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Items That Need a Home; ...Safety Pilots and Medicals; ...Partial Panel; ...Partial Panel Items; ...Things to Know About Partial Panel; ...Holding Headings; ...Partial Panel Turns; ...Disorientation in Turbulence; ...Unusual Attitudes; ...Unusual Attitude Items; ...Unusual Attitude Recovery; ...Partial Panel Recovery; ...Graveyard Spiral Recovery; ...Finding the Runway; ...On Staying IFR; ...IFR Crosswind Landings; ...IFR Accidents; …IFR Survival; ...IFR Illusions; ...IFR Departure; ...No-Go Decisions; ...When One Head Has to Work for Two; ...IFR Flight Plans; ...Flight Plans to Nowhere; ...IFR Instruction; ...Items; ...Flying in the System; …Working the IFR System; …Flying MOAs; ...Handoff; ...GPS Problems; ...Side Notes; ...FAA Way; ...Not the FAA Way; ...Vectors; ...Real World IFR; ...IFR CCR to SCK; ...Scan Priority; ...Terminology; ...Approach Ideas; ...Negotiating with ATC; ...IFR Procedures; ... ...Approach Setup; … On Getting There; …Anticipation Is the Name of the Game; ...IFR Routes (Internet); ...
Items that need a home:
--Some fixes are DME only and cannot be called by radar.
--Most non-precision approaches have only 250' of obstacle clearance on final approach.
--A VOR or NDB with a FAF has 300'
--Without a FAF the NDB has 350'
--Sometimes irrelevant, nit-picky fine points have an intrinsic beauty all their own.
Safety Pilots and Medicals
A person is not required to hold a medical certificate...when exercising the privileges of a flight instructor certificate if the person is not acting as pilot in command or serving as a required pilot flight crew member. FAR 61.3(a)
No person may not operate a civil aircraft in simulated instrument flight unless...the other control seat is occupied by a safety pilot who possesses at least a private pilot certificate with category and class ratings appropriate for the aircraft being flown.
The regulation say a safety pilot needs only to have private certificate with category and class ratings appropriate to the aircraft. The regulations are silent that the safety pilot be current and qualified in the aircraft. The instant the pilot puts on a hood the safety pilot must have a current valid medical.
Partial PanelThere should be no change in your control touch between normal IFR and partial panel. A light two finger touch with smooth pressures works just as well with partial panel. The partial panel scan, in many respects, is easier because to some degree the number of instruments to be scanned is reduced. So long as you avoid any extreme attitudes or abrupt control movements partial panel is not very difficult to fly. Once the equilibrium of the aircraft is disrupted partial panel flight requires very considered control input and power applications.
Partial panel requires that the pilot have at least one pitch and one bank instrument always in the scan while using the compass and altimeter and turn coordinator to verify performance. Heading changes are best made incrementally using the count method. One, two, three, level, verify and repeat as necessary. I suggest doing it three times this way to make a 20-degree turn. Insist that ATC give any vectors to require a minimum of maneuvers to get established for an approach. Try for an ILS or possibly a GCA or radar assisted approach if possible. Your turn coordinator is used to maintain heading.
You must know your aircraft performance numbers and required configuration to maintain a pre-determined approach speed. Any speed above Vref for your aircraft weight puts you in danger of self-destructing. Under partial panel you may well be better off to slow to approach speed immediately to avoid exceeding Va. Should you get into a high-speed situation you should first level the wings using the TC and reduce power before initiating recovery. A bank will add stress to the structure. Avoid any turns (bank) when in an uncontrolled descent.
A low-speed situation compounded with loss of control requires that the angle of attack be reduced, the wings leveled, and power advanced at least to low-cruise. Get everything stabilized before attempting to get any assigned heading, altitude, or speed. It would be well to practice partial panel stabilization procedures to set firmly in place just how you stabilize yourself from the slow and fast conditions.
Oddly, some pilots find partial panel easier than full panel. This happens when the pilot flies in such a way that the airplane is not part of the problem. In partial panel caused by vacuum failure the altimeter, VSI, IAS and power sets attitude. Heading uses the compass and timed turns to change headings. Wings level uses the turn coordinator.
Partial Panel Items
Partial panel tracking of a bearing or radial can be done using the turn coordinator, which is primary for holding headings under partial panel. Any flight from wings level shows immediately on the turn coordinator or needle. By flying the needle/TC as primary for heading very accurate headings and bearing/radials can be flown. Many pilots find that bracketing using the needle/TC is actually easier than using the AI. Therein can lie a problem.
Aside: I once had a pilot come to me after 130 hours of IFR instruction and a checkride failure. On our first flight into actual conditions, we had a turn coordinator failure just as we entered the fog. The failure was noted immediately by the student. He had only used the turn coordinator for holding wings level. However I was unaware of this until he attempted an ILS approach and was completely unable to either fly the plane or fly a heading. I had to take over and cancel the approach while climbing to VFR. The subsequent flights were flown without the turn coordinator until he used the AI as primary for wings level.
A heading does not change if the needle is centered. A heading does not change with wings level turn coordinator. Heading control is perhaps the most essential element of attitude flying. The turn needle and the turn coordinator are primary for heading control under partial panel. These do not reveal bank angle except in so far as the pilot is able to relate the standard rate turn and airspeed into an angle. A needle width turn is the same as a two-minute turn coordinator turn.
