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TIS-B: The ADS-B Bridge

TIS-B: The ADS-B Bridge

ADS-B is the FAA's vision of the future. It gives us weather and traffic information, but until we're all on the same page, something has to tie the disparate traffic systems together.

The great promise of ADS-B is that it will eventually offer free traffic and weather services for those pilots willing to pay for the equipment and displays. But until everyone has ADS-B Out—required by 2020—a technology called TIS-B (Traffic Information Services-Broadcast) will fill the trafffic gap, allowing you to see everything ATC sees within a reasonable range of a radar site, presuming you and the radar site are suitably equipped. Let’s explore how TIS-B works and how it fits into the current state of ADS-B.

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Winter Runways

Winter Runways

In winter, understanding runway and taxiway conditions becomes paramount. Where does the information come from, what does it mean, and what do we do with it?

The chief advantage of being instrument-rated is being able to travel in less-than-ideal weather. But, in winter, the triumph of a well-flown ILS to minimums in moderate snow can quickly turn to sheer terror after your smooth touchdown if you find yourself slipping off the side of an icy runway.

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Behind the Scenes

Behind the Scenes

All pilot requests are important. Some are just more time-critical and can demand some off-camera teamwork.

Last December, I shot my first ILS approach. My father and I were out in the practice area doing some air work west of Miami. He’s a CFII and offered to walk me through a practice approach back into Tamiami airport. \n

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Stupid Pilot Tricks

Stupid Pilot Tricks

Those who've slipped the surly bonds of common sense with amusing (to us) aeronotical antics are fair game in this annual depthless study of things not to do with an aircraft

Like the (un?)welcome holiday letter from distant edges of your family, it’s again time to see how the GA family has fared in our annual Safety-Takes-A-Holiday review. The rules are simple: Applicants need only do something stupid in an aircraft that results in financial harm but no loss of life.

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AC 90-108 Conundrum

AC 90-108 Conundrum

Most of us use RNAV (GPS) as a primary navigation source. It can even make intercepting final on an approach a breeze, but not a localizer approach unless we get creative.

The FAA’s Advisory Circular 90-108 just feels wrong. In it, section 8 itemizes circumstances where a “suitable RNAV system” (including GPS and GPS/WAAS equipment) cannot be used.

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Mastering Cruise Descents

Mastering Cruise Descents

Proper energy management during descents means you go faster, keep your engine happier and maybe save some cash. What could be better? Heres the low-down on the go-down.

Let’s fire up the Wayback machine and set it for high school physics class. As an aircraft climbs, it burns fuel (and by extension, money) to provide kinetic energy. That energy is used for climb performance and airspeed (countering that demon drag in the process).

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Glass-Panel Scans

Glass-Panel Scans

The promise of easier instrument flying with a PFD doesnt get realized until you tweak your scan to leverage the strengths of a digital display and mitigate its weaknesses.

I had the pleasure of lunch several years ago with one of the designers of the Boeing 777 cockpit. She said something that has stuck with me for years: “Good design obviates the need for training.” Held up to this standard, our efforts for GA glass cockpits are a dismal failure. (Perhaps the 777 cockpit is as well; I don’t know.)

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