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Advisory Glidepaths

Although they look alike, there is a world of difference between ILS, LNAV+V and LNAV/VNAV glidepaths. It turns out that not all glidepaths are created equal.

Briefing: December 2013

Pilots always complain about the price of fuel--but if they could buy avgas for $1 a gallon, would that really change their flying habits? That was the question the owners of Redbird Skyport, in San Marcos, Texas, set out to answer in October. Sales soared to 30 times normal, their staff wore down, and the supply chain started to suffer hiccups. They ended the experiment two weeks early, after collecting reams of data from pilot…

Readback: December 2013

Higher and HigherApparently, airports in China are popping up like weeds. In September's Quiz, you correctly reported that Qamdo Bamda Airport in Tibet has...

Caution While Circling

One element of IFR flying thats universally disliked among pilots is the circling approach. The prospect of flying visually in marginal weather conditions at low altitude while configuring the aircraft for landing and, oh yeah, not straying beyond sight distance of the airport, understandably strikes fear into the hearts of many pilots, and with good reason. Circling approaches are serious business and offer plenty of opportunities to get in trouble.

Hey, Buddy, Got the time?

While not all pilots are gadget geeks, drooling over the newest cool stuff, few among us don't pine for the latest EFIS, navigator or...

GPS/WAAS Scorecard

Did you know that GPS performance worldwide is continuously evaluated in great detail, to make sure the system remains safe and reliable for use by everyone? In 1999, the FAA began publishing quarterly Performance Analysis Reports on the basic Standard Positioning Service (SPS) that is provided by GPS. Lets take a look at some performance information critical to pilots. The latest report covers April 1 to June 30, 2013, and well look at some of…

Reading the Storms

Dave strolls into the FBO carrying a travel bag and a pizza box. I let out a sigh. Well, look who showed up. Dave, youre 45 minutes late.

Ever Check Your VOR?

We learned 14 CFR 91.171-the VOR Check rule-during instrument ground school. In this era of satellites and GNSS, this rule is often overlooked as VORs become just named fixes instead of navigation beacons. Even with the latest navigation equipment, however, 91.171 can rear its head from time to time.

ATC Routing Realities

It had been a fun morning. The heater had broken in the TRACON radar room. It was 20 degrees outside, not much better inside, and the hot chocolate I was drinking was losing its steam-literally. On top of that, busy last-minute holiday traffic had been giving our morning skeleton crew a kick in the teeth.

Visual Area Protection

Visual area penetrations have become a challenging problem for the FAA, airports and pilots. First, keeping track of them can be a moving target. Then theres the conflict between the hazard of visual area obstacles and the safety benefit of using an advisory glidepath. Although weve covered various aspects of this topic in the April and July 2013 issues of IFR, recent changes could affect approaches you fly.

Gettin Turned Around

A solid understanding of the rules and types of course reversals on an approach is essential. Course reversals are part of the FAAs guidance for IPCs. So, if you come out of proficiency training without feeling good about them, you didnt get your moneys worth. Regardless, you should be familiar, lest you hear unable radar vectors in the soup when you least expect it.

NextGen Signs of Life

NextGen is such a simple word, yet it implies so much. This FAA effort to redesign the entire National Airspace Systems underlying technology and procedures has been underway for years and will continue for many more. Billions of dollars and millions of hours have been dedicated to new systems, new airspace design and new user training.