AVwebFlash - Volume 14, Number 29a

July 14, 2008

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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Top News: The Greening of Aviation back to top 

FAA And DOT Pushing Green For New X Prize

While Virgin Atlantic, Air New Zealand and Boeing have teamed up to develop a green aviation fuel, and the CAFE foundation offers an aviation efficiency "green prize" worth $50,000, Thursday the U.S. Department of Transportation said it will finance its own green fuel contest. The DOT and FAA has granted $500,000 to the X Prize Foundation to create a contest hoped to award $10 million or more to the creator of an alternative jet fuel. Specific requirements for winning entrants will be developed over the next 14 months. The competition is expected to begin in 2011 with a winner to be selected (hopefully) in 2016. The X Prize Foundation will award the money, which will originate from a private sponsor that has not yet been selected. "It will be a competition that everyone wins, because a breakthrough in alternative jet fuels is a potential game-changer that could bring lower airline fuel costs, greater U.S. energy independence, and cleaner air," Mary Peters, U.S. Secretary of Transportation, said in a statement.

Senior director of prize development at the X Prize Foundation, Jason Morgan, believes in the competitive approach: "With all the discussion about global warming, the increasing cost of oil, and the increasing congestion everyone's feeling at the airport, we need to do something dramatic about it and we think it's the contest model."

Pratt & Whitney's Geared Turbofan, Bombardier's CSeries

Bombardier is getting bigger, and greener, and hoping to take firm strides into markets dominated by Boeing and Airbus with its fuel-efficient Pratt & Whitney geared-turbofan powered CSeries 100-149 passenger regional jets. The company announced the CSeries launch prior to the Farnborough Air Show, which begins today (Monday) in England. Lufthansa has already signed a letter of interest for up to 60 aircraft and up to $2.8 billion for examples of the long range CSeries family of jets. The aircraft should see first deliveries in 2013. The big selling point for the CSeries is its goal of providing a 20 percent increase in fuel economy over its rivals, a point that can be attributed to the geared turbofan, which has completed ground testing and is scheduled for flight testing this month. Even if it falls short of 20 percent, Bombardier is confident the engine will produce double-digit efficiency gains and win the hearts and orders of airlines hit by jet fuel prices that in many areas have doubled over the last year. Further pushing the aircraft's eco-friendliness, the company says the jets are also four times quieter, and emit up to 50 percent less nitrous oxide, than similarly sized industry rivals.

"The CSeries will set a new benchmark in the industry," Guy C. Hachey, president and chief operating officer at Bombardier Aerospace, told The Canadian Press. GE and French partner Safran is developing a engine technology to compete with Pratt & Whitney's geared turbofan. GE's "eCore" uses new materials to allow higher temperatures in the engine, higher output and increased efficiency. GE is hoping to have that engine certified by 2016, three years after Pratt & Whitney's geared fan will debut in the CSeries.

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Major Jet Makers Forecast a Brighter Future ... back to top 

Boeing Joins Airbus, Bombardier, As Bullish On Outlook

Accounting for today's economic challenges, Boeing is projecting a 20-year global market worth $3.2 trillion for 29,400 new, more fuel-efficient commercial aircraft. While twin-aisle jets will make up the largest dollar share of the market, smaller single-aisle jets are expected to account for more than half of the demand. By 2027, Boeing forecasts a worldwide fleet of 35,800 aircraft, building from today's world total of roughly 19,000. The long-term market (and, presumably, manufacturers), according to Boeing, will be less vulnerable to regional economic downturns as a result of a more globally distributed demand. Boeing has seen increases in the Asia-Pacific region as well as the Middle East and Latin America, among others. Boeing's bullish forecast reflects reflections by Airbus, that China alone will need $329 billion worth of aircraft by 2026 and Bombardier's recent forecast, which expects demand to rise unabated through 2017. Bombardier's forecast that we reported in May represented an increase in demand of 33 percent over its forecast of the previous year.

