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Weekly tips, technique and training from IFR.

Embrace The IPC
You dont have to think of an IPC as a testing event. Instead, you can use it as a training event during which you demonstrate meeting the requirements.

Embrace The IPC

Rather than dreading your periodic IPCs, make them a useful tool that keeps you actively learning, maintains proficiency and, as a bonus, keeps you legally current.

Many of us feel that an IPC is as much fun as a visit to the dentist. We go through the checkup and if things are OK, we go on with our lives ’til the next appointment. Worse, for some the IPC is akin to a root canal—something to dread because they’ve neglected the preventive care. It’s the penalty for losing currency past the six-month window specified in 14 CFR §61.57.

In any case, IPCs don’t pique much excitement. They are an occasional formality for those who fly the system often, or a major chore for those who don’t. It doesn’t have to be that way. Rather than something to avoid, an IPC can improve your skills while you brush up on procedures you don’t use often. You can even go further and have a bit of fun.

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GPS Holds

GPS Holds

Think you know how to hold? Or perhaps youre rusty? Either way, flying a GPS hold can be awkwardly different than conventional holds. Its time to dig into holds again.

A longstanding corollary to Murphy’s Law asserts that “Interchangeable parts won’t.” So it is when we set out to compare conventional holds to GPS holds. In some respects they can be quite different, and the subtle GPS differences can become suddenly important. Here, then are the ins-and-outs of flying GPS holds.

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Do You Know Ice?

Do You Know Ice?

We chase cowboys and cowards through a bureaucratic bullring to find out just exactly what constitutes the known ice that were supposed to avoid.

February’s “Cowboy and Cowards” sparked some passionate responses about known icing and my assertion that known icing is observed icing. To better understand known icing, we need to look at the concept from definitional, legal, and safety perspectives.

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Not So Fast

Not So Fast

If the sky is full of airplanes threatening to run each other over, its time for ATC to apply the brakes bringing some order from the chaos.

It’s a signature moment in the classic 80’s beach-volleyball documentary Top Gun. Two Naval aviators swagger past a parked line of Grumman F-14 Tomcats. “I feel the need,” Tom Cruise’s Maverick character declares to his buddy Goose, who joins in the chorus. “The need… for speed!”

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Spring Patterns

Spring Patterns

Though pilots see a lot of weather maps, the playbook of what all these spring patterns mean and where theyre going is not often explained. So, well explain it.

Aviation weather columns typically talk about hazards in terms of elements: “Watch the 0 to -20 degrees C layer for icing.” “Be cautious of wet, clear nights because of fog,” etc. We can always learn more from a change in perspective, and we can do so using surface charts from the Aviation Weather Center website. Using these charts we can get a better understanding of why weather hazards occur rather than how they develop. Let’s take a look at the sample chart below and break down all the patterns that are going on.

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Readback: May 2015

Readback: May 2015

Rick Durden’s December 2014 complex article about tailplane icing was well researched and well written. It also proved prophetic. At Cincinnati Municipal while my L-39 was being fueled, Bill Rieke, an icing researcher, came over to chat. He said that he thought the L-39 would be particularly susceptible to tailplane icing and stall because of the smallness of tailplane, the thinness of the airfoil and the need for ventral VGs.

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The Drones are Coming Here

The Drones are Coming Here

A tiny aircraft, too small to carry a person, flashes past your left wing. You never saw it; neither did ATC. You just had a near miss with a drone. There are large, heavy commercial and military drones capable of flying in the flight levels. Then, there are little drones that range from toys up to Amazon’s proposed single-package delivery device. While similar, each presents different challenges.

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