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Think Outside the Box
A Delta L-1011 took off with the elevator jammed full up. Thrust vectoring saved the day.

Think Outside the Box

They almost made it. The aircraft was on a very short final when the nose started down. The flight crew pushed the thrust levers for both wing engines up to stop the sink but the left engine spooled up faster than the right engine and the aircraft started a turn to the right, from which there was no time to recover.

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Scud Running and RNAV Approaches: A Little Bit of Both

In most of the world, a shiny, new RNAV approach that lowers minimums by 500 feet is cause for celebration. Not so at Anaktuvuk Pass, Alaska. At least that’s what one Alaskan pilot and IFR reader tells me. Our phone call puzzling out a potential solution revealed limitations of cockpit tech, the practicality of old-school scud running, and a potential remedy by blending the two.

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Nowcasting Your Flight

My goal in this column is to bring the art and science of forecasting to pilots. This is because forecasts aren’t perfect and still won’t be in the foreseeable future. This is not an indictment of the profession, but an acknowledgement of the realities of the forecast problem. For example, a single balloon launch is used to represent the 400,000 cubic miles of troposphere over Arkansas, and only happens every 12 hours. This is why good forecasters are skeptical of models and blend them with experience, intuition, and their own analysis before making a forecast.

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ASRS: Safe Protections

The Aviation Safety Reporting System, ASRS, is a means of confidentially and anonymously reporting unsafe conditions—including your own actions—in aviation, generally without fear of FAA enforcement. Most of us are at least somewhat aware of the ASRS program, but few of us really understand how it works. This is an important program that is of benefit to aviation at large and potentially to us individually, so we should all understand what the ASRS system is, what it can do for us, and how to use it.

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Think Outside the Box

Think Outside the Box

They almost made it. The aircraft was on a very short final when the nose started down. The flight crew pushed the thrust levers for both wing engines up to stop the sink but the left engine spooled up faster than the right engine and the aircraft started a turn to the right, from which there was no time to recover.

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Communicating with ATC

Communicating with ATC

It’s odd, considering how closely pilots and air traffic controllers must work together, that each tends to be unfamiliar with the other’s working conditions. At times it may feel like a marriage in distress, neglecting each other’s needs while trying to run the household of aviation. peaking from personal experience, two major keys to a good marriage are communication and empathy. What’s likely to happen if both parties express their needs, limits, and concerns effectively? A smoother operation with fewer surprise twists will hopefully result.

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Common Aviation Gyros

Common Aviation Gyros

Gyroscopes are an essential component of any instrument rig used for attitude, heading, turning, and navigation. Technological inventions created gyroscopes that work using a variety of theories. Each type of gyro is best suited for particular situations based on the type of information needed and the effect of drift. Three types of gyros are common in aviation. …

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Back to the Future (of GPS Backups)

Back to the Future (of GPS Backups)

Visions of the future are the domain of science fiction—imagine a world where some fantastic thing is possible. The FAA presents its own vision in the Performance Based Navigation Roadmap, which is produced about every five years. The third edition is expected around the time you get this. In it the current status of performance-based navigation, PBN, a generalized term for RNAV and RNP (required navigation performance), is analyzed and goals are set for the near, intermediate and long term—each roughly five years apart.

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MON Airports vs. MON VORs and More

Reader feedback and questions from past issues of IFR. We read ‘em all and try to answer most e-mail, but it can take a month or more. Please be sure to include your full name and location. Contact us at IFR@BelvoirPubs.com.

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simulation flying

Pilots, Refresh Your GA Training!

I haven’t flown in a year. There, I admitted the embarrassing truth. Shame on me. It’s time to rejoin GA, which I’m starting through some recurrent training. In March I wrote here in strong support of cockpit-specific training—something I also needed. You see, my airplane has a lot of cool toys I’ve yet to really master. Garmin kindly offered to train me on the primary combination and it was an eye opener.

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GA Certification Rules, the 2015 German Crash, Women Aviators, and More

After nearly 10 years of lobbying by general aviation advocacy groups, the FAA in March released a draft proposal aiming to overhaul light aircraft certification. Aviation authorities in Europe released their final report in March on last year’s fatal Germanwings flight, concluding that airline officials couldn’t have done anything to prevent the crash, since nobody told anyone at the airline that first officer Andreas Lubitz was suffering from mental-health problems. Women in Aviation International held their annual conference in March, in Nash-ville, Tennessee, with more than 5000 people attending. Responding to a shortage of pilot applicants for entry-level airline jobs, JetBlue has launched an ab-initio flight training program, the first of its kind in the U.S.

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On the Air: May 2016

We’re still running out. Don’t make us resort to reruns. Please send us your cleverest (or most embarrassing) moment on the radio—or your favorite fix names or airport names—with a subject of “OTA,” to IFR@BelvoirPubs.com. Be sure to include your full name and location.

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Download the Full May 2016 Issue PDF

Download the Full May 2016 Issue PDF

After nearly 10 years of lobbying by general aviation advocacy groups, the FAA in March released a draft proposal aiming to overhaul light aircraft certification. Proponents say the changes would cut costs to certify new models and also bring new, safer technologies to the market faster. “This proposal would benefit manufacturers, pilots, and the general aviation community as a whole,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. The proposal affects airplanes with up to 19 seats and a maximum takeoff weight of 19,000 pounds. Comments were accepted for 60 days; the FAA will consider all input before issuing a final rule, perhaps by the end of this year.

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