Readback: March 2010


Why Not Two Waypoints?

I have a question that people have been asking me and I don’t know the answer.

The G1000 has two GPS receivers: GPS 1 is the default choice and automatically switches to GPS 2 if there is a problem. Or you can manually select GPS 2.

My question is: Why can only one be used at a time? For example, one GPS could be the primary navigator with the flight plan and the other could indicate final destination or a waypoint on the side of the track or even an alternate.

I realize that the G1000 can only show one GPS course at a time on the HSI display, but it can also show two RMIs. Why can’t we show what’s on GPS 2 on one of the RMIs? Maybe because it has only one database and two GPSs cannot access simultaneously the database? Or are there other technical reasons or even legal issues?

Luca F. Bencini-Tibo
Weston, Fla.

We couldn’t agree with you more. It’s not even an issue of using the second GPS (as you would in a two-GPS setup) because the system can track multiple waypoints with just one nav unit working. Just look at any Nearest page to see this in action. It’s not an FAA restriction, as the Avidyne PFDs can display one GPS waypoint on the HSI and a second via the RMI on the same compass ring.

We posed this question to Garmin years ago and they just mumbled something about not seeing the need for it with all the other situational-awareness tools. We think the real answer is they have not seen the programming and certification expense as a priority. And in terms of their bottom line, that’s probably valid.

Mixed-Up Currency

I read Jeff McNamee’s excellent article on new rules regarding IFR currency (“New Options for Currency,” January 2010 IFR). I have done quite a lot of research on this issue and found one missing element in the article: the requirements when an ATD (also known as a PC-ATD and B-ATD) and an airplane are used in combination to achieve currency.

The new regulations under FAR 61.57(c)(3) don’t address how much time needs to be spent in the airplane and ATD respectively, but a careful reading of the Federal Register provides the answer. Here’s the answer, directly from the Federal Register:

“We have deliberately established differences between the use of an ATD, FS, and flight-training devices because use of an aviation training device to maintain instrument recent-flight experience is a relatively new concept. The FAA wants to further evaluate its use before we allow use of ATDs equal to that of flight simulators and flight training devices.

Under new 61.57(c)(4), a person could combine use of the aircraft and FS, FTD, and ATD to obtain instrument experience. When a pilot elects to combine use of an aircraft and simulation device, we will require, under new 61.57(c)(4), completion of one hour of instrument flight time in the aircraft and three hours in the FS, FTD, or ATD within the preceding 6 calendar months.”

Dave Simpson
San Diego, Calif.

Frequencies You Don’t Need

I hope you can tell me what I’m missing with the January 2010 Killer Quiz. Nowhere on the approach plate can I see the frequencies for Rainelle and Beckley VORs. Without that information, how was I supposed to know which radio was tuned to what?

Is ink so expensive that they can’t give us the frequencies on the plate?

Dave Ingram
Mt. Crawford, Va.

While you could bill it as a crack cost-cutting measure, the real reason is that it’s a GPS approach. The government figures that means you’ll never need to know what those VOR frequencies are, right?

We’ve complained about this in the past—how could the extra information hurt?—but to no avail. You have to look them up on the en route or sectional chart.

Some Details Misunderstood

OK, I am scared again. A recent reader’s letter shows him completely unfamiliar to the process of getting a void-time clearance and release via telephone or radio while still on the ground. This is not good, but two other things really freak me out:

Moving maps or other electronic presentation should never be used to avoid any encounters with granite (as opposed to being on a published route at or above the published altitude).

There’s clearly confusion over the implied but non-existent terrain-avoidance promise of the phrase “radar contact.” Quoting AIM 5-2-8: “NOTE-When used by the controller during departure, the term ‘radar contact’ should not be interpreted as relieving pilots of their responsibility to maintain appropriate terrain and obstruction clearance which may include flying the obstacle DP.”

Ben Taber
San Francisco, Calif.

Who Says You Can’t?

Your response in “Unmonitored Usage” (Readback, September 2009 IFR) piqued my interest when you wrote, “The only operational concern is you can’t use the LOC/DME Runway 28L approach for an alternate when you file if it will be unmonitored at your arrival time.”

I’m just curious where that requirement is found. Usually, the NA means that certain approaches are not useable if the Tower is closed. So, if the Tower is open and the monitoring of the navaid fails, but the signal may still working just fine, why not use that airport as an alternate (assuming there are no other restrictions listed in the front of the approach charts)?

Even if the monitoring is NOTAM’d out, where does the requirement come from that requires a monitored approach to be able to be filed as an alternate? I get the NA requirement (which has to do with monitoring and weather), but not the requirement for monitoring when the NA doesn’t apply.

Geez, I hope I asked this plainly enough. Your excellent magazine is used over and over in our safety meetings and round-table discussions. It keeps us sharp, and we need it.

Terry Taylor
Cincinnati, Ohio

As you pointed out, NA for use as an alternate usually means that weather reporting isn’t available or that the navaid for that approach isn’t monitored. It’s really a TERPS requirement that the navaid be monitored.

So, if a navaid was NOTAM’d out and that navaid was primary for the approach you were using to file as an alternate, you would be doing something that isn’t allowed by the rules that govern how approaches are charted. That’s not a cut-and-dry FAR violation. Maybe it would fall under the “all available information” clause. Maybe.

Real-world, it makes little practical difference because the rule is only about filing an alternate. You could still use any airport as a real alternate and fly any approach you’re equipped for. Just realize that if there’s no monitoring, you may not find out the navaid is offline until you’re trying to tune the localizer and get nothing but a fail flag.

Beautiful job on the color for the new IFR! It’s tasteful and well-done. Even the cartoons benefit! I agree that the GPS screens and maps are much easier to understand. I also like the re-do of the IFR logo!

Elliot Perlman
Providence, R.I.

Thanks, Elliot; and thanks to all the rest of you who commented favorably on the color. We’ll do our best to make the most of it. Drop us a line to let us know how we’re doing or post your IFR query. The best way to get us is via the interweb at [email protected]


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