Tuesday, March 24, 2009
New Advanced Avionics Handbook
For many years it seemed that the FAA's handbooks on aircraft flying, aeronautical knowledge, instrument flying, and weather were hopelessly outdated. Yet in the last two years there have been several updates to these publications that included new graphics and information on the latest equipment, theory, and sources of weather data. All of these books are available in PDF format at no charge, which helps reduce the cost of learning to fly or earning an instrument rating.
One of the books that caught my eye when it first came out was the FAA's Instrument Procedures Handbook. This completely new publication provided much needed information on ATC procedures, instrument approaches, and other stuff that was missing or inappropriate for inclusion in the Instrument Flying Handbook.
The latest new release from the FAA is the Advanced Avionics Handbook, which provides a lot of good conceptual information on the use of GPS and RNAV. This book does not depend on any particular brand of GPS or glass cockpit, which makes it great introduction to pilots who are considering or curious about glass cockpit or GPS training. This book touches on GPS and RNAV procedures, pitfalls, and recommended practices in a way that is independent of the model of GPS, PFD, or MFD that you might use.
While this book is not a substitute for thorough training in the use of your particular brand of avionics, it's a great way to get a leg up on transitioning to a glass cockpit or to a GPS-equipped aircraft. Even if you are experienced in using advanced avionics you should find this book contains good advice and explanations on pitfalls and common errors.
And did I mention you can download it for free? I think I did ...