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The questions which are answered include:
The rec.aviation Glossary
The rec.aviation Guide to Proper Spelling
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announce events of interest to the aviation community (moderated) answers frequently asked questions about aviation (moderated) homebuilt selecting, designing, building, and restoring aircraft ifr flying under Instrument Flight Rules military military aircraft of the past, present and future misc miscellaneous topics in aviation owning information on owning airplanes piloting general discussion for aviators products reviews and discussion of products useful to pilots simulators flight simulation on all levels soaring all aspects of sailplanes and hang-gliders stories accounts of flight experiences (moderated) student learning to fly ultralight ultralight, microlight aircraft
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sci.aeronautics the science of aeronautics & related technology (mod.) sci.aeronautics.airliners (moderated) sci.military discussion about science & the military (moderated) rec.travel.air airline travel around the world
Learning to fly a single-engine airplane is usually accomplished by visiting an FBO (see acronym list below) or two and selecting one for your instruction. Costs vary widely, not only by geographic area, but also because different individuals take different amounts of time to learn to fly. You should expect that learning to fly in the U.S. will cost you between US$3,000 and US$5,000, and it will take about 60-80 hours of flying of which about 20-30 hours will be solo (on your own) and the rest with an instructor, spread out over a period of 3-6 months.
For further information, send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org (ask for the private pilot handout), and you can receive a helpful and comprehensive handout. [Note: sometimes, due to mail system problems, you may not get a copy of this handout when you ask for one -- if you ask and don't get a response within a week, or if you've asked before and didn't receive it, send me e-mail again, preferably containing some "alternate" e-mail addresses! If all else fails, send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to Geoff Peck at 3075 Marston Way, San Jose, CA 95148-3121]
If your goal is to fly a glider or a helicopter, you need not start out by learning to fly a single-engine airplane. Learning to fly in a helicopter will cost about twice as much as learning to fly in an airplane. (In U.S. metropolitan areas, a typical trainer helicopter rents for about US$100/hour; a typical trainer-class airplane for US$30-50/hour.) Learning to fly in a glider will vary in cost from significantly less than the cost to learn in an airplane to about the same as learning to fly in an airplane. If you plan to learn to fly airplanes as well as gliders or helicopters, it is typically less expensive to do the airplane first and then the other aircraft type. If you're interested in flying gliders (soaring), in the U.S., contact the Soaring Society of America (SSA -- see below) for information on glider sites around the country.
Q3: I'm flying to Canada, Mexico, or the Carribean. What do I need to know?
I'm having trouble getting a medical. Who should I call?
Does someone have sample aircraft partnership agreement?
Where can I get the bluebook value of a particular aircraft?
These questions, and many others, can be simply and correctly answered for U.S. readers by the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, AOPA. Call 1-800-USA-AOPA. You can speak to a number of different specialists, who will gladly answer your questions whether or not you are a member. Of course, you can and should also join AOPA -- it's $35/year, and you can do so on the same toll-free number.
So, gentle reader, rather than asking these questions on the net and getting a mixed bag of answers, please call AOPA and then report to the net with your question -- and their answer!
There are three types of aviation headsets which are commonly available:
There are two basic types of intercoms -- portable and panel-mount. If you're an aircraft owner, you should strongly consider a permanently installed, panel-mounted intercom. There are many brands out there -- investigate carefully. You will probably want to wire the aircraft for stereo, even if you don't have stereo headsets right away, since the cost of having an avionics shop wire the intercom can easily exceed the price of the intercom.
Renters should consider purchasing their own portable intercom. With a portable intercom, you plug the intercom in to the pilot-side microphone and headphone jacks, and then plug all the other headsets (up to 4) into the portable. You will also want to purchase a push-to-talk switch which will allow you to use your headset's boom mic with the radios in aircraft which are not equipped with a push-to-talk switch.
Portable units vary from about US$90 to US$300; permanent units seem to be priced US$100-200 more than the portables.
Good squelch action, overall sound quality, audio entertainment inputs, ability to mix headset models, sufficient output volume, durability, and whether the instructor can talk during transmissions from the left seat (without being heard over the air) are important factors.
