CHARTS & PLATES

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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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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