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CHARTS & PLATES

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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How We Die, Part 1

(This is the first of a four-part series of articles in which contributing editor Fred Simonds will fully explore common, oft-fatal mistakes that we pilots make. This first article merely relates a number of ultimately harmless incidents that will serve as illustrations on which we’ll build in subsequent articles. As I read Fred’s manuscript, I […]
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ILS on the Block

In 2015, the FAA began looking to rationalize ILS approaches. In this context, rationalize means cut. The following year, the FAA developed a cost/benefit quantitative model and conducted an analysis at about 2900 airports with few or no RNAV SIDs or STARs. The finished product was a plan to decommission Cat I ILS approaches at some of these airports between 2020-2030. Before a decision was reached, the project was shelved in 2017.
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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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Any Ol Alternate

Pop quiz: When must you file an alternate? Thats an easy one, we all know the rule about needing 2000-3 one hour before and after the ETA. Next question: When do you file an alternate? Probably the most common answer is, I always file an alternate. Fair enough, its never a bad idea. Now, regulations aside, why do you file an alternate? Naturally the response is: In the event the weathers gone down too low at the destination and we need somewhere else to go. Right up there is an unexpected loss of equipment or a navaid required for an approach. And while the regs are also designed to provide a backup for lost communications, this often serves as a distant third, cause these days were just not all that worried about that.
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