PA and VA are the ham radio authorizations... one for Portable units, one for Vehicle mounted units (not sure why they require separate authorizations). Technically there is... or was... a USHPA SOP somewhere that says passing the USHPA written test for those authorizations is required to operate a radio on the USHPA (business band I think?) frequencies. It's otherwise illegal per the FCC to use those channels, which is why most radios need to be "bumped" in order to transmit on the USHPA freqs.
Regarding the comment above about S's and 8's vs Downwind Base Final (DBF) aka "aircraft approach" - anyone, and I mean ANYONE that feels they can say one is better over the other is basically making a statement of their ignorance. (Sorry Fred)
Without going to far down that rabbit hole- each of those approach types have pro's and con's, strengths and weaknesses, and as such each has their own set of circumstances where one is "better"... but a blanket statement applied to all pilots, all conditions, all LZ's... no sir. And I don't really care if someone on the internet is wrong
, but a statement like that could discourage impressionable pilots away from one type of approach, and into using the other... in situations where they'd be safer and better suited with the shamed approach.
And any discussion about 8's vs DBF wouldn't be complete without encouraging all pilots to get good at one style of approach, and then
get good at the other. Repetition is instrumental to perfecting anything, so if you perform a different approach every landing it's near impossible to dial in any kind of accuracy or perfection of execution. If you instead generally do 8's *or* a DBF (excluding specific cases where it's clearly better to do the other), you'll get much better at planning out the approach, adjusting as needed to stay on target where you want to touch down (because everyone is picking a SPOT to aim for, rather than just flying into a general viscinity, right???
). Doing it the same every time also includes when and how you do your transition- the hands from base bar to uprights, and the body posture from prone to upright. Those two things get labeled as the "transition", but they don't HAVE to happen at the same time as eachother. BUT- doing them the same way, at the same point in the approach every time.... leads to improved precision!
Shut up and fly.