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Training and Reference
By Ryan Ferguson, © 2001-2005

Welcome to the Training and Reference section. Here I've assembled the best net-based training aids and reference materials I could find. I've credited the original authors/programmers wherever appropriate. My thanks to those who've made it possible to compile this information into a comprehensive resource!

June 4th, 2003 update: Looking for the Flight Instructor Quick Reference documents? They've been moved to their own section. Click here to go there now.
Disclaimer: None of the articles or materials presented at this site are meant to be instructional in nature. Always refer to your aircraft's Pilot Operating Handbook. Do not attempt any new flight maneuvers or procedures that may be outlined in these articles without a qualified, experienced CFI on-board.

Note: many of these tools utilize java. For best results, I recommend Internet Explorer 5.0 or higher.

ADF Trainer ADF Trainer
Training The ADF Trainer. Learn how this instrument works, and how to correlate instrument indications with aircraft position. Includes a quiz mode to test your knowledge. Courtesy Roy Epperson. [GO] »

VOR Trainer VOR Trainer
Training Use the VOR Trainer to learn the ins and outs (and tos and froms) of this navigational instrument. Choose between the VOR Trainer and the Dual VOR Trainer. Includes a quiz mode. Courtesy Roy Epperson. [VOR TRAINER] »

Thumbs up I also recommend Joe Campbell's VOR Tutorial, which you may find useful.

HSI Trainer HSI Trainer
Training The HSI (Horizontal Situation Indicator) is an instrument which looks like a DG and VOR merged together. Learn how to use this instrument with the HSI Trainer. Also be sure to view the HSI/VOR Comparison to get a better understanding of what the instrument's indications mean. Includes a quiz mode. Courtesy Roy Epperson. [HSI TRAINER] »

Holding Pattern Trainer Holding Pattern Trainer
Training Holds challenge every instrument student, and must be practiced periodically to stay current under the rules of Pt. 61. Since general aviation pilots don't often experience holds in the IFR system, this trainer can be handy to get reacquainted with intersection and VOR holds, as well as hold entries. Features VOR and intersection holds. Includes a quiz mode. Courtesy Roy Epperson. [HOLDING PATTERN TRAINER] »

Air Navigation Simulator Air Navigation Simulator
Training Fly the Air Navigation Simulator and come up with a position fix based on the indications of the two VORs. Very useful for increasing knowledge of how to use VORs for navigation. Courtesy Tim Carlson. [AIR NAV SIMULATOR] »

Air Density Simulator Air Density Simulator
Reference An interactive demonstration of the effects of altitude on factors such as air density, temperature, lift ratios, and more. Courtesy your taxpayer dollars. (NASA) [AIR DENSITY SIMULATOR] »

Useful reference links
Last updated December 22nd, 2004

These are all links which I consider to be of the utmost value and interest to pilots. I've set these aside from a standard 'links' page because I truly view these as reference or 'permanent' bookmarks which should be utilized often. As of the date listed above, all links have been tested for accuracy.



  • The Possible Impossible Turn
    Can you make it back to the airport when the powerplant of your single-engine aircraft fails below 1000 ft. AGL? Read this study by Professor David F. Rogers. Alternatively, check the raw data from which the article was developed here.

  • Denver ARTCC's Introduction to High Mountain Flying
    FAA's stab at mountain flying safety information. Not bad.

  • List of toll-free AFSS telephone numbers
    Kept up-to-date by AOPA.

  • AIM
    The best publication ever produced by the FAA - the Aeronautical Information Manual.

  • ASRS Callback
    From the ASRS files: Callback! New issue published monthly.

  • NTAP
    Notices to Airmen Publication. Remember, you don't get 'published' NOTAMs during a FSS weather briefing; ask for Class II NOTAMs from the briefer, or consult this link.

  • Thumbs up Airnav.com
    I use this site for every cross-country I plan. The most useful feature, in my opinion, is the ability to read comments on the various FBOs at different fields. I've avoided a lot of bad experiences this way.

