Just before that, forgive me? I am squeezing in a few websites recommendations, etc. Both for the student, and for the certified pilot.
AOPA: Join! A little like AARP, sometimes... but lots of Good Stuff that will help you become a pilot. And during that, and after you ARE a pilot, there are various products and services that are useful, not least their weather briefings. Yes, you can get them elsewhere. But I had AOPA, anyway, and seem to use that as part of my preparation before every flight. // Their online instructional material is of varying quality and style... be sure to try a few, before thinking "not for me". // Once you ARE a pilot, you need to do a checkride every two years... unless you meet the bi-annual flight review via the AOPA "Wings" program. It (Wings program) can be annoying, but if you "fight your way through", it is easier and less expensive than the alternative flight reviews options.
Skyvector.com: I go here before every flight. Go to the online charts... quickly, easily see the METARS (in summary icons, and in pop-up detail). Also a nice environment for planning flights... zoomable FAA charts.
www.1800wxbrief.comThis is where I've been getting my (obligatory) weather breifings, since the DUATS service ended. You chould satisfy yourself that they meet the FAA requirements for your pre-flight weather breif.
AviationWeather.gov (https://aviationweather.gov/gairmet/plot): Another source of weather information.
FAA TFR info: Another place I go before every flight... to see what TFRs are active.
If you are going to an unfamiliar airport, the following are helpful...
Flightaware.com (https://flightaware.com/resources/airport/KEWB) (This will open to a page about a particualar airport, just use the search bar to select a different one.)... and...
Airnav.com (http://www.airnav.com/airports/) gives you useful information, a thumbnail of the FAA diagram, and a link to download the diagram as a .pdf.
I really enjoy just going up, flying around as a private pilot, and hope you will gain the same priviledges, or at least take a "discovery flight"(.... or two... or three!)
The sites above were very helpful to me in my training, and in my flying life since.
BOOKS: I can't recommend Ron Machado's Private Pilot Handbook too highly. (I never did the traditional ground school... not out of hubris, but out of circumstances. Do groundschool if you can! But get the book to make it easier. Available from, www.RonMachado.comI think, or Abebooks.com or Amazon.com. (The following may work: deep link in Ron's site. Yes, "expensive"... but that will be the most up to date versoin. If it saves you one hour of flight instruction, it will have paid for itself. Or go to Abebooks, do a search restricted by publication date.)
The other book I would recommend, again, Abebooks is probably your best bet: Wolfgang Langewiesche: Stick and Rudder, and Explanation of the Art of Flying". Originally published in 1944! Reissued 1972. 200,000 copies sold. The basic physics of flying hasn't changed, and this classic explains them extremely well. I found the Wikipedia entry on Langewiesche interesting.
And now for what this page is "supposed" to be about!...
These are freeware and shareware for Windows computers.Symbols on weather charts ZAJF
If your circumstances allow a 4 megabyte download, you can collect almost everything on offer from Sheepdog Software in a single zip archive. There is a simple text file in the root of that archive to tell you about what is in it, how to install things. There's also an installer to move the programs to your hard disk and set up shortcuts, but you can just install individual programs, if you would rather. Note that a few new programs... e.g. the airspace visibility and separations trainer... are not in the zip.
Click on short description to go to details and download buttons.
I doubt anyone cares about the following... but I had a burst of trying to be efficient.
The following explains the "how it is packaged" codes (ZAJF, WZSE and ZPIS) which I used above.
Bottom line for most people, I hope: It just works. I hope you will be willing to "complain" (help me) if you don't have that experience.
And for those who do care....
ZAJF: WinZip archive Just holding the necessary Files: You unzip what's in the archive, and you have what you need. The you just double click on the application (which will be one of the files in the archive), and it will start. It won't "do things" to your disc or system... it "just runs"! (Although a few of my programs do write to their own, un-hidden, plain text ini files.) You should install the files in their own folder, and create a shortcut for starting the application. XP friendly. On an XP machine, the OS will take care of the unzipping. On an older machine, you will need Winzip, which can be installed for evaluation without charge.
WZSE: WinZip Self Extracting archive. Allows user to put the extracted files in a folder of user's choice... User can navigate by point & click to an existing folder, and then add the name of new sub-folder to path, to create same. XP friendly, understands about "My Docs", etc. Similar to ZAJF, but has own unzipping mechanism instead of using XP's, or, on an older machine, requiring that you have Winzip installed.
ZPIS: (ZiPpedInstallShield setup package). What you download is a Winzip archive. You unzip that to a temporary folder, which can be wherever you want it. You then run the "setup.exe" program that was contained in the Winzip archive, at which time you will go into an "ordinary" Windows program installation procedure. You are allowed to choose where the program will be installed, but some of my install-shield-packaged programs are not "my documents" aware... you will have to navigate to a folder from "c:", the root of the hard drive. (Folders are called "directories" in such cases... the "old" (1990's) name for a folder.)
