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There sure are a lot of reminders in the cockpit of a general aviation trainer—and you’ll find even more of them on the fuselage or out on the wing.
A placard might be in place near the fuel selector valve to show you how to select the desired fuel tank, and remind you how much gas the aircraft holds. Another placard near the fuel tank filler cap is there to remind you of the proper grade of fuel to use.
A placard on the instrument panel might be in place to provide a short checklist of steps to follow in the event, say, of a spin recovery. In some Cessna 172s, you may see a placard stating limitations on performing a slip with flaps extended.
A placard near the airspeed indicator may tell you the aircraft’s maneuvering speed; you may see others that state the oil quantity, or the need to remove a control lock before starting the engine.
Can you name a placard that may only appear temporarily in the aircraft?
FAR 91.213 states that in some cases, inoperative equipment may be placarded, allowing the aircraft to be flown. That sounds straightforward, but depending on what is broken, it can get complicated, as Kathy Yodice detailed in the March 2004 Flight Training magazine’s Legal Briefing column. She also reminds pilots that “at the next required inspection of the aircraft, the inoperative instrument or piece of equipment must be repaired, replaced, removed, or inspected. At that time, if the item is to remain inoperative, only a mechanic may authorize the continued required placarding and must make the appropriate maintenance entry. The pilot's responsibility is to ensure that the mechanic does this before further flights in the airplane are made.”
Does your aircraft operate under an approved minimum equipment list? If so, the rule contains different provisions that you should be able to explain.
Rod Machado had this advice for a pilot facing the dilemma of a nonfunctioning landing light. (He also volunteered some thoughts on the logistical challenges of manufacturing a makeshift placard in the field.)
Placards are also one of the sources of the operating limitations a pilot must know about his or her aircraft, so make sure that they are all in place (and legible) when you fly.
YOUR PARTNER IN TRAINING
Got a knowledge test on the horizon? Find test guides for your certificate or rating at AOPA Online. CATS is the official testing center of AOPA. Visit AOPA Online to view a list of testing center locations and print a coupon for a members-only $10 discount.
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.
Liam Morrissey of Easton, Pa., is the 2011 recipient of a flight training scholarship sponsored by the Courtney Anne Diacont Memorial Foundation. Morrissey has soloed both powered and soaring aircraft and is a member of the Civil Air Patrol, Pennsylvania Wing Composite, Squadron 807. He will attend Marywood University as an aviation management major in the fall. The scholarship is in memory of Diacont, who had been working toward a private pilot certificate but whose life was cut short at the age of 18 from colorectal cancer.
Before the advances in avionics, pilots used landmarks as their primary source of navigation. But as radio beacons and moving maps became more prevalent, matching up landmarks on the ground to symbols on the sectional chart became a less-practiced skill. Take yourself back a few decades and dust off your map-reading skills with the VFR Sectional Review safety quiz from the Air Safety Institute, sponsored by the AOPA Insurance Agency. Take the quiz >>
A team from Jacksonville University won the 2011 Air Race Classic women’s long-distance competition in June. Flying a Cirrus SR20, Leah Hetzel and Sarah Morris took top honors in the day-VFR event, which was shortened by thunderstorms and IFR conditions over part of the route. Read more >>
How do I request VFR on top?
A VFR-on-top clearance gives instrument-rated pilots the ability to choose from a block of VFR altitudes while on an IFR clearance. But how do you get one? Like most things with air traffic controllers, just ask. Listen to Ask ATC as a controller explains how to request a VFR-on-top clearance, and what it means to you once you receive it. And be sure to tune into AOPA Live® during AirVenture at 11 a.m. Central Daylight Time Friday, July 29, and Saturday, July 30, as the Air Safety Institute interviews controllers from the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) to get other tips about interacting with ATC.
Add ‘shopping’ to your AirVenture list
Oshkosh-bound? Put a visit to AOPA’s tent on your must-do list. Check out the AOPA merchandise available at AOPA’s tent, located west of Hangar C on the grounds of EAA AirVenture. You’ll find shirts, jackets, airshow hats, and more. Read more >>
Apply now for AOPA World MasterCard
Any way you look at it, the AOPA World MasterCard is a great card to use. Start with the fact that your use of the card helps to fund AOPA’s ongoing efforts to protect your freedom to fly. There’s no annual fee, and it comes with a low introductory annual percentage rate. But the card is probably best known for the points you earn when you use it. Read more >>
Hold Here app
Professional pilot and aviation blogger Pat Flannigan has created Hold Here, an app designed to help pilots figure out which type of holding pattern over a given fix would be recommended by the Federal Aviation Regulations/Aeronautical Information Manual. The app also calculates how long an aircraft can hold at a fix before it reaches the point at which it must fly to the destination and then to the alternate without burning its 45-minute fuel reserve. The app sells for $1.99 and may be ordered from iTunes.
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: Is an ELT (emergency locator transmitter) required on all aircraft?
Answer: In most circumstances, yes, an ELT is required. There are numerous exceptions, however. The regulation addressing the question can be found in FAR 91.207. It states that no one may operate a U.S.-registered civil airplane unless an approved ELT that is in operable condition is attached, with some exceptions. Some of the exceptions can be found in paragraphs (e) and (f). Many pilots would be surprised to know that an ELT is not required on aircraft engaged in flight training as long as the operations remain within a 50-nautical-mile radius of the home airport. An aircraft also can be flown for up to 90 days without an ELT that has been temporarily removed for “inspection, repair, modification, or replacement.” In that case a placard showing that no ELT is installed must be placed in view of the pilot. A note also must be made in the aircraft logs addressing the removal. Check out AOPA’s subject report for more on ELTs.
Got a question for our technical services staff? Email [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.
What’s New Online
How a flight instructor charges for his or her time is one of the more interesting aspects of flight instruction. Ian Twombly discusses what he thinks is fair and what's not so fair in this week’s Flight Training blog.
AOPA Career Opportunities
Ever dream of turning your passion for aviation into a career? We’re looking for an application support engineer, Dot Net developer, and electronic advertising manager. 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 8,500 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 Newark, N.J., and Pittsburgh, Pa., July 23 and 24; Atlanta, Ga., and Fort Worth, Texas, Aug. 6 and 7; Long Beach, Calif., and Allentown, Pa., Aug. 13 and 14; and Champaign, Ill., and Reno, Nev., Aug. 20 and 21. 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 Oshkosh, Wis., July 27 and 28; Wichita, Kan., Germantown, Tenn., and Houston, Texas, Sept. 12; Bethany, Okla., Nasvhille, Tenn., and San Antonio, Texas, Sept. 13; and Fayetteville, Ark., Maryville, Tenn., and Austin, Texas, Sept. 14.
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