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Building the Future of Airplanes back to top 

Cirrus' The-Jet, Henceforth The Cirrus Vision SJ50

With first flight behind it, Cirrus' jet offering has turned a corner in maturity and shed Cirrus' homegrown internal moniker of "The-Jet" for a more descriptive name and one perhaps better suited for distinguishing it from other jets beyond Cirrus' own walls -- The-Jet is now the "Cirrus Vision SJ50." According to Cirrus CEO Alan Klapmeier, the new name is meant to capture "Cirrus' vision to build the ultimate personal transportation machine." Yet to be announced cockpit technology will be optimized for ease of use by a single pilot and the Vision's notably flexible interior space suited for up to seven occupants all falls under an umbrella of safety provided by the Cirrus Airframe Parachute System (CAPS). The aircraft's role as envisioned by Cirrus will be to provide "a smarter, simpler and more efficient way to travel" that "holds the unique promise of redefining general aviation," Klapmeier said in a press release. According to the company, Cirrus Vision's value and capability are unrivaled.

Diamond Drops Out Of Bidding For Thielert

Diamond Thursday announced it will not participate in the bidding process for insolvent Thielert Aircraft Engines, which has produced high efficiency diesel powerplants for Diamond aircraft, because in Diamond's opinion, the Summary Description included by Thielert as part of the process "withholds relevant facts." According to Diamond, the process itself, as set forth by Thielert's confidentiality agreement, precludes Diamond from obtaining information "vital to the due diligence process." Diamond insists it will not participate if it only has access to "partial information." Thielert disagrees with Diamond's assessment, stating that its bidding process complies with international standards and that signing of the confidentiality agreement would have provided Diamond "comprehensive information" regarding Thielert's situation. Friday, Thielert said in a release that "the reasons Diamond is presenting for its non-participation are clearly pretext" and suggests that Diamond is not a serious prospective buyer. The company added, "Diamond's actions clearly serve the purpose of derogating Thielert's reputation in the naive assumption to be able to subsequently purchase Thielert far under value."

Diamond produces several aircraft models that fly behind Thielert engines, including the impressively efficient twin-engine four place DA42 TwinStar.

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Gearing Up for the Summer Shows back to top 

Pre-AirVenture Oshkosh Product Announcements

Mountain High is offering a new two- to four-person pulse demand oxygen system, the FADOCT (Full Authority Digital Oxygen Control) MH EDS O2D2, which it says drops consumption four times compared to constant flow systems and starts at $1100. Sky-Tec is offering new 24 volt "SuperDuty" EC series starters, capable of significantly longer duty cycles and aimed at "workhorse" 540- and 720-engined aircraft. LoPresti showed at Cirrus' Migration 6, in Duluth, new "IceSkates" brake-cooling wheelpants, wingtip lights and BoomBeam HID lighting packages for the SR22 G3.

Farnborough 2008

The grand old lady of aviation expositions starts July 14, and AVweb will be on the ground covering the highlights of the huge show. Keep an eye on your inbox for the latest from Farnborough.

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News Briefs back to top 

AOPA Launches Endowment Program

Hal Shevers, founder and chairman of Sporty's Pilot Shop, will serve as honorary chairman and charter member of the AOPA Legacy Society that AOPA Foundation announced Friday as "an opportunity for donors to choose where they want to leave their legacy" to fund "the betterment of general aviation." Funds can be directed by donors toward safety research and education, airport preservation, promoting a positive public image of general aviation, or increasing the number of pilots and may be used to create charitable gift annuities. Donations can include cash as well as non-cash assets and charitable gift annuities can provide the donor or recipient of their choosing with a certain fixed income for life. The program is seeking pilots deeply concerned about preserving general aviation and accepting their donations. AOPA advises that pilots 65 years or older are better suited for establishing charitable gift annuities, while younger donors may be better served by deferred charitable gift annuities or other investment plans. AOPA has created a Web site for interested parties. Find it here.

