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.
Here’s a day when the safety of flight is never in doubt. However, the future of your pilot certificate could be if you make the wrong decision. Is there a way to save time and help another pilot, or are you captive to the whims of regulation and a controller’s limited access to weather information?
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?
Instrument pilots should assume the approach will end in a missed approach until a landing is assured. At the same time, all pilots should conduct a go-around—even into the flare—if the landing goes poorly. So what happens when your go-around requires a missed approach that should have started two miles behind you?
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 […]