Military officials stationed at the Kuwait Naval Base; Joint Base Balad in Iraq; and Kirkuk, Iraq, taught private pilot ground school courses for the troops. Some went so far as to become testing administrators so that the soldiers could take their exams while still deployed. Read more >>
The studying is over. The final phase check is scheduled. Everything is ready to go. No, we're not talking about your flight training. We're talking about the 2008 Get Your Glass Sweepstakes Piper Archer. The year is drawing to a close, and that means it's almost time to give away this great airplane. See this week's final update for a look back at a year's worth of upgrades.
Finish your safety training during holiday down time
With the hectic holiday rush behind, pilots are apt to have a little year-end down time. It's the perfect opportunity to check out your AOPA Air Safety Foundation transcript and finish any incomplete courses. Your transcript provides a detailed account of the courses you’ve viewed, including whether you’ve earned a completion certificate. Because your progress is automatically saved, you can pick up right where you stopped—making it easy to finish up any incomplete courses.
Are your insurance policies overdue for their annual inspection?
As another year comes to a close it’s the perfect time to review your insurance policies because your coverage needs may have changed. AOPA offers great rates on term life insurance, accidental death and dismemberment, aircraft insurance, and even auto insurance. These programs offer special aviation enhancements as an added benefit for our members. Take time to do an annual inspection on your insurance needs. When you take your first flight of 2009 you can relax knowing that you’re covered by AOPA’s Insurance Services.
PIC Brief brings pilot services to mobile devices
Got a mobile device, or a computer? PIC Brief from Hilton Software is a free Web-based service that provides current METARs, TAFs, animated radar, NACO charts, VFR sectionals, and IFR en route charts. The service includes airport information such as runways, FBO services, communications frequencies, and more. PIC Brief is compatible with all browsers, Windows Mobile, Blackberry, and iPhone. For more information, see the Web site.
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: I have heard that any pilot operating near the Washington, D.C., Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) needs to get special training. Who needs to complete the training, and where can I get information about the course?
Answer: On Feb. 9, 2009, the FAA will require any pilot who operates VFR within 60 nautical miles of the DCA VOR to complete the one-time special security awareness ADIZ training course. Pilots operating on an active IFR flight plan, and flying in IMC, are exempt from the requirement. The course, Navigating the New DC ADIZ, can be found online at the FAA Safety Web site. Once you complete the course, you can print out a certificate of completion. You do not need to carry the certificate with you when you fly.
Got a question for our technical services staff? E-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
What's New Online
"Say again aircraft type?" That’s what air traffic controllers asked correspondent Jason Paur as he piloted a light sport aircraft from New York to Wisconsin. What kind of cross-country capability does the Flight Design CT have? Read all about it in the January 2009 issue of AOPA Pilot.
Pilots love to take photos, and they love to share them with other pilots. Now you can upload your flying photos to our brand-new online gallery, "Air Mail." Share your special aviation images, or view and rate more than 475 photos and counting. Highly rated photos will get put into rotation on the AOPA home page!
AVIATION EVENTS & WEATHER
Want something to do this weekend? Wanting to plan an aviation getaway? See our online calendar of events. We've enhanced our calendar so that with one click, you can see all of the events listed in the calendar regions you selected when personalizing ePilot . Now you can browse events listed two weeks to a few months out to make your planning easier. Before you take off on an adventure, make sure you check our current aviation weather provided by Jeppesen.
Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics
The next AOPA Air Safety Foundation Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics are scheduled in San Antonio,TX; Portland, OR; and Rochester, NY, Jan. 3 and 4. For a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.
Can't make it in person? Sign up for the CFI Refresher Online.
AOPA Air Safety Foundation Safety Seminars
AOPA Air Safety Foundation Safety Seminars are scheduled in Mesa, Ariz., and Reno, Nev., Jan. 12. Topics vary—for details and a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.
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Editorial Team : ePilot Editor: Alyssa Miller | Contributors: Warren Morningstar, Alton Marsh