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Just a Little Fog

If you’ve ever faced a go/no-go decision with tantalizing blue sky above a low layer of fog, you know that departing IFR is an option—with a few “ifs.” If the obstacle-departure procedures are okay; if conditions meet personal minimums and comfort, and if you’ve considered what you might have overlooked when in a hurry to […]

Build Your Own Sim, Pt. 2

Assume you’re about to buy a new airplane. All the pre-buy inspections came back clean, the money cleared out of escrow, and you’re already planning your triumphant maiden trip home. Now you just have to figure out where you’re gonna park this thing. Setting up your home sim is no different—you must consider its location. […]

Low Clouds at Altitude

For this sim challenge, we’re back in the mountains because it’s just so much fun in the sim. You’ll fly two short hops over the Rocky Mountains. The trip begins at in Kremmling, Colorado (20V). Then, you’ll stop at Eagle (KEGE), on the way to the notorious LOC approach to Aspen (KASE). You’ll need a […]

Li-Ion Battery Safety

Since Sony introduced the first commercial Lithium-Ion battery in a laptop computer in 1991, these batteries have grown to become the dominant power source for portable devices. They pack more energy per cubic inch than any other commonly available battery. However, the amount of stored energy can also create a huge problem if a catastrophic […]

Flight Plan Follies

While pilots and air traffic controllers work with each other daily, perhaps we don’t often think about the nitty-gritty details and problem-solving taking place on the other side. When everything appears to be running smoothly, there’s nothing to worry about, right? If I’m your controller for the moment and tell you, “Proceed direct [FIX],” it’s […]

Readback: August 2022

Going Below Minimums Please thank Ken Maples for writing this much needed article that appeared in your May 2022 issue. Many of us pre-brief approaches from home, including highlighting the chart and adding annotations. From now on mine will include a visibility checkpoint. Interestingly, for my home field, S50, Auburn (Washington), the speed Category A […]

Tornadic Storms

Whether you’re in meteorology school or ground school, the tornado undoubtedly captures the attention. I’ve often noticed how a room goes silent when a conversation about this topic begins. Popular weather articles describe the tornado in terms of collisions between the air masses, jet streams, and fronts, and then go on to describe how to […]

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Master Your Medical

Maybe it’s time to renew your medical certificate or even obtain your first. The first step is to complete the online application at Benign as it may appear, it can cause unneeded misery if not completed accurately. Here are some angles, tips, and things to bear in mind as you weave your way toward […]

Future Automation

Once a great add-on, wing levelers have been relegated to museums. The current automated flight control systems (AFCS or autopilots) have all the lateral and vertical modes needed to remain engaged from the initial climb to short final. Then there are the amazing capabilities in Garmin’s Collier-Trophy-winning Emergency Autoland. Latest improvements Where is our cockpit […]

Readback: July 2022

Just Cancel As a retired Center controller with significant airport control experience, I cringe every time I hear the following on ATC frequencies at non-towered airports, ATC: “Report airport in sight for visual approach.” Pilot: “Airport in sight.” ATC: “Cleared visual approach to (XXX) airport. No traffic observed between you and the airport. Change to […]