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Weekly tips, technique and training from IFR.

HSI Tech

HSI Tech

Slaved or non-slaved, electronic or mechanical, a thorough understanding of your HSI system is critical for proper use and early recognition of failure.

While the HSI was a game-changer for the instrument pilot by raising the bar on situational awareness, it introduced more avionics complexity, especially when connected to multiple nav sources. In failure mode, and for the pilot who doesn’t know how to operate it, the instrument can be a killer. When I was a new avionics technician, Narco’s DGO-series HSI system was the ground breaker. But, not all pilots fully understood what an HSI would do, and fewer yet understood how they worked. That’s somewhat true even today.

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NextGen Update

NextGen Update

Moving faster than a speeding government agency, the FAA is implementing NextGen at a brisk pace, complete with the unrelenting ADS-B requirement. Good things await us.

Yes, we’ve done a couple updates on ATC moderization recently. But the negative responses to editor Bowlin’s recent comments in favor of ADS-B suggest yet more information is needed. Plus, if you still think the 2020 deadline will get extended, well, the FAA is completing its tasks with an unfamiliar but refreshingly high speed and efficiency. \n

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Down-Transitions

Down-Transitions

Youve spent most of your life moving up in aircraft size and complexity. Now youre down-transitioning to something smaller. Its more of a change than you might think.

Many of our ranks are professional pilots because they simply love to fly. They find a way to fly no matter what. For them, retiring from a career in aviation simply means they no longer get paid to fly, but they’ll find a new ride. These are usually superb pilots—pilot’s pilots—but they can sometimes struggle when transitioning from a magic carpet with dual FMS, dual radar, dual engines, surplus power, autothrottles…and redundant redundancy.

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Who Draws the Lines?

Who Draws the Lines?

Have you ever wondered about the origin of instrument approach procedures? Who creates those procedures and what rules do they follow?

Somebody, somewhere, has to come up with the procedures in which we entrust our lives and that of our passengers when we’re penetrating the muck, following some ethereal radio signal hoping there’s sufficient clearance from the myriad obstacles that can exist. An awesome responsibility, that. Who does it? \n

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FA Swan Song

FA Swan Song

The area forecast is going away. While we mourn its passing, were left searching for a suitable replacement for IFR alternate planning to airports without TAFs.

Receiving my instrument ticket from a university pilot-mill, flight and weather planning was grueling and intense. For flights over an hour, a Terminal Aerodrome Forecast (TAF) is used. For secondary airports within five miles of a field with a TAF, the TAF from the primary airport can be used No TAF? Use the Area Forecast (FA).

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Want RNAV with that?

As RNAV assimilates all aspects of IFR, even the unassailable ILS gets segments only available to the /G enabled. And even better, you dont need that pricey WAAS.

Back when Southwest Airlines was the upstart operating out of airports “nearby” major cities rather than in them, everyone in New England knew about Manchester Airport (KMHT). They even call it the “Boston-Manchester Airport,” even though it was an hour’s drive away in a different state.

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Readback: July 2015

Last fall as I was departing Reno, NV (KRNO), the weather was 1500 overcast (6000 MSL), tops 10,000 MSL, surface temp +10 C and there was no precipitation. I was flying my pressurized, turbocharged, FIKI-certified Cessna 414. I’d flight planned for FL 190. 737: “SoCal Approach, any chance of direct HECTOR?” Approach: “Southwest 123, let me check with the Vector to Hector Sector Director.” 737: “Roger.” Actually we were laughing so hard the captain had a hard time talking. Approach: “Southwest 123, the Vector to Hector Sector Director says you can go Direct Hector.” I love aviation and all the people who work in it that make it fun.

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