By far the most popular portable intercoms from the net's perspective are the Flightcom IIsx (mono) and Flightcom III (stereo), which can be bought as two-place or four-place units (there's a small expansion box for the rear seats). The IIsx typically retails for a little over US$100. A more deluxe version is the Flightcom III, which offers stereo audio with a plug-in Walkman or Discman. The IIId offers a digital clearance recorder, which can "remember" and re-play up to about 30 seconds of speech at the push of a button. Cute, but not very useful. Panel-mount versions of the III, and IIId are available as the 403 (stereo), and 403D (DCR), respectively.
Other brands of intercoms include [listed alphabetically] David Clark, NAT (panel only), Pilot, PS Engineering, Sigtronics, Softcomm, and Telex. Regrettably, pilots will often defend their own purchase choices, whether or not they actually have significant experience with other intercoms. (The FAQ author does have significant in-flight experience with all of the brands listed above, and he still recommends the Flightcom units for overall audio quality, squelch performance, reliability, feature versatility, and price.)
For pilot supplies such as intercoms, headsets, tires, etc.:
The key concept here, and in most logging questions, is that the requirements for LOGGING pilot time (in FAR 61.51) are completely distinct from the requirements for ACTING as pilot in command.
(1) you are the sole manipulator of the controls, and
(2) you have at least a private certificate for that category and class of aircraft
you may log the time as pilot in command.
It does _not_ matter whether or not you are in visual or instrument conditions, nor whether or not you have a "high-performance" endorsement and are flying an retractable-gear airplane. (If you are flying in IMC and are not instrument rated, you must have a current, instrument rated pilot who is rated to fly the aircraft in the plane with you. The instrument-rated pilot then _acts_ as pilot in command while you fly and log time as sole manipulator; the other pilot may also log the time spent in actual instrument conditions as pilot in command.)
Much confusion stems from the long sentence in FAR 61.51(c)(2)(i) which governs who may log pilot-in-command flight time; this indented, specially punctuated "translation" of this clause should be helpful:
(i) A recreational, private, or commercial pilot may log as pilot in command time only that flight time during which that pilot (1) is the sole manipulator of the controls of an aircraft for which the pilot is rated, OR (2) when the pilot is the sole occupant of the aircraft, OR, (3) except for a recreational pilot, when acting as pilot in command of an aircraft on which more than one pilot is required under (a) the type certification of the aircraft, or (b) the regulations under which the flight is conducted.Instrument flight is much easier, as FAR 61.51(c)(4) shows:
(4) Instrument flight time. A pilot may log as instrument flight time only that time during which he operates the aircraft solely by reference to instruments, under actual or simulated instrument flight conditions. ...OK, so this means that
You *may* log as a cross-country flight any flight at which you leave the immediate vicinity of the airport. From the point of view of cross-country flight experience requirements any FAA rating or certificate, you need to *land* at an airport other than the airport of departure for the flight to be counted as a cross-country flight. You don't even have to do a full-stop landing at the second airport -- a touch-and-go (shudder) is fine. You do have to land -- an instrument missed approach doesn't count, as far as the FAA is concerned. However, it's also true that you are not *required* to log any flight as cross-country. It's up to you.
The requirements for certain ratings make restrictions on which logged cross-country flights may be counted towards a given rating. To make your logbook simpler, you may wish to count as cross-country flight time only those flights which are relevant to ratings which you are or might be seeking. Note that the mileage requirement is the _straight-line_ distance between two airports -- if you take a circuitous route, that won't help. (The summary below applies to airplanes only; rotorcraft, gliders, etc. differ.)
for the Private Pilot certificate (see FAR 61.109(b)(2)): Dual cross-country: no restrictions. Solo cross-country: more than 50nm from the point of departure. for the Instrument rating (see FAR 61.65(e)(1)): more than 50nm from the point of departure. for the Commercial certificate (see FAR 61.129(b)(3)(ii): more than 50nm from the point of departure. for the ATP certificate (see FAR 61.155(b)(2)): no restrictions.
