Weekly tips, technique and training from IFR.

May 2018

Full Issue (PDF)

Download the Full May 2018 Issue PDFSubscribers Only

Remember when complex transport-category aircraft had a flight engineer (FE) to manage systems? I imagine there was quite an uproar when automation progressed to the point where the FE became unnecessary and airliners were certified for two-person crews.


Briefing: May 2018Subscribers Only

Changes Follow Fatal Helicopter Accident Both the FAA and NTSB called for change after five people died in a helicopter accident in New York in March. They were flying in a Eurocopter AS350 with the doors off, a popular option for sightseeing flights, and were wearing special harnesses that were difficult to release. The helicopter lost power, and the pilot made an emergency landing on the East River. The aircraft then rolled over and sank. Only the pilot, who was wearing a different kind of harness, was able to escape. The FAA prohibited doors-off flights unless passengers have quick-release harnesses. The NTSB called on the FAA to prohibit commercial flights of all kinds that secure passengers without quick-release mechanisms.


May 2018 Killer Quiz: AIM Updates

In mid-October, the FAA presented us with an entirely revised edition of the AIM. There is quite a lot that is new, like MON, WRAs, GFAs and ALDARS. Some topics and terms have been revised. Take a turn through the quiz to see if you’re up-to-date on the latest information.

Late Spring TransitionSubscribers Only

No matter how carefully you plan, problems seem to appear. But they can be mitigated exercising care in planning, situational awareness, and knowledge. Here, we focus on knowledge to help you gain that essential element of situational awareness to build on the rules of thumb you’re originally taught.

Inside BatteriesSubscribers Only

Albert Einstein is reputed as saying that everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler. In March, “Manage Your Electrons,” attempted to explain certain concepts and principles without overwhelming readers unfamiliar with batteries and electrical systems. In so doing, we may have violated Einstein’s directive, because we’ve gotten a lot of mail complaining at our oversimplification. So, here is a more detailed explanation of much of what we conveyed in that article.

Stay Outta the WaySubscribers Only

The optimistic among us, besides having sunnier dispositions when asked to copy a reroute or enter a hold, like to assume positive outcomes during flight planning. This means looking for bright spots (literally) in weather forecasts and finding the upsides to adjusting departure times. While it’s nice to have a good attitude in flight, completely ignoring the pessimist in you can result in not-so-positive results.

Non-Precision, NA?Subscribers Only

Given a choice, chances are a pilot will pick a vertically guided approach over a non-precision approach. They’re easier to fly and the minimums are almost always lower. From a design perspective they also afford stricter obstacle clearance assurances. What’s not to love? That’s probably what the thought process was like that nearly led to a significant portion of non-precision approaches being cancelled or severely restricted in late 2017.  …

Taking a Lap

Your favorite phrase as a pilot probably isn’t, “Go around.” You might have been set up on final, aircraft perfectly configured, ready to call it a day, and suddenly you’ve got to throw all that out and try again. For a controller, the go-around is a last-minute tactic to resolve insufficient clearance or some other unexpected danger. Sure, it fixes an immediate problem, but it instantly creates other risks. Whether ATC initiates it, or you do, it’s adding complexity for everyone involved.

In the Face of the FedsSubscribers Only

Feedback on our sim challenges has been masochistic appreciation of nasty stepdowns and harsh tailwinds. This time we’ll build on that by doing stepdowns with a twist—literally. One of our approaches is a head-scratching DME arc to the missed approach at Martin State Airport (KMTN). It’s a constantly changing final approach course from the days before cool RNP. And it’s available to anyone with a real VOR and DME ... or maybe even GPS.

On the Air

On The Air: May 2018Subscribers Only

For years, V141 from Boston would take you to CELTS and then to DRUNK, which mysteriously became DUNKK around St Patrick’s Day a few years back. I don’t recall any announcement. I wonder if that was a lucid moment of sobriety.


Readback May 2018

I was able to pull the ODP data but not the SID data, but I can give a fairly good guess as to what’s going on. On the ODP, the controlling obstacle is a 2729-foot tower a few miles to the east of the runway. The initial climb is extended a bit more than usual in order to allow for a standard climb gradient when turning right (note that for turns other than to the right, a normal 400-foot turn is allowed). The WENDY and TRUPR are examples of Open SIDs, which have a route off the runway followed by radar vectors to a route. In these cases, the route off the runway is evaluated, but then the radar vector area gets no additional evaluation (other than MVA, etc.). SID evaluation begins again at the defined route. Because there’s no SID evaluation required after the initial climb, the controlling obstacle for the ODP isn’t considered. The minimum turning altitude for an RNAV SID is 500 feet above the runway, which would give you a turn at 1800 vs. the turn at 1900 on the ODP to keep a standard climb gradient and clear the tower. —LS


Single-Pilot Airliners

Remember when complex transport-category aircraft had a flight engineer (FE) to manage systems? I imagine there was quite an uproar when automation progressed to the point where the FE became unnecessary and airliners were certified for two-person crews.