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Weekly tips, technique and training from IFR.

Star Lit Night

"Actual" Conditions

You’re on a straight-in visual. Although there’s not a cloud in the sky, you loaded the ILS for situational awareness. It’s early evening and the sun is blinding any attempt to look out the window. You transition to the gauges and fly the approach, intercepting the glideslope and keeping the crosshairs centered. You finally see the runway and land. The FAA has said we may log an instrument approach if we are in actual or simulated conditions inside the final approach fix. Were you?

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time

Fun Flies When You're Doing Time

The milestone of sorts that I discovered is that this issue marks my fifth anniversary at the helm of IFR. Now, in many views, that’s simply not noteworthy. Other editors in the Belvoir Aviation family, like Jeb Burnside at Aviation Safety, have been at this for, well, a very long time indeed.

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Stabilized Approached

Are You Ever Stable?

Shortly after getting my Cessna 340, one afternoon I was flying an ILS into Modesto, CA, where we’d found a temporary home for our airplane. I’d recently achieved the heady milestone of 1000 hours total time and a whopping 100 hours of multi-engine time. Plus, I’d just gotten all my I’s (CFI, CFII, MEI), so, of course, I was truly a great pilot. I’d then gotten my initial training (ground and sim) in the 340, finished off with 25 hours with an experienced Twin Cessna instructor pilot. Humility wasn’t in my self-image that afternoon. By evening, it had returned with a vengeance.

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RWY19

Dark on the Details

Call it the familiarity trap. When planning a new route or destination, you carefully examine the charts, procedures, airport diagrams, and approach minimums. But you tend to skip a lot of these steps on well-worn routes and at your home ‘drome. It’s near-certain that you’ll eventually discover how this complacency can be a big gotcha.

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smart kudos

Readback December 2017

About a year ago, my wife bought several economical replacement knockoff chargers for her employees’ Mac laptops, the cords of which their cats had found delicious. They charged very slowly, yet seemed to run extremely hot. Within a month these chargers had all failed with an ominous brown patch on the side from overheating.

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Editor

The Checklist We Want

Is there such a thing as the perfect checklist? No, of course not, just like no computer program is perfect. However, blending the two, MiraCheck Copilot comes amazingly close.

Flying with a professional copilot spoiled me. Just calling for a checklist and having it spoon fed to me with no effort or distraction is as good as it gets. So, when I resumed flying GA—no copilot—I hunted for the perfect checklist app. I didn’t find it. Until now.

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LOC RWY 32

Altimeters on Approach

Reader David Novelli asked an innocent but probing question. His primary airport has an approach that says if the local altimeter setting is unavailable you should use one from a nearby field and adjust the minimums. We’ve all seen that, although few of us have actually had to take advantage of it.

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G1000

Lazy Pilots Fly Better

For years I’ve promoted the notion of a “lazy pilot”—one who’s too lazy to do it wrong and then waste time making it right. “Lazy pilots” do the right thing the right way the first time.

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map

Weather Accidents

Again we follow in the footsteps of the late crash investigator Macarthur Job and focus on aviation accidents. This time, instead of taking a look at forecast ingredients, we’ll look at cases of where the pilots simply made the wrong decisions for the weather.

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Briefing December 2017

NBAA Expo Focuses On ATC Proposal The business-aviation world gathered in Las Vegas in October for their annual convention, and topping this year’s agenda was the fight against efforts in Washington to turn over the FAA’s air traffic control services to a private nonprofit corporation. Opponents argue the system would favor the airlines at the expense of business flyers and private pilots. Also at the show, Bombardier brought the new Global 7000 large-cabin corporate jet for the first time, and Cessna displayed the first production-conforming prototype of its super-mid-sized Citation Longitude. Dassault officials said they have a clean-sheet design in the works for a new business jet, but no details yet. Pilatus said it will start deliveries of its PC-24 twinjet this year.

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On The Air

“American 154, affirmative, flight level 230 at POGGI. Break. Piper 12S, you are definitely not with me or you would be monitoring before breaking into my transmission. All I want from you is your full call sign and altitude a er you listen up. Cancel flight following. Squawk 1200. Frequency change approved.”

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ifr magazine

Download the Full December 2017 Issue PDF

The milestone of sorts that I discovered is that this issue marks my fifth anniversary at the helm of IFR. Now, in many views, that’s simply not noteworthy. Other editors in the Belvoir Aviation family, like Jeb Burnside at Aviation Safety, have been at this for, well, a very long time indeed.

Continue Reading