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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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Filed vs. Cleared vs. Flown

Every instrument pilot should understand the process of filing, getting a clearance, and then flying an IFR flight plan. But why does it occasionally seem that ATC makes things complicated? Say you've filed a straightforward Point A to B then C. But then you're cleared from Point A to B then to X, Y, Z, and only finally to Point C. Why are these extra fixes in the flight plan? Where did they come from? Why this today instead of an intermediate RNAV fix that you usually get?
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Ida-hole Charters

Ever wish you flew for a living? If so, think about keeping a smile on while straightening your tie as the client lambastes you that low IFR (whatever that is) didnt stop the last crew. Oh, and you stocked the treat basket with the wrong brand of bottled water. And its too warm. Consider yourself fired-but only after you get your hiney in the pilot seat and deliver them to their ski weekend in Jackson Hole.

Bite the Bullet

Am I upset thinking the inspector unnecessarily picked nits? No. He was just extremely thorough and that's what I claim I want. I am a bit frustrated with the situation and that it wasn't caught before now, but the whole thought exercise has been enlightening, and a good test of my resolution to maintain my aircraft as thoroughly as possible.

Briefing: February 2020

Harbour Air flew a De Havilland Beaver on floats on pure electric power for the first time in early December as the first step in its program to fully electrify its fleet of historic seaplanes. The Vancouver-based airline serves dozens of communities off British Columbia's west coast and most of its flights are 30 minutes or less so the company believes new advances in battery technology will enable it to safely carry out the dozens of commercial passenger flights it operates every day. The December flight was a demonstration of the motor in a plane near its gross weight with batteries and lasted about 15 minutes. CEO Greg McDougall lifted the almost-70-year-old airframe off the Fraser River and later reported that it flew like a Beaver. He said newer, lighter batteries that are becoming available will allow room for passengers and cargo and the savings on maintenance and downtime will ultimately pay off.