Approach Lighting

There’s nothing quite like breaking out near minimums with all the lighting aids shining brightly in the dark. It’s beautiful! Especially welcome after a long flight through the weather too. Getting a grip on the differences between the various types of aids can be rather tough though. This tutorial organizes them in a logical way. Don’t rush through it, though. Think about each animation before clicking in the subsequent one. Let the visuals make an impression before advancing. I think you’ll like this: Approach Lighting Systems (ALS)

Dave Tuuri

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Gulfport VOR RWY 14

The FAA’s Instrument Flying Handbook includes a flight planning section to Gulfport (GPT). Studying approach charts for the destination should be part of our flight planning procedures, so let’s use GPT to learn how: Gulfport VOR RWY 14

Dave Tuuri

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Trigamatrick? It’s a thingamajig with numbers. I tried not to use them.

Click here to learn about Trigamatrick.

Dave Tuuri

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Pattern “B” by the Numbers

Early in World War II Col. Joe Duckworth reduced the Air Corps’ night flying accident rate by 40%. He did it by using training scenarios to build situational awareness and compass orientation in pilots.

His venerable Pattern “B” was a mainstay through numerous rewrites of
The Instrument Flying Handbook. In the latest version, right when today’s new ‘disciples of the magenta line’ need it the most, it’s been discarded. Lost to history.

Well, not so fast. Rather than tossing it overboard, I’ve rejuvinated it in today’s tutorial, Pattern “B” by the Numbers. So fire up your PC and open your favorite flight simulator to a non-glass panel. Get ready to fill in the gaps those glass panels will leave in your training.

It’ll save you mucho dinero too, if not your life.

Dave Tuuri

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No Holds Barred

The truth is, when it comes to remaining inside the protected airspace of a holding pattern, there’s a lot of lateral margin for a typical IFR trainer in typical wind conditions. But do you really want to rely on that fact for the rest of your flying career?

Just like procedure turns, why not learn a technique that will also keep you covered as you slip into ever speedier aircraft? Unlike our procedure turn technique of the previous tutorial, where we kept in mind self-imposed maximum ground speed limits and outbound timing constraints, with holding patterns we need only adhere to the tried and true ‘recommended’ entry procedures as described in the AIM. Those entries, you remember, were covered back in You Can Expect to Hold When You Least Expect.

Now let’s compare the footprint of protection afforded those entry tracks with that of a procedure turn and segue into a discussion of ‘Timed Approaches From a Holding Fix’ in No Holds Barred.

No Holds Barred.
Dave Tuuri

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To the rear, March!

Sorry for not posting recently. I had a lifestyle-changing event last June causing me to take a hiatus while I got my mind around it. If you’ve been eating a Western diet, I’m afraid you’re heading for a similar experience too. Unfortunately, most folks won’t get a warning, like I did in the form of angina, they’ll get a heart attack. That’s because newer plaques in the coronary arteries have thinner caps and are more prone to rupture, but older plaques silently constrict the vessels until symptoms appear. By then, the usual treatment is bypass surgery or stents. And, for us, loss of our airman’s medical. Therefore, let me pass on some of what I’ve learned, so you can make changes now rather than roll the dice, hoping for angina instead of a heart attack, since one or the other is just about inevitable.

Let me cut right to the chase. I’ve eliminated all forms of meat, fish and dairy from my diet. Oils too, especially olive oil. This is because of a study by Dr. Caldwell Esslestyn of the world-renowned Cleveland Clinic. He took eighteen patients who were beyond any more medical help from the cardiology department and put them on that diet. These are people who were told to get ready to die. During 20 years of strict compliance, they’ve had no more cardiac ‘events’. Combined, prior to the diet, they had 49.

The diet stopped the progression of coronary artery disease in its tracks and reversed it in most cases. He has published a book called “Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease”. His website is to learn more. Of course, what’s good for the heart is also good for stopping strokes and periferal artery disease too.

