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Original-from: geoff@peck.com (Geoff Peck)
Last-modified: 29 June 1999 by geoff@peck.com (Geoff Peck)
Posting-frequency: semi-monthly (2nd and 16th)
Archive-name: aviation/faq

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
This regular posting was last revised June 29, 1999.  Changes since
the last posting are marked by a vertical bar ("|") in the left margin.
("rn" and "trn" users may search for new materials using "g^|".)  It
answers frequently asked questions on rec.aviation, and provides a
glossary of frequently-used acronyms, so posters don't need to provide
translations of these terms.  This posting was written by Geoff Peck,
with input from many other netters.  The author takes full responsibility
for any omissions or errors.  (Use of this posting in flight is prohibited.
:-) ) Comments and questions are most welcome.  This article is now
being automatically posted twice per month.

The questions which are answered include:

Q1:   How is rec.aviation organized?
Q2:   What other sources of aviation information are there on the net?
Q3:   I'd like to learn to fly.  How do I do it, how much does it cost, how
      long does it take?
Q4:   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?
Q5:   I want to buy a headset.  What should I buy?
Q6:   What about aircraft intercoms?
Q7:   Tell me about mail-order.
Q8:   I'm a private pilot.  How should I log time in instrument conditions?
Q9:   What about logging cross-country time?
Q10:  Tell me about DUATS on-line weather briefings.
Q11:  How do I start a brand-new thread of articles?
Q12:  I'm a non-U.S. licensed private pilot.  Can I fly in the U.S.?
Q13:  Where can I get a copy of public-domain flight planning software?
Q14:  I'm considering buying an airplane.  How much will it cost?
|Q15:  What are the expenses involved in owning an airplane?
Q16:  Can I use my cellular telephone in an airplane?
Q17:  Can I use a radio, either a broadcast or aviation receiver, in an
      aircraft?
Q18:  I have a physical disability and would like to learn to fly.  How?
Q19:  What are the alternatives for taking an FAA written examination?
Q20:  Are slips with flaps prohibited in certain Cessnas?
Q21:  How can I get a copy of an NTSB accident report?
Q22:  From what does "I have slipped the surly bonds..." come?
Q23:  Is there a resource on the net for getting aviation fuel prices?

You can search for the question you're interested in in "rn" or "trn"
using "g^Q13" (that's lower-case g, up-arrow, Q, and a number) where "11" is
the question you wish.  Or you may browse forward using <control-G> to
search for a Subject: line.  The Subject: lines and the lines of dashes
are an experiment; please send comments on this format to geoff@peck.com

The glossary follows the questions and answers.  The new and exciting
rec.aviation guide to proper spelling follows the glossary.

------------------------------

Questions and answers

Subject: rec.aviation organization

Q1: How is rec.aviation organized?

A:  There are now 20 distinct newsgroups which comprise rec.aviation:

    aerobatics	  aerobatic flight, techniques, events, and clubs
    announce      events of interest to the aviation community  (moderated)
    answers       frequently asked questions about aviation  (moderated)
    hang-gliding  all aspects of hang-gliding
    homebuilt     selecting, designing, building, and restoring aircraft
    ifr           flying under Instrument Flight Rules
    marketplace   selling and buying aviation-related things
    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
    restoration	  questions, techniques, and groups for restoring aircraft
    rotorcraft    articles related to helicopters and other rotorwing aircraft
    seaplane	  all aspects of seaplanes
    simulators    flight simulation on all levels
    soaring       all aspects of sailplanes
    stories       accounts of flight experiences (moderated)
    student       learning to fly
    ultralight    ultralight, microlight aircraft

    It is suggested that you read rec.aviation for a little while
    before you post, so that you can best determine which subgroup is
    appropriate for your posting.

    If you post to a moderated newsgroup, please note that your posting
    will be e-mailed to the moderator for approval.  Generally, approval
    occurs within 48 hours.  If your posting does not conform to the
    charter of the moderated group, it will not be posted, and, in general
    you will not receive a response.

