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Crashing Sucks

Years ago I was briefly involved in motorcycle road racing. T-shirts with the slogan, Crashing Sucks and a suitable graphic were quite popular. Even then, I thought how appropriate that slogan also was for aviation. Now we find ourselves with back-to-back airliner crashes while landing in visual conditions and Im reminded of just how appropriate that slogan is to aviation. Crashing sucks for all the obvious reasons, but we must also remember that aviation is a…

IFR with Reduced ATC

Just as we put this issue to bed, the US legislature passed a bill funding ATC by allowing the FAA to raid our airport...

Simplified Circling

The circle to land has proven throughout aviation history to be one of the least understood, least practiced and most feared maneuvers. Add the...

Flying Fatigued

Most of us know that the F in IM SAFE stands for fatigue. Now, fatigue isnt cited as a significant factor in many general aviation accidents, so we must be doing a pretty good job of being properly rested, right?

Stupid Pilot Tricks

Why do holiday newsletters begin with, "It's hard to believe another year has passed"? Have we not yet accepted the earth's orbit around the...

Readback: February 2014

Fly the SimThanks very much for the October 2013 "Simplified Circling" article by Dog Brenneman. He mentioned that "we just don't get a lot...

Planning for a Letdown

Cruise through aviation forums on the Internet and you'll find descent planning is a popular topic. Ask how people plan their descent and answers...

Good Old Dive-n-Drive

Everyone seems to be on the constant descent final approach (CDFA) bandwagon these days, telling us to avoid the trusted and long-used dive-n-drive technique on non-precision approaches. To be clear, I am not arguing against using a CDFA technique. Indeed, CDFA is a valuable tool. Add the availability of an advisory glideslope from modern navigators-although not required for a CDFA-and CDFA becomes as simple as an ILS. So, why use dive-n-drive at all? Im glad you asked.

Turbulence V-Speeds

Structural failure accidents, often from getting too friendly with thunderstorms, kill both people and what little good press GA is able to garner. In the last decade, 50 accidents-about 10 per cent of all accidents-were due to in-flight structural failure. Worse, even with better weather data in flight, these accidents arent going away.

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.

Relearning to Type

Three interesting news items came through my e-mail today. The first was the NTSBs findings that, while there were some contributing factors, the pilots of Asiana 214 simply screwed up, particularly in their use of the automation in their aircraft.

Constant Angle Descent

The opposite of a dive-n-drive descent on an approach is called a Continuous Descent Final Approach, or CDFA. You might think of an ILS as the ultimate CDFA. More specifically, though, this technique is applied to a non-precision approach. So, well use the synonym, Constant Angle Non-Precision Approach (CANPA) for a CDFA on a non-precision approach. What are they? Should you fly one?