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The following stories from the May 28, 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.



Aeronautical knowledge—and solo

The May 21 “ Training Tip: Interactive test practice” described the different forms of knowledge testing that a student pilot encounters on the way to earning a pilot certificate. Some test hurdles stand as mandatory steps before a new stage of training can commence. For example, students working on the recreational or private pilot certificate in a powered aircraft must pass a medical exam before soloing. Other hurdles, such as the FAA knowledge test for the pilot certificate you seek, simply must be passed before you can apply to take your practical test.


Then there’s the specially designed knowledge test composed and administered by your flight instructor that is prerequisite for your first solo. This test is made up just for you—tailored to the aircraft you’ll solo and the flight environment for your solos.


Why doesn’t every pre-solo student pilot take the same test at this stage? “Before soloing, a student must demonstrate that they understand the regulatory and operational information that is pertinent to the solo phase of their flight training. This test helps assure this by addressing information appropriate to the solo flight, including regulations, local airspace, procedures, and aircraft operations and limitations,” explains the Pre-Solo FAQ page on the Flight Training website. The flexibility granted to your CFI to design the appropriate test is written into the aeronautical knowledge requirements of FAR 61.87. Note that the regulation also ensures that your knowledge of general pilot certification and flight regulations must be tested. An important additional mandate is that your instructor review any incorrect answers with you before he or she authorizes you to solo. (See the AOPA Air Safety Foundation’s publication Instructor’s Guide to the Pre-Solo Written Test .)


And here’s a detail not to be overlooked. Since the pre-solo test includes questions on “flight characteristics and operational limitations for the make and model of aircraft to be flown,” any switch to a different make and model means taking another test for that aircraft. Switching aircraft partway through training isn’t ideal, but it can happen. In the long run, you’ll be grateful for the variety and added experience. For now, just make sure that the change doesn’t cause you to overlook procedural details that keep you in compliance with the regulations!


Sporty’s E6B app

Sporty’s Pilot Shop’s electronic E6B has gone 21st century with a new iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch application. The application features 23 aviation functions, 14 conversions, and a timer. The app is only $4.99, and is available from the iTunes store.


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. 


Question: I was looking at various sectional charts recently and I noticed that sometimes there is a letter “H” or “T” inside a blue circle in the upper right-hand corner of a VOR identifier box. What do they mean?


Answer: The "H" stands for hazardous in-flight weather advisory service (HIWAS). A "T" stands for transcribed weather broadcast (TWEB). HIWAS is a continuous broadcast of in-flight weather advisories that is transmitted over selected VORs. They cover a relatively broad geographic area and inform pilots of any hazardous weather such as icing, thunderstorms, or strong winds. They also include airmets, sigmets, convective sigmets, and urgent pilot reports. TWEB (Alaska only) is a continuous broadcast of weather and aeronautical information, generally covering an area approximately 25 miles on either side of a specified route, such as a Victor airway. These prerecorded broadcasts include in-flight advisories, winds aloft, weather reports, and notams. For more information on TWEB or HIWAS, take a look at the Flight Training article " Weather on the fly" or sections 7-1-8 to 7-1-9 of the Aeronautical Information Manual .

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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