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Knowing the code
As you prepare for tomorrow’s cross-country flight to an airport at the center of Class C airspace, you learn that your old reliable trainer is out of action. You will have to make the trip in another trainer of the same type that is a much less familiar aircraft to you.
In some ways, that’s good for your training, as your instructor may point out when breaking the news. No two aircraft fly exactly alike and it’s educational—if not always comfortable—for you to have to deal with the differences, on short notice.
Equipment differs from one trainer to the next, too. You may find that you are switching temporarily from an aircraft with the best nav/comm package the fleet has to offer to an older aircraft with basic radios, no altitude-encoding transponder, and perhaps just a handheld microphone that you’ll drape over the yoke when it’s not in use. So when you file your VFR flight plan, be sure to use the proper equipment code in Block 3 of the flight plan form, as illustrated in the Aeronautical Information Manual.
Switching aircraft might also require switching destinations. For example, if your new equipment code is now C150/X, for a Cessna 150 with no transponder, or C172/T, for a Cessna 172 with a transponder without altitude encoding, your flight to Class C airspace has become problematic.
Why? It’s because required equipment for flight into Class C airspace includes a two-way radio and unless otherwise authorized by air traffic control, “an operable radar beacon transponder with automatic altitude reporting equipment.”
Can you overfly Class C airspace in your C150/X en route to another destination?
As the AIM explains, the requirement for having altitude reporting equipment applies “within and above all Class C airspace, up to 10,000 feet MSL.”
Sometimes it doesn’t even take a change of aircraft to require the pilot to initiate a change of equipment code. Equipment failure can require that you provide air traffic control with a new equipment code for continued service, as a pilot related when posing a question for Quiz Me! in the Dec. 31 ePilot—just another reason to know your codes and the limitations they may impose on your next flight.
YOUR PARTNER IN TRAINING
It’s checkride time! Are you ready? Be confident in the knowledge that your CFI wouldn’t sign you off unless he or she thought you were ready. But if you’d like some additional tips for this important day, see the Frequently Asked Questions on the Flight Training website.
Did you know that student pilots who join AOPA are three times more likely to complete their flight training? Membership includes unlimited access to aviation information by phone (800/USA-AOPA, weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern time) or from Flight Training Online or AOPA Online. If you're not already a member, join today and get the pilot’s edge. Login information is available online.
At last the big day has arrived! You’re preparing to take your private pilot checkride and likely studied the practical test standards. Here’s another great way to smooth the flight and reduce pre-ride jitters. Take the Air Safety Institute’s Private Pilot Checkride quiz, underwritten by the AOPA Insurance Agency, and test your checkride savvy. Good luck and enjoy! >>
The National Flight Academy in Pensacola, Fla., has received a $1.7 million grant from the Emil Buehler Perpetual Trust. The grant will enable the facility to purchase 42 flight simulators. The facility, which aims to offer a unique aviation-based curriculum for middle- and high-school students, is scheduled to open this year adjacent to the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola.
Women in Aviation, International will honor pioneers in military and civilian aviation later this year when it inducts five women into its 2011 Pioneer Hall of Fame. This year’s honorees are WAI President Peggy Chabrian, Department of Veterans Affairs Assistant Secretary for Public and Intergovernmental Affairs L. Tammy Duckworth, astronaut Maj. Gen. Susan J. Helms, and Women Airforce Service Pilots Hazel Ying Lee and Mary Ann Martin Wyall. Read more >>
Texas school mentioned in ‘sky’s the limit’ article
US Aviation, based at Denton Municipal Airport in Denton, Texas, was mentioned in an article that extolled ways to kick off 2011 by trying out an exciting new activity. The Denton Record-Chronicle described US Aviation’s discovery flight program as well as the various types of training programs it offers. Other thrill-seeking activities cited: racecar driving at Texas Motor Speedway, hip-hop and belly dancing, and juggling.
Find out what IFR GPS is all about
You’ve probably used a GPS during your flight training, but for pilots who fly under instrument flight rules (IFR) there’s a whole different world of satellite navigation out there. Thinking about getting an instrument rating someday? If so, check out the Air Safety Institute’s free GPS for IFR Operations online course. It’s a great introduction to a new way of thinking about navigation. Get started >>
Resolve to protect your certificate
We’ve all made our New Year’s resolutions, but there’s one resolution that’s both essential and easy to keep: protecting your pilot certificate. The AOPA Legal Services Plan is available to all AOPA members. At only $33 per year for most pilots, it’s a small investment that not only can save thousands of dollars in legal fees, but also help to respond most effectively to an FAA enforcement action. The plan can also advise and assist you with FAA suspensions or revocations of your airman medical certificate, aircraft accidents, customs enforcement actions, and more. Enroll today by visiting the website.
