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Weekly tips, technique and training from IFR.

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Stupid Pilot Tricks

Every January we get to snicker up our flight jacket sleeves at the antics of easily distracted pilots with wings, rotors or other means of defying gravity—and logic. While this custom of mocking those who’ve slipped the surly bonds of sanity and touched the face of chagrin goes back many years, we cling to hope that we will learn from our mistakes. Alas... These exploits are gleaned from NTSB reports from 2014, excluding fatal accidents. So, if you rose from the ashes of what should have killed you that year, you’re fair game.

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Minding Your Space

I was southbound on a solo cross country flight before getting my license, returning to Miami Executive Airport (KTMB). The ceilings and visibility were dropping and I was down to about 1500 feet over the Everglades swamplands. I navigated using roads and other VFR checkpoints, which were getting harder to see out the Cessna 172’s windshield.

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Ice and Flying Don’t Mix

More than once I’ve been accused of needing to get a life. I’m not sure what they’re talking about, but in my spare time I do enjoy reviewing various aviation publications, including accident reports and incident summaries.

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ILS Nuances Redux

Many of you have written to express confusion and disbelief about my “ILS Nuances” article in November. A couple of you even caught an important mistake I made. First, thanks to all of you for your notes. Now, let me recap a few things to hopefully help you (and me) better understand.

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Gettin’ Outta Town

Some of the best remote scenery is in northernmost Utah, well away from the hubbub of Salt Lake City. Dozens of mountain peaks, ranges, national forests and year-round resorts all make the mid-size city of Logan a nice destination. Logan-Cache airport offers everything you need to fly in and enjoy the area. While travel choices abound once you’re there, flying back out is a different matter.

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Winter Weather Smarts

Join us as we take a big-picture view of typical winter patterns to learn what you can expect.

Now that winter is upon us, it’s a good time to look at cold-weather patterns and get an idea of what to expect. You may be familiar with the weather around your local airport, but your travels could take you into unusual corners of the United States, and perhaps into Canada. Winter brings a huge number of weather hazards to worry about, including the thunderstorms that plague the summer months, but by understanding how things are linked together, you can stay on top of things and remain safe.

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Yes, It Can Happen To You

Always pay attention. Good advice, that, applying equally to all human endeavors. But it especially applies to those of us who pilot aircraft. I’ve often stressed the traps and dangers of becoming too reliant on automation. “Don’t let it become a crutch,” I’ve preached. Consequently, you’d think, as I did, that I’d be particularly wary of that malady. Yes, you’d think…

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Briefing January 2018

The FAA and NTSB both issued safety alerts in November that warn pilots to use proper procedures when operating on runways. The NTSB cites several accidents when pilots chose an intersection takeoff, and then lost power. In each case, if the pilot had used the entire runway, there would have been room for a safe landing.

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Readback: January 2018

I agree with your November Remarks that we should not give up on a “driver’s license medical,” and you agree that for many of us, especially those with special issuances, BasicMed is a real improvement. My biggest bellyache is the safety pilot issue. AOPA’s lobbyist, with whom I’ve discussed it, says that even the FAA realizes how silly it is to say you need a third class medical to be second in command, but not to be PIC. It’s possible the FAA will decide they can loosen that rule and still be within the law.

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On The Air: January 2018

En route to Leesburg Executive around 1:00 a.m. inside Dulles Class Bravo, I heard a controller ask a United flight, “United XXX your choice 19R or 19C.” The pilot came back with 19C and once cleared for the visual he responded, “Cleared for visual. 19C United XXX. Over to tower, nighty-night don’t let the bed bugs bite!”

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IFR magazine

Download the Full January 2018 Issue PDF

Always pay attention. Good advice, that, applying equally to all human endeavors. But it especially applies to those of us who pilot aircraft. I’ve often stressed the traps and dangers of becoming too reliant on automation. “Don’t let it become a crutch,” I’ve preached. Consequently, you’d think, as I did, that I’d be particularly wary of that malady. Yes, you’d think…

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