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The following stories from the July 16, 2010, 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.

training tips

Inoperable instruments

Sooner or later, it’s bound to happen during the runup or aloft on a training flight: Some piece of equipment will fail, leaving you wondering whether to continue the flight. And if this never happens to you for real, count on the question being asked on the practical test: What must you do if a particular gauge or instrument is found to be “inoperable”?


Start by researching the question in regulatory language that addresses instrument and equipment requirements for day VFR flight. But that’s not the only source of guidance. An aircraft’s type certificate data sheet may list required equipment, as will the manual or pilot’s operating handbook. And some aircraft may be operated under a minimum equipment list, as explained in another rule. This regulation states whether defective equipment must be removed before flight, or whether it may simply be deactivated and marked with an “inoperative” placard.


What if a piece of required equipment quits in flight? That situation was addressed in John Yodice’s “Pilot Counsel” column from the AOPA Pilot magazine archives.


Clearly there’s a lot to know about equipment that doesn’t work—and it may not be possible to remember it all on the spot. As always, erring on the side of safety is the best approach. A student pilot and instructor opted to do just that, and their experience became the subject of the July 17, 2009, AOPA ePilot Flight Training Edition “Final Exam” question.


Something could even quit on a checkride, as a pilot who faced a defective equipment dilemma with an examiner aboard recounted. “My mind went blank. This wasn't supposed to happen; mechanical failures don't happen on checkrides, they happen in briefing rooms with my instructor. But there I was, faced with a real mechanical failure and two possibilities: Either we're legal to fly or we aren't. I remembered that this aircraft operated with a minimum equipment list (MEL). I told the examiner that I would need to check the MEL before I could give a definite answer to his question. With his approving nod, I shut the aircraft down and proceeded to verify if we could continue the flight,” wrote David Wright in the March 2003 Flight Training “CFI to CFI” column titled “Can we go?.”


Did they fly? Check out the column to see how it went from there!

training products

Hero digital video camera

Video training can be a great way to retain information, and the GoPro HD HERO Digital Camera from Marv Golden is a great way to do it. Simply mount the camera and capture the flight for review purposes later. The GoPro runs $299.99.

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. 

final exam

Question: Can I fly while I am pregnant?


Answer: The short answer is yes—there is no FAA restriction. Of course, you should always talk with your doctor about it and consider his or her advice. Also, an aviation medical examiner (AME ) should have no problem issuing you a medical certificate as long as there are no complications with the pregnancy. There have been very few studies done on the risks of flying to the fetus—but those that have been completed found that flying while pregnant has no higher risk of miscarriage than staying on the ground. One of the greatest challenges you might encounter while flying during pregnancy is staying comfortable. For more on piloting while pregnant, see the Flight Training article, “Flying for two.”


Got a question for our technical services staff? E-mail [email protected] or call the Pilot Information Center, 800/872-2672. Don’t forget the online archive of “Final Exam” questions and answers, searchable by keyword or topic.

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