    In addition, the following newsgroups outside the rec.aviation
    hierarchy may be of interest:
    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


Subject: Internet information sources Q2: What other sources of aviation information are there on the net? A: Guenther Eichhorn maintains a very well-organized set of information on general aviation which is available on the web: http://www.landings.com/aviation.html The information below has been extracted from this page for those who are not web-capable and would like ftp access to a few key items. The Federal Government maintains a fair amount of FAA information which may be obtained by ftp from: ftp://fwux.fedworld.gov/pub/faa/faa.htm These documents are in a number of different formats, including text, various versions of MS Word, Adobe Acrobat, several compressed archive files, and more. The FARs (FAR_xx.DOC) are text files; the Practical Test Standards (PTS_xxx.n) are Word 6.0 for Windows. A list of major airports, including code letters and latitude and longitude, may be obtained by ftp from: ftp://aviation.jsc.nasa.gov/pub/fly/data/ This site also contains a set of FAA data tapes, last updated 9/14/95. These data tapes are large and not particularly easy to process; if you are looking for data with which to do flight planning, please read Q13 and Q10 below.
Subject: Learning to fly Q3: I'd like to learn to fly. How do I do it, how much does it cost, how long does it take? A: 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 geoff@peck.com (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 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.
Subject: Miscellaneous questions Q4: 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? A: 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!
Subject: Headsets Q5: I want to buy a headset. What should I buy? A: There are three types of aviation headsets which are commonly available: 1. Active noise-cancelling (ANC). These are in the $600-$900 range, from Telex (ANR, ~$660; the ANR 4000 is not recommended), David Clark (~$850), and Sennheiser (~$700). The Bose headset (~$900) is available only directly from Bose in Framingham MA. 2. Passive noise-cancelling. These are in the $90-$300 range, and come from a variety of manufacturers. David Clark is generally regarded as the "Rolls Royce" of headset makers, and their models are more expensive than the competition -- they stand up to amazing abuse. Recommended models include the H10-13.4 (13.4 oz -- light!) ~$245, H10-60 ~$250, H10-20 ~$225, H10-80 ~$245, and H10-40 ~$220, usually in that order. The H10-30 is not recommended (inferior microphone). A number of companies import "clones" of the David Clarks; many netters have found the Flightcom 4DLX, ~$120, to be satisfactory in terms of performance and reliability. There are many, many more makers out there -- try 'em on and see what feels comfortable to you. Other notable headsets: Peltor 7004 ~$190, which has a significantly different and possibly more comfortable "feel" -- buy it in preference to the 7003, which has an inferior dynamic microphone; Pilot PA11-20 ~$140; Telex Pro-Air 2000E, ~$225. The Peltor is probably the best choice for kids. 3. "Open-air," "Walkman-style". These are for quieter aircraft such as jets or sailplanes, and are _not_ recommended for prop aircraft use. [Headsets are typically discounted; prices given above are typical US$ discounted prices, not list. See Q7 below for mail-order supply houses.]
Subject: Intercoms Q6: What about aircraft intercoms? A: 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.)
Subject: Mail-Order Q7: Tell me about mail-order. A: For pilot supplies such as intercoms, headsets, tires, etc.: Aircraft Supply, Pittsburgh, PA [1-800-245-0690] Chief Aircraft, Grants Pass, OR [1-800-447-3408] Marv Golden, San Diego, CA [1-800-348-0014,1-800-433-0055 in CA] San-Val, Los Angeles, CA [1-800-423-3281, 1-800-624-9658 in CA] Sporty's, Batavia, OH [1-800-LIF-TOFF, FAX 1-513-732-6560] The Airport Shoppe, San Jose, CA [1-800-634-4744] Wickes Aircraft Supply, Highland, IL [1-800-221-9425] For aviation books: Airplane Things, Dallas, TX [1-214-956-3510, FAX 1-214-956-3518] Aviation Book Company, Santa Clarita CA [1-800-423-2708, FAX 1-805-294-0035, direct 1-805-294-0101, 7:30am-4:30pm Pacific] Sporty's, Batavia, OH [1-800-LIF-TOFF, FAX 1-513-732-6560] Zenith Books, Osceola, WI 54020 [1-800-826-6600, FAX 1-715-294-4448, ask for aviation catalog] All of these are reputable companies, with many satisfied net.customers.
