Phoenix Aero Club and Flying School

Instructors ‘Andy ‘Ints

We will be publishing some ‘Andy ‘Ints written by our Instructors and more will be shortly available to Phoenix Aero Club Members.

Here are some examples:

First and Last Light

PLEASE NOTE: FIRST LIGHT and LAST LIGHT MEANING ‘Night’ is that period between the end of the evening civil twilight and the beginning of the morning civil twilight. For all intents and purposes, first light should be construed as the beginning of civil twilight and last light as the end of civil twilight.

The terms ‘sunrise’ and ‘sunset’ have no relevance when calculating day light operating times for the VFR pilot.
NAIPS automatically computes first light and last light. This information can be provided through NAIPS Pilot Access, as part of a telephone briefing, from Flightwatch (AIP GEN 2.7) or from the WillyWeather icon on this page.

Unless the pilot in command holds a command instrument rating or night VFR (NGT VFR) rating and the aircraft is appropriately equipped for flight at night, a VFR flight must not depart from an aerodrome:

    • before first light or after last light (See Visual Flight Guide) and
    • unless the ETA for the destination (or alternate) is at least 10 minutes before last light after allowing for any required holding.

High Voltage warning light on Cessna 172 Instrument Panel

The red warning lamp on the Cessna 172 Instrument Panel marked “High Voltage” is actually a warning light that means “Alternator Off-Line” and indicates that the battery is discharging.

It will be ON during normal PreStart checks, but if it is ON when the engine is running, the alternator is not charging the battery.  If this happens, you should confirm discharge by checking the ammeter.The High Voltage warning light may be due ON with the engine running due to the Overvoltage Sensor relay switching the alternator off-line, but can also occur if the alternator belt has broken, or if the alternator is switched off.

If the High Voltage light is ON when the engine is running, and the Ammeter indicates discharge, this may be able to be fixed by cycling the Alternator switch off and on.

The Alternator switch is marked DO NOT TURN ALTERNATOR OFF IN FLIGHT as a CASA requirement because switching a working alternator off in flight (with a low battery voltage) can result in the alternator not coming back on-line when switched back on if the battery voltage is insufficient to excite the alternator fields.

If this occurs, turn off all non-essential electrical equipment (this is called “load-shedding”) and retry switching the alternator on.  Always do a full in-flight troubleshooting check in case your diagnosis is WRONG.

If the alternator does not come on-line, you have about 30 mins of electrical power (with a fully charged battery) so return to the field and make an early radio call while radio is still working. On a long cross-country flight, turn all  electrics off, including radios and nav aids (by turning off the Master Switch) and stay in Class G airspace until approaching your destination where you will be able to have the problem fixed which is a priority.

Revise the general “Communication and NAVAID Failure” procedures in ERSA Emerg AND “VFR Communication Failure” procedures in ERSA for the aerodrome concerned.

Note that the engine runs normally even with a flat battery because the spark plugs are energised by the magnetos, not by the alternator and battery, but electrically driven flaps will not operate.

Always ASK your INSTRUCTOR for further information or clarification !!

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