Learn some of the symbols you need to know, using a simple but unusual approach.
You'll have to download the basic "engine" application first, and then download the Weather Symbols data set.
(Return to short descriptions list)
Click here to visit the "engine's" main page...Problem? Please report, quote:"prpt"
The program helps you prepare for the FAA Knowledge Test for the private pilot's license.
It presents phrases... often drawn from the FAA questions... some of which are true ("Position lights must be on from sunset to sunrise") and some of which are false ("The normal minimum for VFR flight is 5 miles visibility"). You have to say which is which, and the computer tells you when you are right, helps you when you are wrong.
The freeware version of the program has a selection of questions to give you an idea of what is in the two larger question banks which you can purchase. You can purchase one or the other or both. There is virtually no overlap between the two sets you must pay to use. You must have the full, paid for, version of the main program before you can use the extra databanks, and THESE databanks require an additional license to use... $15 each, if purchased separately, or $25 if you buy both at the same time.... but try the free demo first. It will work with the free demo version of the main program.
There are about 170 phrases in "Set A" and about 210 in "Set B"... some right, some wrong. One FAA Knowledge Test Question usually gives rise to several phrases, one often based on the right answer, as given for the test, and others based on the wrong answers the FAA tries to tempt you with.
The program is part of my general learning utilities, but has been provided with a special question file for PPL students. Further Details available.
You're over the airport. Radios out. The control tower is flashing a red light at you. Was that "Airport unsafe, do not land" (look elsewhere)? Or was it "Give way to others and continue to circle"?
You'll want to know on the day of your test, and you'll REALLY want to know, if it happens for real. (One is the meaning of the flashing red; the other is the meaning of the steady red.)
The computer program presents a table with the signals in one column and the meanings in the second... but the order is scrambled. You click on an entry in each column. If they are a pair, they go away. The time it takes you to clear the board is your score.
Think about it: You can do the ones you know first, and then you'll just have a few left to guess between. Guess wrong, and you get immediate feedback. The next time you may know that it is flashing red that means "unsafe to land". You won't be able to use trial and error to find the answer when you are in the traffic pattern.
Click here for how to download...Problem? Please report, quote:"prpv"
You know the rules about visibility and cloud separation required in different circumstances? You do? Good for you.... you can skip this item!
The program will present questions in the following form. The items in CAPITALS will be replaced in individual questions....
You are at NUMBER feet MSL/AGL. You are in class LETTER airspace.
So, for instance, you might see....
You are at 4000 feet MSL. You are in class G airspace.
You then tell the computer what you think is the visibility and cloud separation required by the FAA in those circumstances... and it lets you know if you were right.
"But!..." I should hear you cry. The question I've shown you is incomplete. If I'd said "You are at 1400 AGL in class Bravo airspace, what visibility and cloud separation is required?", you could answer. But the question above (4000MSL/Golf) doesn't give you everything you need, does it? Sometimes, not always, you need to know if it is day or night. Sometimes, not always, when you have an MSL altitude, you also need to know the AGL altitude (and vice versa). And YOU need to know when you need to know. A computer trainer that always included everything you needed wouldn't be very good preparation for your meeting with the FAA examiner, would it?
This trainer gets around those two problems with two buttons. You click on one if you need to know if it is day or night. You click on the other if you need to know the other altitude. (Questions are presented in MSL and AGL forms.)
You will also, once in a while, see questions like "You are at 19,000 MSL in class Echo airspace". The "answer" here is "This is a trick question. You wouldn't be in Echo airspace if you were at 19,000 feet MSL. (You'd be in Alpha, wouldn't you?) There's a button for "trick question", too.
All the buttons are always available. If you click on the "I need to know if it is day or night" button when answering a Bravo airspace question, you are told (very nicely, of course), that you are wrong.... you don't need to know the time of day.
Maybe I can help you see that this program is worth trying if I tell you that I found twenty different classes of question the examiner can ask you.. and the program varies its questions.... so you may see "You are at 1200 feet AGL in class Bravo airspace", or "You are at 2000 feet MSL in class Bravo airspace", when in fact those two questions are of the same class, and have the same answer. Also, those questions are complete. Quote the same altitudes for an aircraft in class Gulf airspace, and the questions are not complete, and they can have different answers.
Use my training program, and you'll soon be confident of answering any visibility/ cloud separation question correctly. There will be a demo version for free download. Sadly it is not QUITE available yet... but it is working its way towards the door!
At the moment, it is not "polished" and "user friendly"... but it does... unless you tell me otherwise!.. WORK!