If you can dial a U.S. (800) number, or you have access to the Internet, you can access DUATS, the FAA's Direct User Access Terminal System, at no charge. DUATS service is provided by two commercial vendors:
voice info data line DTC (Data Transformation Corp.) 1-800-243-3828 1-800-245-3828 GTE Federal Sys Division (Contel) 1-800-345-3828 1-800-767-9989GTE (Contel) DUATS may be accessed via the Internet; simply telnet to duat.gtefsd.com. If your machine seems to be brain-dead in the name server department, try 18.104.22.168. Non-pilots must use the machine duats.gtefsd.com (note the "s" in duats), address 22.214.171.124. You can use e-mail to contact GTE for help at email@example.com . A shell script which allows an entire briefing to be obtained using a single command to the shell is available by request from firstname.lastname@example.org
GTE's 800-number dial-in lines now support v.32 (9600 bps). GTE DUATS may also be accessed via SPRINTNET; call the voice info line for a local access number. For DTC, 243-3828 is "AID-DUAT" and 245-3828 is "CHK-DUAT".
If you're a U.S.-licensed pilot (student pilots and glider pilots without medicals included), it is to your advantage to obtain a DUATS user I.D. and to use that I.D. whenever you obtain a briefing. Users who sign on without giving an I.D. cannot file flight plans, and the briefing will not be recorded for the purposes of counting as a "legal" briefing.
If you haven't used DUATS before, you can simply call the data number and register on-line. When registering, student pilots should use their student pilot certificate number which is also the medical certificate number; it begins with "BB" or "DD", and you need to type in the "BB" or "DD" as well as the digits. If your medical is less than about three months old, or you are a glider or other pilot who doesn't have a medical certificate, you may need to call the voice info numbers to get them to add you to the database. You must register with each provider independently; they provide similar levels of service.
Several commercial weather vendors also exist, and each of them provides additional services which may not be available on DUATS. Jeppesen-Sanderson has two different services, Jeppesen DataPlan at 1-800- 358-6468 [voice] is designed for "big guys"; Jepp/Link at 1-800-553-7750 [voice] is an enhanced version of DUATS for "the rest of us". CompuServe Information Services (buy a starter pack from a local computer store, type "GO AWX") has local data access numbers throughout the country. WeatherBank, Inc. of Salt Lake City, UT, also has more specialized information such as ROAB soundings and farm forecasts, as well as a longer online "history" (up to one year) than other vendors.
There is a wealth of additional weather information available on the Internet. Please see Ilana Stern's Sources of Meteorological Data FAQ which is posted to sci.geo.meteorology, news.answers, and sci.answers
If you live at a site which can't receive rec.aviation through normal (netnews) channels, you can have a digest mailed to you. At this time, all 13 rec.aviation subgroups are consolidated into a single digest; it is not at this time possible to subscribe to a selected subset. To subscribe or unsubscribe, mail to "email@example.com". As a BITNET address, I'm told that this is "aviation-request%mc.lcs.mit.edu@INTERBIT". Please, please DO NOT send mail to aviation-digest...
*** ATTENTION!!! As of 5/14/93, the aviation digest service went off *** the air; firstname.lastname@example.org (Christopher C. Stacy) may fix someday.To post to rec.aviation via e-mail, you can send the posting by mail to "email@example.com". To post to subgroups other than .misc, replace "misc" in this address with the name of the subgroup you wish. Note that this is an _automated_ posting service, so be sure that your subject line contains the subject of the message, not "please post"!
On UNIX systems, the typical method is to use the "postnews" or "Pnews" command to the shell. These days, it is _particularly_ important to start a new thread of articles when you start a new subject, rather than just following up an existing article and changing the subject. This is because threaded newsreaders depend on article-id's to sort articles, and they can't do this properly if one doesn't start new threads properly.
If you wish to create a posting to one of the moderated rec.aviation groups (.announce or .stories), most UNIX posting software will allow you to enter the post in the normal manner; that post will then be mailed to the group moderator for approval. If you are on a non-UNIX system, simply mail your article to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
In general, a pilot's license entitles you to fly aircraft of the same country of registry as your license _anywhere_ in the world. So if you can find an airplane registered in your "home" country, there's no problem. For most non-U.S. pilots, if you wish to obtain a U.S. pilot's certificate, simply present your existing pilot certificate at any FAA FSDO (acronyms below), and you will receive free of charge an equivalent U.S. certificate (private and instrument ratings only). Note that non-governmentally regulated licenses, such as a British glider license which is issued by the British Soaring Association, will _not_ be honored by the FAA. Some FSDOs also require a current medical certificate; you will probably be able to use your "home" medical. But call the FSDO before you visit. You can then legally fly U.S.-registered aircraft.