In China, Pilots Fined For Quitting

In China, if quit your job as an airline pilot, you could end up owing your former employer more than $102,000. China's carriers are struggling to hold onto their crews as demand for air travel creates opportunities for pilots worldwide. Now, Air China, China Eastern Airlines and China Southern Airlines, China's largest carriers, have taken to enforcing lifetime crew contracts. And a Chinese government regulation issued in May of 2006 designed to prevent bidding wars for experienced pilots penalizes those pilots who seek opportunity abroad by allowing airlines to demand compensation for lost staff. "Everyone should follow the rules," Chen Feng, chairman of Grand China Air, told Bloomberg news. "If someone insists on leaving, he should pay the price." The situation has drawn attention from the International Federation of Air Line Pilots' Associations, which views the practice as unrelated to reality and almost like slavery. Pilots in China have begun their own work condition protests -- in March and April, crews turned around 21 flights mid-route. Others have staged hunger strikes.

As high demand in China for a limited supply of pilots continues to push salaries higher, Chen Jianguo, who is fighting his case in the courts, says, "No matter how much I earn, I should have the basic right to quit or give up the earnings." For now, the government and the Chinese airlines are trying to make sure he, and other pilots who might aspire to be like him, has the requirement to pay his former employer, as well.

Scilly Blind Controller Leading Blind Pilots?

Isles of Scilly, UK, operates often fog-shrouded St. Mary's airport ... and is seeking applicants to fulfill the position of air traffic controller ... and is advertising in Braille. Yes, you do (presently) need to be able to see quite well as a requirement of the job -- the position requires 20/20 vision -- and yes, the "help wanted" ad is available in other written formats for Braille-challenged applicants. In fact, it is only specific wording included at the bottom of the text-based advertisement that offers the ad in other formats, including Braille -- and that is just a standard postscript on such documents. Nonetheless attention drawn to the nature of the advertisement has won good-natured praise from the Royal National Institute of the blind. "We welcome the Isles of Scilly's Council for their good practice and would hope more employers do the same," Bill Alker told Telegraph UK on the Institute's behalf. Keri Jones, controller of Radio Scilly, added, "The islands are always at the cutting edge of innovation, so it would certainly be something for Scilly to have the world's first blind air traffic controller." Something, indeed.

Note: If you require this news brief in an alternative language, Braille, easy read or in an audio format, we're afraid you're out of luck.

Between Wheels Up and Wheels Down, There Is One Important Word: How
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New on AVweb back to top 

The Pilot's Lounge #128: Oshkosh Arrival -- Let's Stay Alive This Year

EAA AirVenture at Oshkosh is coming ... and we need to step up the safety level again.

Click here to read Rick Durden's column.

It was a weekday evening and I'd just finished flying with a relatively new instrument student who was proving to be competent, determined to learn, and overall a genuine pleasure from an instructor's point of view. I'd stopped into the Pilot's Lounge at the virtual airport out of habit and ran into Old Hack, Sandy and a few other regulars. It was immediately obvious the topic of the day was frustration with the very public, stupid-pilot tricks experienced every year at the EAA's blowout at Oshkosh.

In a matter of minutes, I listened to recitations from my friends about everything from trying to follow someone on the Ripon arrival who couldn't hold airspeed or altitude and made things miserable for everyone trying to follow him, through a half-wit on Unicom frequency who had not read the NOTAM for the arrival procedures and wanted someone to read it to him over the air, to watching pilots land the wrong way on the active runway, opposite to the flow of arriving traffic.

The annual parade of knuckleheaded behavior by pilots at Oshkosh is a matter of great concern to me, personally, because I fly in and want to do so safely and because some years ago a friend of mine was killed on the Ripon arrival, not too far short of the approach end of Runway 9. I wrote a column about that and expressed my deep, abiding anger at those who were hurting all of us in GA by their simple lack of basic, common sense in and around airplanes.

