Threading Needles

It’s not fun trying to make a left turn out of my neighborhood. It exits onto a busy, six-lane road. There’s no traffic light, just a gap in the median. Cutting across steady traffic demands patience, timing, and good judgment. Mistakes can be costly. The asphalt is littered with shrapnel from cars whose owners tried […]

Bearing to the Station

One friend of mine is a former Navy pilot who flew S-3 Vikings off carriers and commanded P-3 Orions. Despite such experience his transition to civilian light GA was full of new experiences—like mixture controls. He texted me one day thrilled over a bit of old school buried in the glass-panel display options. “This thing […]

When Ya Gotta Circle

It’s a cloudy, breezy day, and you’re flying the family from northern Iowa to Chanute in southeastern Kansas. Other than a headwind and a Convective SIGMET covering part of the way, there’s no significant weather occurring, and the forecast is steady. So the concern at hand is the approach: Which one? There are two choices, […]

Old Vs. New ILS

When I first saw the approach chart for the ILS Y or LOC Y RWY 3 at Raleigh Executive Jetport at Sanford-Lee County, South Carolina (KTTA), I thought I was seeing something unusual. I was. It’s an ILS approach with a Terminal Arrival Area (TAA). Yes, these are possible and we’re starting to see more, […]

In The Zone

Thanks to some typical spring weather in the air, it’s cloudy, hazy, and breezy at Chadron Muni, Nebraska. But you’re well briefed on what to expect while flying the RNAV (GPS) RWY 21 approach procedure. Given the conditions and this being a new destination for you, it turned out to be a smart move to […]

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 […]

Readback: June 2021

Oxygen If You’re Tired? I enjoyed Victor Vogel’s “Managing Fatigue” in your April issue. I have asked many people and read many articles. No one has ever said, “Why yes, supplemental oxygen will help keep you wide awake.” This has included AME’s, IFR instructors, et. al. Is there an FAA rule against saying that? Or […]


We usually make these so you can fly them with or without a GPS in your sim, but that’s getting more difficult every day. It’s a GPS world out there. Do you really not have some kind of GPS on your sim? Time to ditch that Windows Vista box and get with the times, my […]


Back in the old days of aviation weather, surface and upper-air charts were complicated things left to the forecasters. As a pilot, you made a phone call and copied down takeoff and destination weather, the flight weather conditions, and any hazards along the way. Today’s pilots are more sophisticated, well versed in electronic devices, and […]


After a three-day trip to the Denver area mixing business and recreation, you’re heading eastbound for home with a stop in Medford, Oklahoma, to visit a friend. Medford Muni (Oscar-53) doesn’t seem to have much to it, though, so you review the logistics to confirm it’ll work for an overnight. One runway at 3007 feet? […]


In this reintroduction of a past series of articles, we’ll fully dissect a particular chart or procedure. While many of the points we’ll make should be uncovered in a normal briefing, our analysis will extend far beyond. Our hope is that by exploring the edge cases of available procedures, you’ll better understand how to handle […]


Many consider the instrument rating as the most difficult aeronautical achievement. This is probably even more the case today than when I earned that coveted capability almost a half-century ago. While aircraft haven’t changed much, the avionics, regulations, and AIM have all undergone significant metamorphosis. Today’s GPS equipment and the procedural techniques required in Technically […]