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Getting Caught Down Low

Most thunderstorm-related accidents happen when departing or approaching the airport. Flying near the convective cloud bases exposes you to the most dangerous aspects of a thunderstorm. Reduced visibility, low ceilings, hail, strong straight-line winds and lightning are all possibilities, but more imperceptible hazards lurk.

Building Your IFR Nest Out Of Glass

A short IFR flight should be easier in a glass cockpit. Youve got all the information you need just a twist and a push away-so long as you know without thinking which knob to twist and which button to push.

To Brief or Not to Brief

[IMGCAP(1)]Question: What do pilots hate most of all? Answer: Check rides Question: Other than check rides, what do pilots hate most of all? Answer: FAA ramp checks Question: OK, other than check rides and ramp checks, what do pilots hate most of all? Answer: Thunders… Enough. What pilots hate, almost more than anything else are surprises. This might not be obvious, but think about it. If you know whats coming, youre prepared for it, but the unexpected requires…

ATC Watches – You Fly

Standing to get a closer view of my towers radar display, I said, That doesnt look right. Somewhere in the dense, ragged and choppy 300-foot overcast outside the tower windows, there was a Piper Matrix inbound on the ILS. Well, supposedly on the ILS. His target was crossing the final approach fix several hundred feet lower than published and a half mile to the right.

European IFR changes

It may surprise U.S. pilots to know that much (perhaps most) private instrument flying in Europe is done in U.S.-registered aircraft using an FAA-issued pilots certificate. But the times are a-changing. The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) is now the sole authority across much of Europe, enforcing by law what was an amalgamation of voluntary agreements between countries.

Thanked, Spanked, or Dead

What do you do when youre only 90-percent sure you know what ATC wants? Some folks would just do what they think they were told. Others would try-no matter how futilely- to get a clarification. Still others would do nothing, assuming the controller will call back because they didnt acknowledge the instruction.

Proficiency in Pieces 2.0

Five years ago I adopted a different kind of recurrency routine for myself. It did away with the annual three days of fire-hose drinking and associated abuse and replaced it with a monthly program that would cover all the details over the course of a year. I wrote about it in July 2007 IFR.

Stalking the Elusive LP

With the advent of WAAS, the FAA developed approaches that provided vertical guidance while offering the lateral accuracy that previously was only available with an ILS or localizer approach. It was named LPV for Localizer Performance with Vertical and now sports decision heights as low as 200 feet.

On The Air: March 2012

Heard this one on a hard-IFR trip down V27 off the California coast. The weather was scuzzy with heavy rain from the surface up to the flight levels with no layers at all. Despite this, ATC valiantly continued trying to call traffic:NORCAL Approach: Skywest Two Niner Six Five, traffic is a Beech Sierra, 12 oclock, opposite direction at 8000.Skywest 2965: Approach, Skywest Two Niner Six Five is IMC.Approach: Beech Seven Four Papa, traffic 12 oclock,…

Partial Panel with GPS

Despite the magazine vogue of articles on glass cockpits and technologically advanced airplanes, thousands of us continue to fly steam gauges. A well-equipped steam-gauge airplane enables a competent pilot to fly the same mission that a glass airplane can fly. The Apollo spacecraft were steam-gauge equipped and carried men to the moon.

Ipad for IFR update

I get the question a lot: Whats the best iPad app for aviation? Its impossible to answer. Not only is there no perfect app for all users, the field changes so quickly advice is only good until the competition releases its next update. In fact, I cant even answer whats the best app for only chart use under IFR.

PT in the days of RNAV

It used to be the procedure turn (PT) was the lynchpin of many an instrument approach. Youd track to the VOR or NDB station located on the airport, fly outbound, use a PT to reverse course, and fly back to the station on a specific course while descending to the specified minimum descent altitude. If you didnt visually acquire the airport, locating the missed approach point was a simple matter of identifying station passage.