Send me BRIEFINGS from IFR, FREE!

Weekly tips, technique and training from IFR.

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The original panel was upgraded about eight years ago.

Upgrade Confusion

The ADS-B mandate and rapid avionics advancement has many of us considering major panel upgrades for safer, better aware, instrument flight. But, how do you get there?

A shop near me has a good reputation for quality avionics installations. Their bid came in a good deal under the bid from Executive Autopilots, but it’s essentially a one-man shop and that raises some potential longer-term concerns. I also have an acquaintance who flies a 340 and he recently had the GFC 600 autopilot installed by his local shop, also a high-end shop with a superb reputation and all kinds of capabilities. I had them bid it and their bid came in competitive with Executive Autopilots.

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Summer Hazards

Without those tools it’s important to get on the ground or find a route out of the activity if buildups start growing around you, because air mass storms often grow as clusters and the open spaces will quickly close in. If you don’t think air mass storms are a problem, check out our August 2018 issue that details two seemingly benign air mass storms: one that downed a Piper PA-23, and another that downed a Boeing 727.

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Making Do

Ever fly to remote airports that are short on approaches, services and weather reporting? Sometimes you just have to work with what you have.

There are a few things in flying life we might take for granted. In fact, some of us are downright spoiled. For instance, flatlanders (like me) get 99.9 percent radar coverage in our mountain-free region, all taken for granted. Southerners take for granted their three seasons of comfortable flying. Those who fly to larger cities all the time definitely take for granted the big runways, ATC help, and all the information they need at their fingertips.

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Finding Non-Precision

Before GPS, we struggled to find precision approaches to fly for practice and testing. Now, the opposite is true since flying the vertical guidance on GPS approaches is ILS-like.

As we move forward in time with the proliferation of LPV approaches, the phaseout of non-precision approaches using ground-based navaids such as VOR, NDB, and LOC-only will result in fewer and fewer non-precision approaches. Furthermore, some WAAS navigators often provide an advisory glideslope to non-precision RNAV approaches: LNAV+V and LP+V. The “+V” refers to the advisory glideslope. An LP (localizer performance) approach is a non-precision RNAV approach that requires WAAS. Bottom line: there is almost always an electronic glideslope lurking in the shadows.

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Route Planning

This is a long flight, so you want to minimize distance and go as direct as possible. You scan the route from TAFOY to KFSM on the chart, and it doesn’t pass through any special use airspace (SUA), so you could go direct. But, you want to comply with the AIM guidance (see below) and pick a fix or two in each center’s airspace. You zoom in on the chart to see TAFOY clearly, then just scroll the chart to the east along your route, looking for fixes on your route that you could add.

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Sneak in the Side Door

Sneak in the Side Door

Before you get a contact approach, some more boxes need to be checked, starting with weather minimums on par with Special VFR and Class G airspace. AIM 5-4-25 kicks off with them: “Pilots operating in accordance with an IFR flight plan, provided they are clear of clouds and have at least one mile flight visibility and can reasonably expect to continue to the destination airport in those conditions, may request ATC authorization for a contact approach.”

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Briefing: July 2019

A prominent Alaskan airline and tour company voluntarily ceased operations in late May after two fatal crashes involving its floatplanes in a week. A total of six people, most of them cruise ship passengers, died May 13 when two Taquan aircraft collided while taking the passengers on a flightseeing trip. On May 21, a pilot and passenger died when a Taquan commuter flight from Ketchikan to Metlakatla Harbor cartwheeled on landing and came to rest inverted with the cabin submerged. On May 22, the airline issued a statement saying it had stopped flying “indefinitely” and that the tragedies left the company and staff “reeling.”

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High Too Tech

Step two: Set the clock that held no resemblance to the actual time of day. I fiddled with it for a few minutes and gave up after finding myself seemingly 50 layers deep in menus. I assigned the task to my wife, also an engineer and a pilot. She even got out the manual—a separate one for the “man-machine interface” but after a frustratingly long time, she was also defeated.

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On The Air: July 2019

Nearing PORTL on the TMBRS TWO ARRIVAL for Portland International, Oregon (KPDX) we wonder what we need to make beer at the MYCRO BBREWery? Simple: the FLOWR of the HHOPZ plant! Of course, FFULL SSAIL beer from up the river about 70 miles, is popular at any PUBBB in the area.

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Readback: July 2019

We got a quick response from Garmin. It’s actually a bug in the underlying approach data, but that apparently ongoing bug is now handled by the navigator’s operating software. The reported issue doesn’t have anything to do with database capacity. The issue began when some IAP’s with LP lines of minima were coded with a Vertical Descent Angle (VDA) of 0 degrees. Software did not expect this as the IAP’s are not supposed to be coded with VDA=0. If the IAP has no VDA (noted as ‘Decent Angle NA’ on the chart), then the navigator can fly the approach as an LNAV-only without vertical guidance. If the IAP is coded with a VDA of zero, Garmin makes the approach unavailable from the database. Later software corrects this anomaly and restores the IAP’s with VDA=0. Note that there was a Service Advisory Garmin sent out in 2013 when the issue was identified and they started to filter the affected IAP’s from the Navigation database.

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Download The Full July 2019 Issue PDF

A prominent Alaskan airline and tour company voluntarily ceased operations in late May after two fatal crashes involving its floatplanes in a week. A total of six people, most of them cruise ship passengers, died May 13 when two Taquan aircraft collided while taking the passengers on a flightseeing trip. On May 21, a pilot and passenger died when a Taquan commuter flight from Ketchikan to Metlakatla Harbor cartwheeled on landing and came to rest inverted with the cabin submerged. On May 22, the airline issued a statement saying it had stopped flying “indefinitely” and that the tragedies left the company and staff “reeling.”

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