Gonna Be a Bad Year

One of the things I've learned in flying into EAA Oshkosh for something on the order of 35 years is that there are good years and bad years for accidents and close calls. One way to predict a bad year for the arrivals (and departures) is if there has been a fuel-price spike. The events are so connected that it's scary: Until prices stabilize and pilots get used to a new high, they tend to cut down on their flying in the months before AirVenture so they can be sure to have enough money in the budget for the trip to Oshkosh. The outcome is as one would expect: Pilot skill levels are down, but because pilots are not good at self-evaluation, the accident rate jumps for the overall process of getting to and from Oshkosh. The Ripon arrival becomes a bad dream of airplanes snaking all over the sky, passing each other and generally demonstrating that their pilots have no business flying in circumstances where there is a heck of a lot of traffic. There almost always seems to be an upsurge in scud-running accidents as pilots fly low in the annual few days of foul weather and hit towers or power lines, or simply fly into the ground when they bury their head in the cockpit to stare at the map or GPS. Sadly, this is a big fuel-price-spike year, the number of cell-phone towers continues to grow, and the new, 400-foot-tall wind generators are multiplying across the landscape so there are more and more things to hit. I'm very, very concerned about the accident rate this year.

Even in the good years, we can count on at least one experienced pilot stalling an airplane within a few miles of the airport while trying to follow someone on the Ripon arrival. We can rely on a few of the utterly clueless who have no business flying at all, but insist on doing so, killing themselves and, criminally, taking others with them. I watched one of those folks set up to land on Runway 27, with no other airplane anywhere near him, then stall the airplane while turning from base to final and crash. Well, he did hit the runway -- an angling, glancing blow, sort of in passing -- before he cartwheeled to a stop off to the side.

How Busy?

Bluntly, it is time that we take a cold, hard look at ourselves before we decide to fly into Oshkosh at the end of July. First, let's admit precisely what it is that we propose to do: Fly into the very busiest airport in the world.

We are going to fly into the busiest airport in the world.

The airport with more traffic than any other airport in the world.

In the world.

Let that statement lie there in the sun for a moment or two and start to ripen while the significant sinks in. For about a week, Wittman Field at Oshkosh, Wis., is busier than Atlanta Hartsfield or Chicago O'Hare or London Heathrow or LAX. There are a lot of pilots for whom the idea of flying into a controlled airport gives them the willies and they avoid doing so like the plague; they also avoid contact with air traffic controllers. And, guess what? Those same pilots are going to fly into Oshkosh.

Operating in and out of the busiest airport in the world is truly big-time aviation and needs to be taken as seriously as the most serious flying we do in our lives. Yet we in GA apparently don't take it seriously enough because each year a bunch of us die flying into or out of that airport. Think for a minute: How many accidents are there involving airplanes going in to or out of O'Hare or Hartsfield in a given week? By and large, none, right? How come we in GA can't match that result in any given year? What's wrong with us?

A Few Symptoms

I certainly don't have all the answers, but I've seen a lot of symptoms of the problem. I've heard the student pilot bragging about how he flew in to EAA Oshkosh as a solo cross-country even though the NOTAM clearly forbids student operations. I've heard some instructors say that such a thing is fine. It's not. It's basic, unmitigated arrogance and stupidity. I've heard the pilots calling Oshkosh Tower 10 miles west for landing instructions. I've watched the guy on downwind insist on flying at 800 feet agl and a mile away from the runway while he complained to the Tower that all those other airplanes were flying too low and too close to the runway. I've watched the Cherokee whose pilot could not seem to slow the airplane down to approach speed and then, when told to land on one of the colored dots on the runway, simply shoved the nose down when he was somewhere in the vicinity of the dot and landed on the nosewheel, lost directional control and wheelbarrowed off the runway. I've listened to the white-faced, recently landed pilot tell about the airplane in front of him who flew the arrival varying his airspeed through about 30 knots and his altitude by a couple of hundred feet each side of desired and then, while still a couple of miles from the runway, suddenly dropped all the flaps and slowed down to 55 knots and powered the airplane all the way to the runway while there was a melee of airplanes behind him trying to avoid over-running him and each other.