Speaking of reversing course, that’s the subject of today’s tutorial. The procedure turn (PT) is a fundamental maneuver for instrument pilots. A lot of discretion is left to the pilot as to exactly what is done to reverse course. It wouldn’t be prudent to do whatever feels good, though, without knowing for sure it will remain in the airspace known to be clear of obstructions. This tutorial validates the use of a common procedure turn practice, the 45/180° procedure turn. It establishes rules to abide by that work for any plane, piston or jet: To the rear, March!
Dave Tuuri

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“It’s not your flying, it’s your attitude.”

Iceman had it right in Top Gun if he was speaking of ‘attitude instrument flying’. Flying by the seat of the pants doesn’t work so well when you can’t see the horizon. Then, you need other cues to go by. Flight instruments are like little holes cut out of the sheet of clouds tossed over your head, letting you peek through for glimpses of your plane’s attitude. With a little instruction, you can stay right-side up and pointed in the desired direction.

“Pitch, bank and power. Reset trim.”

By George, I think you’ve got it! Click here for my de-mystification of the FAA’s treatment of the subject: “It’s not your flying, it’s your attitude.”

Dave Tuuri

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Words Mean Things

Tuning your comm radio to a new frequency is only part of the process of being handed off to a new air traffic controller; tuning your ears to certain keywords and phrases is the other. The “continuous watch” mandated by 91.183 sounds rather like boiler-plate in a legal document. I believe, though, it means more than simply having the volume turned up enough to hear. To me, it means having an alert ear, aggressively listening for anticipated answers to the questions I’ve stifled myself from asking, but that I long to know. It reflects my charge to be ahead of my airplane at all times, not relying on periodic ‘wake-up calls’ from ATC.

This Chapter 14 completes Part I of the 10-Day IFR Course. At this point, you have the underpinnings in place for visualizing your aircraft’s relationship to its IFR environment as it proceeds through the clouds. The coming chapters explain the mechanics of how that process is accomplished without being able to see any further than the inside of your cockpit.

Anyone embarking on an instrument training program will benefit from viewing Part I beforehand. This part makes a great refresher for IFR-rated pilots too.

Next step: ‘Procedure turns’ and ‘attitude instrument flying’. See you soon!

Dave Tuuri

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“What we’ve got here is, failure to communicate.”

Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to make up your own rules for lost communications? With my help, you will!

Guess what? They turn out to be EXACTLY what the FAA came up with too, but since you ‘invented’ them yourself, they’ll be easier to recall. What seems like just common sense, sometimes, takes a lot of words to describe. In this case, make that a lot of slides. Really, though, it’s all very logically what you would want for yourself anyway when the radio goes silent.

.Click this shortcut to the lesson

Dave Tuuri

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Help Me If You Can

There are a few ways ATC can help pilots get the job done, such as ‘surveillance’ (ASR) and ‘precision’ (PAR) radar approaches requiring only a working two-way radio and the pilot’s ability to follow instructions. In one or two places around the country, San Diego comes to mind, pilot’s can ask for a ‘DF steer’ even if no radar is available.

Another nice way ATC helps pilots is procedural in nature: They publish standard instrument departure and terminal arrival clearances, so pilots can read and study them without the inherent ‘noise’ that interferes with understanding transmitted messages. Having these graphic SIDs and STARs available for reference makes ATC-driven departures and arrivals a breeze.

I’ve received feedback that the Click School table of contents is too hard to read, so today I placed a periwinkle background behind it. A side benefit is it makes scrolling much easier. Keep an eye out in the next few days for the Lost Communications lesson that goes with the already-published side bar on the ‘lost comm amendment 91-189′, which has been widely misunderstood by instructors (if they ever knew it existed at all), and the Chief Counsel’s attempt to answer my questions about the intent of the amendment (they said just enough that’s right to end the controversy).

Click Here to go to the Click School table of contents.

Dave Tuuri

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