Before flown in actual conditions both the needle and the turn coordinator should be calibrated by making level standard rate indicated turns and clocking it with the number of degrees turned per second. Standard rate turns and holding headings under partial panel is totally dependent on the ability of the pilot to fly using an absolute minimum of control pressures. This means no more than one finger and thumb used to move the aircraft off of its trimmed attitude. It is relatively late to learn to fly this way if you have not flown that way since you started flying. A tight grip will result in over control and loss of controlled flight.
The type of partial panel emergency you can expect is directly related to the way your aircraft is equipped. The traditional vacuum failure is only one of several ways it can happen. The best solution to any emergency is to get to the ground flying VFR. A partial panel emergency that extends for any period is likely to result in an accident.
The record of IFR accidents shows that many pilots were unable to control the aircraft on partial panel. A partial panel accident is most likely to occur when the pilot has not opted to go to the nearest VFR conditions.
The only way to fly without the AI is to be able to fly needle (attitude indicator), ball, and airspeed. The other gauges such as the altimeter, DI, (compass), VSI are all telling you in their own small way what is happening. The only thing that will save you without the AI is the speed with which you scan the remaining instruments.
Without the attitude indicator a pilot will tend to over control and not make the required small corrections. Once you have noticed that you are reacting instinctively to the remaining instruments you can avoid the problem by taking out at least half of any initial reaction. At a major military airport such as Travis, you can obtain a surveillance approach in which you fly the heading corrections given without any radio reply. Flying a specific heading with a GPS set to your VFR destination is relatively easy. Try it.
The worst time to study emergency procedures is when you have one in progress. You can only prepare for the partial panel emergency by practicing the procedure and studying how the condition can be recognized quickly. The first response must be to cover any inoperative instrument. Use no-peekies or even large post-its. Should your aircraft have a vacuum back-up, should at least be familiar with how to get it operating along with possible limitations.
In actual IFR conditions a failure can best be handled by knowing where the closest VFR conditions exist. The extent to which you are familiar with your aircraft is perhaps the most important element of partial panel survival. You must know the power settings, airspeeds, sounds and all their variations to enhance your chance of survival.
The lack of partial panel practice will deteriorate your scan skills. Partial panel proficiency is the most perishable of instrument skills. Your skills usually coincide with your equipment and the frequency of use. You tend to use well what is there to use. Being reduced to basic instruments requires the use of skills seldom practiced. Accidents happen when the abnormal occurs. The basics of partial panel are heading, altitude, and airspeed. Don’t expect ATC to fully understand your partial panel problem unless you give a full explanation.
Knowing what power settings provide the control equilibrium for any desired flight condition makes partial panel approach feasible. You want to get lined up on final as far out as possible. As an approach indicator the compass is just too erratic especially inside the FAF. Once you know the course fly with wings level and the ball centered. Don’t chase the needles, use rudder for instant, quick and small corrections. Since you are flying headings, keep the wings level.
It would be a rare instance for pitot-static, vacuum and electric system to fail together. The best defense of a failure of one is to have an operational/available backup system. The better your cross-check the sooner you will notice a problem. AI cross-check is Altimeter, VSI and airspeed. Heading cross-check is the TC and compass. airspeed check is altimeter, AI VSI and power. Altitude check is with VSI, AI and airspeed. Practice partial panel often.
Partial panel practice exercises. Hold altitude and airspeed as constants. With power as a variable, control airspeed with power and altitude with pitch. Practice 180 and 360 compass turns both left and right. Vary airspeed while maintaining level flight. Make timed turns to headings. Practice rate-climbs and descents. Practice stalls and unusual attitude recoveries. Allowable error margins of 100', 10 knots and 10 degrees.
--Failed vacuum eliminates the attitude indicator, most heading indicators and the HSI (horizontal situation indicator).
--A blocked pitot tube kills the airspeed indicator.
--A blocked static hole invalidates readings of the altimeter, airspeed, and vertical speed indicators.
--Electrical failure of the turn coordinator has a backup in the attitude indicator and knowing the angle of bank for a given airspeed.
Cover inoperative instruments at once. Keep control of the aircraft. Advise ATC of problem and intentions. Request No Gyro assistance and possible vector to VFR. Good practice is, when in VFR conditions, to cover heading and attitude indicators while on approach. The logic of this is that the more we simulate emergencies and train for the possibility, the better our chances of survival. Gyro failure is an inherent risk of IFR flight.
Many pilots find partial panel easier. This is only possible if flying skill reduces the pilot's dependence on scan. Some disorientation will occur regardless of experience. The time period for this to occur will vary among pilots. At some point even the most experienced and best of us will experience some confusion. In a seven year period of the 80s 330 accidents occurred due to spatial disorientation. 28% of the pilots involved had instrument ratings. Currency alone is not sufficient, you must be proficient as a partial panel pilot as well. You start losing instrument competence as soon as you get out of the plane. Three flights a month are required to maintain minimum competence.
The best currency is actual IFR. Instrument cross check skill includes your ability to lock the arm/elbow while looking at charts. Three seconds out of the scan is maximum.
