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TECHNIQUE

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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Safest Word In Flying

With a new private ticket in his wallet, the now-instrument student finished his preflight. No supervision needed, right? Out strode his CFII, who walked around the airplane, checking critical items. He glanced up and spotted a missing inspection cover under the wing. Pointing out this omission, the student asked, “We can still go, right?” The […]
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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...

Cobbling It Together

Last month’s Clinic took us to western Kentucky where we wrangled a circling-only VOR-A approach. In September, we untangled an ILS/GPS hybrid in upstate New York. For another take on a ground-based approach using GPS, plus a circle-to-land, we head to Alpena, Michigan on the shore of Lake Huron. The lake’s a frequent source of […]
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Going in Circles

Many of us are in need of some instrument refreshing. After the usual winter hiatus, followed by all the restrictions of COVID-19, themrust might be thicker than usual. So once you’ve gotten reacquainted with your local ILS and LPV approaches, practice some edge cases, like a nonprecision, non-GPS approach. One favorite is the circle-to-land. If […]
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What’s Your Profile?

Let’s discuss profiles—for flight, not social media—that provide whatto- do-at-each-point guidelines that govern how you fly your airplane. During an IFR lesson, I often get questions like: “What speed should I be flying before intercepting the localizer?” Or, “When is a good time to put the gear down?” These and many other questions can be […]
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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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Unleash Your Wings

You’re an active pilot, right? You even get some training now and then beyond what you’re required to get. But, if you spent a little energy— and usually no more money you might be able to take most or even all of what you’re already doing and let it, for example, count as the flight […]
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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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Dude! You’re Busted!

AIRMET Tango for turbulence was spot on. You’re given “climb and maintain six thousand,” but with the bumps you accidentally enter 7000 in the altitude preselect. Passing through 6,300 feet, you hear your call sign and, “verify level at six.” You stop the climb and head back down. All seems good until 10 minutes later […]
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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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