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CHARTS & PLATES

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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Wind Shear

When the jet age arrived in 1959, little was known about wind shear. Aviation was focused on thunderstorm avoidance. In Joseph George’s compilation of Eastern Air Line’s forecasting techniques from that era, we find thunderstorms described in terms of turbulence, icing, and hail hazards. As jet aircraft were equipped with radar, it was assumed that […]
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Catch GPS Errors Early

In our previous episode, we shared seventeen of the most common pilot avionics errors identified in FAA and NASA studies. If 80 percent of consequences come from 20 percent of the causes, knowing even this little goes a long way. Now, using the classic learn-fromour- mistakes reasoning, the FAA then swaps its perspective from reactive […]
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Cutting You Loose

Believe it or not, air traffic controllers don’t issue radar vectors for amusement. I know it might seem like it when you’re getting strung out for a sequence or for traffic, watching the time-equals-money clock ticking away, increasing the costs of your flight. My goal as a controller is to get you on your own […]
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From TAAs to Terrain

When thinking about mountain airp, states like Wyoming and Colorado come to mind. But there are plenty of mountainous destinations outside the Rockies. Head 1400 miles southeast, where the Blue Ridge Mountains offer breathtaking landscapes and lots to do in the great outdoors. While on a much smaller scale than out West, these landforms do […]
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Avoid the Overrun

Part 91, gives us lots of discretion when it comes to choosing an approach, deciding if it’s legal (and safe) to continue, and then if it’s legal and safe to land. The caveat is that personal judgment, often in the heat of the moment, becomes the catchall for critical phases of flight. This makes us […]
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An Icy ODP

Rime ice giving your Cessna 210 a quarter-inch coating was the inbound surprise to Mission Field in Livingston, Montana. As one accustomed to life without ice protection, you were careful in the planning and had an alternate, but you simply didn’t expect to pick up that much extra drag on approach. Still, cloud levels were […]
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Access to Asheville

When you were seven, your mother sent your father to the store for milk, and he came back three years later—but only because he got lost. At least that’s the way your mom liked to tell it. Now it’s time for your dad to see his granddaughter (your daughter) graduate from the University of North […]
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Near-Miss Understandings

Sequences don’t come much easier. A VFR Mooney and a VFR Cherokee both requested a practice RNAV approach. They were the same distance from the same initial approach fix (IAF), and the Mooney was 50 knots faster than the Cherokee. I gave the Mooney direct to the IAF. The slower Cherokee got a few vectors […]
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Skew-T Simplified, Pt. 2

Last month, we took a close look at Skew-T (sounding) diagrams and how they’re constructed. To refresh your memory, Skew-T’s are simply diagrams showing a vertical profile of temperature and moisture at a given station at a given time. The up direction is increasing altitude, and the right-hand direction is increasing temperature or moisture. The […]
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LOAs: Tribal Knowledge

One of the ways the FAA manages many things without creating new regulations is through Letters of Agreement (LOAs). There are many types of LOAs but one creates clarity among Air Traffic Control facilities regarding who controls what. In theory, they eliminate ambiguity amongst the parties involved. Sometimes LOAs also affect pilots and the issue […]
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