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Weekly tips, technique and training from IFR.

Teetering on Madness

Instrument approaches are designed such that several divergent paths and procedures funnel into one of a few common designs. Almost every approach you fly will either be a cone of narrowing vertical and lateral guidance; or a staircase of stepdowns to a minimum altitude.

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Forecast

All About Precipitation

Chances are you’ve looked at that table of precipitation types in aviation meteorology books and been fascinated by all the different possibilities. We see all these different types of codes in METAR and TAF reports every day, so why do ground schools just give us the decoding tables and not much else? Each kind of code tells its own little story about what the air mass is doing, what’s going on at that airfield, and how the weather will affect flight operations.

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MAP

ILS Nuances

The standard ILS approach is kind of a seen-one-seen-’em-all situation. Sure, the numbers vary from one to the other, but the technique is rather straightforward and they’re all mostly the same.

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Tower

The Tower of Power

Recently our flying club toured the new tower at Palm Beach International in southeastern Florida. About 60 pilots signed up to see this multimillion-dollar facility. This is what we saw.

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Qantas Flight Path

Black Swan Lessons

It was once believed that all swans were white. No one considered the possibility of black swans until a Dutch explorer discovered them in Australia in 1697. That is the nature of a Black Swan event: It’s rare, has an extreme impact and is predictable in retrospect.

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Training Realities

Staying Afloat

When a controller makes the jump to a new ATC facility, those new, uncertain seas can make for rough sailing for him and the pilots on his frequency.

Along with legions of other pilots, I learned to fly in Cessna Skyhawks, with six-pack instrument panels. Even when I moved on up to the 21st century and Garmin G1000-equipped 172SPs, the core aircraft remained familiar—similar V speeds, control yoke, nose wheel steering, big trim wheel. There was a comfort in the sameness.

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Map

Teetering on Madness

Instrument approaches are designed such that several divergent paths and procedures funnel into one of a few common designs. Almost every approach you fly will either be a cone of narrowing vertical and lateral guidance; or a staircase of stepdowns to a minimum altitude.

Continue Reading

On The Air: November 2017

While traveling into Valdez, Alaska for the annual fly-in and STOL competition, a couple of planes were trying to hurry in before the airspace closed for aerobatic practice. A couple minutes after tower gave “best forward speed” instructions to a Lake amphibian (not known for great forward speed), the following exchange was heard:

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IFR Magazine

Download the Full November 2017 Issue PDF

Most pilots and aviation journalists think BasicMed is a win. For many it is. But, if you dig beneath the covers you might conclude it’s not a win for you. Behind closed doors I’ve been equivocal about BasicMed, but we’ve been generally favorable in print. I personally like the ever-cautious wait-and-see approach. Waiting and seeing, combined with a letter from James Shepard (see Readback), lead me to conclude that perhaps BasicMed isn’t the big win most of us hoped and thought it would be.

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