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BasicMed Lacks Admin

While BasicMed was mistakenly called third-class medical reform, it didn’t replace the third-class medical, but it did give pilots another option to fly. It has been popular with pilots who only need a third-class medical, but BasicMed does have some restrictions compared to a third-class medical. Since April 2020, more than 55,000 pilots are flying […]
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Pilot Deviations

Simply fly long enough and you’ll eventually make a boneheaded or innocent mistake that gets in ATC’s way. Those may say a Pilot Deviation (PD) is where they “screwed up” or “ATC is blaming me for…” I’ve personally heard it put in many different—often creative—ways; I should keep a list.  Here is how the FAA […]
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Most Capable, Best Served

For years, aviation adhered to the service principle, “first come, first served.” This easily implemented, inherently fair doctrine is officially enshrined in the controller’s handbook, Section 2-1-4 directing that controllers, “Provide air traffic control service to aircraft on a ‘first come, first served’ basis as circumstances permit…” FCFS worked when aircraft were similarly equipped, with […]
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Keeping the Lights On

While the COVID-19 pandemic raged around us, I was standing in our approach control’s radar room and my supervisor had just taken a call from our overlying center. Eyebrow raised, I asked, “Bad news?” “Center took a COVID hit,” my sup said, “So they’re closing down overnight for cleaning.” Controllers normally work in close quarters, […]
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Tech Talk: Stall-Warning Systems

Aerodynamic wing stall accidents have been a concern since the canard was removed around 1910. Approximately 40 percent of General Aviation fatal accidents are due to loss of control with the majority of those being from stalls. One element of stall awareness training that’s not often taught is the details of sensors used to detect […]
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What’s Your Profile?

Let’s discuss profiles—for flight, not social media—that provide whatto- do-at-each-point guidelines that govern how you fly your airplane. During an IFR lesson, I often get questions like: “What speed should I be flying before intercepting the localizer?” Or, “When is a good time to put the gear down?” These and many other questions can be […]
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Got GPS?

Our IFR avionics are getting evermore capable, allowing us single-pilot fliers to shoot RNAV approaches once reserved for the big iron. While most standard satellite-based approaches have become basic fare, there are now some new notes we’re finding on the charts that require figuring out what the onboard GPS really is allowed to do. This […]
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Do You Know ICAO?

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) dwells in the deep recesses of general aviation operations. We now file ICAO flight plans, only vaguely aware that ICAO is some wispy regulatory body that seems to have the pull to make it happen. ICAO does indeed have major chops. Formed in 1947, it is one of the […]
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Vmc Analyzed

Training for my multi-engine rating years ago was in a Piper Apache. It was a good, inexpensive training aircraft, but it lulled me into a false sense of security about VMC. I thought a VMC rollover was just caused by the torque of the good engine/drag of the failed engine and the lack of rudder […]
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Between The Cracks

During my high school years, I got a lift home from a friend. Approaching my neighborhood, I said, “Turn left here.” I expected my friend to be a sensible driver, spot the clearly marked street a few hundred feet ahead, decelerate, merge into the designated left-turn lane, look for traffic, and smoothly turn into my […]
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You Could Fly a Cat II ILS

Category I ILS approaches, long our low-weather mainstay, offer us minimums as low as 200 feet above the touchdown zone with RVR 1800 feet or higher. That’s low, but as it develops, not as low as you can go. CAT II approach approval opens about 160 public CAT II approaches to GA, easing access to […]
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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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