So, here's the deal: As someone who has had a friend die on the approach to AirVenture, and who wants to fly in safely this year, I propose we make an agreement. Let's agree to print out, study and mark up the NOTAM well before we go so that we will be ready for the arrival procedure no matter which runway is in use. Let's agree to be certain we can hold indicated airspeed within 5 knots of the desired number and altitude within 50 feet either side of the desired height. (For most of us, it's going to be 90 KIAS and 1800 feet msl). If I don't have the NOTAM annotated and sitting where I can grab it as I near Oshkosh or if I can't hold speed and altitude within those limits, I promise I won't fly in. I'm asking the same promise from you.

I'm asking ... no, I'm demanding ... that if you have a flight review coming up in the next month or three, take it before you fly into Oshkosh so that your skills are at their best. I've got some recurrent training scheduled, I want to make sure I'm not a hazard to someone else and that I'm as ready as I can be should something go wrong.


The only trouble with the agreement you and I just made is that, from what I've seen over the years, the problem children in aviation don't read. They are not subscribers to aviation publications, they do not read NOTAMs or FAA safety publications or make much effort to keep up with what is going on in aviation. They just get in their airplanes and go, either oblivious to the world or not deigning to recognize other pilots and airplanes. Therefore, this year, let's extend our agreement: Let's agree to be intolerant of the bozos who won't or don't read or keep their skills up and are accidents waiting to happen. Let's see if we can find a way to reach the out-of-touch, the problem children, on our airports.

Let's try a two-phase approach to the situation: While it would be nice to give each of the yahoos a Stooge-slap to get their attention, we probably have to be a little more subtle.

Let's start by creating a rumor that will get their undivided attention: A $100 landing fee has been imposed at AirVenture, and that the fee is waived if the pilot can produce a copy of the NOTAM in either paper or electronic form after landing. It's not true, although I fervently wish it were, as hitting pilots in their wallets is the fastest way to get their attention. However, the problem children don't do their aviation homework, so they will have no way of knowing the rumor is untrue. Therefore, if we let it start, it is going to cause some pilots who otherwise wouldn't get the NOTAM to do so. What the heck ... this rumor might just save a life or six.

The next step is to print out this column, or the earlier one I wrote, write appropriate, helpful, friendly recommendations on it, and tape it (use the kind that won't mess up the paint) to the airplanes of the folks at your airport who are the problem children. You know who they are. Maybe, just maybe, they'll take going to Oshkosh seriously and do a little preparation. Also, post this on the bulletin board at your FBO where some folks might read it.

Here's the Deal

So, to recount the deal we're making with anyone who wants to attend AirVenture this year, fly in and not get dead in the process or create more newspaper headlines and TV news stories about the nuts in the little airplanes that kill themselves at the biggest aviation event in the world:

  • First, we'll get the NOTAM, read it, mark it up and have it with us in the airplane on the way;
  • Second, we'll make sure we can fly at the required indicated airspeeds and altitudes;
  • Third, we'll be considerate of others; because we know there are a heck of a lot of airplanes out there and a little consideration goes a long way ... we don't need road rage in the sky. I'd like to think that pilots are a cut above the ground-bound;
  • Fourth, we will be willing to postpone or cancel the trip if the weather isn't good VFR (and we are not on an instrument clearance), the airplane isn't working quite right or we are physically under the weather;
  • Fifth, we know that the airplane will not fly over-gross just because it's going to aviation Mecca. I'm convinced a few of the stall-spin accidents on the approach to Oshkosh over the years were because the airplane was loaded aft of the aft cg-limit and when things got ugly, the pilot was dealing with a neutrally or negatively stable airplane and couldn't get things collected before stalling it while trying to maneuver in traffic;
  • Sixth, we'll agree to fly a tight, low pattern, at appropriate speed and fly final at 1.3 Vso and then land within about 50 feet of a target on the runway without wild gyrations. Oh, and when we land, we'll turn off the runway into the grass right away, because we know we're supposed to do so and the grass is smooth. Then we'll hold the yoke or stick all the way aft when taxiing on grass because we want all the prop clearance we can get. And we know that failing to do so brands us as rubes in the eyes of all those pilots sitting and watching airplanes; and
  • We'll also agree to carefully read and follow the departure procedure, especially noting and complying with altitudes and headings to fly and when to turn on the transponder, and we'll keep our heads swiveling, looking for and avoiding other airplanes.

