While we certainly don’t need to examine weather accidents to remind us that weather can be a killer, reviewing them can be a good teacher. The accidents we’ll review attracted only a couple paragraphs in the local newspaper and were quickly forgotten, but every incident has the potential to save lives. We’ll try to understand their story by digging into radar and weather data and poring through the NTSB archives and try to find just how these pilots got themselves in trouble and what lessons we can learn.
The note is correct as written—and an IFR GPS alone is fine. Now follow me down a logical rabbit hole to understand why, as well as see how GPS and digital tech in general are changing how we fly IFR.
Before October 2016, formal enforcement was the only tool available to Aviation Safety Inspectors (ASIs). This time-consuming process could take years to resolve and absorbed a lot of FAA resources better used elsewhere. Enforcement was unsuitable in many cases where the violation was unintentional and the pilot displayed a cooperative attitude and desire to set matters straight.
Displaced thresholds are just for landing in the direction of the displacement. So back in 2008 when the 4800-foot runway was displaced 1500 feet from both ends, the landing distance either way was 3300 feet. You may roll out, or even touch down and stop, on the displacement for the opposite direction.
The old saying tells us you can’t be cleared for takeoff until the gross weight of the paperwork exceeds that of the aircraft. That hasn’t changed much since Flight Service received reports on Teletypes necessitating cryptic abbreviations to conserve precious bandwidth on 75-baud lines.
Calling Flight Service used to be required to file a flight plan and get a weather review from a specialist with information unavailable anywhere else. Technology has changed all that.
Aviation widely relies on the transfer of institutional knowledge. The flight instructor teaching you to fly didn’t acquire all his/her skills alone. Someone taught them the basics, who in turn was taught by another individual, and so on. Lessons from past experience (a.k.a. mistakes) enlighten future generations.