    A good government aviation service for pilots. Student pilots, fax in your endorsed student pilot certificate to gain access. Invaluable!

  • FAA Pilot/Controller Glossary (P/CG)
    Use this as a reference for any and all phraseology/communications questions you may have.

  • FAA Order 7110.65 (Air Traffic Control)
    ATC's handbook for phraseology and procedures.

  • Orlando FSDO
    The Orlando Flight Standards District Office. Good links here.

  • Radio frequency bands supporting aviation
    The various frequency bands used in flight. Nav (HF, UHF, NDBs, etc.), comm, etc.

  • AOPA
    Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. If you're not a member, you should be. AOPA is an organization which fights tirelessly on behalf of general aviation. They deserve your support.

  • Thumbs up Air Safety Foundation Instructor Reports
    Instructor tips from AOPA's Air Safety Foundation.

  • Great Circle Mapper
    Find the great-circle routes and distances for your next flight.

  • Designated Pilot Examiner List
    Looking for an examiner for a particular flight test or type aircraft? Use this page.

  • FAA Type Designations
    Aircraft type designations for use in filing flight plans. I.e. Piper Seneca = PA34, Beech Starship = STAR, etc.

  • Thumbs up Physical Description of Lift
    The straight scoop on the Newtonian principles that explain lift. STOP ABUSING BERNOULLI!

  • Thumbs up See How It Flies
    John S. Denker's illustrated explanation of the principles of flight.

  • Aviation Safety Reporting System
    Commonly referred to as ASRS, these safety forms are a must-have item in every airman's flight bag. Pilots are guaranteed immunity from enforcement action provided a few key criteria are met.

  • Thumbs up NACO Approach plates
    Look up STARS, DPs, and any published IAP in the United States (and points elsewhere.)


  • Thumbs up AOPA's Logging PIC Time overview
    Requires AOPA member access. A clear and concise summation of the PIC logging rules.

  • FAA Order 8700.1
    Sometimes you have to go to 8700.1 to find waivers for various flight activities that are actually legal despite what 14 CFR 61 or 91 say. For example, why VFR aircraft can be legally flown on an IFR flight plan. (p. 8-2, paragraph 17.)

    p. 8-2, paragraph 17 states:

    "17. Use of aircraft not approved for IFR operations under its type certificate for instrument training and/or airman certification testing. The following paragraphs are intended to clarify the use of an aircraft not approved for IFR operations under its type certificate for instrument flight training and/or airman certification testing.

    A. IFR Training in Visual Meteorological Conditions (VMC). Instrument flight training may be conducted during VMC in any aircraft that meets the equipment requirements of §§ 91.109, 91.205, and, for an airplane* operated in controlled airspace under the IFR system, §§ 91.411 and 91.413. An aircraft may be operated on an IFR flight plan under IFR in VMC, provided the pilot in command (PIC) is properly certificated to operate the aircraft under IFR. However, if the aircraft is not approved for IFR operations under its type certificate, or if the appropriate instruments and equipment are not installed or are not operative, operations in instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) are prohibited. The PIC of such an aircraft must cancel the IFR flight plan in use and avoid flight into IMC."

    From the FAA Pt. 61 FAQ, John Lynch adds this note: [* Intent of paragraph A: Although in this paragraph it states just “. . . airplane . . . .” on the 3rd line that is asterisked, this policy also applies to helicopters and all other categories and classes and types of aircraft]

  • NTSB Pt. 830
    Immediate notification, preservation of aircraft wreckage, and reports/statements regs.

  • Federal Aviation Regulations
    The Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations, courtesy of Landings.com.

  • Pt. 61 FAQ
    'Official' FAA interpretations of Pt. 61 and answers to frequently asked questions.

  • Practical Test Standards (PTS)
    Direct link to the AFS 600 PTS section.

  • FAA Advisory Circular index
    AC central.

  • FAA Advisory Circular Drafts
    Draft advisory circulars in a central location.

  • FAA-AFS 600 Regulatory Support Division
    Advisory circulars, ADs, STCs, Airman Testing Standards, Practical Test Standards, and other good info.
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