Weekly tips, technique and training from IFR.

June 2017

Full Issue (PDF)

Download the Full June 2017 Issue PDFSubscribers Only

Many mainstream aviation publications include a recitation of facts about selected accidents. The idea, I’m sure, is a “there-but-for-the-grace-of-God-go-I” kind of warning. Clearly there’s value in that information, but when I read those sections I’m often left with a “so-what” or “too-bad-for-them” reaction because discovering the applicability of those mishaps is left to the reader. IFR has never published many articles about accidents. However, we’ve recently begun to occasionally include that article genre in the lineup of the mag.


Briefing: June 2017

Mooney Aircraft’s updates of its two classic single-engine models now are FAA-certified, the company announced in April. The M20U Ovation Ultra and the twin-turbocharged M20V Acclaim Ultra both come with an all-new interior and a Garmin G1000 NXi panel. The once all-metal airplane now has a composite-wrapped cabin, which the company says produces a quieter ride. The original Mooneys had a single door, but the new versions come with two wide doors for easier access to the cabin. The company has started to take orders for the first batch of 50 airplanes planned for this year’s production.


Windshear WeatherSubscribers Only

Last month, “Handling Windshear,” described how to recognize, avoid and, handle an encounter with windshear. The focus of that article was the practical side of piloting but we necessarily touched on the basics of the weather behind thunderstorms, microbursts and windshear. Now it’s time to dig deeper into that meteorology.

Charting on the MTA

I loved “The MTA Song” as a kid. You know it: Charlie gets caught a nickel short and left to ride the rails of the Boston subway forever because the fare went up during his morning commute. I loved its joyful ridiculousness, and I loved that my dad would belt it out for us on his old Martin. (He was a beatnik—a hippy before it was cool.) Charlie’s wife handing him a sandwich always bugged me though. Why didn’t she just hand him a nickel so he could get off the train?

Not Enough Time

It’s taken for granted that when you fly a light aircraft, you take care of everything from preflight planning to all the in-flight tasks and securing the aircraft afterwards. All decisions are usually left to one person. This is such a common routine for many that the risks of what’s known as Single-Pilot Resource Management are often overlooked, especially due to the external pressures that are often present for any flight. In this accident report, the combination of a sole pilot’s pressure to get home and poor weather conditions had tragic results.

Echoes Of Errors PastSubscribers Only

You’ve probably heard the morbid axiom: FAA regulations are written in blood. Many of the rules fattening the books governing pilots and air traffic controllers were brought about by unfortunate incidents. “Line up and wait” (LUAW) is a significant example. It’s an inherently risky maneuver: a controller places an airplane on a runway but doesn’t let them take off due to other traffic using the runway or on final to that same runway.

IFR/VFR SeparationSubscribers Only

Regulations prevent collisions through right-of-way rules. These codified decencies apply to the road, sea and air. For aviation, 14 CFR §91.113 warns that “regardless of whether an operation is conducted under instrument flight rules or visual flight rules, vigilance shall be maintained by each person operating an aircraft so as to see and avoid other aircraft.” Sage advice, that, especially with our butts in the hot seat.

Not Quite By The Book

It really should be true. Visual contact with lights offers a bridge between the miasma of IMC and the welcoming squeak of pavement. If you reach DA and have only the approach lights in sight, just holding your attitude for a moment longer—and lower—should yield enough visual information to put the wheels safely on the runway.

On the Air

On The Air: June 2017

The other day the Washington, DC area was getting hammered with a series of strong, fast-moving thunderstorms. Reagan National (DCA) had just shut down when I heard the following on the ground frequency at Dulles:


Readback: June 2017

I just got the April issue of IFR and your editorial (“Do You Need EFIS?”) exactly described my dilemma! My HSI needs to be repaired and Aspen has a sale on. To get the Aspen and install it is just a few grand more than repairing the HSI. I found “Put It Together: DIY SOP” in the May issue to be excellent. The creation of a personal SOP is a fantastic venture for any pilot and a very worthwhile, enjoyable and educational process.


Sigh... Another Accident Report?

One of the things we hear that readers like best about IFR is our focus on stuff you really want or need to know in the practical world of flying on instruments. That, of course, and the occasionally flip and irreverent or even cheeky way we present it.