AIRCRAFT TECHNICAL GENERAL MODULE
What does a pilot need to know about the airplane? In a nutshell, a pilot should have a good idea what makes his airplane get up in the air and keep flying – basically, the airplane systems and aerodynamics. These two basic knowledge areas split into a number of specialist sections. See the end of this page for a list of links that will go into specific details for each of these sections. An aircraft consists of a number of systems, namely the aircraft structural system including control surfaces and undercarriage, avionics and instruments, the aircraft powerplant including the engine, propeller, ignition and the fuel system, and the aircraft electrical systems and vacuum systems. The flight principles area covers the fundamentals of areodynamics, i.e. basic physics of objects moving through air, airplane aerodynamic, i.e. the way airplanes in particular move through air, as well as a number of effects that are encountered when flying, such as ground effect, aerodynamics of a turn etc.
What does a private pilot need to know about aviation weather? Aviation weather is an important knowledge area for any pilot. The general principles of weather formation as well as the effects that certain weather features have on flight, in particular weather hazards to aviation - such as thunderstorms, ice or differing degrees of visibility, are part of this area. In addition, skills in reading weather charts or satelite images, as well as an introduction to the most important aviation weather forecast services form part of the pilot training. This area splits into a number of specialist sections. See the end of the page for a list of these. The knowledge areas covered on this page correspond with the area that is subject of the FAA Aeronautical Weather Question bank. If you want to check the knowledge you already possess in this area click on the link a few lines further down. Clicking on the link will open a new window, so that you can return to this page for further study. Hopefully you will be able tp improve your score after studying these pages. Please note, that the question answer page opening when you click on the link is timed and you might find it easier to try to do this first test in one go, come back to improve your knowledge and then try the test again. There are also a number of smaller tests at the end of each section that you can take and that will help you to retain the knowledge.
FLIGHT PLANNING MODULE
For flights not in the vicinity of an airport, this must include information on available current weather reports and forecasts, fuel requirements, alternatives available if the planned flight cannot be completed, and any known traffic delays of which the pilot in command has been advised by air traffic control (ATC).
HUMAN PERFOMANCE & LIMITATIONS
As a pilot, it is important to stay aware of the mental and physical standards required for the type of flying done. This page provides information on medical certification and on aeromedical factors related to flying activities.
"Radiotelephony" means transmission of sound (audio) by radio, in contrast to radiotelegraphy (transmission of telegraph signals) or video transmission.
Pilot Operating Handbook
Met Lesson 1
What does a private pilot need to know about aviation weather?
Aviation weather is an important knowledge area for any pilot. The general principles of weather formation as well as the effects that certain weather features have on flight, in particular weather hazards to aviation – such as thunderstorms, ice or differing degrees of visibility, are part of this area. In addition, skills in reading weather charts or satelite images, as well as an introduction to the most important aviation weather forecast services form part of the pilot training.
Aviation Weather – Principles
Whether preparing for a local flight or a long cross-country, flight-planning decisions based on aviation weather can dramatically affect the safety of the flight.
A solid understanding of aviation weather theory provides the tools necessary to understand the reports and forecasts obtained from a Flight Service Station aviation weather specialist and other aviation weather services.
The following pages are designed to help pilots acquire the background knowledge of aviation weather principles necessary to develop sound decision making skills relating to weather. It is important to note, however, that there is no substitute for experience.
Nature of the atmosphere
The atmosphere is a mixture of gases that surround the Earth. This blanket of gases provides protection from ultraviolet rays as well as supporting human, animal, and plant life on the planet. Nitrogen accounts for 78 percent of the gases that comprise the atmosphere, while oxygen makes up 21 percent. Argon, carbon dioxide, and traces of other gases make up the remaining 1 percent.
Figure 1: Composition of the atmosphere.
Within this envelope of gases, there are several recognizable layers of the atmosphere that are defined not only by altitude, but also by the specific characteristics of that level.
Figure 2: Layers of the atmosphere.
The first layer, known as the troposphere, extends from sea level up to 20,000 feet (6 km) over the northern and southern poles and up to 48,000 feet (14.5 km) over the equatorial regions. The vast majority of weather, clouds, storms, and temperature variances occur within this first layer of the atmosphere. Inside the troposphere, the temperature decreases at a rate of about 2°Celsius every 1,000 feet of altitude gain, and the pressure decreases at a rate of about 1 inch per 1,000 feet of altitude gain. At the top of the troposphere is a boundary known as the tropopause, which traps moisture, and the associated weather, in the troposphere. The altitude of the tropopause varies with latitude and with the season of the year; therefore, it takes on an elliptical shape, as opposed to round.
Location of the tropopause is important because it is commonly associated with the location of the jetstream and possible clear air turbulence.
The atmospheric level above the tropopause is the stratosphere, which extends from the tropopause to a height of about 160,000 feet (50 km). Little weather exists in this layer and the air remains stable. At the top of the stratosphere is another boundary known as the stratopause, which exists at approximately 160,000 feet. Directly above this is the mesosphere, which extends to the mesopause boundary at about 280,000 feet (85 km). The temperature in the mesosphere decreases rapidly with an increase in altitude and can be as cold as -90°C. The last layer of the atmosphere is the thermosphere. It starts above the mesosphere and gradually fades into outer space.