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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

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: IFR Lost Communication Procedures

Scary Headset

Losing communication capabilities is nerve-wracking in VFR conditions, but is relatively straight-forward if you can see where you are going, even if where you are going is controlled airspace - though under VFR you can very easily go to a non-towered airport without talking to anyone and no one would really even know the difference (you might annoy other pilots in the pattern, but you would be perfectly legal). Towered airports can still communicate with you via light signal - you do have those light signals memorized for the checkride right? And if you are post-checkride, you have a cheatsheet on your kneeboard or pasted to your instrument panel, correct?

That said, under IFR, lost communication is a situation that might require a change of underwear upon reaching your destination - how the heck are you supposed to know what you are expected to do if air traffic control can't give you vectors and altitudes?

This Testing Tuesday, we have a question that you will definitely hear on your IFR checkride's oral exam:

What are you expected to do on an instrument flight when two-way communications has been lost?




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: Instrument Interpretation (HSI)

Oh, the HSI.

This instrument, also known as the Horizontal Situation Indicator, is a nightmare if you haven't actually used it. From what I have heard, once you have used one and understand it, they are fantastic. I've talked to pilots who say they won't even fly an airplane that doesn't have one.

In the answer explanation we'll get into some tricks on answering the questions related to the HSI, but also some tricks on how to visualize the HSI and unserstand better what it is telling you - so that you don't need the "answering the question" tricks because you actually understand what the instrument is telling you!

Once again this week we have a question that I missed while studying for my FAA Instrument Rating knowledge test. And here it is:

(Refer to Figures 98 and 99, below) To which aircraft position does HSI presentation "B" correspond?

  1. 9
  2. 13
  3. 19

FAA Instrument Knowledge Test Figure 98

FAA Instrument Knowledge Test Figure 99




Click here to display the answer...

So there you have it! I hope this post has shed a little light on the mysterious HSI - I know I understand them better after trying to explain them here. Hopefully I won't miss this question the next time I see it on an FAA knowledge test!


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

Testing Tuesday is a regular installment, each Tuesday, on the Smart Flight Training Blog. I post these in the hopes that they will help you be more prepared the next time you meet with your flight instructor, since preparation will save you both time and money during your flight training. I also post these because - I'll be honest - it is helping me prepare for the CFII certificate, which I am currently working toward. Two birds, one stone, right?

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Testing Tuesday: Class C Airspace Requirements

FAA Airspace

It's Tuesday again, and that means another installment of Testing Tuesday at Smart Flight Training!

I hope these question and answer sessions are helpful for you, but I'll be honest: I'm doing these for myself, too. I needed to continue to work on my CFII (Certificated Flight Instructor - Instrument) knowledge, and this seems as good a place as any to make sure my knowledge is strong as I move closer to that goal that, I'll admit, I've already missed the deadline I set for myself.

With that said, let's get on to today's question:

What minimum aircraft equipment is required for operation within class C airspace?

  1. Two way communications and Mode C transponder
  2. Two way communications
  3. Transponder and DME




Click here to display the answer...

Well, hopefully this Testing Tuesday post was helpful. This was a question I myself missed when I was originally studying for my Instrument Rating knowledge test, so it was good to review this and make sure I don't miss it again and can teach it to my future instrument students accurately and well.

Please let us know what you think about our Testing Tuesdays, and let us know if you have a question you would like answered - maybe something you missed on your own knowledge tests along the way, or something you were asked during the oral portion of a checkride. Let's make this more social, more interactive, more interesting! Try to stump me, try to stump the rest of my readers! You shouldn't have much trouble stumping me, but my readers are smart, so that will not be an easy task!


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

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Testing Tuesday: Wake Turbulence

It's #TestingTuesday - prepare yourself and learn to fly smarter!

Wing Vortices

What wind condition prolongs the hazards of wake turbulence on a landing runway for the longest period of time?

  1. Direct headwind.
  2. Direct tailwind.
  3. Light quartering tailwind.




Click here to display the answer...


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

ABOUT TESTING TUESDAY: Each Tuesday, Smart Flight Training will post a sample question that a pilot might expect to see on an FAA Knowledge Test or hear during the oral portion of a checkride. A little known secret to saving money and time during your flight training is PREPARATION! Hopefully Testing Tuesday post will be one small step in helping you live up to your side of learning to fly by being prepared when you meet with your flight instructor, saving you money and time! Good luck on the below question – click the link at the bottom to see the answer and explanation!

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