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AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content --Vol. 6, Issue 29AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content --Vol. 6, Issue 29

The following stories from the July 16, 2004, 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
Instrument approach charts effective July 8 through August 5 are now available from AOPA's Airport Directory Online . The full chart set of more than 13,000 current procedures, including instrument approach procedures (IAPs), departure procedures (DPs), standard terminal arrivals (STARs), taxiway diagrams, and textual procedures (takeoff, radar, and alternate minima) is now available every 28 days. Charts that have changed since the previous 28-day period include an indication next to the chart's download link. AOPA members may store links to all the procedures for favorite airports in a personal "My Procedures" area on AOPA Online.

My ePilot - Professional Pilot Interest
The airlines hired 806 pilots in June, with monthly hiring totals slowing down as the total number dropped from 851 in April, according to figures compiled by Air, Inc. National carriers took on the most new hires with 359 pilots, followed by jet operators with 181 and non-jet operators with 114. Still, there's optimism in the hiring forecast, according to Air, Inc. The employers who responded to its survey had projected taking on a total of 4,300 pilots for all of 2004. As of June, the airlines topped that figure at 4,876-133 more than were hired in 2003. For more information, see the Web site.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Tips
Who is in charge when you interact with air traffic control (ATC) while flying? You are, when it comes to safely conducting your flight. ATC is, when it comes to maintaining separation from other aircraft and issuing clearances. New pilots learn these basics of communication with ATC: Don't interrupt a preceding transmission, speak briefly, use standard phraseology. But there's more to it than proper broadcasting technique. Pilots and air traffic controllers should understand their roles and responsibilities, found in Chapter 5, Section 5 of the Aeronautical Information Manual. Review the list of pilot and controller responsibilities in such common procedures and phases of flight as safety alerts, radar vectors, and traffic advisories.

"The PIC [pilot in command] is always the final authority on safely conducting the flight, but it is our responsibility to separate the traffic," said Ron Heilmann, chief of the Timmerman Field (Milwaukee) control tower in an interview in the June 2003 AOPA Flight Training article "Great Expectations." Can those goals conflict? Yes-and not all new pilots are comfortable turning down an authoritative-sounding instruction from ATC. However, "Keep in mind that although the controller is managing the traffic flow, it is you, the pilot, who is controlling your own destiny. If a controller asks you to do something that you believe is unsafe or beyond your capabilities as a pilot, don't do it," advises Budd Davisson in the November 2002 AOPA Flight Training feature "Talk Show." One simple way is to say, "Unable," followed by a brief explanation, such as saying that an assigned heading might bring your flight near clouds. It also helps to inform ATC that you are a student pilot. See the October 10, 2003, "Training Tips."

Such times are when clarity and precise language truly count. For instance, the common word "roger" acknowledges receipt and understanding of a message, but is unclear as a response to a question requiring a yes or no answer. Review the Pilot/Controller Glossary . Terms that appear frequently in pilot/controller communications are shown in bold italics. Then go to the New Pilot's Guide to ATC Communications on AOPA Flight Training's new Web site to develop your fluency in this all-important aeronautical language.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Products
If you are getting ready to start your instrument training, or if you have your rating and would like a refresher, Sporty's wants you to take a look at its Instrument Rating Course-for free. Volume 1, Instrument Flying Fundamentals, features an IFR flight and includes the basics of instrument flying. If you are looking to increase your aviation knowledge bank, try Air Facts Sampler, another freebie that focuses on topics from each of Sporty's 27 "Air Facts" titles ranging from takeoffs and landings to GPS. Also available is Your First Few Hours for those who are thinking about learning to fly or are early in the flight training process. If you do not order anything but the free DVDs, you will need to pay $3.95 for shipping. Order online or call 800/SPORTYS.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Final Exam
Question: I saw an unusual airport symbol on a VFR chart the other day. It looked like an unfilled circle within a circle. It's different from the single unfilled circle that depicts airports with other than hard-surfaced runways. Can you tell me what it means?

Answer: Actually, the symbol does mean "other than hard-surfaced runways." The difference is that this symbol is used for a military airport whose runways are not hard-surfaced. Take a look at the National Aeronautical Charting Office's VFR Chart User's Guide , which you can download from AOPA Online.

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