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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: IFR Flight Plans

Smart Flight Training posts a question (and an answer) you might find on an FAA Knowledge Test or during the oral portion of a checkride each Tuesday.

Today's question is about IFR flight plans and when they are required.

When is an IFR flight plan required?

  1. When less than VFR conditions exist in either class E or class G airspace and in class A airspace.
  2. In all class E airspace when conditions are below VFR, in class A airspace, and in defense zone airspace.
  3. In class E airspace when IMC exists or in class A airspace.




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: Transitioning from VFR to IFR on a Composite Flight Plan

VFR-IFR Transition

Last week's Testing Tuesday post was one of the questions on my Instrument Knowledge test that I had missed while I was studying for the exam. It was one that, this time around, I answered correctly (I always attempt to answer the question before I post it here). Here is one that I answered wrong before, and answered wrong AGAIN before deciding to post it on Smart Flight Training (how embarrassing!). But that's the point, right? Expand our knowledge together and admit our mistakes and missteps in the hope that other pilots will learn from us without having to make the same mistakes we did. After all, there are plenty of mistakes to go around!

On to today's question:

What is the recommended procedure for transitioning from VFR to IFR on a composite flight plan?

  1. Prior to transitioning to IFR, contact the nearest FSS, close the VFR portion, and request ATC clearance.
  2. Upon reaching the proposed point for change to IFR, contact the nearest FSS and cancel your VFR flight plan, then contact ARTCC and request an IFR clearance.
  3. Prior to reaching the point for change to IFR, contact ARTCC, request your IFR clearance, and instruct them to cancel the VFR flight plan.




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: 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: IFR Fuel Requirements

Each Tuesday, Smart Flight Training will post a sample question that a pilot could 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: 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!

IFR Approach

What are the minimum fuel requirements for airplanes in IFR conditions if the first airport of intended landing is forecast to have a 1,500-foot ceiling and 3 miles visibility at flight-planned ETA? Fuel to fly to the first airport of intended landing,

  1. and fly thereafter for 45 minutes at normal cruising speed.
  2. fly to the alternate, and fly thereafter for 45 minutes at normal cruising speed.
  3. fly to the alternate, and fly thereafter for 30 minutes at normal cruising speed.




Click here to display the answer...

I hope this Testing Tuesday question was helpful and thought-provoking, as usual! If you have any questions or concerns about this answer (or have a question that you would like to see on an upcoming Testing Tuesday post), contact us and let us know!


Andrew Hartley is a certificated flight instructor and commercial pilot in Columbus, Ohio. He wonders why his daughter's diaper holds nowhere near the 12-18 pounds it promises.

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