The following stories from the September 21, 2007, edition of AOPA ePilot were provided to AOPA members who expressed an interest in the particular subject areas. Any AOPA member can receive information tailored to their areas of interest by updating their preferences online.
My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Tips
A student pilot longs for the day when he or she can fly with passengers on board. Training flights are a good time to practice a passenger-briefing technique that conveys required safety information and inspires confidence in you as a pilot. Having the pattern down pat will earn you brownie points on your private pilot or sport pilot checkride. The designated examiner will expect you to treat him or her like any nonpilot passenger as you prepare for flight.
Don't treat the briefing as a housekeeping detail. Go beyond the basics. "FAA regulations require two specific tasks each time you take off with a passenger. The first is to brief your passengers on how the seat belts work. The second is to notify the passengers that seat belts must actually be fastened. That's in FAR 91.107(a)(1) and FAR 91.107(a)(2). Without doing these things you can't take off, land, or even move an aircraft on the surface," wrote Alton K. Marsh in the March 2007 AOPA Pilot "Answers for Pilots" column. He also reviews the FAA's recommended passenger briefing checklist.
Familiarizing passengers with aircraft features enhances safety, so verify that they really know how things work. "If the door has more than one handle, explain the differences and show all passengers-even those who will be in the rear seat-how to use them. Have each passenger close, lock, and then open the door," Charles Wright suggested in the September 2004 AOPA Flight Training feature "Straight talk."
Technically, pilots are required to "ensure" that required briefings are given. In practice, pilots deliver briefings, which John Yodice considers from the legal perspective in "Pilot Counsel" in the October 2004 AOPA Pilot. He offers a reminder: "Pilots tend to become casual about the briefing because we often carry people who are familiar with the operation of seat belts and shoulder harnesses. But we shouldn't be too casual. There are accidents on record where a person in a panicky situation had difficulty releasing the seat belt. Be especially careful with first-time and inexperienced passengers."Words of wisdom: Delivering a good passenger briefing is an important skill for a pilot.
My ePilot - Training Product
'PILOT'S GUIDE TO AVIONICS'
The Aircraft Electronics Association has released its 2007-2008 Pilot's Guide to Avionics. The directory features listings of member avionics repair stations and manufacturers, along with a number of articles authored by avionics experts across the industry to help you select the best equipment for your aircraft. Don't own an airplane? We'll give you two good reasons to get a copy anyway: an avionics troubleshooting guide that you can cut out and keep with your kneeboard, and a glossary of avionics terms (Z-marker, anyone?). Pick up a free copy at AOPA Expo in Hartford, Conn., or contact the association.
Note: 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: I was recently planning a flight to a nearby airport and noticed the Airport/Facility Directory listed the airport as having a PVASI. Can you tell me what a PVASI is?
Answer: PVASIs are relatively rare; just a few dozen operate in the United States. The PVASI is a pulsating visual approach slope indicator comprised of a single unit that projects two colors-steady white when on glidepath and steady red when below glidepath. If the aircraft continues to descend below the glidepath, the red light starts to pulsate. If the aircraft climbs above the glidepath, the white light will pulsate. The pulsating rate increases as the aircraft gets farther above or below the desired glideslope. The range of the system is about four miles during the day and up to 10 miles at night. More information on types of VASIs and PAPIs is available in "Downhill from here" from the April 2004 AOPA Flight Training, and in the Aeronautical Information Manual, Chapter 2-1-2 (d).