If you have trimmed your aircraft for the mode of flight don't change trim. Power should first be set and then used to adjust altitude in small increments. Fly hands off but hold rudder as required. Don't hurry. If the TC is level and the ball centered the aircraft is not turning. Needle, ball and airspeed has flown IFR in the past and can be flown today.
VFR partial panel can be practiced by flying an ILS or localizer. With a legal safety pilot aboard, cover the heading indicator. Watch the CDI and make 1/2 standard rate turns with rudder only toward the needle when it moves. Repeat the process as requires. As you react to the needle it will center and rudder corrections will decrease until only slight pressures are required. It can be done down to MDA or DH and will get better with practice.
Daytime partial panel is not a realistic simulation. Try practicing partial panel at night or in actual conditions but never as a single pilot operation. A systems failure in actual conditions is an emergency. A partial-panel approach in IMC is a full-up emergency. Call it. Cover all failed instruments. Advise ATC of the problem and make the declaration. Your flying skills must have habit patterns so well developed that your flight procedures will work in the worst circumstance.
The pilot should know the systems that operate the instruments as well as how the instruments operate. Knowing this, the pilot should include in his IFR instrument scan a check of the vacuum and electrical operation. the functioning of one instrument should be checked against another. The AI vs. the turn coordinator etc. ATC offers options such as vectors, no-gyro approaches and advice as to options. Cover all dead instruments since they become a visual attraction that will destroy any partial panel scan.
Partial Panel Turns
Use 18 degrees or less of bank to make a standard rate turn. The maximum turning error is the latitude of the aircraft. At 36 degrees latitude you will have a maximum of 36 degrees error when turning to north or south. This has been called the OSUN method since you overshoot the compass reading for turns to the south and undershoot for turns to the north. Little correction is required if turning east or west since the error is zero. Turns to intermediate headings by 30 degree increments will be 12 or 24 degrees. Lead roll-out by 1/2 angle of bank for northern turns and delay roll-out by 1/2 angle of bank for turns to the south.
Partial panel turns can be aided by using the ADF card. Set card to heading. Which way to turn is quickly determined as well as timing since each quadrant is three ten second divisions or thirty seconds.
Timed partial panel compass turns are easier to make. Determine the number of degrees you plan to turn and divide by 3 to get the number of seconds you will turn. A sweep second hand makes this easier to determine. 3 degree heading corrections can be made by rolling in and immediately out of a 1/2 standard rate turn. Personally, I use the rudder for such a correction. Use a standard rate turn for a 6 degree change. I find that if I hold a standard rate turn for a count of ten I can get a ten degree change.
Disorientation in TurbulenceTurbulence will cause spatial disorientation In the event of turbulence the pilot should immediately reduce the speed to Va as determined by weight. The lighter you are the slower you go in turbulence. Altitude is a variable. Let ATC know of the problem and they will assign you a range (block) altitude instead of a hard altitude.
Your concentration in turbulence must be on aircraft control. Believe your instruments, listen to what is happening. If an instrument is not performing as it should, cover it. ATC can be a help or a hindrance by the way they communicate. If their communication becomes a problem as in an amended clearance have them do it one step at a time as you perform. Don’t let communications interfere with your control of the aircraft. Don’t read back or accept a clearance until you have reviewed and given it a ‘reasonability’ check.
The end all of turbulence is...keep the ball centered. You won’t spin. Wings level can be flow using the ADF and keeping it on the nose or tail. Another way is to fly 180 on the magnetic compass. Proficiency is the only absolute solution.
In IFR conditions there are definitely some instinctive forces that seem counter to your mental inputs. Placing your safety in your instruments suddenly becomes difficult to impossible.. All senses and intellect will be trying to make you maneuver opposite what the instruments are reporting.
The problem is that the glare shield takes the place of the horizon when outside references no longer exist. We instinctively relate our sense of weight and motion to the visual reference of the windshield. Our visual feeling of up is in conflict with our messages from the ear. The conflict of sensory messages creates mental confusion.
Having spent our lives relying on our visual and other sensory inputs that are in agreement and correcting balance without conscious thought our brain becomes confused.. It is this onset of conflicting sensory input that precipitates disorientation and mental confusion. More than one pilot has been unable to resolve the conflict. It takes extreme will power and concentration.
Conduct both full and partial panel recoveries. Use turn coordinator to level wings. VSI for pitch.
--Level wings and center ball
Nose lowPower off
Errors1. Failure to use trim
Any flight condition you don't expect is an unusual attitude. Just as mistakes compound so do unusual attitudes. You must recognize and correct any unexpected flight condition before it becomes worse. Sound is a good way to detect the unexpected. You should memorize the sounds of your aircraft performance so that you can recognize the sound of a nose high or low condition. Bank is more difficult to detect by sound but most unusual attitudes are a combination of pitch and bank. Get the pitch under control if it is high, first. Get the bank under control if the pitch attitude is low. Get the wings level first. Without the proper mental set, pilots tend to pull back on the yoke, which merely serves to tighten the spiral descent. Aerobatic training is the best way to know what to do in the event of an inverted condition or unintentional roll. If beset by a vortex induced roll, continue the roll.
Instinctive reactions must be aggressively overcome. When inverted the elevator control must be pushed firmly forward. Roll input from the ailerons is usually inadvertent due to distraction or body movements. A spiral descent will soon follow as below. Releasing the yoke when distracted seems like a valid alternative.