Subject: Logging time in instrument conditions Q8: I'm a private pilot. How should I log time in instrument conditions? A: 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. If (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 then 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 (1) As a private pilot, you get to _log_ PIC whenever you are the sole manipulator of the controls of an aircraft for which you are rated. Note that "rated" in this case means "rating", as in "airplane, single-engine land", _not_ "endorsement", as in "high-performance endorsement", or (worse yet) insurance-company endorsement. (2) If you're the sole occupant of an aircraft and you hold a private pilot license or better, even if you aren't rated for that category and class of aircraft, you can log it as pilot in command (i.e., you're soloing a glider as a student glider pilot). (3) As a pilot (doesn't matter what kind), you get to log instrument flight time whenever you "operate the aircraft solely by reference to instruments".
Subject: Logging cross-country time Q9: What about logging cross-country time? 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.
Subject: DUATS on-line weather briefings Q10: Tell me about DUATS on-line weather briefings. A: 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 1-800-767-9989 GTE (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 131.131.7.105. Non-pilots must use the machine duats.gtefsd.com (note the "s" in duats), address 131.131.7.106. You can use e-mail to contact GTE for help at system@gnd1.wtp.gtefsd.com . A shell script which allows an entire briefing to be obtained using a single command to the shell is available by request from geoff@peck.com GTE's 800-number dial-in lines now support v32bis (14400). 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
Subject: Starting a new article thread Q11: How do I start a brand-new thread of articles? A: 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 rec-aviation-announce@uunet.uu.net or rec-aviation-stories@uunet.uu.net.
Subject: non-U.S. pilots flying in the U.S. Q12: I'm a non-U.S. licensed private pilot. Can I fly in the U.S.? A: 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 BGA or FAI badge issued by the British Gliding Association, will _not_ be honored by the FAA. (In this particular case, experienced British glider pilots will usually have no trouble having a U.S. flight instructor issue a U.S. student pilot certificate as part of the checkout process. This will be valid for restricted solo flight.) 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.
Subject: public-domain flight-planning software Q13: Where can I get a copy of public-domain flight planning software and other good stuff on the net? A: Aviation data changes on a day-to-day basis. Your best bet is to use the comprehensive flight planner which is available from GTE DUATS (see Q10). GTE has a staff which maintains the database on a daily basis, and the flight planner is a thorough and complex piece of software. It is also the only known flight planner which has been tested and approved by the FAA; this was done as part of the FAA-required DUATS review process.
Subject: airplane ownership costs Q14: I'm considering buying an airplane. How much will it cost? A: 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. | Other "rules of thumb" include: | o Operating costs exclusive of capital costs will be 3 to 4 times | the cost of fuel. | o Allocate 2 times the cost of fuel plus an additional 25% for each | 10 years since the aircraft was manufactured (this estimate is | from AvWeb, http://www.avweb.com/articles/cost2fly/). 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!" ------------------------------ |Subject: airplane ownership costs Q15: What are the expenses involved in owning an airplane? |A: Aircraft ownership expenses are highly variable. Two owners of essentially | identical airplanes may disagree widely on the cost of owning. Here's a | guide so you can put together your own cost model. | Fixed expenses - you'll incur these no matter how much or little you fly | o Capital cost - the cost of the money you've tied up in the aircraft. | Some pilots say "don't count this - the airplane is an investment and | will appreciate". Others say "even if you buy it outright, you've got | to look at what that money would earn you on the open market". | o Taxes - varies by state and county. | o Insurance - get several quotes before you buy. Can vary from a few | hundred dollars a year to over $10K per year for a piston single. | Factors influencing cost include coverage chosen (liability limits, | hull limits), pilot qualifications (ratings, total time, time in type, | violations/accidents), type of use (personal, commercial), etc. | o Hangaring or tiedown costs - vary from about $20/month to over | $1000/month for a single-engine aircraft. | o Annual inspections - labor cost of the required annual inspection; | repairs are additional. | o Paint and interior reserve (does vary somewhat with hourly operation, | but typically more tied to age than flight time unless you fly a lot). | Variable expenses - these are typically proportional to hourly operation | o Fuel | o Oil changes every 25 or 50 hours of operation | o Engine / propeller overhaul reserve | o Maintenance reserve | o Avionics reserve | Notes: | o Maintenance labor rates can vary from about $30/hour in some rural | areas to $120/hour and up per mechanic in major metro areas at | specialty shops. If you elect to perform owner maintenance, you can | save a lot, but isn't your time worth something in the calculations? | o When buying an aircraft, the first few years of operation are likely | to be much more expensive. For example, if you have an engine with | 1400 hours on it and a 2000-hour time before overhaul (TBO), you can | expect to fly it *at most* 600 hours before you need a new one. | If the engine overhaul cost is $25,000, you ned to set aside at least | $41.66 for every hour you fly (25000/600). And the engine probably won't | make it all the way to TBO. After you've done the overhaul, the engine | reserve number goes down to $12.50/hour. Beware that this calculation | applies to other major components (paint, avionics, etc.) too!
Subject: cellular telephones and airplanes Q16: Can I use my cellular telephone in an airplane? A: FCC regulations effective March 9, 1992 state that: o Cellular phone use while airborne is illegal. Regulations permit cellular phone companies to cut off service of violators. o Cellular phone use on the ground is legal, as far as the FCC is concerned. Of course, FAA regulations still apply; for private flights this isn't a big deal, for airline flights the FAA is apparently making guidelines on when to allow cellular phone use. Further info is in the Federal Register, vol. 57, pages 830-831. | Cellular radio service includes 900 MHz systems. PCS services in the | 1.8 GHz band are governed by different rules, and operation is not | prohibited in aircraft by FCC rules. However, in practice, most newer | cellular and PCS systems utilize antennas which don't radiate upwards | so the phone simply won't work in the air. | Air Cell, Inc. (http://www.aircell.com) has an airborne cellular system | which is being rolled out in the US; it utilizes special cell phone | equipment in the $4-7K range and costs about $1.75/minute to use.
Subject: use of radios in flight Q17: Can I use a radio, either a broadcast or aviation receiver, in an aircraft? A: 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.
Subject: physical disabilities and flying Q18: I have a physical disability and would like to learn to fly. How? A: 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. We also are fortunate to have an expert in our midst on the net, Dr. Richard Kaplan, M.D., CFI, AME. Please contact him with your questions directly at <rkaplan@pennet.com>; he's also offered to provide flight physicals and flight instruction (you provide the airplane) to disabled netters at no charge. He's located ~50nm SE of Pittsburgh PA.
Subject: FAA written exams Q19: What are the alternatives for taking an FAA written examination? A: Multiple commercial vendors offer computerized testing with results available immediately after you finish the test. Costs range from $40 to $85 for a test. To find out where your nearest testing center is and to schedule a test, contact one of Lasergrade Computer Testing <http://www.lasergrade.com> 1-800-211-2754 or 1-360-896-9111, Aviation Business Services (Computerized Aviation Testing Service) 1-800-947-4228 or 1-415-259-8550, or Sylvan/Prometric 1-800-359-3278, 1-800-967-1100, 1-612-896-7702 or 1-410-843-8000 x8890 You will need a written authorization before you can 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.
Subject: slips with flaps in Cessnas Q20: Are slips with flaps prohibited in certain Cessnas? A: 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.]
Subject: NTSB accident reports Q21: How can I get a copy of an NTSB accident report? A: The NTSB has a web page which contains synopses, statistics, reports, and publications related to aviation: http://www.ntsb.gov/aviation/ Accident synopses (preliminary, factual, and final) are organized on a month-by-month basis on the page: http://www.ntsb.gov/aviation/months.htm 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.]
Subject: Frequently-Asked-For Poem Q22: From what does "I have slipped the surly bonds..." come? A: 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.
Subject: Fuel price listing Q23: Is there a resource on the net for getting aviation fuel prices? A: Yes. Visit <http://www.airaffair.com/Fuel> with thanks to Ross Oliver, and <http://www.airnav.com/fuel> with thanks to Paul Santos.
