Round Dials To Tapes

Recently we heard from a salty aviator having trouble flying his Aspen PFD even though he’s had it for years. Adding to his frustration, he can fly his legacy round-dial instruments accurately. He believes he’s not alone, and he’s right. What’s going on? Superficially, you wouldn’t expect much difference between round dials and vertical tapes. […]

Build Your Own Sim, Pt. 2

Assume you’re about to buy a new airplane. All the pre-buy inspections came back clean, the money cleared out of escrow, and you’re already planning your triumphant maiden trip home. Now you just have to figure out where you’re gonna park this thing. Setting up your home sim is no different—you must consider its location. […]

Low Clouds at Altitude

For this sim challenge, we’re back in the mountains because it’s just so much fun in the sim. You’ll fly two short hops over the Rocky Mountains. The trip begins at in Kremmling, Colorado (20V). Then, you’ll stop at Eagle (KEGE), on the way to the notorious LOC approach to Aspen (KASE). You’ll need a […]

Future Automation

Once a great add-on, wing levelers have been relegated to museums. The current automated flight control systems (AFCS or autopilots) have all the lateral and vertical modes needed to remain engaged from the initial climb to short final. Then there are the amazing capabilities in Garmin’s Collier-Trophy-winning Emergency Autoland. Latest improvements Where is our cockpit […]

We Still Need NAVAIDs

While even the classic aircraft typically have at least a portable GPS on board, going IFR can mean relying on something like a localizer or (gasp) a VOR to get to a runway. If it’s been a while since using these, don’t forget that there’s more to know than tuning, twisting, and following the needle. […]

On Your Marks

Despite normal/recurrent training and obvious statements in the AIM and advisory circulars, I’ve had a lot of pilots recently be very confused on where the line starts. What line? While there are many lines in aviation, the top three I’m concerned about are on the ground at most tower-controlled fields. Time for a refresher. From […]

So near, yet…

Encounters with low weather aren’t an everyday occurrence, but it just takes a tepid spring day to set the stage. Mix in moist, stable air, add a light aircraft and toss in a PIC with get-there-itis and you have it. So it should be no surprise for this flight to end well short of both […]

Gettin’ Down

Having departed from Pompano Beach, Florida, we’re going to Greensboro, North Carolina, to visit family. The winds at Greensboro’s Piedmont-Triad International (KGSO) are northerly and the ATIS says we should expect the ILS 5R approach. All else being equal, we prefer GPS and LPV to localizer and glideslope. We ask for the RNAV approach to […]

Night Fright

Today’s Sim Challenge is just an out-and-back. You’ll start on the ramp at Santa Maria, California, (KSMX) and hop over the hills a scant 76 NM to Bakersfield Muni (L45). Leg Two is just the reverse. Simple … except you’ll set the outside visuals to deep nighttime with ceilings of 1000 feet at KSMX and […]

Instrument Currency

Instrument pilots know that IMC is challenging and far less forgiving than flying visually. Proficient flying by instruments is a must for us lest we enter the NTSB annals. When the ink on our instrument tickets was still wet, our skills were ultra-sharp. But as time passed, without continued practice those instrument skills slowly atrophied. […]

FAA Says Hand Fly More

Autopilots are great. First and foremost, they’re safety-enhancing devices. They free us from the mundane, but often consuming, task of simply keeping the airplane where it should be. This allows us to better manage the myriad other things we have to do. Plus, of course, it reduces fatigue. What could be better? Indeed, that’s all […]

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 […]