Digital editions debut with February ‘Pilot’
AOPA members will soon have the option to experience their membership magazines with videos, quizzes, animation, and other interactive features. Starting with the February issue of AOPA Pilot and the March issue of Flight Training, members will be able to switch to a digital edition or add the digital edition to their print edition at a discounted rate—or to continue receiving print copies as they always have. Read more >>
Essential Flight Technology Chartflier, tablet
Essential Flight Technology, makers of the Chartflier electronic flight bag software, is offering a January special in which you can purchase a refurbished Fugitsu convertible tablet PC bundled with a one-year subscription. Chartflier includes VFR sectional charts, IFR low and high enroute charts, procedures, airport diagrams, and an aviation/navigation database. The Fugitsu bundle is priced at $399. For more information, see the website.
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’m a little confused over when to use the terms “Mayday” and “Pan-Pan.” What is the difference between the two, and how are they used?
Answer: First, it is important to determine whether you are in distress and need immediate assistance, or your situation is urgent but you are not in need of immediate assistance. According to Chapter 6, Section 3 in the Aeronautical Information Manual, "distress" is a condition of being threatened by serious and/or imminent danger and of requiring immediate assistance. Distress communications have absolute priority over all other communications, and the word "Mayday" commands radio silence on the frequency in use. "Urgency" is a condition concerning the safety of an aircraft or other vehicle, or of person on board or in sight, but which does not require immediate assistance. Urgency communications have priority over all other communications except distress, and the term "Pan-Pan" alerts other stations not to interfere with the transmissions. For more information on handling emergencies, read the Air Safety Institute’s Emergency Procedures Safety Advisor.
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.
AOPA Career Opportunities
Ever dream of turning your passion for aviation into a career? We’re looking for a vice president of new product development and interactive marketing, business analyst, financial analyst, IT project architect, and AOPA Foundation administrative assistant. To learn more about other AOPA career opportunities, visit AOPA Online.
Pilots love to take photos, and they love to share them with other pilots. Now you can upload your flying photos to our online gallery, “Air Mail.” Share your special aviation images, or view and rate more than 7,000 photos (and growing). Photos are put into rotation on the AOPA home page!
AVIATION EVENTS & WEATHER
Want something to do this weekend? Planning an aviation getaway? See your personalized online calendar of events . We’ve enhanced our calendar so that with one click you can see all of the events listed in the regions you selected when personalizing ePilot . Now you can browse events in your region to make planning easier. You can also bookmark the personalized calendar page to check it as often as you want. Before you take off on an adventure, make sure you check our current aviation weather provided by Jeppesen.
Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics
The next Air Safety Institute Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics are scheduled in Baltimore, Md., Detroit, Mich., and Charlotte, N.C., Jan. 22 and 23; San Jose, Calif., Sevierville, Tenn., and Bellevue, Wash., Jan. 29 and 30; Sacramento, Calif., Louisville, Ky., New Orleans, La., and Fairfax, Va., Feb. 12 and 13; Melbourne, Fla., Nashua, N.H., and Las Vegas, Nev., Feb. 19 and 20. For a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.
Can’t make it in person? Sign up for the CFI Refresher Online.
Air Safety Institute Safety Seminars
Air Safety Institute Safety Seminars are scheduled in San Diego, Calif., and Fort Worth, Texas, Jan. 24; Costa Mesa, Calif., and Houston, Texas, Jan. 25; Ontario, Calif., and San Antonio, Texas, Jan. 26; Austin, Texas, Jan. 27; Little Rock, Ark., Jan. 31; Springfield, Mo., Feb. 1; Bethany, Okla., Feb. 2; Wichita, Kan., Feb. 3; Frederick, Md., Feb. 5; Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Feb 7. Topics vary—for details and a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.
Got news? Contact ePilot. Having difficulty using this service? Visit the ePilot Frequently Asked Questions now at AOPA Online or write to [email protected].
Editorial Team: ePilot Flight Training Editor : Jill W. Tallman | ePilot Editor: Sarah Brown | Contributor: Alton K. Marsh