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Going Below Minimums

Operations below minimums on an instrument approach can be quite simple if the ceilings and visibilities are significantly above minimums. But when the chips are down along with the ceilings and visibilities, things aren’t quite so simple. Let’s take a deep dive into what it takes to get an airplane on the ground after a […]

Questions Answered

Just like pilots, controllers get plenty of questions, comments, concerns, and sometimes complaints. Bonus: Writing these articles gives me an opportunity to address some items in print. Of course, I’ve dealt with my share of good and bad remarks on and off frequency. It’s not at all unusual for a pilot to wonder; “What is […]

Staying Engaged

Recently I attended a Rusty Pilot session and learned (or re-learned as the case may be) several aspects of our aviating world that laid dormant in my little gray cells for far too long. Although I have been an active presenter of this constructive AOPA educational series for three years, it has been on hold […]

Legal isn’t Always Safe

Sitting in seat 34F of a 737 MAX-9, I’m leafing through the dog-eared inflight magazine. It makes a big fuss about the airline’s offerings. Wi-Fi onboard, A/C power, luxurious first-class (in which I am not seated, alas). What isn’t advertised? Unexpected aerial thrill rides. Who would’ve guessed violent maneuvers weren’t big sales movers for the […]

Minimum Altitudes

Instrument training is littered with acronyms and abbreviations. Altitudes like MEA, MCA, MOCA, OROCA can end up being the bane of students. And that’s just the en-route altitudes. When we get into the terminal environment, we then have the procedural MEAs on SIDs and STARs and, of course, the minimum—and sometime maximum—altitudes for the various […]

Changing of the Guard

You’re flying along, listening to a controller issue instructions to many aircraft. From one second to the next, you suddenly start hearing a different controller’s voice. You haven’t changed frequencies. They’re seemingly picking up where the first one left off. Controllers are used to hearing voice changes from an aircraft. Many times a day, I’ll […]

Who’s On First?

It was an IMC day with plenty of arrivals and departures taxing out. For a VFR tower like ours, IMC days are the easiest because the pattern is closed and it’s generally one in and one out. The TRACON was pushing metal all around. All air traffic was on IFR flight plans, so it was […]

First Come, First Served

Most pilots have heard at some point that ATC separates aircraft on a first come, first served (FCFS) basis, but have experienced the opposite. Many of us pay for our aircraft by the hour, so it’s understandable to get impatient when you’re first up and Tower tells you there will be others ahead of you. […]

Your Instructor Lied

Whether it’s a result of faulty instruction or an accumulation of bad habits over time, I often see pilots who come in for a...

The Honorable Pilot

Recently I got a request from an instrument student. He needed help fielding the inevitable systems and scenario-based questions about the G1000’s many failure...

Revisiting RAIM

Receiver Autonomous Integrity Monitoring is a mouthful, but it's descriptive. RAIM independently assesses the integrity of positions reported by a GPS receiver.RAIM is essential...

Threading Needles

It’s not fun trying to make a left turn out of my neighborhood. It exits onto a busy, six-lane road. There's no traffic light,...