The following stories from the July 11, 2003, edition of AOPA ePilot were provided to AOPA members who expressed an interest in the particular subject areas. Any AOPA member can receive information customized to their areas of interest by updating their member record file online.
My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Tips WHAT TIME IS IT?
It is 7 o'clock on a Friday morning when a pilot departs Des Moines, Iowa, for a summer vacation trip to New England. After several refueling stops and a long day of flying she arrives at her destination, Rockland, Maine, at 0200Z Saturday. What was the Coordinated Universal Time when she departed Iowa? On landing in Maine, what is the local time? When figuring your answers, did you consider that she crossed from the Central Time Zone to the Eastern Time Zone? Did you also remember to take into account that a summer vacation occurs during Daylight Savings Time, not Standard Time?
"The Federal Aviation Administration uses Coordinated Universal Time (also referred to as 'Zulu time') for all operations. This term replaces 'Greenwich Mean Time' (GMT) in international parlance to be used in aviation. It provides a frame of reference to eliminate confusion when aviation operations encompass several time zones within a short time span. UTC is still referred to as 'Zulu' time," explains Section 2 of AOPA's Handbook for Pilots
. A pilot will hear time expressed, for example, as "One Two Zero Zero Zulu" on automatic terminal information service broadcasts and when receiving weather updates by radio. When filing a VFR flight plan, your estimated times of departure and arrival are Zulu estimates; Section 6
of the Handbook
offers guidelines on how to state time using UTC during radio communications. Section 4-2-12
of the Aeronautical Information Manual
gives conversion tables between local and Zulu time. Aviation weather products also state times of forecasts and observations as Zulu times. Jack Williams looks at a few examples in his "The Weather Never Sleeps"
column on weather map basics in the February 2003 AOPA Flight Training
You can look up the UTC conversion factor for an airport-but not its time zone-in its listing in the AOPA's Airport Directory Online
or the FAA's Airport/Facilities Directory
. Time zone boundaries may be identified on aeronautical sectional charts, as explained in AOPA Flight Training's
December 1998 "Flying Smart"
By the way, it was 1200Z when the pilot took off from Des Moines. Although it was early Saturday morning Zulu time when she landed in Maine, locally it was still only 10 p.m. Friday-leaving lots of time for a great vacation by the sea! My ePilot - Training Products FLIGHT BAG WITH DETACHABLE UNITS FROM W. WALLER & SON
Newly minted private pilots often treat themselves to a new flight bag to celebrate the big event. The Captain's bag from W. Waller & Son, Inc., has room for all of the gadgets, sectionals, and handbooks you'll no doubt acquire in the coming months. Its two end bags zip off and can be used separately, or they can be attached to the main bag to use as a single unit. All sides of the bag are lined with high-density, closed-cell insulating foam to protect the contents from impact. The bag measures about 26 inches in length (each end bag is about 4 inches deep), sits 10 inches high, and is 12 inches wide. It comes with a detachable shoulder strap and leather-wrapped carry handles on the main bag and on each end bag. The bag comes in black, gray, and red heavy-duty urethane-coated Cordura nylon that is water repellent. The price is $219. For more information, call 800/874-2247; or see the Web site
. My ePilot - Student Interest, Final Exam Question:
We are experiencing a lot of thunderstorms this summer that last 10 or 15 minutes, delaying a flight lesson until they pass. When the lightning is flashing, is it safe to sit on the ground in the airplane and wait the storm out? Answer:
It's as safe to sit in the airplane-provided it is metal and not a composite material--as it is to sit in an automobile. However, the rubber tires are not the reason it's safe, as many of us were taught. Rather, it's the metal framework of the vehicle (aircraft or car) that conducts the lightning's electrical current until it jumps to the ground. While being inside the airplane is OK, standing under the wing is the worst thing to do-you yourself could provide the lightning its path from the airframe to the ground. More information on this subject is available in "The Weather Never Sleeps: Thunder and Lightning"
from AOPA Flight Training
magazine, as well as in AOPA's subject report on Thunderstorm Avoidance
The June 20, 2003, edition of "Final Exam" incorrectly stated that underwater pressure doubles with every 33 feet of depth. Pressure increases one atmosphere per 33 feet of additional depth. ePilot Flight Training Edition
regrets the error.