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On The Air: November 2019

In upstate South Carolina, Michelin has a number of plants that manufacture tires and one recently completed a 40-year anniversary. Maybe the FAA wanted to honor such presence in the local economy with the MCHLN TWO ARRIVAL, serving several airports including the Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport. There you can find PROVN MCHLN TYRES. Im sure that the 130-year-old Bib or Bibendum AKA the Michelin Man, is happy for this aerial advertising.

Im Too Busy

But even if flying remains a joy, we dont fly enough, do we? Id like to log a few hours every week. Nearly all of my flying is purposeful; I travel by my own airplane because I have places to go. I log around 100 to 120 hours a year now, but it comes in bunches separated by breaks of a month or two where I never just go flying, and dont even visit the hangar … because Im too busy.

Briefing: November 2019

Redbird closed its Skyport FBO at San Marcos Regional Airport in Texas citing poor financial performance. In its eight years of operation, the Skyport has never made a dime. Not even a profitable quarter, Redbird founder Jerry Gregoire wrote in a blog post. Had it not been for Redbird Flight Simulators explosive growth and profitability over those years, the Skyport might have found itself in deep trouble very early on. Gregoire said the company miscalculated some fundamentals in building the FBO in 2011, including its location. It was, however, well received by users. It won ACE and STAR awards for best FBO at an airport with less than 4000 annual arrivals in 2018. Employees were offered jobs with the simulator company.

BasicMed Checkup

BasicMed is the result of a legislative initiative that produced Public Law 114-190, the FAA Extension, Safety, and Security Act of 2016, signed into law on July 15, 2016. BasicMed (a term that came later) is found in Section 2307 of the law: Medical Certification of Certain Small Aircraft Pilots. This law directed the Executive Branch, through the FAA, to issue regulations within 180 days to allow pilots to act as PIC under the law. The regulations (new Part 68 and changes to Part 61 & 91) and the term, BasicMed, came into existence when the rules were published in Federal Register on January 11, 2017 and became effective on May 1, 2017. Because the law only addressed pilots acting as PIC, we have the unintended consequence that a safety pilot, not simultaneously also acting as PIC, needs an FAA Medical as a required crewmember, as weve discussed previously.

Make a Note

Does this meet your takeoff minimums? As a Part 91, single-engine-land flyer it can legally be as low as 0/0, but you prefer to be able to be able to make it back in if need be, plus a little margin. So use the RNAV 15 approach as the backup. But wait: Youre LNAV only, no vertical navigation, so your MDA is 1920 feet with one-mile visibility. This is nearly 100 feet higher than the current ceiling-still legal to fly under 91.175, but not a good turnback plan.

On The Air: November 2019

In upstate South Carolina, Michelin has a number of plants that manufacture tires and one recently completed a 40-year anniversary. Maybe the FAA wanted to honor such presence in the local economy with the MCHLN TWO ARRIVAL, serving several airports including the Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport. There you can find PROVN MCHLN TYRES. Im sure that the 130-year-old Bib or Bibendum AKA the Michelin Man, is happy for this aerial advertising.

On The Air: October 2019

The ride over was smooth and generally clear on a recent flight, but there were intermittent clouds and bumps at 7000:Piper 28D: Allentown Approach, Piper Two Eight Delta, request.Allentown Approach: Go ahead.Piper 28D: We are about to enter a cloud layer at 7000. Is 5000 available? Ive got my 90-year-old dad with me and Id like him to have a smooth ride.Approach: Both of you can godown to 5000.

Canadas ADS-B

Just to make sure you understand whats up, lets review. In the U.S., weve got excellent radar coverage, so all those radar sites have been modified to understand your aircrafts ADS-B out transmissions. In those areas where radar sites dont quite have adequate coverage, the FAA has added ground stations specifically to receive your ADS-B Out. The bottom line is that the FAA has sufficient ground-based coverage to know where you are almost all the time, using your ADS-B Out.

Why GPS Doesnt Work

Dark clouds are looming on the horizon of our otherwise exciting GPS future. With increasing frequency, the military is jamming or spoofing GPS over huge swaths of airspace. A typical GPS NOTAM for Albuquerque center covers a radius of 237 NM at 10,000 feet, 207 NM at 400 feet and 165 NM at 50 feet daily for most of a week. Pilots in the Southwest have become accustomed to these NOTAMs, but theyre becoming more frequent and expanding to other areas of the country.

Clearing Flags

Its certainly legal to fly through the AIRMET. These are advisories covering large areas. But it behooves you to determine that your flight plan wont enter known or forecast light or moderate icing conditions as prohibited in 91.527. Here goes. Theres a stationary front just west of the route, bringing in cloud layers and scattered showers. Freezing levels will hit between 7000 and 12,000 feet. So, at 8000 feet, you do risk picking up ice. One lone pilot report from a single-engine turbine over Iowa shows negative ice in climb from 3000 to the tops at 11,000. This isnt all that useful since youre flying lower and slower, but you are willing to climb as high as 12,000 feet to be on top. Your Plan B, while not at all mission-friendly, is to turn back to warmer air and land in Iowa, or even return to Bowling Green if thats best.

Skew-T Revisited

The Skew-T log-p diagram, typically just called a Skew-T, is an amazing tool for understanding whats happening in the atmosphere at a given station. They are essential for understanding a precipitation regime or differentiating icing layers. Even after nearly three decades in meteorology I would find it almost impossible to understand an icing situation without this tool, and I often visualize the makeup of an environment with a sort of mental Skew-T image. I cant underscore how valuable these diagrams are once you get to know them.

Briefing: October 2019

The Air Force and tech company DZYNE have created an ungainly-looking device that can take off, fly and land an airplane like a human pilot and without tearing the aircraft apart. The Air Force Research Lab (AFRL) Center for Rapid Innovation flew a Cessna 206 with the ROBOpilot at the controls for two hours on Aug. 9 and said the idea is to make the machine interchangeable with human pilots. Imagine being able to rapidly and affordably convert a general aviation aircraft, like a Cessna or Piper, into an unmanned aerial vehicle, having it fly a mission autonomously, and then returning it back to its original manned configuration, said Dr. Alok Das, senior scientist with the Center for Rapid Innovation, in a statement. A video with the news release shows the robotic pilot making corrections to keep the centerline during takeoff and a bounced, but ultimately safe landing.