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Pilot Briefing: Chart challenge

Check your radiation shields

Aeronautical charts include a surprising amount of topographical and airspace details.

March BriefingAeronautical charts include a surprising amount of topographical and airspace details. While you’ll likely hone in on the usual airport and airspace depictions during flight planning, a new or obscure symbol may catch your attention from time to time.

For example, have you ever encountered a High Energy Radiation Area symbol? A close inspection of the New Hampshire’s White Mountains region on the World Aeronautical Chart reveals a blue star symbol and a brief note explaining there may be “hazardous laser transmissions from the surface to infinity.” The area has served as the site of laser-based atmospheric research.

Learn more about airspace symbols and characteristics with the Air Safety Institute’s Airspace Flash Cards.

Machteld Smith is a writer for the Air Safety Institute

Apps we love

Social flight adds some schooling

Must-have free app Social Flight recently added a new feature, Social Flight University. The new U is a surprisingly large collection of multimedia learning modules from a variety of different partners. It covers everything from airspace to annuals. Looking for tips on spark plug maintenance? It’s there. Brushing up on airspace? Check the U. Want to buy an airplane? They have you covered.

Price: Free
Platform: Web, iOS, Android

On the web: Learn more with the Air Safety Institute’s safety quizzes and more

From the experts: Travel tip #2

Flying footwear

By Chris Rose

March BriefingOpen the closet of most pilots, and you’re sure to find the staples of the flying lifestyle: a dependable watch, a good pair of sunglasses, and a leather jacket. Often, however, we neglect a part of our attire that truly connects us to the airplane—our shoes.

Many pilots sport the same shoes that they wore that morning when they went for a run or walked the dog. While these shoes provide comfort, they are built to dull the sensations that pilots find critical to sharpening their stick and rudder skills.

So, the next time you find yourself in need of a new pair of kicks, visit a shop or go online and check out a store dedicated to auto-racing supplies. Driving shoes have gotten pretty stylish, and feature cool, comfortable, lightweight designs with firm, thin soles built to transfer pedal feel directly to the driver (or pilot). Many are even available in fire-retardant models. Give your feet the respect (and the right shoes) they deserve. And you’ll look much sportier driving to the airport.

Chris Rose is a photographer for AOPA who makes many, many trips for the association.

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