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Weekly tips, technique and training from IFR.

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An airport ramp is a busy place, and a little extra situational awareness can go a long way.

Communication Clarity

How about airplanes already on the ramp? Maybe an airliner advises he’s pushing back, but another one’s already pushed in his way. We’ll say, “Use caution, Boeing 737 pushed back behind you. Advise ready to taxi.” It’s both a safety and a time reminder. Watch out for the other guy, and it may be a couple minutes before he can push. We’re well aware airlines typically have ramp personnel “wing-walking” beside them, checking for obstacles. However, stuff happens. We’re just covering our bases.

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Weather Rules of Thumb

All of these have different scales, ranging from hours and a few miles with the mountain breeze to thousands of miles and days to weeks with trade winds. Knowing which circulation normally affects your weather and which is dominant at the moment is what I would call one of the secrets to understanding the forecast.

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Not Enough Departures

The ATC Handbook directs controllers to ask this of VFR aircraft seeking an IFR clearance in the air until they reach the minimum IFR altitude (MIA), typically, ATC’s minimum vectoring altitude or the published MEA.

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GTN and GNS

Avionics Human Factors

We generally applaud the tremendous advances in cockpit technology. However, these technically advanced aircraft bring along some inherent risk that we must manage.

Pilots were (and still are) over using automation, resulting in too much head-down button-pushing. The result was (is) an increase in situational awareness errors and loss-of-separation in particular.

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KCOU BC20

Back to Back

If you fly traditional needles, you might be better versed than others on the back course approach. If not, welcome to life at the other end of the ILS.

This is your third trip to Columbia, Missouri (KCOU), where you’re flying in from the northwest in your trusty but basic Cessna 182. Equipment includes dual nav receivers, one glideslope receiver and DME. (For those of you watching at home, this is pre-RNAV Distance Measuring Equipment.) A portable GPS offers limited capabilities to navigate outside of your raw-data setup. No big deal; you’ve been flying this plane and panel for years and are a pro with ILS approaches. The filed route, which will be reversed to get home, departs from Watertown, South Dakota (KATY) and is: POEMS OTG V175 HLV.

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Too Many Approaches

With all the RNAV approaches, there are simply too many approaches to realistically maintain, so some pruning is planned. Many circling approaches are low-hanging fruit.

One commenter expressed approval of the cancellation of a circling procedure only if all runways accessible by the procedure have a straight-in IAP with lower minimums than in the canceled procedure. The FAA replied that its policy is not meant to assure straight-in IAPs for every runway end, but rather to minimize redundancy. While cancelling some circling procedures might reduce airport accessibility, runway availability will be unaffected. You might have to fly further to get access to your approach, but its availability will stay the same.

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Advanced Autopilot Use

Suppose that I am faced with an either-or situation with my autopilot. If I were told I couldn’t use the autopilot at either cruise or while being vectored and flying an approach, I’d chose to use it on approach. Sure, autopilots help relieve the tedium of long cross-country flights, but they regularly change a stressful approach into a rewarding experience. Let’s look at some general tips, then take a close look at how to get the most from your autopilot on approach.

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Cover

Readback: October 2018

Many pilots want to fly IFR more often but don’t quite remember how. If you addressed more of the basics and less of the quirky and obscure perhaps more pilots would actually benefit. One example would be to have a product published for particular regions or states of the country and present examples each month of airports and approaches for that particular area. This would give the local pilot community more opportunity to fly their local approaches and visit our local airports more often.

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Briefing: October 2018

This year’s AirVenture at Oshkosh was “about as close as one could imagine” to perfect, said EAA chairman Jack Pelton. Attendance set a new record, with about 601,000 visitors, nearly 2 percent more than last year’s record crowd. Pelton credited “the combination of outstanding programs, aircraft variety, a robust economy and good weather,” plus the efforts of EAA staff and 5000 volunteers, who created a show that was upbeat and exciting. Planning is already underway for AirVenture 2019, which will run from July 22 to 28. That show will celebrate EAA’s 50th consecutive year in Oshkosh.

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Pilot Shortage?

The normal path for a fledgling airline pilot is to build his/her hours—traditionally as a CFI for pitifully low pay—and get a job with a regional carrier. That new first officer had an average starting pay in the mid-$20/hour range just a few years ago, before the hype of the pilot shortage. Second-year pay jumped nicely, sometimes as much as 50%, but then it stagnated at a few percent a year. A fifth-year first officer might have been making into $40-some/hour.

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ifr magazine

Download The Full October 2018 Issue PDF

The normal path for a fledgling airline pilot is to build his/her hours—traditionally as a CFI for pitifully low pay—and get a job with a regional carrier. That new first officer had an average starting pay in the mid-$20/hour range just a few years ago, before the hype of the pilot shortage. Second-year pay jumped nicely, sometimes as much as 50%, but then it stagnated at a few percent a year. A fifth-year first officer might have been making into $40-some/hour.

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