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Weekly tips, technique and training from IFR.

June 2019

Full Issue (PDF)

Download The Full June 2019 Issue PDFSubscribers Only

Clearly, this was a humbling experience. I’m left wondering how many of us who are more than a few decades and a few thousand hours past flying trainers at 60 knots would do better. Your takeaway from this self-deprecating story is that no matter what you fly, you’ve got to play well with all the others, be they fast or slow, pro or student. I’m glad I relearned that lesson with no worse than some personal embarrassment. And, the students probably learned to watch out for fast twins with inattentive pilots.

Briefing

Briefing: June 2019

Boeing 737 MAX pilots will get increased ground training on the aircraft’s Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) but won’t drill the anti-stall software in the sim according to updated training requirements under consideration by the FAA. The Boeing 737 MAX Flight Standardization Board (FSB) has sent draft recommendations to the agency saying “MCAS ground training must address system description, functionality, associated failure conditions, and flight crew alerting. These items must be included in initial, upgrade, transition, differences, and recurrent training.” To this point, there was no requirement for pilots to be trained on MCAS, which is an anti-stall system designed to push the nose of the aircraft down. In fact, many MAX pilots were unaware that it had been added to the aircraft to combat an increased tendency for the plane to pitch up because of the revised placement of the larger and more powerful LEAP engines.

Features

Accidents: AA 1420Subscribers Only

One of the last weather-caused airline crashes in the United States was American Airlines Flight 1420 in Little Rock on June 1, 1999. As we mark its 20th anniversary, we’ll tie together some of the radar and thunderstorm skills we’ve learned in previous articles. You’ll also see brand-new radar scans of the storm from modern high-resolution display software—which is far more detailed than that in the NTSB report—and we’ll contemplate what you might see if you encounter a similar storm on modern radar today.

Traffic Jam in IowaSubscribers Only

Among the caveats, though, is the fact that the guaranteed traffic separation works great with IFR aircraft, but not so much with VFR aircraft. On top of that, even those who always fly IFR must be in VFR mode at certain times, e.g. to depart and pick up a clearance, or to cancel IFR at or before the final landing phase. Even if you had those protections all the way in, though, you could be left to your own devices if VFR traffic conflicts occur. And they do.

Hear Back, Read BackSubscribers Only

Let’s start out with a few simple examples and work our way up. One of the most-used examples is, “Tower, Cessna 12345, ready for departure, Runway 14L.” “Cessna 12345, Tower, hold short Runway 14L.” The caution below appears on many charts, but have you really assimilated what it’s telling you? It’s simple. Essentially, if the controller says the word “runway” you should read back the explicit instruction: “Cessna 12345, holding short Runway 14L.” This is the proper way to respond.

Comparing LPV and ILSSubscribers Only

A rriving at your destination on a dreary day, ATC queries you with “say approach requested.” The landing runway has an ILS and an RNAV (GPS) approach with identical LPV minimums published. Which do you choose? You would be forgiven for thinking, as we initially did, that this is a bit of an inconsequential question. WAAS has enabled satellite guided approaches to have precision comparable to Category I ILS approaches, so what difference does it make? Although true, this doesn’t mean that ILS and LPV are identical in all regards.

How Far Can You Go?

If issued an en-route clearance limit, you will be given holding instructions. If the pattern is charted, and they rarely are, you might be issued, “Hold east as published.” Most moving map displays such as the G1000 and GTN series do not show published holds, necessitating a chart, but ATC will issue full holding instructions if requested. The FAA frowns on unpublished holds, saying that “only those holding patterns depicted on U.S. government or commercially produced charts which meet FAA requirements should be used.” This is another reason why rolling your own at JIDUK, is a shaky idea.

Better than TAF?

A dmittedly, I’m an unabashed geek, getting my jollies running statistical tests querying the actual NTSB relational database and publishing my aviation safety research in journals using scientific mumbo-jumbo—the majority (if not all) of which would put any insomniac to sleep in a heartbeat. That said I’m also an active general aviation pilot. Here, I’ll don both hats as I cover a hot-off-the-press scientific paper published in the Atmosphere journal, “translating” from highfalutin language into layman’s English for the benefit of the general aviation pilot population.

On the Air

On The Air: July 2019

Just off the shore of northwest Florida, in the Gulf of Mexico, is HEVVN, an oft-used fix for pilots crossing the Gulf from the southern U.S. over to Florida. I was recently in Alabama and heard this exchange with Atlanta Center.

Readback

Readback: June 2019Subscribers Only

The nit is with one of the parts of the answer to Question 11. As the answer to question 3 says, our minimum descent altitude for this approach is 1100 feet, but that’s MSL. (Basic minimum for the LOC-7 approach is 1000 MSL, to which we added the required 100 feet for remote altimeter.) As the chart says, that 1000 MSL translates into 611 feet above the touchdown zone elevation of 389 feet, so 1100 MSL is 711 feet above TDZE (and 703 feet above airport elevation).

Remarks

(Always) Learning

Clearly, this was a humbling experience. I’m left wondering how many of us who are more than a few decades and a few thousand hours past flying trainers at 60 knots would do better. Your takeaway from this self-deprecating story is that no matter what you fly, you’ve got to play well with all the others, be they fast or slow, pro or student. I’m glad I relearned that lesson with no worse than some personal embarrassment. And, the students probably learned to watch out for fast twins with inattentive pilots.