May 29th, 2007
QUESTION: Archer Bravo member Brandon Jones asks: "Why is the phrase, 'Any traffic in the area, please advise,' which is commonly added to the end of traffic calls at uncontrolled fields, discouraged by the latest AIM revision? Seems that this is a nice way to increase safety, and get a good idea of the traffic flow at the airport prior to entering the pattern.
ANSWER: Hi Brandon. Because the CTAF's are frequencies that are shared with other airports, confusion can be created by pilots using airports 80 miles away who answer the call: "any traffic in the area?"
The AIM does advise that you listen to your airport's CTAF for traffic in the area to find out what they are doing, and then make your initial call-up when you are 10 miles out from the airport. This way you can create a mental picture of what's happening, and then announce your intentions accordingly. Blue skies!!!
April 18th, 2006
Lift My Wing?
QUESTION: Archer Bravo member John Peters asks: "I am a student pilot. When flying with a friend in a high wing aircraft, he raises each wing to check for traffic in the area. My instructor has never done this nor suggested it. I think it's a good idea, but hesitate to instruct my instructor in safety. Can I make a suggestion without stepping over the line and if so, is it a good idea to raise a wing, or is my friend a little too cautious?"
LATEST ANSWER: Hello, John. It is a very normal procedure to raise a wing slightly before you turn into that wing in a high wing aircraft. It allows you to see a little more of the area that you are turning into before you make the turn. Why don't you go to www.aopa.org/asf/publications and click on safety advisor and then click on collision avoidance which is an excellent read on collision avoidance. In the section under aircraft design consideration, they refer to raising a wing slightly before turning into it. Print this out, show it to your instructor, and tell him you would like to start doing this.
When you have your checkride, the examiner will be very impressed with you.
ANSWER: Good question, John! Communication is key. Ask your instructor. Let him/her know what you saw your friend do, and that you're interested and have questions about whether or not you should do it.
Your instructor can assist you in the various techniques appropriate for the altitude / maneuvering / type aircraft; not to mention appreciate your initiative in creating an opportunity for a lively ground and practice session! It sounds like you're eager to further your knowledge of safety techniques and maneuvering, and there are plenty of resources to help you:1) Flying with other pilots. Observing other's techniques will help you on your own path of decision making and whether certain methods should be incorporated into your own flying.
2) The internet. Incorporate into your research popular websites such as AOPA's ASF section, AVweb, and the FAA's library (to name a few).
3) Your own training textbook or burgeoning pilot library. Browse the TOC (or index) for scanning techniques.
4) Aviation themed magazines - especially those geared toward training will have articles on techniques.
April 13th, 2006
Don't Get Muffled
When doing your pre-flight walk around, don't forget about your muffler! Here's how to check it: use a flashlight and look all the way up inside the exhaust pipe. You should then see the muffler. If its internal baffling is shaped evenly (cylindrical or conic shaped), with evenly sized holes, it's in good shape.
If it appears warped and distorted, this means the flame cone is fatigued, and it will no longer do its job of vaporizing gas.
Eventually, the parts might begin to shed, and come out of the tailpipe. This can block it, decrease performance, and increase the chance of fire and/or carbon monoxide poisoning. Yes, this is the worst case scenario, but certainly the last thing you want. By the way, some mufflers weren't created with a baffle, so don't panic if you donít see one initially.
One other important note: if you are in-flight and experience loss of RPM, or rough engine - and your systems check reveals no other problems (magnetos, carb ice, etc), do an inspection of that tailpipe and muffler upon landing.
March 6th, 2006
During your preflight, checking the oil quantity is crucial for safety of flight. Oil does much more than lubricate moving parts. Oil is a cooling component of the engine too.
But that's not all. Another function of this life blood is to trap undissolved contaminates so they can be filtered out.
The weight of oil you select depends largely on the climate you're flying in. For example, 50w is thicker than 20w, and 10w30 has two different thicknesses. The manufacturer specifies what thickness, or viscosity, will work best based on temperature outside. Multi-viscosity oil has a wider range of temperatures in which it can effectively operate.
Even though it gets cold
flying at altitude, you'll really want to watch its temperature on the ground, too. Getting the oil up
to operating temperature allows it to circulate. Cold
oil is thicker and moves slower through the engine so
some operating limitations require a minimum oil
temperature for takeoff.
February 27th, 2006
Can I Cancel?!
QUESTION: Archer Bravo member Hal LaCoste asks "Is it legal to cancel IFR in class Bravo airspace when being vectored to an airport?
ANSWER: It is legal to cancel IFR in class B airspace. It may get you to the runway quicker but not always. When you are flying under an IFR clearance, there is coordination happening between controllers so canceling after this coordination has been accomplished can be frustrating to ATC.
Here's what may help: If you're with an Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC) and get switched to an approach frequency, you may want to give them a heads up to "expect cancelation of IFR when closer to the airport".
I too have canceled IFR to speed things up
but it has come back to bite me a couple of times. Airline traffic
is always IFR and going into a busy airport they will
have priority. In some cases being IFR will keep you
in "line" for the approach. And don't forget, Class B clearances are not
required while IFR so when you cancel ask for a
transition from IFR to a VFR Bravo clearance. My
experience has been this is already understood. Great question, Hal!
February 20th, 2006
If you ever watch night operations of airliners on the ground, you'll notice the use of taxi and landing lights as a way of communicating to ground personnel and other aircraft. Although regulations require lighting after sunset, there are some unwritten procedures that can really make a difference when taxiing around at night:-Taxi light on while moving, off when stopped.
-White strobes on the ground should only be used when on or crossing a runway.
-Line personnel use lighted wands to guide aircraft to parking and will wave frantically at you as you enter the ramp area.
-Acknowledge them with a single flash of the taxi or landing light. When close to the marshaller, extinguish the taxi light so they can see your wing tips.
February 13th, 2006
Give me a clearance, Clarence
Clear radio communications can be one of the biggest contributers to safe flying. Using proper terminology on the frequency decreases the chance of confusion or worse, collision. The term "Roger" is often misused as a reply to an air traffic controller directive. This response does nothing more than confirm that the message was received, and doesn't affirm or deny the tower's request.
Example: Tower, "Cirrus 1234 make a
left 360 for spacing on the downwind". The proper response in the shortest form is, "Wilco, Cirrus 1234"
or "Unable, Cirrus 1234". Also, avoid the temptation to double click the "push-to-talk" button as a response. Not only does this give an anonymous reply, but you may turn down the pilot controlled lighting on a fellow pilot who's trying to land at night.
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