B – Reading comprehension

B – Reading comprehension

Carefully read the short text or document linked to the aviation world (i.e. NOTAM, safety information, meteorological report…). Afterwards, summarize the subject, speak about it in order to show that you have understood the meaning and the content of the document.

My tips:

  • Check your summary/explanation with the full text afterwards.
  • At the test, you have approximately 2 minutes to read and review it.
  • The examiners will invite you to speak about the document you have just read.
  • They may ask you questions if they deem it useful.
  • All documents are in one way or another related to aviation.

Here are examples of documents:

This document is a chart showing what may be described as the normal decrease in safety margin during the course of an average flight.

There are two obvious but significant observations here: accidents are most likely to occur during approaches and landings, and it is the landing phase—at the end of the flight—where the workload and fatigue factor are at their maximum.

We can also see that the taking-off phase is the second phase during which the safety margin decreases.

The level of pilot capabilities reduces gradually during all the duration of the flight.

LGAV 230850Z VRB03KT 9999 FEW030 BKN070 23/16 Q1009 NOSIG

Location is LGAV (Athens in Greece) – Day of month is 23, Time: 08:50 UTC
Wind is variable in direction; speed = 3 knots
Visibility is 10 km or more
Cloud coverage: few (1 to 2 oktas) at 3000 feet above aerodrome level
Cloud coverage: broken (5 to 7 oktas) at 7000 feet above aerodrome level
Temperature is 23 degrees Celsius
Dewpoint is 16 degrees Celsius
QNH (msl pressure).: 1009 hPa
No significant changes for the next 2 hours

This document depicts and explains what you can carry through security as hand luggage for flights departing from Julian Adolph Penget International Airport.

Only limited quantities of liquids may be carried through airport security into the departure lounge. This includes bottled drinks, suntan lotion, fragrances, cosmetics and toiletries. Liquids may only be carried in containers holding 3oz ( that is 100ml) or less. They must be carried separately in a single bag which is transparent. The following exceptions will be made to the 100ml rule: baby food or baby milk, liquid medicine or formula.

The articles presented in the second part of the documents are banned in hand baggage: guns, flammable or explosive materials, sharp objects, tools,…

I do believe that these controls are necessary for the security of the airport and flights, but it takes a lot of time and you have to be at the airport well in advance to make sure you don’t miss the departure.

Here is another example of document for more training:

What is wind shear?

Wind shear refers to a change in wind speed or direction with height in the atmosphere.

Wind shear can also refer to a rapid change in winds over a short horizontal distance experienced by aircraft, conditions that can cause a rapid change in lift, and thus the altitude, of the aircraft.

Some amount of wind shear is always present in the atmosphere, but particularly strong wind shear Wind shear is important for the formation of tornadoes and hail.

Larger values of wind shear also exist near fronts, extra tropical cyclones, and the jet stream.

Wind shear in an atmospheric layer that is clear, but unstable, can result in clear air turbulence.

Interesting facts: To make air travel safer, many airports now have wind shear detection equipment near the ends of runways to warn aircraft if it is too dangerous to land.

Texts from the 2018 database

Minimum Distance Above the Ground

All pilots must fly safely above the ground and within a safe distance of all obstacles. What are the safe distances for a pilot? The FAR 91.119.b states “Over any congested area of a city, town, or settlement, or over any open air assembly of persons, an altitude of 1,000 feet above the highest obstacle within a horizontal radius of 2,000 feet of the aircraft.” Therefore, if the top of the town’s radio transmitter is at an altitude of 1000 feet, an airplane can fly no lower than 1000 feet over the transmitter. Over areas other than congested areas FAR 91.119.c states that a plane can fly no lower than “an altitude of 500 feet above the surface, except over open water or sparsely populated areas. In those cases, the aircraft may not be operated closer than 500 feet to any person, vessel, vehicle, or structure.”

Dead Reckoning

Dead Reckoning (DR) is a method of navigation relying on estimating one’s current track, groundspeed and position based on earlier known positions. Although DR navigation is not much used in practice today, the principles involved may still be employed by pilots to estimate, for example, their ETA for a position ahead, or to estimate an alteration of heading to regain track.

DR navigation is also employed in some electromechanical navigation equipment.

Dead reckoning is the default mode in the event of failure of the input to some FMS systems. This has the effect that heading and true airspeed (perhaps modified by previously encountered wind effects) are fed to the FMS in place of the track and groundspeed derived from GPS or other navigation systems. This event,
which may not be immediately evident to the pilot, results in serious degradation of navigational accuracy.

How to copy your IFR clearance correctly the first time?

First, note that all ATC route clearances are given in the same order. So most instructors I know teach their instrument students to write a vertical column of letters on their pad. The letters from top to bottom are CRAFT. The first letter in the column is C which stands for the clearance limit. Next R is for route, A is for altitude, F is for departure control frequency and T is for transponder code. So now all you have to do is fill in the blanks. Reading the clearance back from top to bottom will impress your controller and all who are listening on the frequency.
Now I add a little more to that to make it even easier. Almost every time the clearance limit is to the destination airport, so I write that down before I call for the clearance. Now I am ready for that tricky part, the route. What I often see is pilots get so wrapped up spelling the destination airport, they are already behind when it gets to the hard stuff. So having that already down gets me ahead rather than behind. Nowadays it is common to get cleared as filed so I also suggest making a symbol that you can quickly scratch on your pad rather than writing that out. One more thing is that the departure control frequency will always start with the number 1, so I put that down before I call as well.