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Weekly tips, technique and training from IFR.

Dreaded Ramp Check

Dreaded Ramp Check

You eat right, stay legal and sharp, and keep your aircraft in top shape. Still, the sight of an FAA inspector walking across the ramp gives you the chills. What should you expect?

You will be required to produce your pilot’s certificate and medical certificate for the FAA inspector. The inspector will also ask to see evidence of your most recent flight review or equivalent (an FAA checkride, for example). Don’t worry if you don’t have proof of a flight review; it’s not required to be in your possession. You might score a point by offering to send a copy to the inspector’s office, but be prepared to do so.

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Ben Bishop illustrations

Losing Interest?

Why do we fly? Are we so shallow a species that for many of us the reason is the excitement, the unique specialness? With that diminishing, are we so superficial that we give up flying? There are, of course, many motivations for potential and ongoing aviators. For some people, flying is simply a job. I really feel sorry for those unfortunate souls.

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Reader Feedback: July 2016

Reader Feedback: July 2016

In aircraft terms it is somewhat analogous to the “F” mechanism on most aircraft. The “Flap” is generally used on descent, provides drag to reduce speed and per Bernoulli and/or Newton or some other dead scientist, converts energy into additional lift. The “B” on the Prius (and other hybrids’) shifter is generally used on long descents to produce additional drag via the engine/generator, which in turn converts energy into additional electrical charge to store in the battery.

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The Wind at your Back

The Wind at your Back

We all want a good tailwind at altitude. But, that benefit up high becomes an issue down low and requires awareness and care. Know where to draw the line.

Final instrument approach segments can sometimes require a descent in a tailwind, knowing you’ll circle ’round the other way to land (or perhaps not). In stable weather, these changes are gradual and the wind speeds don’t cause much concern, but anything more than that and things can get dicey. Then, of course, there are emergencies that could force you to choose between the unappealing options of landing downwind or landing off-airport.

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aviation crossing departures and crossing arrivals

On the Beat

When do you report the ATIS? When do you make your approach request? Success working within the air traffic control environment is largely about finding your rhythm.

If the airport requires a call to Clearance Delivery for an IFR clearance or VFR departure, you needn’t wait until you call Ground for taxi. Just tell CD. After the controller verifies your clearance readback, tell her, “I’ll be requesting Runway 9.” You’ve now informed a member of the tower team. They can let you know about any possible issues regarding that runway. Also, when you call for taxi, Ground should be aware of your needs.

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Learn That New Glass

Learn That New Glass

While an integrated system like the G1000 incorporates communication, navigation, engine information, an MFD and PFD, no such certified integrated system is commonly available for retrofit. So, one must look upon retrofit glass as containing at least two components—the navigator and the PFD. Most, however, also incorporate an MFD, making three separate devices you must learn.

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Dreaded Ramp Check

Dreaded Ramp Check

You eat right, stay legal and sharp, and keep your aircraft in top shape. Still, the sight of an FAA inspector walking across the ramp gives you the chills. What should you expect?

You will be required to produce your pilot’s certificate and medical certificate for the FAA inspector. The inspector will also ask to see evidence of your most recent flight review or equivalent (an FAA checkride, for example). Don’t worry if you don’t have proof of a flight review; it’s not required to be in your possession. You might score a point by offering to send a copy to the inspector’s office, but be prepared to do so.

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Using Spherics

Both spherics and NEXRAD have blind spots and neither is infallible. Spherics devices can have false negatives because they don’t see those static discharges until they happen. While most cells with dangerous opposing currents also produce significant static, nature is inherently unpredictable and the static discharges can lag. Of course, the delays in getting NEXRAD images to the cockpit can lead to significant errors. Plus, radar only seeing precipitation, not turbulence, can cause difficulty interpreting the image.

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Reverse Sensing - HSI

Reverse Sensing - HSI

In last month’s IFR Clinic we discussed how VORs work. Boring and repetitive as that is, we needed to start there to get the basis for understanding a localizer and a localizer back course using a conventional dedicated navigation indicator (VOR/LOC) and the need to sometimes chase the CDI to correct, and sometimes to pull it. There’s too much material for a proper review, so let’s just skip right to the good stuff.

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General Aviation News: July 2016

The Airbus Perlan Mission II team, which aims to fly a pressurized glider to a record altitude of 90,000 feet, has been continuing its flight-test program in Minden, Nevada, and plans to relocate to Argentina this summer. General aviation aircraft shipments declined 3.7 percent in the first quarter of this year, compared to the same period last year, according to the General Aviation Manufacturers Association. The U.S. Helicopter Safety Team, an industry-government partnership that launched in 2013, has set a goal of a 20-percent reduction of fatal civil helicopter accidents by 2019. The general-aviation industry has been lobbying for years for an overhaul of Part 23, to make it easier and faster to certify new airplanes and technology upgrades. Aero Electric Aircraft Corp. rolled out its solar-electric Sun Flyer airplane, a two-seat low-wing trainer, at Colorado’s Centennial Airport, in May.

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On the Air July 2016

This is a true story I witnessed at San Antonio about 35 years ago: I was number 2 for takeoff behind a C-150 at Runway 12R intersection departure. The 150 was cleared into position and hold. After landing traffic cleared, tower told him to turn right 180, cleared for takeoff. So he made a 180 on the runway and took off into the face of landing traffic. Quick tower action sent the short final aircraft on a go-around.

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Download the Full July Issue PDF

Download the Full July Issue PDF

When inspecting the aircraft the inspector will check the general airworthiness, the ELT battery, evidence that all your IFR equipment and inspections are up to date and current if you’re flying IFR—if you’re only flying VFR, don’t worry about that. The inspector will also survey the condition of the aircraft: seats, safety belts, sun visors, deviation card for the compass, placards, etc. Note that the inspector may not enter your aircraft without your permission, but again, it’s usually better to cooperate.

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