Knowing Procedures – Blog 1: Squawk codes

December 31st, 2007

From an Aviation Safety Reporting System report:

The pilot was asked by ATC to “confirm altitude”, and responded
“Maintaining 7500ft”
The pilot was then asked by ATC to “squawk altitude”
And responded by selecting the code of 7500 on his transponder.
On arrival at the airport the pilot was marshalled into a secure area, surrounded by police cars, containing police officers who jumped out and began pointing guns at the aircraft, and a police helicopter began circling overhead.

The pilot suggests using the term Swawk Mode C might be more appropriate phraesology.

Procedures note: Sqwaking altitude requires selecting the transpobder to the altitude mode – “Mode C” which ensures altitude and position are transmitted. Selecting a skwak code of 7500 with the transponder turned on in any mode except standby will transmit the code 7500 to ATC, infering you are being hijacked.

Cessna Training Manuals

Type Rating Training – what to expect.

December 28th, 2007

PPL training tends to be completed on the cheapest aircraft you can get your hands on, this tends to be a two seat trainer which isn’t much use in taking anyone anywhere which you will no doubt desperately want to do once you get your license.
Thus the next logical step after you obtain your license is to complete a new type rating.
Unless you are a owner-flyer with only one aircraft type, it seems to most of us that type rating training never ends, there is always another type you are googled eyed over, or you have the opportunity to fly cheaply, or for paid pilots, your boss wants you to fly.

Such a simple but important aspect of training it is vital for new and non new pilots alike to find out what is involved: What you need to learn, what to watch out for, What to insist on, and where to get the best resources for completing type rating training.

First what is involved:
A type rating may be completed in one training session or over a number of training sessions. A complex type rating for example a B737 typically requires 40 hours simulator flying, including a flight test and approximately two weeks ground school. All ratings simulator or non simulator generally require a minimum of three actual takeoffs and landings in the aircraft, an industry standard rule derived from the aircraft currency requirements.

While learning to fly you are completing your first type rating, only there is so much more to learn. Subsequent type ratings will revise all the skills you learned in your ‘ab-initio’ training, and adapt them for the new type.

Your first type ratings will need to be taken quite seriously, and don’t listen to the “aeroclub – bar” banter that you can just jump in and do a check ride. The jump from a C152 or C172 to a C182 at 60 hours total time is quite big, and will lead to disaster if you are not careful.

Regardless of your level of competence, a type rating always comprises certain minimum requirements, namely technical and operational briefings, a technical exam, and completion of normal, non normal, and emergency procedures.
None of these aspects should be skipped especially if you are completing an instructor type rating.

The technical briefing must cover the aircraft systems and all relevant technical information. The operational briefing will cover normal, non-normal and emergency operating procedures, and may purely detail differences if the type is very similar to others you fly (eg. C150 and C152) or be extremely detailed if the type is complex or very different from those you presently fly.
For comparison of briefing lengths, a C152 pilot converting to a C150 may need an hour briefing, complex types may take from one day to three weeks of ground school, and as a guideline a new complex type should contain a minimum of one day’s briefing, a new PPL converting to a more complex type will typically require about 3 hours briefing.

In preparation for the ground briefing you can revise the manual of the aircraft you are about to fly, and if available obtain a copy of a the ground course notes or a type rating training manual. But regardless of if you have read the manual or not – the briefing needs to be completed in person by a qualified ground instructor, which could be a pilot, flight instructor or a rated engineer. If the ground briefing is not completed by a pilot, the flight instructor will revise relevant flight information in the pre-flight operational briefings.

The flying part of the traiing will include upper air work, circuits, and emergencies. Training begins with the upper air work to provide a introduction to the type. This consists of at least medium turns, steep turns, stall and stall recovery in various configurations, as you are in a the training area, some of the emergencies or non normal situations may be completed at this point (eg. forced landings or precautionary landings), however if it is a significantly different or more complex type you will want to get comfortable in the normal procedures first before you move on to more complicated ones.
Circuit work will provide this comfort zone, and will cover normal circuits until you are competent, then move on to maximum performance (short field), and the non-normal/emergency’s circuits, i.e flapless, glide approach, precautionary landings, system failures, and other applicable circuit emergencies. At least one full forced landing, and any other critical emergency procedures (eg. gear extensions or feathering in twins and turbines*) will be completed in the training area. The final check out depending on the individual countries law usually requires a flight at all up weight and for some ratings a separate flight test will be required.
Again flight training can take from one to forty hours, but if you or your instructor are planning to fly for less than one hour, you are definitely missing something.
*feathering should always be carried out at a position where a landing can be safely made if the engine does not un-feather.

My recommendation, for a PPL to spread their wings once you are feeling confident with the trainer, and still one of my favourites after all these years is the C182. If you want more information about flying the C182, please check out our manuals at: or

(Ed -Sorry – I just had to include a bit of a promo)

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