The Medical Saga – Let’s Go Flying!

Medical: Approved

Well, I am once again a legal pilot; the FAA Medical Division approved my request when I sent in new lab results approximately 60 days after the deferral.

What this means is I now have to "catch up" on anything else that has lapsed since the deferral occurred - including my Flight Review (which came due why the deferral was happening), and my Part 141 Standardization for one of the flight schools where I instruct.

I'll post more about the process and exactly what occurred and more, but I just wanted to announce that I can once again strap on my wings!



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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.

Click here to display the answer...

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.

Click here to display the answer...

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.

Click here to display the answer...

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

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My Favorite Destination – a Blogging in Formation Post

Blogging in FormationSo once again this month I feel at a bit of a disadvantage being the least prolific and least experienced aviator of the esteemed Blogging in Formation bunch, as I have been to significantly fewer destinations at this point in my aviation career.

So bear with me this month as I get a bit ethereal with my post, and give you some places that I have been (whether by airplane or not), as well as some places that I would like to go (by airplane, not not).

My wife and I traveled to Phoenix years ago to visit her grandparents, and while we were there, we drove to Sedona, AZ. Being a pilot, I couldn't pass up the chance to check out the airport while I was there, which is located at the top of a mesa, and the runway extends pretty much to both ends, with a drop off on both sides.

Approaching KSEZ from the south

Sedona was beautiful, though a little tourist-y. That said, even though I did not get the opportunity to fly in to Sedona's airport (KSEZ, if you want to look it up), it made a mark in my memory and is a place I definitely want to fly to someday. It feels similar to Ron Rapp's recent Blogging in Formation post regarding Catalina Island, since they both have sharp drops at the end of both sides of the runway, and serve a visually stunning location to their lucky visitors (so add Santa Catalina to my list of must-visit airports... by plane, preferably).

Another airport I told myself I would fly to is Meigs Field, in Chicago. It was literally IN Lake Michigan, and walking distance from the city, which you can see in this image:

Meigs Field, Chicago, IL

When I was a fairly fresh-minted Private Pilot, Meigs Field was under constant attack from the city, who wanted the land the airport sat upon to turn into commercial property (you can see from the picture that condos built on that area of land would have unbelievable views of the lake and the city, and because of that would be worth millions to developers). I followed the nnews about Meigs closely, thinking I better go before they close the airport.

Then, the Friends of Meigs Field and the city & State came to an agreement that would keep the airport open for many more years (24 more to be exact, which would mean the airport would remain open until 2026), and I breathed a sigh of relief and put off my plans to fly in there, thinking I now had more time to do so (and being newly graduated from college and just starting my career, I had little money to spend to fly there anyway).

Most of you can guess where this story goes (as you probably remember the story as well or better than I do). Chicago Mayor Richard Daley illegally bulldozed Meigs' runway. He gave no notice to airport residents, and stranded many aircraft airport (the planes ultimately departed using the taxiway).

Meigs Field Midnight Demolition

So, perhaps my ultimate favorite destination is one that I have never been to, nor can I ever go. At least not by plane. The moral of this story? Don't wait. If you want to fly into a specific airport, GO. You never know whether tomorrow a power-hungry and criminal mayor or governor will destroy your airport (Santa Monica, look out - your current situation sounds a lot like Chicago's all those years ago)!

Now to get really weird on you - my ultimate favorite destination?

Books about aviation. I could read Richard Bach's "A Gift Of Wings" over and over and over and never tire of where he takes me... from a hidden airport in a cave populated by aviation scofflaw bandits, to your run-of-the-mill hangar where a pilot works on his airplane and has a religious discussion with an observer, and everything in-between.

I'm re-reading Bach's book "One" currently, which is not one of his best, but has some great moments in it where he meets versions of himself from different times and dimensions where his past self made different choices than his current self did.

Chuck Yeager's autobiography is a great read.

I read Runway Zero Eight when I was a pre-teen, and probably ought to read it again soon.

I just read The Dog Stars, which is only tangentially aviation-related, but was enough to keep me interested in the rest of the story, too (which is pretty good, by the way, even without the aviation thread).

Give me a book about aviation, and you've made a very happy camper. My wife, on the other hand, will probably no longer like you, because she'll lose me most evenings while I read before bed and tune out pretty much everything else. Something I need to work on.

So those are my favorite aviation destinations - what are yours?

P.S. Don't forget to check out the rest of the Blogging in Formation group's postings this month:

Feb 1: Eric Auxier and Ron Rapp

Day 2 (Feb 2): Mark L. Berry and Brent Owens

Day 3 (Feb 3): Rob Burgon and Andrew Hartley

Day 4 (Feb 4): Karlene Petitt and Chip Shanle


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