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Weekly tips, technique and training from IFR.

November 2017

Full Issue (PDF)

Download the Full November 2017 Issue PDFSubscribers Only

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.

Briefing

Briefing November 2017

One Aviation flew its Eclipse jet with a new wing, in August. The testing is the first step in developing a new version of the jet, EA700. The EA700 will be a larger version of the original 500/550 jet, with a bigger wing, bigger engines, and a fuselage extended 14 inches. The more powerful EA700 will be able to climb direct to 43,000 feet and extend its range to 1500 NM. It will also boost performance for high and hot airports. The flight test lasted about 80 minutes and all parameters were met, the company said. “The aircraft felt very solid, a testament to the engineering and build teams,” said test pilot Jerry Chambers.

Features

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.

ILS NuancesSubscribers Only

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. All you have to do is get established on the localizer, usually with a few turns from your friendly controller, wait for the glideslope needle to come in and then just follow them both to the runway. And, that’s just about all there is to it. Until there’s more…

The Tower of PowerSubscribers Only

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.

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.

Black Swan LessonsSubscribers Only

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.

Staying Afloat

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.

On the Air

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:

Readback

Readback November 2017

I am pretty much all in with all the latest wizbangs—syn vis, AOA, MFD, ADS-B In etc. in my V-35B, plus of course the great PFD. All this works perfectly with my legacy autopilot and it will take me wherever I want. I too discovered that I was really getting sloppy with my hand flying in challenging conditions and resolved to make letting George fly the exception. Sometimes we split the route where I fly out George flies back. I like flying the airplane and becoming more aware of all that I have on display in front of me, but it does take more effort and concentration.

Remarks

BasicMed’s Other Side

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.