The following stories from the October 15, 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 - Student Interest, Training Tips VA = VOLCANIC ASH
The October 8, 2004
, "Training Tips" discussed how acts of nature such as the hurricanes that hit the Southeast in 2004 can affect airport operations far from the scene of the action. Now the Northwest weighs in with another example. Recent eruptive activity from Mount St. Helens reminds pilots, even those far from the State of Washington, to scrutinize weather reports, pilot reports, and notices to airmen for unusual conditions-and to understand the hazards they imply. As AOPA warned on its Web site
, pilots in the Northwest should be wary of volcanic ash clouds, which not only can reduce visibility, but contain abrasive particles that could damage engines. "The best advice for pilots is to try to stay upwind of ash clouds and never try to fly through them. If you enter an ash cloud inadvertently, reverse course," said Kelvin Ampofo, manager of AOPA Aviation Services. "Don't try to fly through it or climb out of it. Volcanic ash clouds can be tens of thousands of feet high and extend hundreds or even thousands of miles from the volcano."
METARs (aviation routine meteorological reports) include obscurations caused by volcanic ash. The symbol to look for is "VA." (To review how to read METARs, see "Encoding METARs."
) Volcanic eruptions will also generate a sigmet (significant meteorological information) when you receive a preflight weather briefing. Take any sigmet-related weather conditions seriously! "To warrant a sigmet, the weather must include severe icing; severe, extreme, or clear-air turbulence; volcanic eruptions; volcanic ash; sand storms; or dust storms. The latter weather might seem localized and easily avoided, but ash and dust can quickly fill vast areas," wrote Joel Hamm in the February 1998 Flight Training
feature "Weather Warning Signs."
While en route in a vulnerable area, monitor weather broadcasts. Pilot reports containing information about volcanic activity are disseminated as urgent pireps, notes Jack Williams in his January 2003 AOPA Flight Training
column "The Weather Never Sleeps: Pirep Plea."
And here's an important tip from the Aeronautical Information Manual's
section on "Flight Operations in Volcanic Ash":
Volcanic ash clouds are not displayed on airborne or air traffic control's radar.
You may never have expected to see certain symbols appear in an aviation weather observation, but hurricanes and volcanoes can change things in a hurry. Stay informed, be ready! My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Products 'INSTRUMENT FLYING' MANUAL PUBLISHED BY ASA
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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. My ePilot - Student Interest, Final Exam Question:
After landing at an airport with a control tower, what should I do if I haven't received instruction from the tower upon rollout? Answer:
The answer is found in the Aeronautical Information Manual
(AIM) within Chapter 4, "Air Traffic Control," Paragraph 4-3-20, "Exiting the Runway After Landing."
In the absence of ATC instructions, the pilot is expected to taxi clear of the landing runway by clearing the hold position marking associated with the landing runway even if that requires the aircraft to protrude into or cross another taxiway or ramp area. This does not authorize an aircraft to cross a subsequent taxiway/runway/ramp after clearing the landing runway. Stop the aircraft after clearing the runway if instructions have not been received from ATC. Immediately change to the ground control frequency when advised by the tower and obtain a taxi clearance. Correction:
The October 8, 2004, "Final Exam" contained erroneous material. Runway numbers correspond to a magnetic north reference. Local wind information given over the radio or telephone from ASOSs and AWOSs also is given in magnetic form. A corrected answer has been posted on AOPA Online
. AOPA ePilot Flight Training Edition
regrets the errors.