The following stories from the July 27, 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
KNOW THE FREQUENCY
Radio frequencies assigned for aviation communications have distinct purposes. Using them otherwise can inconvenience fellow pilots and disrupt flight operations. Some frequencies get more respect than others. For instance, every pilot learns the emergency frequency 121.5 MHz. Frequencies assigned to air traffic control facilities such as control towers and approach/departure controls are found on aeronautical charts and in AOPA's Airport Directory and the Airport/Facility Directory.
Any pilot who has attempted to request an airport advisory on a nontowered airport's common traffic advisory frequency (CTAF), only to be blocked by other aviators having a leisurely chat on the channel, understands the problem of frequency misuse. A gentle reminder to switch to an air-to-air frequency is in order if the abuse is causing operational problems. Don't allow the disruption to distract you from pilot duties.
What frequency should those pilots have used? Frequencies designated for air-to-air communication are 122.75 MHz and 122.85 MHz (see the June 16, 2006, issue of ePilot Flight Training Edition). Tables giving air-to-air frequencies (also used at private airports not open to the public) and unicom/multicom frequencies are found in Chapter 4 of the Aeronautical Information Manual. Note that the air-to-air frequency assigned for general aviation helicopters, 123.025 MHz, is different from those used by fixed-wing aircraft.
This raises a point from the real world of flying: Do you know how to operate your aircraft radio on all available frequencies? "We changed our CTAF at the Nevada County Air Park from 123.0 MHz to 122.725 MHz nearly three years ago, and as we still monitor the old frequency, we still have to advise aircraft of the 'new' frequency-at least three or four times per month. Also interesting is how many times we have to repeat back (for some pilots) the frequency. Many times they repeat back '122.7' or '122.75,' and a few don't even know how to select the 25-kHz spacing on their radios," wrote Sherm Hanley of Nevada City, California, in a letter published in the April 2005 AOPA Flight Training's Flight Forum.
The AOPA Air Safety Foundation's Safety Advisor, Operations at Nontowered Airports , offers more communications tips. Correct communications are not just efficient, but contribute greatly to safety.
My ePilot - Training Product
PACK UP YOUR GEAR IN BANYON AVIATION'S STUDENT PILOT BAG
Flight bags come in all shapes and sizes, but when you're just starting to learn to fly, sometimes basic is best. The Student Pilot Bag from Banyan Aviation's Hangar 63 online store features seven exterior pockets, three small exterior pockets for pens or small flashlights, an interior key clip, a removable shoulder strap, and a double zipper opening. It sells for $33.20 and comes in black. Order the bag online.
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 understand it's my primary responsibility as the acting pilot in command to ensure the aircraft is airworthy before every flight, but I am not fully up to speed on airworthiness directives (ADs). Does AOPA have any information to help me better understand ADs?
Answer: ADs are officially discussed within Part 39 of the Federal Aviation Regulations and apply to four different aircraft categories: airframe, engines, propellers, and appliances. A primary safety function of the agency is to require correction of unsafe conditions found in an aircraft. The unsafe condition may exist because of a design defect, maintenance, or other causes. Airworthiness directives specify inspections you must carry out, conditions and limitations you must comply with, and any actions you must take to resolve an unsafe condition. ADs are divided into two primary categories: those of an emergency nature requiring immediate compliance prior to further flight, and those of a less urgent nature requiring compliance with a specified period of time. Certain ADs will be issued with a requirement for repetitive inspections that must be completed within a specified time. Ultimately, it is the aircraft owner's or operator's responsibility to ensure compliance with all pertinent ADs in order to determine airworthiness before flight.