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CHARTS & PLATES

More Hide and Seek

Flight-planning your Washingtonstate mini-vacation taught you a lot about identifying obstacles on approach. Overall, IFR into Deer Park won’t be too onerous for terrain or procedures. But it does mean unseen obstructions—some close to the final approach path (see “Obstacle Hunt” in last month’s IFR). It took time to piece together the details using all […]
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Dead Reckoning in IFR

GPS in general aviation aircraft has become ubiquitous. So much so that the FAA’s move to a Performance Based Navigation (PBN) world based primarily on the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) is well underway. We are already seeing the cancellation of “redundant” and “underutilized” VOR (and NDB) approaches. For en-route navigation, we have the Minimum […]
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Obstacle Hunt

When briefing an approach, we might not care what a given “obstacle” actually is. But they do come in all shapes and sizes; the chart symbols indicate as much. So it’s a good idea, especially in unfamiliar areas with lots of obstacles, to know what’s down there, be it metal, dirt, rocks or trees. The Aeronautical […]
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Final Stage Check

Some people say that it doesn’t matter where you practice IFR because all procedures use the same cookbook. An ILS is an ILS whether it ambles downward over the flatlands of Kansas or threads a nervous CDI needle between Colorado mountains. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve done the approach a hundred times or this is […]
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It All Adds Up

Three hours in a single, even a roomy one like the sturdy Piper Dakota, seems to be about the maximum sitting time for most PICs and especially their passengers. It also happens to be a good time to refuel, as the typical four-to-five-hour endurance allows for landing with ample reserves when it’s time for a […]
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Keep Up the Good Fight

The clock read a few minutes past noon when I pulled through my control tower’s entry gate. As always on my way into work, I took in the weather conditions, mentally prepping for the day ahead. A scattered cloud deck mottled the blue above. What drew my eye most, though, was a pocket of cumulus […]
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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 […]
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Q&A For Better SA

Not long ago, I was kibitzing with Mike, my longtime friend and hangar-flying buddy. Aviation was, of course, the topic of choice. I was in...

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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Upper-Level Weather

Unless your flying is limited to local sightseeing in good weather, chances are you’ve used winds aloft charts at some point. For many commercial and military pilots, they’re a staple of the preflight weather briefing, and they’re easily found on sites like aviationweather.gov.  These charts are constructed by weather centers at a series of designated […]
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No Approach Here

Unless you’re one of those lucky pilots who fly only from big, comfy airports with at least a part-time tower, copying and canceling IFR clearances while airborne are routine. And while it’s not as common to file IFR to a destination with no instrument procedures, there are plenty of such airports scattered around, so it […]
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Around the “Hood”

Over the past months, some of us decided that flying was essential and a social distance of 6000 feet was a thousand times better than six. They got a rare treat: The Class Bravos were their playground. We heard stories of near silence on the frequency in NorCal/SoCal and Boston controllers giving full-length low passes […]
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