It’s been a brutal flight. Every smart move to evade the ice, and then the turbulence, worked at first and then fell apart. You make the smart move to divert, only to find the weather relents on final approach. Now you’re on the ground wondering if one more “smart” move would bring victory or catastrophe.
The brand-new GPS with its full-color moving map should make RNAV approaches a piece of cake. This time when ATC clears you for the approach, the hi-res display shows you three different options for the course to join—and ATC is no help. Which one is the right approach course to join? Does it matter?
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?
What will you prioritize: Chart notes that seem pointless (and are perhaps even wrong), or your personal preference for an approach procedure? Does it matter that the legal answer might be more personally hazardous? Does it matter that doing it the “right” way means an even longer flight to finish the day?
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 […]
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?
You’re loving the upgraded avionics you use every day for work as a cargo pilot—until the GPS throws an error message you’ve never seen before. Suddenly, a successful approach is in doubt. With no time to troubleshoot and ceilings just above minimums, can you find a solution or must you give up on the mission?
They say the short flights can be the toughest, so this 28-mile flight across a Class B could be a headache. Doing it IFR seemed like the way to simplify the flight—until your clearance comes back with a route that’s 40 miles in the wrong direction. Will you play along, or figure out a way […]
You’ve got a capable airplane and an important mission, but one small problem will make this landing a challenging one. If you can just get on the ground, you can get the problem fixed and everyone on their way. But how will you do that when you can’t see straight ahead?
The flight was planned in a narrow zone above the MEAs but below the icing. That zone dwindles to zero just as the destination comes in reach, but you aren’t ATC’s priority. Then a controller offers you exactly what you want. Now you must ask yourself: Is it what you need?
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.
You have somewhere to be, and one lousy antenna just broke on your airplane. What’s even more annoying is that you never use that system anyway. Is it reasonable to make this flight IFR? What about a shorter IFR or VFR flight to fix the problem? Or, is there perhaps another solution?