Weekly tips, technique and training from IFR.

January 2019

Full Issue (PDF)

Download the Full January 2019 Issue PDFSubscribers Only

Thinking I’d found a loophole, I told him the G500 was only about six years old. “But your airplane is over 30 years old,” he countered. “But,” I continued, “the airplane isn’t broken. It’s the six-year-old G500.” As you’ve already guessed, this fell on deaf ears. He walked away, seemingly glad to be rid of me, and simply added, “Sorry. It’s company policy.”


Briefing: January 2019

When a Lion Air Boeing 737 Max 8 with only 800 hours crashed into the ocean in November, killing all 189 on board, the event raised a lot of questions. It behaved erratically in flight before the crew lost control, and several crews had reported problems with the airplane in the days before.


January 2019 Killer Quiz: West Coast Cheese Head

With Astoria, OR (KAST) in the taillights, the next airport with an approach down T257 is the famed cheese capital of the Pacific Northwest: Tillamook, OR. A stop there to straighten out your digestive predicament seems prudent, so you tell ATC your new destination.

Sitting in LimboSubscribers Only

Air traffic control has its challenges. That’s obvious when we controllers are working heavy traffic that tests our planning, reflexes, and intestinal fortitude. However, even off position, we’re sometimes put on the spot about our aviation knowledge.

Knowing Ice - Again

There are rules about flight into known or forecast icing conditions for Part 135 and 121 operators, but there is nothing in Volume 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (commonly called the Federal Aviation Regulations) specifically prohibiting Part 91 flight into known icing. Instead, we look to 91.9(a). This prohibits us from operating an aircraft contrary to its published operating limitations. Add a dose of careless and reckless conduct from 91.13, and you have a better picture of the regulatory background.

Garmin GTN UpdatesSubscribers Only

Garmin’s latest software for the GTN navigators (V6.5) offers compelling new features. GTNs come in both the GTN 700 and GTN 600 series. The patriarch is the x50 (650 or 750) with GPS/NAV/COM capabilities; whereas the x25 has only GPS. The 600 and 700 differ in the screen size and the 700’s ability to control an embedded audio panel. With the larger screen, the 700 can also display georeferenced (Jeppesen or AIS) approach charts.

Many Ways Outta TownSubscribers Only

Some time ago we published a letter from a pilot who complained that ATC regularly vectored her toward mountains that rise over 4000 feet just 11 miles southwest of KAVL in Asheville, NC. Her single-engine airplane would wind up level with the ridgetops. Requests for a safer southerly route around the mountains were always denied. Upon request, ATC would vector her on course once they realized she was flirting with cumulogranite.

The Day the Music DiedSubscribers Only

Unless you’re under age 30 or live in a remote village in Mongolia, you’ve likely heard the 1971 Don McLean song “American Pie,” in which the events on the night of February 2-3, 1959 are recalled. That night, three of America’s top rock musicians died in a tragic aviation accident in Iowa. The accident is ingrained in American culture. I can’t think of a better example of an accident worth researching for lessons to learn.

Stupid Pilot Tricks: 2019

Yep, it’s time to make fun of those who in 2015 ignored sound judgment and lived to garner pilot lounge derision. And, since pilots tend to repeat the same mistakes in hopes of different results, we heed George Orwell who said, “We have now sunk to a depth at which the restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men.” Since no intelligent man or woman stepped forward, it’s up to me.

On the Air

On The Air: January 2019

About a year ago I was training a student pilot. The college student was very intense and strived to be perfect at all her training. She listened to LiveATC a lot, practiced with her airline captain father in the evenings. When it came time to get ready for her three takeoffs and landings at a controlled field, she and I went to Rocky Mountain Metro four times for practice.


Readback: January 2019

Another good rule of thumb is Buys Bullot’s law: To locate where the bad weather is coming from, put your back to the wind and extend your left arm straight out. That’s where the low pressure bad WX is coming from. It works for me.


Too Old...For What?

Like many of you, I also ride motorcycles. I have two Hondas, one of which is 25 years old but still suits me quite well. Due to a confluence of some logistical and health challenges, now past, I hadn’t ridden in a few years. Late this past summer I again undertook two-wheeled transportation.