Weekly tips, technique and training from IFR.


A Fresh Look at SIMCOM

Simulator training can be informal sessions in a seldom-used back-room sim at the FBO up to highly developed curricula at formal training facilities. Is a top dog of the latter worth it?

I recently learned of a facility I’d not previously known. Aircraft Simulator Training in Santa Rosa, CA, advertises in my type-club magazine and I decided to give them a try. Due to some date confusion on my part, I thought I was beginning this process with a couple months of flexibility. In reality, I had a couple weeks. In e-mail discussions I was impressed with the approach that Aircraft Simulator Training took, but we just couldn’t get the schedule to work. So, I looked elsewhere.

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November 2018 Killer Quiz: Emergency Procedures

Instrument flying is safest when variables such as ATC, the pilot’s skill and weather conditions are all managed by the pilot, maintaining positive control and situational awareness. Below are a series of abnormal situations. How would you handle them? Would they be emergencies?

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aim diagram

Procedure Turn Basics

Teardrops are pretty rare (See “Driving All Night,” October 2017.) and permit aircraft to reverse course and lose a significant amount of altitude within a defined area (these are often found at military or joint-use airports).

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VFR Flight Following

As an IFR aircraft, you are radar contact, vectored, pointed out, and obviously followed. But when VFR, you still have some of those options available with flight following.

But, if you are going VFR, deciding if you want flight following should definitely be on your list. If you’re going to pass through Class Bravo airspace you might as well; it’s virtually a requirement.

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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. There’s 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.

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Think Fast

Are you up for this after a few months of visual approaches? You’re current, comfortable with the aircraft, and familiar with the airport, so you don’t see any problems. Besides, it’s 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 don’t 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.

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Winter Forecasts

With Old Man Winter looming as the next fix on our approach, now is a good time to go over how to stay safe in the air during the colder months.

Let’s 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.

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It Did Happen To Me

I installed a G500 on the left-side flight panel. Wanting some real redundancy—not just backup—the limited space on the right panel was perfect for Aspen’s PFD. This way, if my G500 ever croaked, I’d just hop over to the right seat and fly using the Aspen. That also had the advantage of giving any planned right-seater good PFD information should that ever be necessary. I was set.

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Readback: November 2018

Mr. Bencini-Tibo’s excellent article, “Regulation Fine Points” in July might possibly leave the reader thinking that the safety pilot could log time when the flying pilot was not “under the hood.”

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Briefing: November 2018

Search-and-rescue delays after an airplane crash will become a thing of the past, with Aireon’s global satellite network in place, the company says. Aireon says the system will be ready to go online in 2019. “As long as an aircraft is broadcasting on 1090 MHz ADS-B, we will be able to locate it anywhere worldwide,” said Peter Kearney, CEO of the Irish Aviation Authority, one of the partners in the new system. General aviation users don’t need to pre-register, but search-and-rescue teams can contact the company for location data. The rescue capability is offered as a free service to the aviation community, Aireon says.

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On The Air: November 2018

One Friday I shot the GPS 7 approach into Gwinnett County, Georgia (KLZU). As I was briefing the approach, I wondered how I would pronounce CURAP, the FAF, if I was asked to report it. Thankfully, that situation did not arise since I was cleared for the approach earlier and sent over to Tower shortly thereafter.

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