Off the Grid
True or False: Intersections are always five characters, and always consist of five letters.
Answer: Those familiar intersections, as specified in FAA publication 7350.7G, LOCATION IDENTIFIERS, do indeed consist of five characters, all alphabetic. However, there are also other types of intersections. Did you know for example that there are intersections which are also five characters long, but which consist entirely of numbers? These are used, not by pilots (although they can be) but by the Flight Data Center, whenever airways intersect other airways at otherwise “non-intersection” points. Any time you see Victor airways crossing, with no named intersection, it actually does have a name; it’s just not charted. There are also “High Altitude Redesign” alphanumeric waypoints (initially every two degrees of longitude and 30 minutes of latitude) for FL 390 and above, which are anticipated to be placed at every degree of longitude and 10 minutes of latitude. So, no, they’re not just alphabetic. Most of the ones we’re familiar with are, but they can also be entirely numeric, or a mix. The answer is: “false”.
Earning Your “Wings”
The number of hours of flight instruction needed for a flight review, regardless of whether it is through the Wings program or via a BFR, can be…
- as little as one for a BFR, but always three for Wings
- for a BFR, two; for the Wings program, two or three
- at least one for a BFR; and two, three, or four for Wings
- one hour for a BFR, and anywhere from less than an hour to four hours, for the Wings program
Answer: The biennial flight review must consist of at least an hour of flight time. The Pilot Proficiency Award Program is usually three hours, for fixed wing pilots…unless you happen to be going for your Wings in a glider. In that case, it can theoretically be under an hour, although they would have to be rather short flights to meet the quota as prescribed in Advisory Circular 61-91H, Section 7, paragraph (d). What most pilots never pay attention to however is the following: In that same Section 7, it also requires a fourth hour if the pilot is applying for an odd-numbered award phase, and he or she is not instrument-rated (and also, even if instrument rated, if that pilot is not also instrument current). Thus, even though the “Wings” card has only three lines for the separate hours of flight training required, as described in AC 61-91H, only current instrument-rated airplane pilots can actually get away with those three. If you’re not in that group (unless you happen to fly helicopters, gliders, airships, or ultralights), you need four. The answer is choice D.
It’s Not Easy Being Green
You take a fuel sample during your preflight, and the color of the sample is green. This means
- Either the fuel farm has some real vintage fuel left sloshing around, or you’ve entered a time warp: Grade 100/130 fuel is no longer produced
- Antifreeze has leaked into your fuel tank.
- Two fuel grades have been inadvertently mixed, and you’ve been mis-fueled.
- It’s March 17.
Answer: It could be Saint Patty’s Day, but that’s not the excuse. If two grades were accidentally mixed, they’d come out clear, not green. And it’s doubtful that automotive antifreeze would find its way into your fuel tanks. The answer is choice A.