Hang-gliding articles typically appear in rec.aviation.soaring. If you desire additional traffic, there is a hang-gliding mailing list which is also available in digest form. Subscribe by sending a request to
To [un]subscribe your Subject line should be: [un]subscribe and the body or your message should look like: [un]subscribe hang-gliding [list, digest] For further information, send mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Additional hang-gliding information is available on WWW as http://cougar.stanford.edu:7878/HGMPSHomePage.html
An ultralight mailing list is maintained by David Hempy; to find out more send mail to email@example.com. The subject line should be "subscribe", "unsubscribe", "info", or "faq".
The public-domain flight-planning software and data is available on eecs.nwu.edu in pub/aviation and on lifshitz.ph.utexas.edu also in pub/aviation; data only from seas.smu.edu in the flight directory.
rascal.ics.utexas.edu has a bunch of aviation related stuff in ~ftp/misc/av, including NTSB accident abstracts in in ~ftp/misc/av/safety-folder/aviation-abstracts.txt.
Many folks ask about current FARs, the AIM, and published NOTAMS. You should be able to ftp many parts from ftp.hyphen.com in the Fly directory. The files are ZIPped, so you'll need to have an un-ZIPping program.
Machine-readable FARs (parts 1-199) and the AIM are also available commercially on IBM-PC format diskettes (either 3.5" or 5.25") from FlytNET at 1-214-436-0164 (voice/FAX) 1-214-434-1127 (BBS) or or send $24.95 (FARs) or $34.95 (FAR+AIM) [1994 update] to FlytNET, P.O. Box 610128, DFW International Airport, TX 75261. Regular updates are available. Let's support these folks by _not_ copying disks or "making the material available", please.
The general consensus is that if you fly from 200 to 300 hours per year, the hourly costs for owning an airplane will be about equal to the hourly costs of renting an equivalent airplane from a local FBO. In a partnership, evaluate the total flying hours for the aircraft. This number of hours is required because there are substantial fixed costs associated with ownership: tiedown, insurance, annual inspections, taxes, and so on, which must be amortized over flight hours.
Many people who own aircraft do so not to reduce the cost of flying but to improve its quality, convenience, and safety. With an owned aircraft, one can have the equipment one wants in the condition one wants, and the airplane will (well, mostly) be available when one wants. There's nothing like deciding the day before a major holiday weekend "oh, let's go flying to XYZ!"
FCC regulations effective March 9, 1992 state that:
FAR 91.21 governs portable electronic devices. Use of a receiver is prohibited except for units which "the operator of the aircraft has determined will not cause interference with the navigation or communication system of the aircraft on which it is to be used." "(c) In the case of an aircraft operated by a holder of an air carrier operating certificate ... the determination ... shall be made by that operator of the aircraft on which the particular device is to be used. In the case of other aircraft, the determination may be made by the pilot in command or other operator of the aircraft."
In plain English, this means that on an airliner, the _airline_ must allow you to operate the radio -- the captain does not have the sole authority to authorize its use. On a private aircraft, the captain does have that authority. Note that amateur (ham) radio operators are forbidden by FCC regulations from transmitting on _any_ IFR flight.
Contact: Bill Blackwood, secretary, International Wheelchair Aviators, 11117 Rising Hill Way, Escondido, CA 92025. You need not be disabled or a pilot to join; membership is $15/year. There are pilots in all kinds of aircraft flying all over the world with some kind of disability, including amputees, paraplegics, etc.
If you have a condition which might preclude you from getting a medical certificate, contact the medical services department of AOPA (see below). They will be glad to assist you, whether or not you are a member.
The least expensive alternative, typically $20-30, is to find a local FBO or community college who is an FAA Designated Written Test Examiner. Call your nearest FAA FSDO for pointers. (You might luck out and get the FSDO to give you an exam for free, but this is highly unlikely.) The drawback with these methods is that it will take 3-5 weeks for you to get your results, as the tests are scored by the FAA in Oklahoma City.
