Are Two “I’s” Better Than One?
True or False: A private pilot with an airplane, single-engine land rating can always be guaranteed to receive better flight instruction if he gets it from an instrument flight instructor.
Answer: There are quite a few (like, nine) instructor ratings: Airplane Single Engine, Airplane Multi-Engine, Rotorcraft Helicopter, Rotorcraft Gyroplane, Glider, Instrument Airplane, Instrument Helicopter, Powered-Lift, and Instrument Powered-Lift. (There aren’t many of those, yet.) And despite what you’d think, a CFII doesn’t have to be a CFI, first; these ratings are all totally independent of one another. There is no such thing as a basic instructor rating (the well-known “CFI”) that is a mandatory first step to being any other kind of a flight instructor. One doesn’t necessarily have to start as a CFI in a single-engine airplane, for example. Or to be more esoteric, CFI applicant can initially qualify as an instrument powered-lift instructor. As retired FAA Aviation Safety Inspector, Designated Pilot Examiner, and attorney Frank Phillips, Jr. wrote in a recent issue of “FAAviationews”, each CFI rating stands alone. So the answer to the question is: “false” and although it might indeed be better instruction, it might not be, and it also might not be legal! The bottom line is that, although there are a hierarchy of pilot certificates, as well as ground instructor certificates, and the vast majority of flight instructors working in single-engine trainers probably did work their way up the food chain, as one would expect, it isn’t necessarily always going to be so…so, check!
High Diddle-Diddle, Right Down the Middle
What are “Q” Routes?
- VFR routes which are allowed to traverse Restricted Areas
- high-altitude routes in Europe and Asia
- Area Navigation (RNAV) routes
- low-altitude routes at high latitudes which are not “straight line” but which instead have standardized arcs
Answer: These are only in the high-altitude en route structure for use by aircraft with the proper equipment. That includes those with suffixes /E (FMS with en route, terminal, and approach capability), /F (FMS with en route, terminal, and approach capability that meets the equipment requirements of /E), /G (Global Positioning System/Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) equipped aircraft with en route and terminal capability), /R (Required Navigational Performance), etc. You might wonder: why bother with restricted routes for RNAV capable aircraft, in the first place? The FAA published over 150 such routes in the 1970’s, but the FAA discovered (surprise, surprise) that most RNAV aircraft were using RNAV on a random route basis. They revoked them early in 1983 (except for four such routes in Alaska), but in April 2003 the FAA adopted ICAO terminology and in May, published 11 new RNAV routes in the US domestic high-altitude structure. The answer is choice C.
You’re practicing touch-and-go landings in Class G airspace, at night. Visibility is one and one half statute miles, and you’re flying a reasonably tight pattern, with the downwind leg separated from the upwind and final approach legs by a distance somewhere between one half and two-thirds of a mile. The traffic pattern altitude is 1000 feet AGL, and there is an overcast layer 400 feet above the pattern. Which of the following is true?
- You need at least three miles of flight visibility.
- At night, takeoffs and landings must be to a full stop.
- You’re too close to the ceiling; you must remain 500 feet below the clouds.
- none of the above
Answer: Generally, as it’s specified in CFR Title 14, Part 91.155, VFR visibility minimums in Class G (“uncontrolled” airspace) increase from one statute mile during the day to three miles at night. There is one exception: You need only one statute mile of visibility at night, and need to simply remain “clear of clouds”, if you stay within a half a mile of the runway (and you’re below 1200 AGL). As soon as you go beyond that, weather minima become three statute miles and 500 feet below the clouds (plus 1000 above, and 2000 feet horizontally). But within this short reach, nighttime VFR weather minimums increase to their daytime counterparts. (Be aware though, that the moment you inadvertently enter a cloud, you’d be in violation of the rules. Clouds are much harder to see at night, so this is a real concern. Just because it’s permissible, it isn’t necessarily safe.) You don’t have to make your landings to a full stop unless you need to maintain currency for carrying passengers at night. Since you’ve met most of these criteria, but not all of them (being more than a half mile from the runway on the downwind leg, for one thing), the answer is choice A.