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The following stories from the July 31, 2009, 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.


Time trials

It’s midnight Zulu on Saturday, Aug. 1, in Greenwich, England. (Zulu time was discussed in the July 11, 2003, Training Tip.) A pilot on the East Coast of the United States is planning tomorrow’s cross-country training flight. What is local time for the pilot?


The answer is 8 p.m. on Friday. The difference is four hours with daylight-saving time in effect in summer. It’s five hours during Eastern Standard Time.


Farther west in the United States, the difference between local time and Zulu, or Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), increases. The FAA’s Airport/Facility Directory (A/FD) listing for the Santa Fe, N.M, airport (SAF) provides this guidance in the Mountain time zone: “UTC-7(-6DT).” Translation: Local time is UTC minus seven hours, except during daylight-saving time, when the conversion factor is six hours.


So if a flight leaves Santa Fe at noon local time in July and arrives in Tucson, Ariz.—also in the Mountain time zone—two hours later, what time did it land at Tucson? It’s tempting to answer 2 p.m. local. But it arrives at 1 p.m. local in Tucson! Arizona does not switch to daylight-saving time—quite a trap for the unwary flight planner or test-taker. There is a subtle clue to this difference in the A/FD’s Tucson listing: “TUCSON INTL (TUS) 6 S UTC-7.” It gives the airport identifier (TUS), location (6 miles south) and a time conversion—but not one for daylight time. Read airport notes carefully!


Try your hand at practice Private Pilot Knowledge Test questions. Use the search phrase “time zone” to find questions.


Student pilots often ask why Greenwich is the baseline for time calculations. Barry Schiff offered an explanation in his October 2008 AOPA Pilot “Proficient Pilot” column: “An international conference convened in Washington, D.C., in 1884 to standardize time. It was agreed that the meridian passing through the Royal Observatory at Greenwich, England, would become the world’s prime meridian. Greenwich was the logical choice because, at that time, 72 percent of the world’s mariners used charts displaying this line of longitude.”


Read his piece and see how global time management evolved—over time.


‘Max Trescott’s Instrument and WAAS GPS Flying Handbook’

A panel-mount GPS is an extremely valuable tool for the instrument-rated pilot, particularly if he or she has to fly single-pilot IFR. But if you don’t know how to operate all the buttons, you may miss out on getting true utility from the box. Max Trescott’s Instrument and WAAS GPS Flying Handbook aims to show you what is needed to safely operate modern GPS systems. Trescott, who was named 2008 CFI of the Year, says it includes detailed, step-by-step instructions for the Bendix/King KLN 94, Garmin GNS 430, 430W, 480, 530, 530W, and G900X, and Garmin G1000 and Garmin Perspective glass cockpits. The book sells for $39.95 and can be ordered online or by calling 800/247-6553.


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: While planning a cross-country flight, I noticed a mistake on the sectional chart. Should I report this to someone, and if so, how do I do it?


Answer: Before you report a suspected mistake or omission on a sectional chart, you should verify that it really is a mistake or omission. Once you have determined it is in fact an error, you can contact the National Aeronautical Charting Office by mail, phone, or e-mail. Mail your comment to FAA, National Aeronautical Charting Office, ATO-W, SSMC4 Station 2335,1305 East West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910-3281; phone 800/626-3677; e-mail.


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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