Readback: March 2017


Sullying Sully

Sully-A Hero?” Why did you feel the need print this November 2016 editorial designed to minimize and invalidate? Okay, we’re all trained to do what he did. And we all hope we will. But he is the one who did it, and did it well. Please celebrate his success with the rest of us.

James Michaels
Oconomowoc, Wisconsin

Spot on with your editorial on Sully hero worship. That’s the lay press and non-aviation public for you.

Name withheld by request

I Never Get What I File

They say when you fly IFR, there are three flight plans: the one you file, the one approved, and the one you fly. And they can be quite different.

Is there somewhere to go to get info on why I was routed so far around Class B airspace? I’m interested so I can know how to file better on the next trip.

Dave Wilkoski
Lancaster, Ohio

David, we covered something like this in September 2015, “Is Route Planning Dead?” The article discussed filing direct versus a detailed airway or fix route.

It’s not uncommon to initially get a clearance “as filed” and later get adjustments. The reason is simply that the authority issuing “as filed” doesn’t know the local requirements of airspace other than their own. Your experience is common.

The likely reason you were routed further from the Class B than you wanted was simply local procedure. They might have found that they needed the added space, or perhaps your chosen fix interfered with an arrival or departure route. The only way to find out that detail for sure is to call the controlling facility.

Some flight planning programs do provide you with recent clearances so you can model your flight plan after what you’ve seen others get. You can check for your same route or one very similar and see what clearances were issued. Garmin Pilot, for one, offers this.

“Seeing Double” Double Take

Jeff Van West is one of my favorite modern-day aviation writers. His article, “Seeing Double” in the November issue is a fine example of Jeff taking us by the hand through important, but oft overlooked and esoteric aspects of our IFR life. But his use of the word “declination” instead of the correct word, “variation,” is a fingernail on the blackboard kind of irritant, if you remember blackboards.

I have these old yellowed books that I studied in the ‘50s: AF Manual 51-40, Air Navigation Vol 1, by the Department of the Air Force (1959), page viii, and The American Flight Navigator by John Dohm (1958) page 324. Both define variation as the difference between true north and magnetic north and declination as the “angular distance of a celestial body north or south of the equator measured along the hour angle of the body.”

Thanks again for a great publication. Now I will retire to my rocking chair with my silk scarf and contemplate my drift meter and sextant.

Bill Castlen
Dothan, Alabama

You’re absolutely right, Bill. We all get a bit aphasic with age, and I started with a disadvantage. I grabbed the wrong word. —Jeff Van West

Jeff Van West’s article, “Seeing Double,” was good. But he goofed a bit. The ARP (airport reference point) is in the center of the airport. The airport elevation is the highest point on any of the runways.

Vince Massimini
Kentmorr Airpark, Maryland (3W3)

You’re never too old to learn something new. I thought the highest point of all runways was used for circling height above airport, but the elevation was from the reference point. What you say makes more sense. I’ll try and find some still-functional grey matter to file that away. —Jeff Van West

What’s Required?

In my sim, I was flying the Pueblo (KPUB) VOR approach from the July Killer Quiz, “Fly by Night.” The quiz used the VOR/DME Runway 26L approach, but when I pulled it up, I only found the VOR approach with “GPS Required” in the plan view. Also, the minimums decreased some, so perhaps it was resurveyed.

Has the FAA decided to change the name of all VOR/DME approaches to VOR and then indicate if DME is required, or is something else going on?

Justin Graff
Tupelo, Mississippi

That approach got some significant changes with a chart date of 26 May 2016, a bit after we grabbed the chart to use it for the KQ.

There was a proposed change to the naming standard two years ago to consolidate the various equipment-required notes, and part of that was to take additional equipment required out of the procedure name.

It used to be that “/DME” in the procedure name meant it was required to fly the final segment, “DME Required” in the plan view meant it was required to get to an IAF from the en route structure, and “DME REQUIRED” in the notes meant that DME was required for something after entry from en route—such as identifying the missed approach fix.

You still see a lot of “/DME” procedures because, although the procedure naming change went into TERPS two years ago, the part of the issue related to the consolidated equipment-required notes was still in draft last we checked.

And, yes, the minimums decreased because of an updated obstacle analysis.

How Do You Stay Proficient?

In reading a recent piece by Jeff Van West, I wondered how the IFR staff stays proficient. I am interested in learning from the editors how you all practice approaches, and whether you all fly procedures solo, in VMC, under IFR flight plans or not, with a safety pilot or not, logged or not. I might call it a proficiency playbook for the weekend GA pilot, who might not always have a mission or a friend to fly along with. Any advice or suggestions would be helpful to us “underclassman.”

David Novelli
Houston, Texas

There’s no single answer to your question, David. We’re all pilots and we all have our own technique. Some of us fly enough to stay current; others don’t. Some of us use a sim at home or at the local FBO; some of us just fly with a safety pilot.

The answers you’d get from IFR staff are the same you’d get if you randomly surveyed pilots around your home airport.

In fact, my editorial for January discussed how I went about completing the transition from always-current airline pilot to struggling-to-remain-current (and proficient) GA pilot. Although just out of currency, but in my mind way out of proficiency, I had to get some sim time and then go up with a safety pilot. Both were necessary; the first for instrument procedures and the second for aircraft procedures. That worked for me. —Frank Bowlin

Life Lessons in Aviation

Just wanted to say Fred Simonds’ article “Disobeying the FAA” in December was exceptional. Some of your thoughts can be applied to all walks of life.

Ray Paice
Elkridge, Maryland

I agree that it can be applied to everyday life. In fact, I think the good habits we exercise in flying can be models for the way we conduct our lives. —Fred Simonds

We read ’em all and try to answer most e-mail, but it can take a month or more. Please be sure to include your full name and location. Contact us at [email protected].


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