Solo Topic Briefs

Operations at Nontowered Airports

A nontowered airport is simply an airfield without an operating air traffic control tower. Some 12,000 airports in the United States match this description, compared to some 400 airports with control towers. Millions of operations in all types of aircraft are conducted safely at nontowered airports because pilots put safety first and use these standard procedures.

Operations at Nontowered Airports (PDF)

Operations at Towered Airports

Towered airports can be more challenging to pilots of small airplanes. They're often larger and more complex, and the traffic mix frequently includes faster aircraft. Pilots must also comply with air traffic controller instructions, both in the air and on the ground. Information in this publication will help you to avoid a runway incursion, which is unauthorized entry to a runway — a continuing problem and the subject of an intensive educational campaign.

Operations at Towered Airports (PDF)

Airspace for Everyone

This publication examines the airspace structure and reviews how pilots are expected — and, indeed, are required — to operate within it. Can you define all six airspace categories? Do you know the differences between controlled and uncontrolled airspace? You'll find the answers to these and many other airspace questions here.

Airspace for Everyone (PDF)

Airspace requirements for weather minimums and conditions

Fuel Awareness

There is a lot that pilots have to know about fuel and fuel management. If you let your airplane run out of fuel in flight, it's not as simple as pulling off the side of the road in your car. You'll glide to an unplanned landing, and it probably won't be at an airport. This publication discusses fuel and fuel management in detail, and offers suggestions that will help you reduce your chances of having a fuel-related accident.

Fuel Awareness (PDF)

Maneuvering Flight - Hazardous to Your Health?

More than one-quarter (26.6 percent) of all fatal accidents in the last 10 years occurred during maneuvering flight, which includes buzzing, formation flying, aerial work, stalls/spins, canyon flying, aerobatics, and normal flight operation. Basically, any type of flying performed close to the ground — the traffic pattern, for example — or involving steep turns and aerobatics is considered maneuvering. Read this publication to learn more about how to perform maneuvering flight safely.

Maneuvering Flight - Hazardous to Your Health? (PDF)

Runway Incursion Analysis

General aviation aircraft have been involved in a number of serious runway incursion incidents, resulting from unauthorized entry onto a runway — usually when another aircraft was using it to take off or land. This special AOPA Air Safety Foundation Web page was created as a pilot awareness and education tool. Want to test your knowledge on the subject? Follow the link to the foundation's free Runway Safety Program, an online training course designed to teach pilots about runway incursion avoidance.

Runway Incursion Analysis

The full range of Safety Advisors is available on the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's website.