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AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content --Vol. 5, Issue 48AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content --Vol. 5, Issue 48

The following stories from the November 28, 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 - Instrument Interest
If you're planning to fly IFR, be advised that the FAA has issued change notices, updating approach charts midway though the 56-day charting cycle. The notices are available on the FAA's Web site, while approach charts can be downloaded from AOPA's Airport Directory Online .

My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Tips
As winter weather becomes a consideration for many of us, what are the surface conditions at your airport? Is SLR or WSR creating a BRAN situation on your runway? Is BRAG the order of the day, with just some IR and SNBNKS? If BRAF is on the runway, why is BRAP the condition on the ramp? What do these contractions mean?

These terms are found in the Aeronautical Information Manual's list of contractions used in notices to airmen (notams). Don't let them escape your attention during a preflight briefing! If SLR (slush on the runway) or WSR (wet snow on runway) has left it with BRAN (braking reported as nil), reconsider your plans. Even BRAG (braking reported as good) suggests caution because it could shortly change to BRAP (poor braking). Watch out for SNBNKS (snowbanks) raised along runway edges by airport plows.

"Braking action is described in four ways-good, fair, poor, or nil. When tower controllers have received runway braking action reports from pilots that include the terms poor or nil, they will issue a braking action advisory and the ATIS broadcast will include the words, 'Braking action advisories are in effect,'" explains Elizabeth A. Tennyson in AOPA Flight Training's December 2000 "Flying Smart" column. The AIM adds some advice for pilots reporting conditions: "When pilots report the quality of braking action by using the terms noted above, they should use descriptive terms that are easily understood, such as, 'braking action poor the first/last half of the runway,' together with the particular type of aircraft." Sometimes you will hear that the braking action was "reported by an airport vehicle." This means that a ground vehicle was sent out to test braking.

If you do not have the information you need, ask! Just adhere to the same standards of communication-brevity and clarity-that you would use in other transmissions as discussed in the November 2002 AOPA Flight Training feature "Talk Show".

Knowing surface conditions is half the battle. How you use your brakes is the other half, and it is a measure of proper taxi technique-the subject of this newsletter's December 7, 2001, Training Tips article. To sharpen your skills and avoid slippery situations, read Mark Twombly's October 2000 "Continuing Ed" column and the November 2003 AOPA Flight Training feature "Power Walking."

My ePilot - Training Products
Weight and balance calculations are an integral part of every flight. If you fly different aircraft or carry passengers-and their baggage-your calculations can vary significantly. But you need correct weights to prepare those calculations, and passengers can be notorious for shaving a few pounds from the actual figure when you ask for it. Sporty's has a lightweight digital scale that can measure up to 300 pounds. Priced at $39.95, the Passenger Scale runs on four AAA batteries and weighs less than two pounds-take it to the airport or even on your trip. For more information, see the Web site or call 800/SPORTYS.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Final Exam
Question: I've logged about 50 hours toward the private pilot certificate, and my logbook is getting full. Do I just tally up the column totals from the old logbook and transfer them to the new one? Do I need to have my instructors rewrite my training endorsements in the new logbook? Will I need to carry both of the logbooks with me when flying?

Answer: The usual way to handle this situation is to carry your totals over to the next logbook and mark it as Volume 2. The endorsements from the first logbook are still valid until their expiration date, so they shouldn't be recopied into the new logbook. According to FAR Part 61.51(i)(2), as a student pilot you are required to carry your logbooks with you on solo cross-country flights until you are certificated as a private pilot. At that point, you no longer need to carry them with you. It's a good idea to periodically make copies of each page of your logbook and keep them in a safe place for back-up purposes in case your logbooks are lost. For more information on logbooks, see AOPA Online.

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