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AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content --Vol. 5, Issue 47AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content --Vol. 5, Issue 47

The following stories from the November 21, 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 - Piston Single-engine Interest
Prior to any flight with more than one pilot on board, it is imperative to determine who is pilot in command, and how (or why) that designation will change in an emergency. On November 14, 2002, a private pilot candidate and a designated pilot examiner (DPE) flying a single-engine Piper learned this lesson the hard way after a failed recovery from a simulated engine-out approach to a field. Although the aircraft was damaged substantially, no one was injured in this accident. Click here to read about what went wrong in the report prepared by the AOPA Air Safety Foundation, exclusively for ePilot readers.

My ePilot - Jet Interest
Honeywell's Primus Epic integrated avionics system has received FAA certification in the Dassault Falcon's 900EX EASy business jet. Instead of pushing buttons and turning knobs, pilots will use large electronic displays and cursor control devices. The 10-by-13-inch displays provide moving maps and weather, traffic, and aircraft operational information. The airplane joins Falcon's fleet of tri-jets.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Tips
Sometimes while receiving VFR traffic advisories from air traffic control (discussed in the May 3, 2002 edition of this newsletter's Training Tips, which you can review online) you will be instructed by the controller to "ident"-that is, to press the IDENT button on your transponder. The request might come at initial contact, once you have been assigned a transponder code, or later in your flight.

Why does the controller want you to press IDENT? "This causes the radar return from your aircraft to brighten on the controller's screen, making it easier for him or her to identify you in a crowd. You should never engage the IDENT button unless you have been asked to do so by air traffic control," explains Elizabeth A. Tennyson in the April 2000 "Flying Smart" column in AOPA Flight Training. For an air traffic control perspective, see Joel Stoller's feature article "Great Expectations: What ATC Expects You to Know Before You Go" in the June 2003 AOPA Flight Training.

If the transmission capability of your com radio fails, the IDENT button may help you to continue communicating with ATC. "The ident feature can re-establish communication if you lose the ability to transmit but can still hear the controller's voice. When you realize your transmissions are not heard, enter (transponder) code 7600. The controller will reply with 'November Four-Four-Six-Seven-Golf, if you hear this transmission, ident.' You respond by pushing the IDENT button," writes Ian Blair Fries in "Return to Sender," from the April 2003 AOPA Flight Training.

Transponders can also fail. Since they are required equipment in many classes of airspace, what is a pilot to do? Columnist Mark Twombly's experience with that problem is related in the February 2002 column "Continuing Ed: Transponder Inop" in AOPA Flight Training.

Your flight-test examiner (and controllers) will expect you to operate this system correctly. "Never push the IDENT button unless requested! Some pilots have been taught to press ident after setting their initially assigned code, but this is not the correct procedure," warns Fries. Indeed, Aeronautical Information Manual Section 4-1-19 on transponder operation instructs pilots: "Activate the 'ident' feature only upon request of the ATC controller."

Study the information cited above. Then, next time you push the IDENT button, both you and the controller will have a clearer picture of what is going on.

My ePilot - Training Products
The Visualized Flight Maneuvers Handbook for High Wing Aircraft has been updated to reflect the latest changes to the FAA's private pilot, commercial pilot, and CFI practical test standards. It includes new maneuvers-the steep spiral and 180-degree power-off accuracy approach and landing-recently added to the commercial pilot and CFI practical test standards. The 62-page handbook is 5 by 8 inches and wire-bound for easy access; it's available from Aviation Supplies and Academics for $19.95. Versions of the handbook also are available for low-wing aircraft, and for the Diamond Katana. For more information, visit ASA's Web site or call 800/426-8338.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Final Exam
Question: My flight instructor and I were discussing how to properly inform ATC how much fuel remains on board an aircraft. Should you include all usable fuel or should reserve fuel not be included, and does ATC want to know the fuel amount, or the flying time left?

Answer: The Pilot/Controller Glossary in the Aeronautical Information Manual provides the answers in its definition of "fuel remaining," which follows: "A phrase used by either pilots or controllers when relating to the fuel remaining on board until actual fuel exhaustion. When transmitting such information in response to either a controller question or pilot-initiated cautionary advisory to air traffic control, pilots will state the APPROXIMATE NUMBER OF MINUTES the flight can continue with the fuel remaining. All reserve fuel SHOULD BE INCLUDED in the time stated, as should an allowance for established fuel gauge system error."

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