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Weekly tips, technique and training from IFR.

SWIM diagram

IFR in 2025

NextGen’s prime objective is to improve the flexibility and efficiency of our National Airspace System (NAS) to accommodate increasing traffic. This is possible only if your trip receives NextGen support from preflight to engine shutdown. Called trajectory-based operation or TBO, you will one day preflight by selecting one of several near-optimal trajectories accounting for weather, traffic, obstructions, special use airspace and more. Nice, eh?

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usairnet

More MOS

Modeled Output Statistics provides TAF-level forecasts to smaller airports without TAFs. If weather matters to you, which it should, add these forecasts to your toolset.

While I was driving to the airport a layer of radiation fog condensed and became a pattern-smashing iron plate by flight time. While waiting for tower to cut the next ATIS, I poked around weather forecasts and noticed that the MOS forecast predicted, correctly, low ceilings for the rest of the morning. Argh!

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en route

Missed the Memo

It started with an email question: How do you identify SWASO on the missed approach at Knoxville Downtown Island (KDKX) LOC RWY 26 approach? A quick glance says, “Duh, it’s an intersection,” but a closer inspection says it’s not that simple. The identification of SWASO on this approach chart omits a few critical details—enough that if you still don’t have an IFR GPS, you might find yourself at a loss.

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the FAF

Fixing Our Foulups

When ATC misses their mark, correcting the course may require some quick-thinking and flexibility on both ends of the frequency.

There could be any number of causes for an oversight. Maybe a controller’s just been plugged in too long on a busy day, getting his head kicked in by nonstop, complex traffic. Short staffing means there’s no break anywhere on the horizon. Oh, and he’s got to pee. I’ve been that guy. It’s not fun being tired, distracted, and inundated with airplanes.

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IFR

Legal Interpretations

As students of aviation, we are familiar with our regulations, the AIM, Advisory Circulars and other instructional, regulatory and best practice FAA guidance publications. But questions remain about what’s legal. One sure, but unpleasant way to answer them is to attract the FAA’s enforcement apparatus. This begins with your friendly neighborhood Aviation Safety Inspector, and can lead to suspension or revocation orders, “plea bargaining,” trials and appeals with the NTSB, and ultimately, the federal courts. There is a better way.

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TSprox

Flying on Business

Much of general aviation activity in piston-powered airplanes is for recreation—the proverbial $100 hamburger ($1000?) on nice sunny weekends. Still, there are many general aviation pilots who fly—using the technical phrase—“for the furtherance of business.” We’re not talking banner tows, flight instruction, skydiving, or true commercial endeavors. “Furtherance of business” denotes those operations that are only “incidental to that business or employment.” (14 CFR §61.113)

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Briefing: June 2018

The success of big annual air shows like Sun ’n Fun depends at least partly on the weather, and this year’s Lakeland, Florida, event lucked out with plenty of sunshine after a wet opening day. Sun ’n Fun president Lites Leenhouts said this year’s show had higher attendance, more revenue, and increased vendor satisfaction compared to years past. The Thunderbirds, a fan favorite, had to cancel just days before the show after a pilot died during a practice flight. The career fair continues to grow, with interest from both job hunters and companies in search of new hires. Bose introduced a new in-ear pilot headset, Garmin brought upgraded weather and traffic receivers, and the air show welcomed viewers worldwide via a new Internet live stream. 

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Map1

Readback: June 2018

Your article entitled “Seriously Bad IFR Flight” in the October 2017 issue is a perfect illustration of the problems caused by technology. I’ve been a pilot for 49 years, I’m ex-military with my ATP, CFII, and thousands of hours of flight time in everything from helicopters to jets to biplanes.

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On The Air: June 2018

I was flying from Jacksonville, North Carolina to College Park, Maryland on an IFR flight plan to go to a Redskins game. It was a CAVU day. The following exchange took place somewhere southeast of Richmond: Washington Center: “Skyhawk 68E, traffic two o’clock, 10 miles, westbound, 500 feet above.” Skyhawk 68E: “Negative contact, but I’m looking.” Washington Center: “Piper 123, traffic 10 o’clock, 10 miles, northbound, 500 feet below. ”Piper 123: “Negative contact, but we’re looking too.” A few minutes pass.

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satelite

Siriusly Messed Up

Getting weather info in flight has gotten cheaper due to FIS-B (ADS-B In). However, years before the FAA’s eventual roll out of FIS-B and its array of free weather-information products, the dominant player in that industry was Baron Services though XM Radio. Sirius radio offered a competitive product from WSI. Eventually, Sirius and XM merged. The leading hardware was probably Garmin’s GDL 69 and 69A receivers getting XM’s Baron offering.

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ifr magazine

Download the Full June 2018 Issue PDF

Getting weather info in flight has gotten cheaper due to FIS-B (ADS-B In). However, years before the FAA’s eventual roll out of FIS-B and its array of free weather-information products, the dominant player in that industry was Baron Services though XM Radio. Sirius radio offered a competitive product from WSI. Eventually, Sirius and XM merged. The leading hardware was probably Garmin’s GDL 69 and 69A receivers getting XM’s Baron offering.

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