Subject: The rec.aviation glossary Pilots, Ratings, and other basic stuff ATP Airline Transport Pilot (the "highest" grade of pilot certificate) AME Aviation Medical Examiner (U.S.) FAR Federal Aviation Regulations (U.S.) CFI Certificated Flight Instructor (see suffixes, below) COM Commercial (pilot certificate) (see suffixes, below) IFR Instrument Flight Rules (see below) PP Private Pilot PVT Private (pilot certificate) (see suffixes, below) VFR Visual Flight Rules (see below) Pilot and instructor certificates may be suffixed with certain combinations of the following: A Airplane ME Multi-Engine L Land I Instrument G Glider SE Single-Engine S Sea H Helicopter For example, the typical private pilot is "PP-ASEL" or "PVT-ASEL". Ratings are more complex than this limited explanation -- for example, Rotorcraft come in two flavors, Helicopter and Gyroplane; Lighter-than-Air aircraft come in two flavors, Free Balloon and Airship; and there are specific type ratings for aircraft over 12,500 pounds. One can spend several lifetimes accumulating ratings. 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. Navigation, Instruments, and Avionics ADF Automatic Direction Finder - an instrument in an airplane which displays the relative bearing to an NDB (see below) -- it essentially "points at the NDB" AI Attitude Indicator (also known as AH - Artificial Horizon) - an instrument which provides the pilot with pitch and roll information ASR Airport Surveillance Radar (usually, a type of instrument approach which provides only horizontal guidance to the pilot) CDI Course Deviation Indicator - part of a VOR navigation system, which shows how far off a desired course the aircraft is DG Directional Gyro - a compass-like device which uses a gyroscope to provide stable directional information for a pilot DME Distance Measuring Equipment EFIS Electronic Flight Instrumentation System ELT Emergency Locator Transmitter GCA Ground-Controlled (instrument) Approach (uses radar, see ASR and PAR) GPS Global Positioning System - a satellite-based navigation system, just coming up now GS Glideslope - the vertical guidance component of an ILS HSI Horizontal Situation Indicator - combines the functions of a VOR and a DG IAC International Aerobatic Club, see http://acro.harvard.edu/IAC/iac_homepg.html IFF Identify Friend or Foe -- see transponder ILS Instrument Landing System - a system which allows appropriately equipped aircraft to find a runway and land, when the clouds may be as low as 200 feet (or lower for special circumstances) INS Inertial Navigation System IRS Inertial Reference System LOC Localizer - the horizontal guidance component of an ILS LORAN Long RANge Navigation -- a navigation system, originally for marine use, which utilizes timing differences between multiple low-frequency transmissions to provide accurate latitude/longitude position information, at best to within 50 feet MLS Microwave Landing System - not in use yet, but it's getting warmer... Mode-A A transponder which does not give the controllers altitude information Mode-C A transponder and encoding altimeter which together give air traffic controllers altitude information Mode-S A new "flavor" of transponder which features unique identification per unit, the potential for low-speed up and down datalinks, and "selective interrogation" triggered by ground facilities NDB Non-Directional Beacon - an older type of electronic navigation aid, basically a low-power AM radio station OBS Omnibearing Selector - part of a VOR receiver system, which allows the pilot to select a course to or from a VOR station PAR Precision Approach Radar - a ground-radar based instrument approach which provides both horizontal and vertical guidance RMI Radio Magnetic Indicator - an ADF-like display with a pair of pointers which might be attached to either VOR or ADF receivers RNAV aRea Navigation - a VOR/DME based system which allows one to fly to an arbitrary point, rather than to a point under which a VOR exists Squawk A 4-digit (actually 4-octal-digit -> 12-bit) number which is set into a transponder by the pilot to identify the aircraft to air traffic controllers Transponder an airborne transmitter which responds to a ground-based interrogation signal to provide air traffic controllers with more accurate and reliable position information than would be possible with "passive" radar; a transponder may also provide air traffic control with an aircraft's altitude VOR VHF Omnidirectional Range - a common type of electronic navigation aid; the acronym refers both to the ground station and the airborne receiver. Organizations, etc. 99's The Ninety-Nines, Inc., Will Rogers World Airport, P.O. Box 59965, Oklahoma City, OK 73159; 405/685-7969, fax 405/685-7985 [the 99's is the International Organization of Women Pilots] AOPA Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, 421 Aviation Way, Frederick, MD 21701; 1-800-USA-AOPA or 1-301-695-2000; FAX 1-301-695-2375 or http://www.aopa.org/ ARTCC Air Route Traffic Control Center - a "long-distance" ATC facility, known more briefly as "Center" ASRS Aviation Safety Reporting System (voluntary NASA safety program) [write to: Aviation Safety Reporting System, NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA 94035-0189, or call 1-415-969-3969; Sue McCarthy should be able to send you copies of form 277 and/or a free subscription to the monthly _Callback_ newsletter] ATC Air Traffic Control CAA Civil Aviation