Remember when complex transport-category aircraft had a flight engineer (FE) to manage systems? I imagine there was quite an uproar when automation progressed to the point where the FE became unnecessary and airliners were certified for two-person crews.
With each new budget impasse, it seems theres a concerted effort to pass a law divesting ATC from the FAA to turn it over to a private Congressionally-chartered nonprofit corporation. Congressman Bill Shuster (D-PA), the powerful chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee offered two bills, HR 4441 in 2016 and HR 2997 in 2017. Fortunately, neither bill came to a vote because there was insufficient support.
General aviation pilots take grief for their spoiled-rich-kid activities. In some cases thats appropriate, but in others it isnt. Last month I briefly mentioned an extended trip my wife and I took in our gratuitously excessive Cessna 340. (Read last months Remarks for context.) I didnt mention that the series of legs we undertook probably couldnt have been accomplished as readily via the airlines.
Recently I had lunch with my friend and colleague Jeff Van West, Jenny Van West, a talented musician and Jeffs delightful wife, and 14-year-old Baxter, their youngest son. Baxter is an uncommonly bright and interesting young man with the not-uncommon black-and-white simplistic view of the world that is the purview of youth.
Always pay attention. Good advice, that, applying equally to all human endeavors. But it especially applies to those of us who pilot aircraft. Ive often stressed the traps and dangers of becoming too reliant on automation. Dont let it become a crutch, Ive preached. Consequently, youd think, as I did, that Id be particularly wary of that malady. Yes, youd think…
The milestone of sorts that I discovered is that this issue marks my fifth anniversary at the helm of IFR. Now, in many views, thats simply not noteworthy. Other editors in the Belvoir Aviation family, like Jeb Burnside at Aviation Safety, have been at this for, well, a very long time indeed.
Most pilots and aviation journalists think BasicMed is a win. For many it is. But, if you dig beneath the covers you might conclude its not a win for you. Behind closed doors Ive been equivocal about BasicMed, but weve been generally favorable in print. I personally like the ever-cautious wait-and-see approach. Waiting and seeing, combined with a letter from James Shepard (see Readback), lead me to conclude that perhaps BasicMed isnt the big win most of us hoped and thought it would be.
The FAA, it is said, lags technology-sometimes significantly. These pages have been sprinkled with examples over the years. One recent example was in Jeff Van Wests article, A Bit Over Ninety, which appeared just last month.In that article, Jeff touched on the protected airspace for a turn at a fix. Before area navigation, all airways and procedures were designed expecting us to pass over the fix, suddenly realize that fact, and then turn to intercept the outbound course.
Assuming you own an airplane or fly the same one all the time, consider joining the type club supporting that aircraft. Okay, thats your takeaway. Let me explain why I recommend that. Ive owned three airplanes. My first was a mighty Cessna 150 and I was too young and too ignorant for aircraft ownership, so that one doesnt count. Next was a Mooney, a 1968 M20F Executive. Older and wiser then, I had previously joined the…
If you live west of the Mississippi, out where most of the military airspace and where most of the testing is done, youre well familiar with those pesky NOTAMs announcing interference testing of GPS or outright loss of the GPS signals. Most of us ignore them.
There are three levels of WINGS: the Basic, Advanced, and Master phases. Each level has multiple phases. Unlike the previous program, multiple phases can be earned each year. To complete a phase, pilots must get three flight and three ground credits which can be chosen from a wide range of activities.
One of the things we hear that readers like best about IFR is our focus on stuff you really want or need to know in the practical world of flying on instruments. That, of course, and the occasionally flip and irreverent or even cheeky way we present it.