There was time when I attended a safety pilot seminar monthly. Be it hosted by the FAA Safety Office, AOPA, 99s or other aviation organizations. In fact I helped organize some fly n talk safety seminars as an active member of the local SLO chapter of the 99s. Living in a small town with numerous highly active aviation organizations there was never a chance to feel rusty.
Lately that is what I have been feeling. Rusty. I no longer fly as often as I did and I am sorry to report that today was the first in person safety seminar I have attended in the last 4 years (sans the one or two AOPA webinars I managed to listen in to). Living in a large metropolitan area, commuting on a weekday competing with the rush hour traffic attempting to get home expeditiously, it is impossible to consider attending a safety seminar.
Safety seminars on any topic are a great asset to general aviation pilots. It’s a shame to pay $50 when AOPA hosts so many freely if only they were conveniently timed and located. But considering I hadn’t attended one in 4 years, it was still worth the cost to attend one to review all that I had learned during my private pilot training. An in person safety seminar is also an excellent way to get all your doubts and questions answered. I even managed to come away learning something I did not know before!
- It is okay to fly with an expired on-board GPS database if you have verified that the approach you are going to fly has not changed
- It is not okay and probably not good to use the GPS overlay to an ILS or conventional procedure since the lateral tracking is not as precise or adjusted as is necessary for those procedures.
- Look in the AFD if there is an “*” denoted in the aeronautical chart next to the airport information labels [for e.g. *L (usually related to lighting), RP* (related to traffic pattern)]
- Duats now provides a synopsis of your flight plan for three different altitudes if you so desire (based on weather and aircraft information such as flight time and distance flown for three different altitudes)
- There is a lot of new layers in skyvector.com for displaying weather information and planning route