Flying with a safety pilot is a great way to maintain instrument currency and more importantly, proficiency. Also, BasicMed pilots will want to make sure they are legal to act as safety pilots. Take this quiz to help assure a safe and legal flight with a safety pilot.
February and March bring the peak season of the squall line. They are perhaps the most formidable of all the mid-latitude weather systems. Most of us at one time or another have witnessed the alarming black mass spanning almost the entire western horizon, followed by the fury of raw wind, small hail, and torrential rains. Indeed these storms were recognized by early Scandinavian fishermen and traders for the sheer amount of rain they produced. In the 17th century the Norwegians gave us the word skval, meaning “a sudden rush of water,” anglicized to squall by the sailors of Britain.
Pilots around Lake Michigan know there’s a popular route down the lakeshore with the Chicago skyline just off the wingtip. This offers fantastic views of downtown Chicago and is a practical way to transit from eastern Wisconsin to anywhere southeast of Windy City. You might even have a reason to stop at Chicago Midway and get a really close look at that famous skyline.
After about eight months, as of early November, according to AOPA, approximately 25,000 pilots had taken advantage of BasicMed since the official roll-out on May 1, 2017. Since the FAA does not track this, we don’t know the exact percentage of pilots who did not have a current medical after a multi-year hiatus from flying and decided to get back into flying with BasicMed, as opposed to pilots with medicals who renewed expiring medicals with BasicMed. AOPA estimates about 50% for each group. It will probably take at least two years for the BasicMed numbers to stabilize as pilots with current medicals decide to renew with BasicMed, but at this time it seems to be working.
It had to happen one of these times. Today you’ll fly the approach that makes NetJets pilots wish they’d taken that cargo job over the Great Lakes: the infamous LOC/DME-E into Aspen, CO. It’s 3500 feet of localizer stepdowns to a MAP that’s still 2.6 miles from the runway. The missed is a climb on dedicated backcourse past “hills” so dramatic one Citation pilot friend puts it: “When we fly into Aspen, I don’t look out the window until we’re about to land. And even then, I don’t look up.” Many companies require special training to fly paying passengers into Aspen, Eagle, and similar mountain airports.
Some things are inevitable. Sunrises and sunsets. A character in every Star Wars movie saying, “I’ve got a bad feeling about this.” Also… at some point during your instrument flying career, you’re going to get your first of many reroutes.
Recently, as is customary when I give an instrument proficiency check (IPC), before the flight I review en route and approach charts with the pilot. While randomly going through the Florida approach book, we saw the North Bay Visual RWY 18L charted visual flight procedure (CVFP) at the St Pete-Clearwater airport (KPIE) and a couple questions came up.