Weekly tips, technique and training from IFR.

Climbing the Mountain

Climbing the Mountain

When asking air traffic controllers about their jobs, you might occasionally get the answer, “Best job in the world.” It’s a demanding, technical career that’s both very rewarding and—while not glamorous—carries a certain mystique with the general public.

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April Accidents

From time to time we look at weather accidents, reviewing the factors that might have led to poor decision making or perhaps even weather that could not be anticipated. In this edition we’ll take a look at the crash of a Pitts biplane in IMC conditions in California, and a Beechcraft Baron that went down in bad weather in Kentucky.

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bad view

Where’s that Runway?

It’s the end of a long day filled of uncooperative weather, ground stops, and a diversion tossed in to make it interesting. You’re shooting the non-precision (of course) GPS approach, and upon reaching minimums, you look up and see … nothing. Wait a minute! Isn’t that a PAPI glowing out of the left side of your window? Is that your runway? If so, what’s it doing all the way over there?

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Morning Commute

For some, the shoulder seasons mean ideal flying weather – crisp spring and fall mornings with great visibility, often under a stable ceiling. These conditions offer fantastic climb performance, and the lack of bugs splattered all over the windshield is a plus. Morning fog, too, is pretty to look at, although it sure puts a damper on early-bird departures.

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graphical figure

FAA Score Card

In June 2017, President Trump led off Infrastructure Week with his plan to move ATC to a nonprofit, private corporation. With two bills already in Congress, D. J. Gribben, special assistant to the president for infrastructure, called it “low-hanging fruit from a policy perspective.” Little did he know how incendiary the word “privatization” is to the aviation community. Mr. Gribben often uses this word, but savvy proponents avoid it and even refute those who use it.

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ASR Approaches

Before the advent of GPS approaches, most civilian approach control facilities provided Airport Surveillance Radar (ASR) approaches, usually as a back-up to pilot-nav approaches. Many are now gone but some airports still have them. In Florida, only two civilian airports have ASR approaches: Key West and Tallahassee, at opposite ends of the state. However, there are seven military airports with ASR approaches.

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Briefing: April 2018

For the 14th year, the U.S. Sport Aviation Expo welcomed visitors to Sebring, Florida, in January, providing respite from the cold for northerners and a chance for prospective buyers to take a demo flight in a Light Sport Aircraft. The show hosted about 100 exhibitors, more than last year, and organizers told AVweb ticket sales also were up. About 60 forums were held, and more than 1,000 youngsters took part in the show’s youth education programs. The date for next year’s event is January 23 to 26.

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Readback: April 2018

In 1984 when I got my instrument ticket, I was taught to use FROM when identifying crossing radials. I don’t know if that is a standard practice or simply my instructor’s way of doing it. In October’s Killer Quiz, “Gone to the Dogs,” you are identifying PLAZA via TO the 173-degree radial. My way would have been to dial in 353 and use a FROM indication.

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On The Air: April 2018

On the way out of Florida for Hurricane Irma, it was very, very busy on frequency with everyone trying to get out of the state. ATC was doing a great job of handling very heavy traffic loads, and still managing to provide flight following to the greatest extent possible, when I happened to overhear the following exchange:

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ifr magazine

Download the Full April 2018 Issue PDF

With each new budget impasse, it seems there’s a concerted effort to pass a law divesting ATC from the FAA to turn it over to a private Congressionally-chartered nonprofit corporation. Congressman Bill Shuster (D-PA), the powerful chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee offered two bills, HR 4441 in 2016 and HR 2997 in 2017. Fortunately, neither bill came to a vote because there was insufficient support.

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