Unusual Attitudes Items
1. Either nose high at low speed or nose down at high speed
-- Airspeed increasing? Reduce power.
-- Airspeed decreasing? Increase power
2. Level wings
--Aileron to level turn coordinator
--rudder to center ball
--Hands off yoke. Steer with rudder only.
3. Elevator pressure to stop descent
--Instinct tells you to pull back. This tightens turn and increases G-load
--Only elevator to reduce descent rate. Use VSI to level, no more.
--Level wings again and add power for level cruise.
In clouds, airspeed increasing, altitude decreasing
--Easy with elevator
In clouds, airspeed increasing, altitude increasing
--Level wings with aileron and rudder
--Stop climb with VSI
Unusual Attitude Recovery
1. Check airspeed
If speed is high or increasing, reduce power
If speed is low or decreasing , add full power
2. Check attitude indicator
If nose is high, lower nose and level wings on horizon.
If nose is low, level wings and raise nose to horizon.
Partial Panel Recovery1. Check VSI
2. Check VSI
If descending, check turn coordinator and level wings
Raise nose until VSI trend reverses.
Graveyard Spiral RecoveryIn the event of a failure that leads to a bank and the sound of increasing airspeed, first reduce power. Aircraft structural limits can be exceeded the insidious forces of the graveyard spiral entered due to instrument failure. Pulling back on the yoke will only continue the descent. Do not apply back elevator until the wings are level. Use any indicator you can to get wings level. Request no-gryo assistance if you are in radar contact.
Any approach that breaks out at minimums is going to make finding the airport if it is on speed and on altitude. An un-stabilized approach makes the when and where choices more difficult. Day vs. night makes the transition skills even more daunting. Being familiar with the area and procedures improves all options. Consider keeping the flaps up to help reduce the go-around load.
At night all lights should be off during the approach. A crosswind will skew your ‘where to look’ situation because your nose will not be pointing to where you are going. An HSI helps solve this problem by showing the wind correction angle. The normal tendency, during a crosswind, is to drift downwind. By holding your wind correction you will remain on the course even though the runway may appear off to one side.
On breaking out at minimums there are several illusions that you must watch for. Using the lights of an ASLF-2 for slope is apt to induce a dive for a shallow arrival. Fly the glide slope. Watch out for the color, gray-white to dark-gray, change your peripheral vision picks up just prior to breaking out. Peripheral vision can affect your ability to keep the plane level. At night seeing a single light can initiate vertigo.
Stay on the gauges. The angular difference between heading and runway can be duplicated by approaches that are not lined up with the runway. An LDA approach off-set only ten degrees like Concord’s can create additional visual offset problems if a crosswind correction is applied.
On Staying IFROne of the most difficult aspects of IFR is to remain focused on the instruments when you expect to breakout at any moment at minimums. One of the reasons this is difficult is because the pilot knows there will be a certain degree of disorientation on breakout and a very real possibility of misjudging the altitude and positioning with the runway.
Situation:Departure over water with no lights in view
Situation;Arrival at airport with no visible lights in area at night
Situation:Flight into deteriorating weather as non-IFR pilot
War story:Had a pilot, last week while returning from two hours of rough actual IFR, come in to a 5000 foot runway with 20 degrees flap and a 17 knot 60-degree crosswind. Runway was wet but with good traction. The flare took us well past the 1000' markers. We touched down about mid-field. Light braking took us to the far end 1000' markers where the last taxiway turnoff was before the end. Pilot got on the binders and angled over to the right 1000' foot marker. We slid across that marker just as though it was ice, not a pleasant sensation.
The use of flaps must be adjusted to the wind velocity and angle. How much flap you can handle is a variable with each pilot. I would suggest that a pilot use about 10-degrees less than they think they can handle. Most pilots are optimistic in their judgment of their flying ability. I would suggest that full flaps be limited to winds less than ten knots. Twenty degrees of flap at 15 knots. 10-degrees at 20 knots. Over twenty, no flaps. The more flaps extended in the crosswind, the sooner they should be retracted on touchdown. Most landing accidents occurs in crosswinds after touchdown. Getting flaps off quickly will greatly reduce the weather vane effect on rollout.
The right crosswind landing is one that gets the plane on the ground without excessive side load on the gear, without excess speed, without using the nose wheel and without requiring excessive braking. This means that you do not 'fly' the plane on to the runway. You do try to walk the line between the slowest speed at touchdown that will still allow you to stop drift with the ailerons while holding the nose straight with the rudder.
An IFR rated pilot is more likely to have an IMC accident than a VFR pilot. VFR into IFR accidents have an 85% fatality rate. They usually result from flight into rising terrain. Not having a sectional showing terrain is a common part of accident evidence. Complete competency can be overcome by bad judgment.
Causes of IFR accidents include, pilot out of currency, over-confidence in equipment, effort to avoid ATC system and a pilot who is deficient in system malfunction training. An Unknown number of IFR accidents seem to be related to chart reading! Most pilots catch their interpretation errors before they become problems or accidents. Errors tend to be related to confusing typographical depiction, clutter, unclear notes, omissions, errors and differences between NOS and Jeppesen. Some approaches are not even published by NOS or Jeppesen but may be given to the pilot by approach as though they were. The ILS approach is five to seven times less likely to result in an accident as is a non-precision approach.
