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Testing Tuesday: VFR on Top

VFR on Top is a strange combination of an IFR clearance and a VFR clearance, where a pilot can climb through a layer of clouds and then continue a flight in VFR conditions, but still on an IFR flight plan. A pilot on a VFR on Top flight plan follows both VFR and IFR rules, such as maintaining an altitude at or above the minimum enroute altitude, but also at an appropriate 1000-foot increment plus 500 feet, and assuming responsibility for traffic avoidance.

But how do you obtain a VFR on Top clearance?

When can a VFR-On-Top clearance be assigned by ATC?

  1. Only upon request of the pilot when conditions are indicated to be suitable.
  2. Any time suitable conditions exist and ATC wishes to expedite traffic flow.
  3. When VFR conditions exist, but there is a layer of clouds below the MEA.




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Andrew Hartley is a certificated flight instructor and commercial pilot in Columbus, OH.

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Testing Tuesday: Static System Inspection Requirements

How well do you remember your inspection requirements? How often do you have to inspect your pitot static system? Your Transponder? Your emergency locator transmitter (ELT)? Your VOR(s)? Test your knowledge by answering the following question:

Your aircraft had the static pressure system and altimeter tested and inspected on January 5, of this year, and was found to comply with FAA standards. These systems must be reinspected and approved for use in controlled airspace under IFR by

  1. January 5, next year.
  2. January 5, 2 years hence.
  3. January 31, 2 years hence.




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Andrew Hartley is a certificated flight instructor and commercial pilot in Columbus, Ohio.

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Testing Tuesday: ATC Speed Limits

We know that, for the most part, aircraft must maintain 250 knots or less when they are below ten-thousand feet MSL, but what if Air Traffic conltrol needs to impose a slower (or possibly faster) speed limit? On today's Testing Tuesday, test your knowledge about what you, as PIC, are expected to do when there is an ATC Speed Limit that is different than the regulations state!

What is the pilot in command's responsibility when flying a propeller aircraft within 20 miles of the airport of intended landing and ATC requests the pilot to reduce speed to 160? (Pilot complies with speed adjustment.)

  1. Reduce TAS to 160 knots and maintain until advised by ATC.
  2. Reduce IAS to 160 MPH and maintain until advised by ATC.
  3. Reduce IAS to 160 knots and maintain that speed within 10 knots.




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Andrew Hartley is a certificated flight instructor and commercial pilot in Columbus, Ohio.

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Testing Tuesday: VFR on Top Clearance

Today's Testing Tuesday will be beneficial to both primary students and instrument students, as it discusses that strangest of clearances: VFR on Top.

What is the required flight visibility and distance from clouds if you are operating in in Class E airspace at 9,500 feet MSL with a VFR-On-Top clearance during daylight hours?

  1. 3 SM, 1,000 feet above, 500 feet below, and 2,000 feet horizontal
  2. 5 SM, 500 feet above, 1,000 feet below, and 2,000 feet horizontal
  3. 3 SM, 500 feet above, 1,000 feet below, and 2,000 feet horizontal

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Andrew Hartley is a certificated flight instructor and commercial pilot in Columbus, Ohio.

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Testing Tuesday – Displaced Thresholds

Which runway marking indicates a displaced threshold on an instrument runway?

  1. Red chevron marks in the nonlanding portion of the runway
  2. Centerline dashes starting at the threshold
  3. Arrows leading to the threshold mark




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Andrew Hartley is a certificated flight instructor and commercial pilot in Columbus, Ohio.

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