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Good-Bye PTS; Hello ACS

Good-Bye PTS; Hello ACS

Rising like a Phoenix from the ashes of the Practical Test Standards, the Airman Certification Standards are arriving.

If the FARs and the AIM comprise the bible of flying, the practical test standards (PTS) would be favored hymn books. But, just as the world’s religions occasionally modernize themselves, the FAA is getting ready to burn PTSes on the pyre in exchange for a completely new system. The new system, known as the Airman Certification Standards (ACS), is a major overhaul of the certification process effecting every license and rating. Whether you’re thinking about adding to your ticket, are an instructor or you simply plan to get an IPC, it would behoove you to know a little about these changes before they arrive. The last thing you want is that deer-in-the-headlight look if the instructor asks you to review the pertinent ACS.

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Against the Flow

Against the Flow

A few tense moments can change the way ATC operates forever. In the process it might mean changes or at least challenges for you.

Change is certainly a constant in aviation. Beyond aircraft technological advances, the rules that govern how air traffic control handles those aircraft are also frequently adjusted. One area in particular that’s seen significant discussion and change in the past three years is opposite direction operations (ODO).

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Cowboys and Cowards

Cowboys and Cowards

There are two kinds of pilots when it comes to icing: cavalier cowboys and cautious cowards. By stealing some cowboy techniques, even a coward can safely ply chilly skies.

Growing up in the land of conquistadors and cowboys, my opportunities for IMC involved attacking thunderstorms or slipping into shallow ponds of fog. Neither was good for gaining instrument time or icing experience. My instructors and peers shared the same background.

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Think Like A Forecaster

Think Like A Forecaster

When the weather gets dicey, we might wonder what a forecaster would say. Wonder no more. We're gonna tell you how forecasters think to help you get the upper hand.

From a weather perspective, what makes a flight a no-go? Sometimes it’s a simple glance at a stormy sky, an icing SIGMET, or winter weather warnings on the TV. But more often it’s the TAF that calls the shots. Whether it’s freezing rain, low ceilings, or a gusty crosswind, the buck stops with the TAF.

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Arinc 424 Leg Types

Arinc 424 Leg Types

If you've ever wondered how that marvelous navigator in your panel can provide guidance on so many different paths, the answer is the coding in ARINC 424.

There is an old joke that has three people arguing over what is the smartest machine in the world. The first one says, “The smartest machine is the electronic computer. It can solve any problem in a fraction of a second.”

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ADS-B Out - Why Bother?

ADS-B Out - Why Bother?

Naysayers tell us, “ADS-B Out does nothing for the pilot.” The faulty reasoning behind this statement is that ADS-B helps controllers, not pilots. Uh, hello? Anybody?

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Readback: February 2015

Readback: February 2015

I read with interest and obvious necessity for possible future application, your article on hypoxia, “Get Your Mask On,” in December, 2014.\nI fly a Malibu Mirage PA 46. I’ve had several decompressions in the low 20s that were attributed to squat switch/pressure switch failures.

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