Don't be overwhelmed by the complex window. All you really need is the information and buttons at the top of the left hand column. When you have read the question, and, when necessary, clicked on the buttons for additional information, you then just click a visibility requirement and a cloud separation requirement in the panel to the right of the question, e.g. "1 mile" and "Clear of Clouds". As soon as you have done that, the computer will tell you if you are right, and present a new question.
Happy studies! Happy Private Pilot's License... eventually.
The program without a "full features enabling key" is freeware. Enjoy. Pass on. Just, please, do not pass on a key, if you buy one.
Clicking on the download button should cause a .zip archive to be downloaded to your computer. Simply copy the files in the archive to a folder of your choice. It would be best to set up a folder just for these files. I would suggest calling the folder MGA24, and putting it in a higher level folder called SheepdogSoftware, but you can put the files elsewhere, if you'd rather. You can make a shortcut for launching the program, and put it anywhere that suits you.
(Return to short descriptions list)
Click here to download MGA24- Visibility and cloud separations trainer. Problem? Please report, quote:"prpw"
A very, very simple little drill program to help you learn the to read your attitude indicator.
I would like to thank Rod Machado for permission to use his excellent graphics. They were taken from his book, "Private Pilot Handbook" (The link should take you to an Amazon page for it, but such links are frail. Use the ISBN if the link doesn't work.). I can't recommend this too highly to anyone attempting to earn their PPL. ISBN 0-9631229-9-1
This is freeware. Enjoy. Pass on.
Clicking on the download button should cause a .zip archive to be downloaded to your computer. Simply copy the files in the archive to a folder of your choice. It would be best to set up a folder just for these files. I would suggest calling the folder MGA22, and putting it in a higher level folder called SheepdogSoftware, but you can put the files elsewhere, if you'd rather.
(Return to short descriptions list)
Click here to download....Problem? Please report, quote:"prpx"
A very simple little drill program to help you learn the phonetic alphabet suggested by the FAA.
This is shareware. You can run a limited version of the application, to find out what it does, how it works. If you like it, contact me and I will sell you a license to use the full version. Price not yet set in stone... probably c. $10 for a single user license. Remind me I said that when you get in touch! Tell me your required license terms. They will appear on the screen when you are using the application, e.g. "Licensed for use by James Smith".
Clicking on the download button should cause a .zip archive to be downloaded to your computer. Simply copy the files in the archive to a folder of your choice. It would be best to set up a folder just for these files. I would suggest calling the folder MGA21, and putting it in a higher level folder called SheepdogSoftware, but you can put the files elsewhere, if you'd rather.
(Return to short descriptions list)
Click here to download....Problem? Please report, quote:"prpy"
Is this program perfect? No. Will it help US Private Pilot License candidates learn the meanings of the abbreviated remarks which can appear at the end of METARs, and elsewhere? I think so.
A trial version of the program is yours for the downloading. If you decide you like it, all you have to do is buy a registration key by email. You will be sent a file to be added to the folder where you installed the program, and the program will then start operating in full mode. (The file is plain text, just a few lines.)
The program presents METAR remark abbreviations. (Some of them arise elsewhere, too.) You have to say what they mean. If you get stuck, the computer will tell you the right answer. If you are certain you know the answer to a given question, you can skip over it without wasting time typing in the answer.
To help you and to save you typing, there are buttons on the screen which give you most of the words needed. To "say" that FG7 means that fog obscures 7/10 of the sky, you just click on the buttons for "fog", "obscures", "7", "/"... etc.
Please read the ReadMe file which is distributed with the program.
The particular subset of the METAR "dictionary" the program drills you on was drawn from Rod Machado's excellent "Private Pilot Handbook" (The link should take you to an Amazon page for it, but such links are frail. Use the ISBN if the link doesn't work.). I can't recommend this too highly to anyone attempting to earn their PPL. ISBN 0-9631229-9-1
Clicking on the download button should cause a .zip archive to be downloaded to your computer. Simply copy the files in the archive to a folder of your choice. It would be best to set up a folder just for these files. I would suggest calling the folder MGA20mr, and putting it in a higher level folder called SheepdogSoftware, but you can put the files elsewhere, if you'd rather.
(Return to short descriptions list)
Click here to download....Problem? Please report, quote:"prpz"
Click this to go to a page with general freeware, shareware, i.e. applications which do not fall into the following categories
Click this to go to a page with freeware, shareware to help users with 4+3=?, 8 times 6=?, etc
Click this to go to a page with freeware, shareware to help users improve OTHER arithmetic, mathematical skills
Click this to go to a page with freeware, shareware which needs extra hardware before it is useful.
Click this to go to a page with a discussion of FAA test preparation resources from beyond Sheepdog Software.
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