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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: 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: 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: Special Use Airspace – MOAs

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 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!

What action should a pilot take when operating under VFR in a Military Operations Area (MOA)?

  1. Obtain a clearance from the controlling agency prior to entering the MOA.
  2. Operate only on the airways that transverse the MOA.
  3. Exercise extreme caution when military activity is being conducted.




Click here to display the answer...

Andrew Hartley is a certificated flight instructor and commercial pilot in Columbus, Ohio. He scoffs at gravity.

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