Unless you have a routine pattern for flying IFR you will have problems in dealing with an emergency. Your routine is the basis for the way you perform all IFR tasks. Any proficiency training is devoted to improving and fixing in place this routine. Part of this routine involves the way you prepare the radios, where you keep your alternate information, and the priority you give to flying the airplane and maintaining your scan. To what extent will a problem distract you from your routine. It will, but how much and how long? Your salvation lies in having consistent habits. Consistency in configuring the plane allows you to devote extra effort to the outside cockpit problems. This reduces anxiety and stress even though what is happening is not totally predictable. The highest level of learning is your ability to learn from the routines of others.
1. File only if proficient, current is not enough.
2. Know and abide by your weather limits.
3. Know and abide by your aircraft weather limits.
4. Use your alternate at the first 'doubt'.
5. Never exceed personal limits.
6. Fuel should never be a concern.
7. The 180 is the best parachute for an airplane.
--A narrow runway will create an illusion of being high.
--A wide runway can cause you to flare high and long.
--A downslope approach and runway can cause the illusion that you are lower than you really are. This means you will overshoot the end of the runway.
--Featureless terrain will cause the illusion you are higher than you are. This means you may descend too soon.
--Haze gives the illusion that you are farther from the runway than you really are.
--Unexpected entrance into fog can cause the illusion that the aircraft has suddenly pitched up. This may cause the pilot to suddenly pitch down.
--Excessively bright runway lights can cause the illusion that the runway is much closer than it really is.
--Rain on the windshield can cause the illusion that you are higher and farther away.
--This may make you fly a less safe lower approach.
--An approach over unlighted terrain may cause you to make a lower than normal approach.
--This is especially true on long straight-in approaches.
--Under the hood, an abrupt transition from climb to level can give the illusion of falling backwards. the instinctive reaction to this of lowering the nose is known as the inversion illusion.
--The postural sense can be caused to interpret centrifugal force as a rising or falling.
IFR DepartureIFR departures will be the same whether VFR or IFR conditions exist. Local limits will determine the crosswind turn altitude as well as the direction in your clearance. In IFR you must comply with a DP if any. You should fly the visual departure profile to reach any turn point in minimum time. This means flying at Vy to a safe altitude before going to a cruise climb. An IFR standard departure is expected to maintain at least 200’ per mile, be at 35’ over the departure end of the runway and at 400’ before turning.
Missed procedure DH/MDA
No-Go DecisionsWe all have out own pressures but the gotta-be-there monkey should not be one. The pilot makes the call, not the passengers. Canceling is always better if you have alternatives. The Part 91 pilot who uses Part 135 departure criteria will not go wrong. Accidents result from pilot decision-making. Saying "no" is just as difficult as making the flight. Make the decision the safe one.
The decision is based not only on equipment but on pilot competence. Always have an alternate plan when faced with icing, thunderstorms, low ceilings and no alternate. Just being current is not sufficient, you must be competent.
If there is no alternate within reasonable distance, cancel. A zero-zero departure is quite different when simulated from the actual. In an actual zero-zero you have no chance of returning. Ego-based decisions are most often accident prone. always fly with a tad of humility. If you lack humility then IFR flight will eventually give you some. You must be confident of your ability but not so much as to do something stupid. Time in type under IFR is essential.
When planning an actual IFR flight you should do so with the idea of completing the flight by anticipating what it’s going to entail, to minimize the surprises, and to fly a better flight. Do not assume that any remarks included in your filing of a flight plan will be passed along to the ATC controllers down the line.
When One Head Has to Work for Two.Make a personal assessment that goes beyond meeting the FARs DECIDE
IFR Flight PlansIFR and VFR flight plans are done on Center computers as part of flight data processing (FDP) The computer knows every route, published and unpublished. It knows every navaid, most intersections and all airports. It knows preferential routes and knows that forecast or real time weather may change arrival routes. Center computers do not overlap in coverage or information with other Centers. Flight requests not honored in one must be repeated in the next. Centers and TRACONs now have a computer graphic that can show every aircraft in the U. S. that is on a flight plan as to its flight plan information and present position.
You can specify routing by remarks such as "no over water", "No altitudes over 12,000'" etc. The ETE destination point on an IFR flight is the point of intended landing. FAR 91.169 which refers you to FAR 91.153 (a)(6)
FAR sets rules and items that pilots should do to fly safely.
-- To operate IFR you must file a flight plan and obtain a clearance before entering controlled airspace.
--FAR 91.173 If you are on a VFR/IFR or an IFR/VFR flight plan you MUST open and close the VFR parts of any plan through a Flight Service Station.
--This appears to be part of an FAA make work program. Flying according to airline standards, even though Part 91 capable, is much safer.
Box # 3Without approach capable GPS file as /R. Approach capable GPS files as /G
Box # 5Know that the navaid or intersection is in the ATC airspace to be contacted if other than an airport.
Box # 6You can extend the two-hour life of a pre-filed plan by filing a time 30 minutes later than you actually plan to file.
Box # 7File your final altitude but check the ATC preferred altitudes to avoid the ATC preferred routing that may screw up your flight planned route.