Several commercial vendors now offer computerized testing with results available immediately after you finish the test. Costs range from $50 to $85 for a test. To find out where your nearest testing center is, and to schedule a test, contact Drake Testing Services at 1-800-FLY-FAST, The Roach Organization (Plato Professional Testing) at 1-800-869-1100, or CATS (Computerized Aviation Testing Service) at 1-800-947-4228. There are other vendors; if you let the FAQ author know, they too can be listed here. As of 10/93, Drake offers a $10 discount to AOPA members.
In any case, you will need a written authorization to take most FAA tests. This may be obtained from an appropriately rated and FAA-Certificated Flight Instructor or Ground Instructor, or, if you completed a home-study course, with some difficulty you can get your local FSDO to sign you off.
No. Some Cessna 172's have a recommendation that extended slips with full flaps be _avoided_. This is because the flaps on these aircraft are sufficiently effective to partially blanket the empennage during a full-flap slip, which may result in a gentle, but fully controllable, bobbing motion. That bobbing motion has on more than one occasion unduly alarmed a pilot on short final, resulting in a less than satisfactory outcome. Bottom line: go up to altitude and try it yourself, with a CFI aboard if you prefer. Then you won't need to worry about the recommendation. [Disclaimer: if the POH for your specific aircraft says something different, the POH takes precedence over this note. Certain C-170s are reported to have such a prohibition, because they exhibit "exciting" descents in this configuration.]
There are several types of reports available: preliminary reports, which are usually available within a month of the accident; factual reports, which are usually available 7 months to 1 year following the accident; and probable cause reports, which may take up to 2 years. Copies may be obtained from General Microfilm, 11141 Georgia Avenue, Suite B6, Silver Springs MD 20902; phone 301/929-8888. You'll need (a) the aircraft registration number, or (b) the date and location of the accident, or (c) the name of the pilot for accidents which occurred prior to 1978. [Thanks to _Flying_ magazine, June 1993, for this info.]
High Flight by John Gillespie Magee, Jr. Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings; Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth Of sun-split clouds -- and done a hundred things You have not dreamed of -- wheeled and soared and swung High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there, I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung My eager craft through footless halls of air. Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue I've topped the windswept heights with easy grace Where never lark, or even eagle flew. And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod The high untrespassed sanctity of space, Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.
A pilot who does not hold an instrument rating must fly under VFR, which specify minimum cloud clearance and visibility requirements. In some countries other than the U.S., VFR flight at night is not permitted. Pilots who fly under VFR do so by looking out the window. Flight through clouds is permitted only under IFR, which requires an instrument rating and an appropriately-equipped aircraft. Instrument-rated pilots may control the aircraft solely by reference to instruments, but if they are flying in VMC, they are expected to look out the window to avoid other aircraft.
Old name: After 9/16/93: --------- -------------- ARSA Airport Radar Service Area Class C ATA Airport Traffic Area Class D CZ Control Zone Class E MOA Military Operations Area PCA Positive Controlled Airspace (above 18,000') Class A TCA Terminal Control Area Class B TRSA Terminal Radar Service Area -> Class C or D Uncontrolled Airspace Class G
Right Wrong ----- ----- Beech[craft] Beach[craft] Comanche Commanche descend decend definitely definately gauge guage hazard hazzard Hobbs (an hour meter) Hobb's, hobbs, Hobbes (as in Calvin and) Monterey (California) Monterrey (not CA, but Mexico) propeller propellor turbulence turbulanceAnd some words which are frequently confused:
advice (I'd like a bit of ...) advise (please tell me) descend (to lose altitude) decent (proper; in good taste; moral) flare (part of a good landing) flair (with panache) hangar (a place for airplanes) hanger (a place for clothes) it's (contraction for "it is") its (possessive, belonging to it) loose (not fully attached) lose (to misplace or forget; to reduce) roll (aerobatic maneuver) role (part in a dramatic production) yoke (aircraft control) yolk (yellow part of an egg) you're (you are) your (indicating possession)