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AOPA ePilot Custom ContentAOPA ePilot Custom Content

The following stories from the September 26, 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 Training Tips

Outbound on a solo cross-country, you contact air traffic control and request VFR traffic advisories to your destination. Whether the ATC facility you contact is an approach/departure control or an air route traffic control center (ARTCC), your communications will now consist of traffic callouts from ATC and your reports of whether you spot the traffic.

Listen carefully to the wording of ATC's advisories. The more you use the service, the more familiar the language will become. "Routinely requesting this ATC service during your cross-country flights affords you an added margin of safety. It also makes you more comfortable talking to ATC and gives you a ready source for hearing new aviation phrases," urges the New Pilot's Guide to ATC Communication on the AOPA Flight Training Web site.

Suppose ATC called out traffic that you have been unable to spot. That's not unusual. ATC will continue to advise you of the other aircraft's position until the controller informs you that "traffic is no longer a factor."

Now suppose that the controller uses a different phrase, telling you that your traffic is "no longer observed." This phrase, according to the Pilot/Controller Glossary, an appendix of the Aeronautical Information Manual , means that "the traffic described in a previously issued traffic advisory is no longer depicted on radar but may still be a factor." That's a different matter entirely. Perhaps ATC's radar coverage ceases below a certain altitude along your route. Or the other aircraft may have changed altitudes or descended to its destination airport.

If ATC has called out no traffic for a while, remain vigilant. The controller could be busy with other duties or on another frequency. "Pilots have to remember that this service to VFR aircraft is provided based upon the workload of ATC. When ATC is busy, providing services to IFR flights always has priority over the needs of VFR flights," explains the answer to a frequently asked question about traffic advisories on the AOPA Flight Training Web site.

If you spot your traffic and report it in sight, keep scanning! Chances are good that there are other aircraft out there that you—and ATC—may or may not ever see.

Training Products

A new guidebook from Aviation Supplies & Academics Inc. seeks to help flight instructors incorporate scenario-based training into their teaching methods. Train Like You Fly by Arlynn McMahon discusses scenario-based training—or, using a script of real-world experience to address flight training objectives—and shows instructors how to create effective scenarios and teach systematic risk reduction and aeronautical decision making. The 232-page soft-cover book sells for $19.95 and can be ordered online from ASA.

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 Final Exam

Question: What does "taxi to" mean when obtaining taxi instructions at a towered airport?

Answer: If the ATC instruction to "taxi to" a specific runway for departure does not include any holding instructions, you may cross all runways along your route with the exception of the assigned departure runway ( AIM 4-3-18). Pilots should always read back the runway assignment, any clearance to enter a specific runway, and any instruction to hold short of a specific runway or to taxi into position and hold. If you are unsure of the assigned taxi route, request progressive taxi instructions; ATC will then guide you with step-by-step instructions. For additional information on ground operations at towered airports, read " Taxiing at towered airports" from AOPA Flight Training as well as the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's Safety Advisor, Operations at Towered Airports.

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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