Box # 8Using preferred routes will avoid having to copy a clearance when airborne.
Box # 9By always filing an alternate you avoid forgetting that one is
Box # 11Mention GPS, instructor, or multiple approaches.
Box # 17Provide both departure and destination phone numbers where someone will be available.
Flight Plans to NowhereThe computerized ATC system cannot readily adjust to a flight plan that is bogus. The flight may not be intentional but it may be able to fool the computer into acceptance. Even more likely will the the filing of another flight plan through a different media such as DUATS along another route to the same destination.
--Whenever possible avoid the procedure turn
unless you really need to change direction.
--In the mountains always proceed via an initial approach fix.
Instructor or pilot must fully reviews and brief where approach begins through the missed procedure.
Items:Every approach must be considered as going to minimums
With the expansion of radar there has been a corresponding reduction in the acquisition and maintenance of independent orientation by pilots. I mean that the pilot should be utilizing all available facilities and equipment to keep his own record of where he is, where he is going and where his escape outlet lies. Only if you know where you are, can you know when ATC has forgotten you, failed to give a vector, descent, or clearance. When you know where you are you are better able to protect yourself. ATC can and does make mistakes.
Complacency is one factor that can give unexpected and undesirable IFR adventures. Complacency is responsible for many more accidents than is realized. Complacency seems to affect most insidiously those with the most experience. Complacency is often caused by agnosia, you don't know what you don't know. By maturity you should have learned not to trust the anybody or anything with your well-being, property or airplane. Keep a backdoor open.
As an IFR pilot you must anticipate a potential problem before it arrives. A circle to land may be indicative of a tailwind on approach (CCR)that requires correcting for a tailwind effect ground speed. If the tailwind is strong it may cause your ground speed to rise to Category B. The radius of turn then goes from 1.3 to 1.5 nautical miles. Will left or right turns in a hold make for an easier departure outbound (APC)? Will one departure be better for you (not ATC) than another. Taking positive assertive action over the radio to ease your situation is an attitude called aggression. When it affects the safety of your flight it is aggressive safety. Your flight safety and convenience does not just happen through the good graces of ATC; you must make your own flight safety. A pilot can become disoriented while maneuvering, looking for the runway, scanning the instruments, and talking to ATC. Protect yourself by knowing the rules, limitations of systems and equipment, and your own limits.
The pilot of a plane has command authority for which he is often inadequately trained. The pilot who does not recognize an inappropriate vector, clearance or altitude is not taking charge. Go not quietly into that thunderstorm or icing altitude. Continued flight in known icing conditions is prohibited in the FARs. As a pilot you have the command authority to decline, request, suggest or to act for the safety of your aircraft.
In recent years we have become too reliant on ATC. As a part of every instrument procedure we should include several fixes of our own to supplement those on the approach charts. Our fixes should provide us with situational awareness while under radar vectors. Knowing where you are will help you anticipate radar handoffs, heading changes, when to anticipate airspeed, and altitude changes. Flying IFR means understanding where the airplane was before, where it is now, and where it is going. Keep your mind ahead of the airplane; know what comes next.
Don’t ever feel that your acquired skills and experience will allow you to overcome the safety net built into the FARs. Breaking the FARs is not an IFR option. The fundamentals of IFR rules make breaking them offer benefits much outweighed by the risks. You have options. There are things you should do and things you should not do. Some of the things you should not do change into things you must not do. The always available option in IFR flight is to go somewhere else.
The instrument pilot who relies on ATC to give assistance on the approach is apt to be unaware that radar is relatively inaccurate at extended ranges. Even vectors are only approximations. If you are in a situation where you MUST rely on radar you would do better to fly the whole instrument procedure.
The pilot who does not fly instruments regularly is going to regress in basic skills, be liable to the effects of distraction, and be behind the aircraft. the more experience and the more recent it is the more able will the pilot be to deal with the basics of the approach and the unexpected things that always occur.
Working the IFR SystemA pilot must expect a clearance to be via preferred routes. Many pilots surrender to the preferred routings and never try to go for a direct route. You want to avoid dense traffic, probable delays, dangerous airspace, high altitudes and over water flight. When you, the pilot, initiate the route choice, it is up to you to confirm the safety of the route. When ATC initiates the route the monkey is on ATCs back. Any direct route must have the same obstruction clearance as required to each side of an airway.
One way to avoid a diversion around a Class C or B footprint is to request or suggest a direct route over the airport. Before these spaces ever existed I used to make repeated flights directly over Oakland and San Francisco airports going to Half Moon Bay for lunch. By far the safest route. When you know that your instrument approach will begin with a vector to a FAF why not set up your flight for there instead of the airport.
Best reference is in back of current A/FD booklet. Preferred routs usually take the flight around high-density areas and are supposed to result in fewer delays. Flights into certain airports require 'reservations' unless flight arrives between midnight and 6am local time.
Radar facilities would prefer that you get the ATIS prior to making contact as you near a destination airport. How far away you do this depends on ground speed. When you are given a handoff, you have about two minutes to get the ATIS before the next controller gets antsy.
