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Making IMC Transitions

Mark Twain once said, If you hold a cat by the tail, you learn things you cannot learn any other way. Thats also true of flying a Cat I ILS to minimums. No amount of training, except maybe in the best simulators, prepares you for what its like to reach DA and see … very little.

Handling ILS anomalies

Our CRJ-200 was sliding down through an overcast layer, following the glideslope to Runway 28 at Chicago OHare. Everything was normal, just like it always is. My airline job means I make this approach a couple of times a week.

Tactical circle-to-land

Circle-to-land gets a bad rap as a dangerous maneuver fit for only the expert or the insane. Then again, maybe thats a bit deserved. The circle-to-land maneuver is the proverbial enough rope: Give it to a pilot who isnt careful and hell hang himself on an unseen tower just when he thinks hes about to pull off another successful flight.

Cutting Corners

It's Food Network's fault. You and your buddies from Jacksonville have a hankering for some Cajun food from New Orleans. Hundred dollar gumbo, here...

Danger Below MDA?

Recently, an airline began to receive notices that crews flying the RNAV (GPS) RWY 36 approach into Birmingham, Alabama (BHM) were receiving GPWS alerts while descending from the MDA to the runway. Since it wasnt an isolated incident, the airline suspected that the approach was flawed and notified the FAA, who flight checked the approach. The results of that inspection are educational to instrument-flying pilots at all levels.

Fly Into BigCity IntL

If none of your vast experience involves a major international airport, it is incomplete. There are times when flying into a big airport is...

Fine Tune Your ILS

My instrument instructor was a glass half-full kind of guy. His response to my first ILS was, Well, at least there is room for improvement. An ILS became the one approach I most dreaded. But now that Ive got a bunch of em under my belt, its actually the approach I prefer. Howd I get there? Im glad you asked.

On Top of The World

There are actually two pieces to this. There's the clearance to maintain altitude "VFR-on-top" itself, but there is also the variation mentioned in "Tame...

Which Way to Turn?

Every seasoned pilot occasionally finds a stubborn thunderstorm blocking the path like a bully in the schoolyard. We wonder not only where to deviate but whats on the other side. If you have a weather display, youve got a better idea of what lies ahead, but theres always uncertainty about how safe it is to cross the area. An understanding of thunderstorm patterns and ingredients, and considering the basic meteorology pattern of the day is…

The Vis

Visual approaches have been in the news a lot recently. On July 6, Asiana Airlines Flight 214 hit a seawall short of San Francisco's...

The GPS/ILS Approach

A flying friend of mine likes to say that you know you're into something interesting when you have to sign a waiver beforehand. In...

Obstacle Clearance

When we think of GPS-based instrument approaches, we usually lump all the approach minima into a single "GPS approach" bucket. We tend to mentally...