143. No Second Chances

Instructors
Tom Haines

The best thing about personal minimums is that they remove subjectivity. This removes the temptation to “just take a look” or “try it once more.” But what happens when that absolute is challenged by something you never expected—and maybe shouldn’t even count? Is that a valid reason to make an exception?

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139. Which Heading Out of Harvey?

Instructors
Katrina Linder

Instrument training under sunny skies with a hood just isn’t the same as real IMC. You finally have a day that’s perfect for practice, but first you and your student must get into the system from a small, uncontrolled field. The ODP makes that connection—until your clearance throws the need for it in doubt.

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136. Looking for a Bright Idea

Instructors
Tom Haines

Some failures seem so unlikely there’s no need to prepare for them. That’s fine … until they do happen. Now you’ll have to choose between powering back in hopes of better weather, trusting your memory and knowledge of systems, or trusting a technique you haven’t practiced since instrument training—if you even practiced it at all.

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134. Making It Up at Macon

Instructors
John Krug

Every airport with a published instrument approach has been surveyed for an instrument departure. One might assume that means entering the clouds after takeoff is a viable option. What will you do when you discover the published departure for IFR requires visual conditions far better than the current cloud decks?

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130. Dataless Over the Dakotas

Instructors
Tom Haines

It was a sound plan: Use your onboard datalink to avoid the widely scattered thunderstorms embedded in the clouds. But now that a dead FIS-B receiver has torpedoed that idea and stopping could mean a day on the ground. Do you struggle on top, scud run down low, or put all your faith in ATC?

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128. A Handheld Approach

Instructors
Wally Moran

You understand that single-engine flight in the clouds requires some tolerance of risk. You only have one engine, one vacuum pump, and one alternator. That last liability is why you have some handheld navigation. So after a complete electrical failure in IMC, what combination of the iPad GPS and handheld NAV/COM will get you on […]

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127. The Walls Around Berlin

Instructors
Doug Stewart

We trust our lives to the instrument procedures created by the experts in Oklahoma City. Life is better with technology that automatically downloads new procedures as they’re published. But what do you do when an updated procedure doesn’t look quite right—and you need it to safely navigate around the rocks you can’t see?

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122. The Day ATC Went Zero

Instructors
John Krug

Instrument pilots train for all sorts of failures: communication, navigation, instrumentation, and even propulsion. But what about a failure of the entire ATC system for your sector? It doesn’t matter how cutting edge your navigation equipment might be if air traffic rules from 1951 keep you flying in circles unable to reach your destination.

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120. Rapid Return in Portland

Instructors
Ryan Koch

Whenever you depart into low IMC, you load the approach coming back in case you need a hasty return. Is a partial engine failure the time to execute that plan? Or is it so urgent, you need to reverse course and land against traffic? The plane has a parachute as well, but that presents its […]

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112. Controller Conundrum

Instructors
John Krug

This month, the roles are reversed and you’re a controller trying to help a pilot in need. The pilot’s plight puts you in the hot seat, where you see several options—none of which are found anywhere in the controller’s manual. Do you play by the book, or give the pilot what he really needs?

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109. Evasive Action in Norfolk

Instructors
Doug Stewart

You’re flying the last approach of a three-day intensive IFR training program. The workload has been high, but the results are great. You’re practically one with your airplane. When you break out and see the runway is dead ahead, you cancel IFR—and a moment later must make a split-second decision to avoid disaster.

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102. Bump in the Lights

Instructors
Wally Moran

Low IFR conditions just over the mountains tempts two pilots with perfect conditions to practice IFR. It all goes as planned until one surprise event creates a cascade of consequences. Which devil would you choose if forced to weigh multiple benefits that come with multiple drawbacks? There are no easy choices, and none come for […]

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