TRAINING & SIMS

On The Air: December 2018

A few days ago, departing Minot North Dakota for Duluth in a Skylane, I asked ATC if the NOTAM for military training at Duluth had the airport closed, or whether it was open to GA traffic. He asked me to stand by for a minute, and then said, Its closed at the moment, but will reopen in 30 minutes, so unless you are doing Mach 3, you should have no problem.

Maintenance: Legal vs. Safe

My motivation to write this right now is that my Cessna 340 is at the shop getting its annual. This year I chose what is arguably the best Twin Cessna maintenance facility in the world, TAS Aviation in Defiance, Ohio. Yes, Defiance is a long way from my Santa Fe, New Mexico home base-about 1100 NM and two legs, in each direction-but, I chose this shop for good reasons having far more to do with safe than just legal.

Briefing: December 2018

Last year, the FAA offered a $500 rebate to aircraft operators who installed new equipment to meet the 2020 ADS-B mandate, but that offer expired in September 2017. Now the FAA has reinstated the program, with enough funding for 9,800 more rebates. The offer will end on October 11, 2019, or when the money runs out. The FAA has repeatedly said the compliance deadline wont be pushed back, and any aircraft lacking ADS-B-out wont be allowed to fly in most controlled airspace after Jan. 1, 2020. The ADS-B mandate is not going away, said FAA Acting Administrator Dan Elwell. Now is the time for aircraft owners to equip. More details can be found atwww.faa.gov/nextgen/equipadsb/.

Readback: December 2018

Im known to get my murds wixed up when talking to ATC, but try not to mix up inbound course headings. I know this was just a typo, but some 9th grade English teacher turned pilot will point this out to Fred. By the way, I am not that teacher, as I graduated in the 1/3 of the class that made the upper 2/3 possible! But then again, this could have been a test to see who could spot the error in this months magazine and for finding the error, that person will be awarded a brand new airplane. If thats the case, then my address is…

High-End Autopilots

As an airplane owner, I quietly find myself looking at each new device both as an editor and as a potential buyer. Of course, most owners find new gadgets attractive, but when you actually get to try these things out, use them in action, well, I often find it more difficult than others to resist. So, flying these new autopilots in my aircraft type left me wanting one right away even though my autopilot works perfectly. Are you feeling my pain yet? Nah, I didnt think so…

It’s In The Presentation

Regard the Jeppesen version of the RNAV (GPS) Rwy 19 approach to Meridian, MS (KMEI). This chart shows the simplest TAA you can have. The limit for a turn based on GPS is 90 degrees, so the maximum allowable turn from a route direct to the IAF to the leg after crossing the IAF is 90 degrees. This means each TAA should contain at least two sectors, divided by courses 90 degrees off the inbound course.

FAA Reauthorization

The law provides $3.35 billion for airport planning and development and noise compatibility planning and programs. Appropriations for facilities and equipment from the Airport and Airway Trust Fund will run for the same term, increasing annually from $3.33 to $3.707 billion in 2023. These monies will be used in part to upgrade ASOS/AWOS systems, fund remote (unattended) towers, eliminate the deferred maintenance backlog of air navigation facilities (many of which are over 40 years old) and improve cybersecurity within ATC as well as in the National Airspace System.

ATC Radios and Sectors

Another day, same drill, but the controller is talking to another airplane on another frequency, so you might hear say again more than once. ATC is often tasked to use multiple frequencies at once. Its not the easiest thing to do with people talking on both, but we adapt and prioritize. One way we adapt to prioritizing is by the airplanes speed. The faster they are going, the more likely it is that I need to get to them first before they enter another controllers airspace without coordination.

Alpha Dog

This sim challenge is inspired by our good friends over at PilotEdge. PilotEdge provides live ATC services for flight simulation. You will be on your simulator, but a real human controller vectors you through virtual airspace with the correct phraseology and skill. Theres no pause button and no spawuming your aircraft on 10-mile final. You start cold and dark on the ramp and need to use the radios to get a clearance, permission to taxi, and so on. It adds a significant element of realism and authenticity to your simulated flight.

VFR Flight Following

But, if you are going VFR, deciding if you want flight following should definitely be on your list. If youre going to pass through Class Bravo airspace you might as well; its virtually a requirement. Otherwise, if the weather is clear and a million, youre not going through any airspace requiring you to talk to ATC, and youve decided to go VFR, should you consider flight following? Long story short, and after all factors are considered, the answer is Yes.

Think Fast

Are you up for this after a few months of visual approaches? Youre current, comfortable with the aircraft, and familiar with the airport, so you dont see any problems. Besides, its time to launch and that low stuff is sure to start burning off by the time you get there as P6SM and SCT015 are forecast an hour after your arrival. In fact, you dont even need to look for an alternate now to meet 14 CFR 91.169 (b)(2) as the ceiling and visibility are expected to be better than 2000 feet and 3 SM at that time.

Winter Forecasts

Lets start with the basics. In the cool season the North Pole is pointed away from the sun. As the polar regions lose solar heating and the days shorten, the atmosphere cools significantly, and we see a huge semi-permanent polar air mass covering much of Canada and northern Russia. Parts of it break off regularly as frontal systems and polar highs. The large expansion of the cold air mass boots the jet stream out of Canada, pushing it down into the United States.