If your IFR flight takes you through an MOA and ATC gives you a diversion around the MOA, consider the option of canceling IFR and proceeding VFR. Hot MOAs do have mobile long-range radar surveillance of MOAs that track all targets, primary and secondary. The TPS-75 radar used can measure altitude as well. Military controllers are trained to detect conflicts and vector their trainers to a different altitude.
HandoffEvery ATC radar specialist has an area of responsibility. His first highest priority is separation, next comes the processing of those aircraft which are 'sidewalling' his area of responsibility. Aircraft that are either in the process of entering or leaving his area. Within his area the specialist can issue or amend clearances as he feels the need.
The transfer of a 'sidwalling' aircraft must take place before crossing the line between controller sectors. Some of these are done via 'letters-of-agreement' which have in writing that a certain variance is both allowed and expected. Occasionally such agreements allow certain 'nicking' of another controllers airspace by mutual controller agreement. Computerization is the usual process The computer relies on the transponder code to confirm that all controllers are seeing the same aircraft. Often, for a few minutes prior to the blinking the data block is placed into a 'handoff advance list' in the receptor sector. This gives the specialist warning of the impending switch. The computer detects the approaching 'sidewall' and starts the datablock to begin blinking in both sectors.
The 'sidewalling has been in process for a few minutes with the receiver made aware through the advance list. The actual transfer takes place by the reliever making an entry of acceptance for the transfer. The blinking stops on both scopes. This transfer only takes seconds but a failure to transfer can put an unaccepted IFR aircraft into a sector. Only when the transfer has been completed will the 'handoff' frequency change be given to the pilot. While the computer verifies the transponder code it is up to the controller to verify the Mode C altitude readout. This is why your call-up after a handoff should (must) include your altitude. When the computer fails everything changes. Every sector change must be handled by phone.
When flying IFR through radar observed airspace you can expect to be transiting from one sector or facility to another. Your present controller initiates the handoff by causing your aircraft data tag to flicker. When the next controller notes the flicker he can use his roller ball to move the cursor to your target and click on the target. At this point your present controller will tell you to contact the next controller along with giving you the frequency to use. For ATC the handoff is complete. For you it is not complete until you have established radio contact along with giving your altitude status. The handoff may be done through the computers and all you will do is the radio word required. Everything that is done or said is recorded.
On all non-radar approaches the approach begins over the initial approach fix (IAF) for your arrival. Otherwise ATC must vector you to the final approach course to intercept prior to the final approach fix (FAF) at an altitude useable for the procedure.
The exception to this fundamental process is when no IAF exists as in the two following instances:
1. Approach begins at intermediate fix not on an airway and radar is required.
2. Intermediate fix is on airway and descent from MEA to FAF and course alignments complies with TERPs.
Side Notes:A 3:1 descent will lose 1000’ in three miles.
FAA WayThe IFR flight using control/performance instead of the FAA method of primary and support is growing in use simply because the FAA method has the value of each instrument changing for every maneuver.
Flying the FAA way:(Primary has numbers)
-- For level cruise primary pitch is altimeter support is VSI
-- For bank primary bank is heading indicator support is turn coordinator.
-- For power primary is airspeed support is engine instruments
-- For constant ias climb primary for pitch is airspeed
-- For normal climb primary for pitch is VSI
You will note in the FAA way the attitude indicator is a minor factor.
Not the FAA WayUsing control/performance we have three categories of instruments control, performance, and navigation.
First establish an attitude, set power for desired performance, hold attitude while acquiring desired performance, trim off pressure. Check performance and adjust attitude, power, and trim as required.
The better you know your attitudes, know your power settings, and know your trim settings, the more precise will be your flying. You must train your ability to anticipate what must be done to acquire the desired performance. Flying must not be allowed to become a part of the IFR problem. Knowing ahead of time what to do and set minimizes the cross-check requirements in constant performance situations and reduces cross-check requirements when performance is changing. Knowing in advance what to do when simplifies the entire process. Flying is done by anticipation not by reaction.
VectorsDeparture vectors come from the tower either by reference to a SID (Standard Instrument Departure) a specific heading or a turn to a heading. On the handoff to departure these initial vectors may be supplemented for transition to the en route structure.
Arrival vectors begin by an initial vector which is an ATC guess as to what conditions will require. Following the initial vectors will be vectors to intercept the final approach course, for spacing/sequence, for base leg, or delay. The fewer the vectors the higher skill displayed by the controller. Sequencing and spacing are standard procedures. As a pilot you can request any one of the various vector types if you feel ‘pressed’ by the situation.
"Radar contact" means that you and ATC are using radar procedures.
ATC will advise you if they take you across the final approach course. This is sometimes done for spacing but more often because they forgot to vector you in time for the intercept. Being vectored does not mean that you are being protected from all traffic. Vectors provide only guidance and do not guarantee radio coverage, terrain clearance, or a clear missed approach.
The approach gate is an imaginary point used as a basis for vectoring to the final approach course. Ceilings determine how far out the gate the intercept vector should occur. the intercept may be at the gate if the ceiling is 500’ above the minimum vectoring altitude with VFR visibility.
Center can give vectors just as do terminal but the different type of radar antenna turn slower by I/3. Center scope PPI (Plan Position Indicator) are mosaic pictures from several radar sites. Center radar has 150 mile range so a 10 mile approach procedure will be only an inch long on the scope. The scope symbols showing the approach are always the same size regardless of the scope scale (range). Any center vector must have an assigned altitude that is 1000’ AGL or 2000’ AGL when in mountainous terrain. On occasion, this altitude requirement can be evaded by vectoring a localizer/glide slope intercept at a higher altitude than the FAF by increasing the distance.
