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Weekly tips, technique and training from IFR.

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Alternate Missed

One departure, five approaches, no en-route chart needed. Just for fun, add a GPS outage for the last third. Sound like fun? Yeah, we thought so, too.

When the problem was the missed approach, my favorite tool was requesting alternate missed approach instructions. With a single ATC transmission, the requirement vanished because we weren’t flying that missed. At least, that’s how I interpreted the regs, and the statute of limitations is past. I later realized I could even suggest my own procedure to get pointed at the IAF for the next approach. This permitted a fun game of rapid approach roulette, which is what this sim challenge is all about.

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Satellite Imagery

Since the mid-1970s, satellite imagery has made its way into everything from television weathercasts to flight weather briefings. We see them constantly. When a hurricane is approaching the coast, viewers are presented with satellite images. When the local news shows the forecast, a satellite image is almost always used. This technology has grown progressively more complex and powerful over the years, and more than ever it can be a valuable part of flight planning. Let’s examine some of the basics of the technology and look at today’s capabilities.

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Make a Note

Does this meet your takeoff minimums? As a Part 91, single-engine-land flyer it can legally be as low as 0/0, but you prefer to be able to be able to make it back in if need be, plus a little margin. So use the RNAV 15 approach as the backup. But wait: You’re LNAV only, no vertical navigation, so your MDA is 1920 feet with one-mile visibility. This is nearly 100 feet higher than the current ceiling—still legal to fly under §91.175, but not a good turnback plan.

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BasicMed Checkup

BasicMed is the result of a legislative initiative that produced Public Law 114-190, the FAA Extension, Safety, and Security Act of 2016, signed into law on July 15, 2016. BasicMed (a term that came later) is found in Section 2307 of the law: Medical Certification of Certain Small Aircraft Pilots. This law directed the Executive Branch, through the FAA, to issue regulations within 180 days to allow pilots to act as PIC under the law. The regulations (new Part 68 and changes to Part 61 & 91) and the term, BasicMed, came into existence when the rules were published in Federal Register on January 11, 2017 and became effective on May 1, 2017. Because the law only addressed pilots acting as PIC, we have the unintended consequence that a safety pilot, not simultaneously also acting as PIC, needs an FAA Medical as a required crewmember, as we’ve discussed previously.

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TERPS 101

You can expertly fly an approach in gusty winds, but do you know how much obstacle protection you have? Class is in session on the basics of procedure design.

Since we trust our lives to procedures designed to TERPS standards whenever we’re in the soup, let’s pull back the curtain just a little bit to see what’s going on behind the scenes of our approach charts. Note that collectively the TERPS standards easily run over 1000 pages and often involve quite a bit of math, so this is intended to be an overview and is by no means exhaustive. We will be looking at basic concepts and how they apply to approach procedures in this article; in a future article we’ll discuss standards for other phases of flight.

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ATC Safety Net

ATC has multiple systems and procedures designed to keep the traffic flowing after the system suffers various levels of inconvenient to catastrophic failures.

The most obvious and essential ATC tool is a working radio. Imagine an airport is fogged in, with hard IMC and essentially zero visibility. The tower controller can’t see the airplanes. However, using a single radio with his knowledge of the airport layout, and accurate position reports from pilots moving around in the soup, he can still work the traffic. Radar controllers can also rely on pilot position reports to separate traffic in non-radar operations. Again, all they need is a radio and knowledge of their surroundings to build a mental traffic picture.

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Readback: November 2019

Readback: November 2019

With that article, we thought we’d put this whole discussion and its confusion behind us. However, as soon as the magazine hit your mailboxes, we started getting a related question: What if the BasicMed safety pilot is a CFI?We discussed this with our regs guru, Mark Kolber, and tossed this back and forth a bit to come up with our best answer. Let’s take it one point at a time. The FAA treats CFIs as private pilots, not engaged in a commercial endeavor. Thus, no second-class medical is required. A CFI can even teach without a medical under §61.23(b)(5) if the CFI isn’t required to be PIC (such as giving a BFR to a current pilot). However, the CFI without a medical cannot be PIC and cannot be a required crewmember. A CFI can be PIC under BasicMed per §61.113(i). So, a CFI with BasicMed can give primary instruction where the student can’t fly alone, and the CFI can give instrument instruction in actual conditions if the trainee isn’t instrument rated or isn’t instrument current. So far so good. If a trainee is instrument rated and current, a CFI can provide instrument instruction in actual conditions under BasicMed. However, the underlying question that we’ve focused on is if a pilot (or CFI) with only BasicMed can be a safety pilot for the pilot flying wearing a hood under VFR. The answer is the same for the CFI as it is for the non-CFI since the same §61.113(i) to be PIC under BasicMed is referenced for both as the exception for an FAA Medical. The CFI must be acting as PIC to do so. (There might be some regulatory nuance you could explore, but the path isn’t sufficiently clear to safely reach any other conclusion.) Bottom line: For your BasicMed CFI to be your safety pilot s/he cannot be a required crewmember so still must be PIC and your insurance probably wants a say in that. This whole discussion brings up a peripheral point. Any time you’re flying with another certificated pilot, regardless of their certification, it’s best to clarify the roles to remove any ambiguity before takeoff.

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Briefing: November 2019

Redbird closed its Skyport FBO at San Marcos Regional Airport in Texas citing poor financial performance. “In its eight years of operation, the Skyport has never made a dime. Not even a profitable quarter,” Redbird founder Jerry Gregoire wrote in a blog post. “Had it not been for Redbird Flight Simulator’s explosive growth and profitability over those years, the Skyport might have found itself in deep trouble very early on.” Gregoire said the company miscalculated some fundamentals in building the FBO in 2011, including its location. It was, however, well received by users. It won ACE and STAR awards for best FBO at an airport with less than 4000 annual arrivals in 2018. Employees were offered jobs with the simulator company.

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I’m Too Busy

But even if flying remains a joy, we don’t fly enough, do we? I’d like to log a few hours every week. Nearly all of my flying is purposeful; I travel by my own airplane because I have places to go. I log around 100 to 120 hours a year now, but it comes in bunches separated by breaks of a month or two where I never just go flying, and don’t even visit the hangar … because I’m too busy.

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On The Air: November 2019

In upstate South Carolina, Michelin has a number of plants that manufacture tires and one recently completed a 40-year anniversary. Maybe the FAA wanted to honor such presence in the local economy with the MCHLN TWO ARRIVAL, serving several airports including the Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport. There you can find PROVN MCHLN TYRES. I’m sure that the 130-year-old Bib or Bibendum AKA the Michelin Man, is happy for this aerial advertising.

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Download The Full November 2019 Issue PDF

But even if flying remains a joy, we don’t fly enough, do we? I’d like to log a few hours every week. Nearly all of my flying is purposeful; I travel by my own airplane because I have places to go. I log around 100 to 120 hours a year now, but it comes in bunches separated by breaks of a month or two where I never just go flying, and don’t even visit the hangar … because I’m too busy.

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