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. To avoid them, you absorb data, whether it’s a preflightweather brief, the information on the ATIS, or what your instruments are telling you. You take these disparate pieces and assemble […]

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 Lonesome Pine airport (KLNP). It’s good to be instrument rated. The reported ceilings are comfortably high at 1500 AGL. It’s nice to have the protection of an instrument approach when going […]

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 have miles between us and another aircraft. You could probably say the same thing about driving if we didn’t have to follow the roads. But similarly, a good portion of us […]

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 got, and modifying it to better suit your mission, or even just your wishes. There are many avenues by which you can modify your aircraft. Let’s explore the most common. (Note: […]

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 to help you become the best, safest aviator possible. Prerequisites The first prerequisite is a clear understanding of the fundamentals of flight. The code is not specific, but those four fundamentals […]

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 pilots to one another. This underscores the importance of atmospheric pressure and its effect on flight safety. But how much do you know about where those numbers come from? In this […]

One After Another

A long-awaited family reunion is finally happening in Buffalo, New York, just over two-hours’ flight time from your home in Elkhart, Indiana. Two hours, that is, going direct, 331 miles, KEKM-KBUF. You’ve never flown to Buffalo, but you already know direct won’t be possible thanks to some busy airspace up ahead. So you’ve set aside […]

Safest Word In Flying

With a new private ticket in his wallet, the now-instrument student finished his preflight. No supervision needed, right? Out strode his CFII, who walked around the airplane, checking critical items. He glanced up and spotted a missing inspection cover under the wing. Pointing out this omission, the student asked, “We can still go, right?” The […]

Remember VORs?

Area navigation using GPS has been around (for us) for about 30 years. Before that we did mostly the same thing using LORAN for a while. But, the National Airspace System was designed around VHF Omni- Range navigation stations, VORs, that long preceded GPS. Technically, there are three types: VORs that just provide azimuth information, […]