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AVIONICS

AFCS: Friend or Foe?

Full-regime automatic flight control systems (AFCS) consist of at least a flight director (FD) and an autopilot (AP). “Full regime” means the AFCS has enough modes to control the aircraft from after takeoff to short final. It also means the AP controls the trim to operate over the full airspeed and centerof- gravity envelope. Selecting […]
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Advanced Avionics Errors

The FAA and NASA have identified errors commonly made by pilots using advanced avionics. Each of the errors discussed below were unearthed during research in which pilots and flight instructors took part. If we can exorcise these mistakes, our advanced avionics can deliver on their promises of increased safety and utility. Let’s walk through these […]
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Towered Field Ops

It’s Saturday morning at 0730. Weather is VFR and a million, and most of the flight schools and weekend warriors are calling up Ground with the ATIS, ready to go. Add student pilots, crosswinds, a runway closure and more. What are the chances of pilots missing something critical or letting expectation bias hit? That risk […]
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How We Die, Part 2

Too many pilots have died because they attempted instrument flight without a thorough working knowledge of their GPS navigators. Do you need to know all 2000-odd G1000 commands? No, but you need the essentials that apply to any GPS FMS. Preflight Check Your Gear What’s in your GPS? Mainly, is it WAAS equipped? WAAS offers […]
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Budget EFIS

Pricey EFIS retrofits have been available for years, but today the market offers more affordable options. Plus, most all of the choices permit removing the vacuum system, saving weight and space with an all-electric instrument suite totally immune to dreaded vacuum pump failures. New standards for instrument certification allow blanket approval via AML-STC (supplemental type […]
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A DME/DME RNAV Future?

The FAA’s Minimum Operating Network (MON) focuses on serving general aviation. Why? How will the airlines and heavy corporate birds survive a significant GPS outage, and why can’t we have that same resiliency? To answer that question, we need to start by exploring how the “airlines and heavy corporate birds” navigate. But, before we go […]
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Airspace Review

The first thing that might be on your mind is; “Aren’t there fewer rules if you are IFR?” Well, kind of. The main example is if you are IFR, you need not worry about weather requirements for entering certain airspace. An IFR clearance in itself provides separation from other aircraft and obstacle clearance in all […]
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Pick and Choose

When was the last time you actually had to fly a missed approach due to weather at or below minimums? I’m talking for real, in the airplane, not just in practice or in the simulator. If you have, it was probably one of those common climb-and-turn procedures, or just a climbout on runway heading until […]
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Ski Country Flying

Eagle County Regional Airport (KEGE) is the main airport that services the Vail ski area. At over 6000 feet field elevation, it presents many of the challenges of a high-altitude runway in the Rockies, and a few unique ones. Did I mention it is surrounded on all four sides by mountains reaching over 11,000 feet? […]
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Paper Stops

Information is the foundation on which air traffic control is built. Controllers absorb tons of data as we work our traffic—winds and weather conditions, advertised runways, aircraft types, filed routes, NOTAMs. The list goes on. We take all this data and use it to build sequences for arrivals and departures, and keep aircraft safely separated. […]
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Choose a Shortcut

Things are getting busy approaching Trenton, Tennessee, Gibson County (KTGC), even though its not that bad. But the skies are grey enough to make you squint as you enter the overcast. Youve also entered, as youll soon find out, the murky realm of the regs. A cold crust of rime clings to the aluminum and probably the antennas, so youre anxious to get into that toasty hangar at TGC. Worse, the suns going down and the gyros acting up. So any shortcuts (safe and legal, of course) would be great right about now.
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The Power of Paint

Look at the RNAV (GPS)-A approach at Naples, FL (KAPF). Seems like it is a straight-in approach to Runway 32 but it only has circling minimums. There are three conditions stated in the FAA Instrument Procedures Handbook (FAA-H-8038-16B) preventing straight-in minimums: 1) The final approach course alignment with the runway centerline exceeds 30 degrees, which isn't the case here. 2) The descent gradient is greater than 400 feet/NM from the FAF to the threshold crossing height (TCH). The actual descent gradient here is 316 feet/NM. 3) A runway is not clearly defined on the airfield. This is all that's left.
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