Authority (U.K.) CAP Civil Air Patrol DOT Department of Transportation (U.S); Department of Transport (Canada) EAA Experimental Aircraft Association, PO Box 3086, Oshkosh, WI 54903 Phone 1-414-426-4800; FAX 1-414-426-4828; Membership 1-800-843-3612 or http://www.eaa.org FAA Federal Aviation Administration (U.S.) FAI Federation Aeronautique International FBO Fixed-Base Operator - a firm on an airport which maintains, rents, sells, and/or fuels aircraft, and may also provide flight training FSDO Flight Standards District Office - an FAA field office FSS Flight Service Station - an FAA facility which provides weather information to pilots and allows them to file flight plans GADO General Aviation District Office - an FAA field office for G.A. only LTAS The Lighter-Than-Air Society, 1800 Triplett Blvd., Akron, OH 44306 NASA National Aeronautics and Space Administration (U.S.) NOAA National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (U.S.) NOS National Ocean Service, part of NOAA [they print aviation charts] NTSB National Transportation Safety Board (U.S.) NWS National Weather Service (U.S.) OSH Oshkosh, WI (see next entry) Oshkosh Wisconsin is the site of the annual EAA convention, the largest gathering of aircraft in the world -- typically, over 15,000 aircraft are on site. Oshkosh '96 is August 1 through August 7. Details: http://199.201.68.240/ SSA Soaring Society of America, PO Box E, Hobbs, NM 88241 http://acro.harvard.edu/SSA/ssa_homepg.html TAP Trade-A-Plane, PO Box 509, 410 West 4th St., Crossville, TN 38557 1-615-484-5137 USHGA United States Hang Gliding Association [POB 8300 Colo Springs CO 80933] Airspace Changes to the U.S. Airspace system were instituted on 9/16/93; the changes are primarily nomenclature, as shown below. Note that there are a few rules changes in addition to name changes -- consult the latest AIM. 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 Miscellaneous A&P Airframe and Powerplant - the basic FAA aircraft maintenance rating AGL Above Ground Level - distance above the ground you're over right now AIM Airman's Information Manual Avgas Aviation gasoline (two primary grades, 80 and 100 octane) ATIS Automatic Terminal Information Service - pre-recorded airport weather BFR Biennial Flight Review - an instructional review session required of all U.S. pilots once every two years CAVU Ceiling and visibility unrestricted (clear or scattered, vis > 10 miles) DUATS Direct User Access Terminal System (on-line weather briefings) FAQ Frequently Asked Questions (this posting) FS Flight Simulator, usually Microsoft's IA Inspection Authorization - added to an A&P, allows sign-off of annuals IMC Instrument Meteorological Conditions - flying in conditions below those required for VFR flight; colloquially, "in the clouds" IMHO in my humble opinion LTA Lighter Than Air MEA Minimum Enroute Altitude (IFR) MOCA Minimum Obstacle Clearance Altitude (IFR) MP Manifold Pressure (usually refers to the gauge which is the primary indication of power output in aircraft with controllable-pitch props) MSL Mean Sea Level - altitude above the ocean Mogas Motor (automotive) gasoline NORDO No-radio NPRM Notice of Proposed Rulemaking O2 Oxygen (Aviator's Breathing Oxygen, of course!) OAT Outside Air Temperature PIC Pilot In Command POH Pilot's Operating Handbook (the manufacturer's guide to the airplane) SIC Second In Command SMOH Since Major Overhaul STOH Since Top Overhaul (cylinders, etc., but not crankshaft, etc.) STC Supplemental Type Certificate SVFR Special VFR - allows VFR flight in the vicinity of an airport in less than VFR conditions under restricted circumstances TANSTAAFL There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch [R. Heinlein] TBO Time Between (or Before) Overhaul TSO Technical Standard Order VASI Visual Approach Slope Indicator VMC Visual Meteorological Conditions - flying in conditions at least as good as the minimums required for VFR flight Frequently-Noted Places AGC Pittsburgh (Allegheny Co.) PA BED Hanscom Field, Bedford MA BMG Bloomington, IN BOS Boston MA BVY Beverly MA CGX Chicago (Meigs) IL CMH Port Columbus OH CMI Champaign-Urbana IL DCA Washington (National) DC DAY Dayton OH EFD Ellington Field, Houston TX HPN White Plains NY HWD Hayward CA IAD Dulles International, Washington DC IAH Houston (Intercontinental) TX IPT Williamsport PA LAX Los Angeles CA LGB Long Beach CA MVY Martha's Vineyard MA MYF Montgomery Field, San Diego CA OAK Oakland CA ORD Orchard Field, a.k.a O'Hare, Chicago IL PAO Palo Alto CA RHV Reid-Hillview Intergalactic, San Jose CA SFO San Francisco CA SJC San Jose CA SMO Santa Monica CA SNA Santa Ana (Orange County) CA STL St. Louis (Lambert) MO TEB Teterboro NJ VNY Van Nuys CA
Subject: The rec.aviation guide to proper spelling 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 turbulance And 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)
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