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Which Way Is Up?

Remember when you were a student pilot prepping for the cross-country flights with a sectional chart, using your plotter to calculate the true course to the destination? Then using magnetic variation (east is least, west is best) to get magnetic course. GPS navigation and all our apps have changed that, but the basics remain. You […]

IFR Departures

You and two friends are flying to Nashville for a weekend of great music. It will be an IFR flight from Asheville, North Carolina (KAVL), to John C. Tune (KJWN). Your clearance is what you expect: “Cleared to the John C Tune Airport. Asheville Seven Departure, then as filed. Climb via the SID.” You depart […]

How GPS Works

Back in the bad old days of VOR navigation you could find your position by tuning in two different VOR’s. Each radial from a VOR was a “line of position” from that VOR. Your position could be anywhere on that line. Where the two lines from two different VORs intersected was your location. For accuracy […]

Lake Crossing IFR

During the summer, many pilots in the Upper Midwest plan half-day flights for vacation, and it’s inevitable that we have to contend with theGreat Lakes. Whether we stop short, go around, or go across, there’s always added bulk to the flight planning. Want to overfly Lake Superior for both the view and the shortcut? There’s […]

Revisiting RAIM

Receiver Autonomous Integrity Monitoring is a mouthful, but it’s descriptive. RAIM independently assesses the integrity of positions reported by a GPS receiver. RAIM is essential because half a dozen error sources can result in position errors ranging from negligible to unsafe. RAIM detects and, in some cases, corrects these errors. Only then can a pilot know […]

Increased Workload

Since starting in 1984, I’ve logged over 1800 hours in more than 45 aircraft types. As much of this has been in the past four years under the employ of a major avionics shop, the recent experience factor provides a bit of confidence, especially since I’m quite familiar with most avionics offered today. A trip […]

Unpleasant Surprises

When I was learning to fly, my instructor would say, “A good flight comes from good information.”Surprises in the cockpit aren’t generally good things....

NA At Night

You planned this getaway weekend to Wise County, Virginia months ago. A cabin is ready. A rental car awaits you when you land at...

VFR Separation

Flying is a great joy. There is plenty of airspace on the planet for all of us to go our own way and still...

Aircraft Mods

Some aviators are perfectly happy flying what’s available. Others of us yearn for ever better-equipped aircraft. Somewhere in the middle is taking what you’ve...

Code of Conduct

The word “Model” is in the title because it articulates ways to achieve flying excellence without a canned set of rules. Tailor the code...

Under Pressure

Dialing in the altimeter setting is perhaps one of the most universal, timeless rituals of aviation, spanning decades, continents, and cultures, and tying all...