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Custom content for the April 15, 2011, issue of 'AOPA ePilot' newsletterCustom content for the April 15, 2011, issue of 'AOPA ePilot' newsletter

The following stories from the April 15, 2011, 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

An updated ‘ARROW’

Mnemonics—those memory-prompting devices that help us learn rules or concepts—are a staple of aviation training on the ground and in the cockpit. The acronyms ARROW and GUMPS greet pilots early in training. An old rhyme reminds pilots to check the altimeter setting often because “when flying from a high to a low, look out below.”

If you have taken some time off from flight training, or are working on your pilot certificate at a leisurely pace, you may be surprised to discover that some of the old standard knowledge requirements represented in such fashion occasionally change.

For example, it’s not your grandfather’s ARROW anymore. Both of the R elements have changed over time—the most recent modification affecting aircraft registration.

“The FAA has released its final rule requiring the re-registration of all civil aircraft over the next three years and renewal every three years thereafter. The final rule became effective Oct. 1, 2010,” explains this update from AOPA’s Pilot Information Center. “In order to transition from the current non-expiring aircraft registration to one with a three-year expiration date printed on the certificate, the FAA is requiring all aircraft registered before Oct. 1 to be re-registered. The FAA registration fee is $5.”

All U.S. civil aircraft will be re-registered by Dec. 31, 2013. “The FAA will cancel the N-numbers of aircraft that are not re-registered or renewed,” the update explains.

A previous modification of ARROW from 1996 changed the rule about whether you must carry a radio operator’s license in flight (only required now outside the United States).

Sometimes the item represented by the O in ARROW, for operating limitations, is also misunderstood. (A hint: There’s more to it than your pilot’s operating handbook.) That mnemonic element was discussed in detail in this September 2010 Flight Training article.

For the record, the full recitation of ARROW is traditionally rendered as “airworthiness certificate, registration, radio license, operating limitations, and weight and balance.” GUMPS is an oral pre-landing check of “gas, undercarriage, mixture, propeller, and seatbelts.” There are others that you also may have learned.

Keep your training moving forward, and keep a careful check on changes that you’ll need to know about when answering questions on a knowledge test or during your checkride.

training products

DuraCharts tear-resistant sectionals

The longer you use a paper sectional chart, the dingier it gets and the more likely you are to accidentally tear it while you’re using it. A new product, DuraCharts, seeks to help you get around that problem. DuraCharts are printed on a whiter, sturdier stock that is easier to read and tear resistant. The charts sell for $8 apiece plus shipping. See the website for more information or to order.


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: During a recent cross-country trip, I noticed that the oil pressure was low for most of the flight even though the oil temperature remained normal. There were no other abnormal indications. What could have been the reason for the low oil pressure reading?


Answer: The low oil pressure reading could have been the result of any number of problems. Most likely though, it was caused by an insufficient amount of oil. Since the oil temperature also remained in the normal range, a clogged oil pressure relief valve or a malfunctioning oil pressure gauge might have been the culprit. It is certainly advisable if this occurs in flight to land as soon as practical to accurately determine the cause. For more on how to handle in-flight problems, read the Air Safety Institute Safety Advisor, Emergency Procedures , and take the online course, Do the Right Thing: Decision Making for Pilots .


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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