Real World IFRTry to share any IFR flight you make take with other IFR pilots. Single pilot IFR is not the best way to go. Until you develop the hours and experience where you can take a younger pilot, try to fly with the most experienced pilot available. Expose yourself and the other pilot to real turbulence, overwhelming fatigue, poor vectors to final, tight vectors,
instrument failure and rain so hard it activates the stall warner. Cancel IFR to avoid a vector into a CB and execute a missed and depart for an alternate. Always have a good alternate. Redundant pilots are just as valuable as redundant instruments and power.
IFR CCR to SCKDepart CCR and at 600' go direct to VOR
Scan Prioritytracking radial of course with needle centered
MOCA--Minimum obstruction clearance altitude is the lowest altitude in between radio fixes that meets clearance requirements but only gives navaid reception within 22 miles of the navaid.
MRA--Minimum reception altitude is lowest at which an intersection can be determined.
MEA--Minimum en route altitude is lowest altitude between navaids that gives both obstacle clearance and signal coverage.
COP--Changeover point is marked by Z to advise to switch VOR reception for best signal.
MSA--Minimum safe altitude is on approach charts and provide 1000’ clearance at specified distance from a specified procedure related navaid.
MAA--Maximum authorized altitude represents the highest altitude that will not cause a conflict in navaid signals from two different points.
Negotiating with ATC
--Dancers and choreographers = ATC and Pilots
--ATC and Pilots make organized imagination work.
--ATC three dimensional chess with aircraft sans blindfold
--Harmony between controller and an obedient pilot
--Harmony between controller and properly assertive pilot
--An advisory/request from ATC requires a pilot answer
--Pilot's option is always, "Unable" but expect ATC retaliation
--'Unable' is due to pilot or aircraft inability or lack of desire.
--Time is the currency of air traffic control.
--Pilots who misuse time in any way can expect ATC reaction/action
--Only cooperation of pilots allow ATC to use time efficiently
--Poor planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part (On my fridg at home)
--Urgency or stress can appear in the voice of either pilot or controller. You hear and feel it.
--Priority treatment goes with pilots saying, "Low fuel state".
--Declaring an emergency sooner is better than later.
--ATC may not understand words you use for low-level problem.
--Don't let ATC fly you into an emergency
--Highest level of priority is an emergency
--Best negotiating ploy is, "Last controller said you would…
--If you are being delayed, it could be because of your selected altitude. Negotiate.
--Tell clearance delivery that you will accept any altitude up to…
--Ask if there is some letter-of-agreement that requires a non-published routing
--The complexity of the airspace may or may not permit controller flexibility to meet your requests.
--The newer ATC systems trade ground holding for airborne holding. (Operational Evolution Plan OEP)
--OEP allows reduced altitude and distance separation.
--ADS-B gives all aircraft ability to see traffic just as ATC sees traffic.
--Curved approaches to precision landings are now possible.
--Heavy traffic regions may become special equipment zones.
--By asking a radar facility to speak to the 'local separator you will get to speak with the person who determines the routing of aircraft.
--An IFR pilot can accept a direct ATC clearance if he has the capability and ATC can radar monitor his route.
--You will normally be advised by approach control of the approach to be expected. Advise early if you want to assert your PIC right to a selection of your choice. Get winds early so you can plan ahead.
--At uncontrolled airports ATC will advise you of weather if he has it.
--Canceling IFR before changing to advisory when you have the field is sight is the easiest way.
--At uncontrolled airports advise on the radio early as to where you are and what you are doing.
--Make checking the agreement of the DG and compass a fundamental process at all checkpoints and FAFs.
--Use your heading bug to show you where the wind in from and where to look for the runway.
On getting There
Very often to go west in California all the signs will take you East. I once heard, that 25% of the automobiles on the road are not going in the direction toward their destination. I have been led to believe the same about airplanes. I once departed an airport in Southern California on an IFR clearance and 45 minutes later I was still southeast of my departure point. I once departed IFR from Van Nuys to San Diego. The direct distance was about 100 miles. Vectors and airways took me over 200 miles.
Anticipation Is the Name of the Game
–-Knowing what to expect from ATC is always the winning hand in IFR.
--First you must know that you should be prepared to ask ATC for lower and slower as required.
--Sooner is always better than later in slick aircraft.
--You know that Approach is taking you into and through the ‘gate’ before handing you off to tower.
--#1 way to the gate is an airway transition, which allows decent to published altitudes when cleared for the approach.
--#2 way to the gate is a published transition with published routes giving course, distance and altitude.
--#2a is when ATC assigns an altitude or expects your last altitude to a fix and published route and altitude.
--#3 way to the gate is no procedure turn routes to the initial approach fix (IAF)
IFR Routes (Internet)
For IFR folks, you can enter airports that you're flying between and get a list of IFR routes that people have flown, which makes flight planning a lot easier. Free web site that does tracking of IFR flights by call-sign, maps and graphs and whatnot:
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Continued on 7.34 IFR Added Procedures