However, the FAA’s ADS-B installation date of January 1st, 2020 was nearly a decade away, and he faced a hostile audience. Numerous pilots seated around us hit him on point after point. The price of the transponder units. The installation and certification headache. The lack of ADS-B coverage (at the time). The overall cost-vs.-benefit scenario. They clung to the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” theme. The company rep did his best, but it was a frustrating battle.
Time to check Off-Route Obstruction Clearance Altitudes. These start at 3400 to 4000 feet then quickly get up to 6000. The terrain continues to rise towards 8000 feet past Scottsbluff. Uh, we’re not in Minnesota anymore. OROCAs, as defined by the Instrument Procedures Handbook, are for situational awareness and emergency use. While OROCAs provide standard obstacle clearance margins (1000 feet in non-mountainous areas), you can’t count on them. You decide it’s safest to file for 8000 feet.
Okay, we’ve likely just established that your proficiency needs more than an IPC twice a year. Now, what if you flew those same procedures every month, all the way to real minimums in “no guano, Batman, I can’t see the runway” weather? Do that every month and after a few months you’d be much more proficient for that exercise. If you do it in a sim, you don’t have to arrange for a safety pilot or an instructor, and you can do it whenever it’s convenient to your schedule.
The Parts, Subparts and Sections of Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations, what we commonly call the “Federal Aviation Regulations” or FARs, are the only truly “regulatory” documents we have. These are the formal regulations adopted by the FAA. They are authorized by an Act of Congress. Sometimes the authorization is general. When created by the Federal Aviation Act of 1958, the FAA was given broad authority to issue regulations to carry out its functions. Sometimes it is specific like the Congressional mandates to increase ATP requirements following the 2009 Colgan crash or to create BasicMed.
Let’s consider a situation. We are flying over the Florida Everglades in low IMC. Our alternator just died, which clearly counts as an emergency in IMC. So, we must land. Now! Wind is blowing from the west at 25 knots and we are close to Dade-Collier Transition and Training Airport (KTNT). Although it used to have three approaches to Runway 9—an ILS, an NDB and an RNAV—the only one now available is the RNAV (GPS) RWY 9 approach. With that wind, we certainly will not be landing on Runway 9, even though the runway is 10,500-feet long.