This year, let's agree to stay alive so we can truly enjoy AirVenture and all that it has to offer, so that we can return to our homes with stories of very cool things we saw and did, but without having seen things that will become stupid-pilot tales. Let's agree that, if there is going to be something about us and aviation and AirVenture in the newspaper or on the TV news, it is going to be because we are a positive influence on aviation and helped make it a little bit better for everyone concerned.

See you next month.

Want to read more from Rick Durden? Check out the rest of his columns.

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The Lost Art of Heading

Even in the modern world of airplane symbols on magenta lines, sharp heading and CDI skills are still golden tools.

Click here for the full story.

There is a chain of FBOs in the Midwest famous for warm cookies, parrots with rude vocabulary and impressive line ladies. The ramp full of airplanes indicates that pilots are attracted to, and distracted from, competing FBOs by these interesting things. Looking in the cockpit of our airplanes, it's clear that pilots are also attracted to the interesting avionics that bring a huge bandwidth of information into the cockpit.

Whether the magic in the cockpit is a pair of 12-inch, color, flight displays, or handheld GPS with downlink weather and satellite radio, these tools improve our situational awareness and that's good. The problem is that a picture of the airport with the final-approach course line on the moving map can distract a pilot's attention just like the short shorts on the line girls at the Kansas FBO. Both are fun to look at, but when it really matters, what we should be watching is the CDI, the HSI, or the pretty girl's hands, to guide us safely to our destination.

Bad habits creep into all areas of our flying and the solution is usually getting back to the basics. Our primary navigation instrument should be the HSI or the CDI (for simplicity's sake, we'll call either one a CDI). There are times when the ADF or RMI might be the primary instrument, but both are scarce in GA airplanes in the U.S. A moving map should be used for situational awareness. Using the moving map instead of the CDI will work, but -- especially if a glideslope is involved -- the results will be poorer than if the focus was on the CDI. The reason is simple: There are fewer instruments in our scan.

Partial-panel IFR is a scary thing to talk about, but once the initial shock passes it's not that difficult. With fewer gauges to scan, we get back to them more often and the result is lower workload. Adding the moving map to our scan adds to the total workload and degrades pilot performance rather than helping it. Scanning the moving map to maintain situational awareness in a procedure turn or holding pattern is great, but once the final intercept angle is established, the CDI should become the primary navigation instrument. After joining the final approach course, an occasional glance at the moving map or the GPS ground track is useful to determine the distance from any step-down fixes or to confirm our reference heading.

Old-School Tracking

The skill of nav-tracking using a reference heading is creeping out of our bags of pilot tricks. Some have other names for it, but the process is the same. It was more important before GPS ground track information was available, but is now much easier because we have that information. It's one of those skills that's so simple to understand, so difficult to employ, and so easy to atrophy. As a refresher for those who were taught this way and a definition for those who were not, the reference heading is the heading we fly that results in a ground track parallel with the desired course.

Let's suppose we're headed to Garden City, Kan., (KGCK) to get some of those cookies. There is no radar coverage, and the Garmin GNS 430 has died. Does this sound like an emergency? It shouldn't, but let's be honest: We have all become so spoiled by GPS that it raises the hair on our necks a bit. The Garmin drives the HSI, of course, but the trusty old KX-155 was in our airplane long before the Garmin was dreamed of and it is perfectly capable of finding the end of the runway from an ILS approach. The question is: Are we?

Fly the Bug

The plan is the ILS Rwy 35. Arriving from the northwest, we drive to the VOR and turn outbound on a course of 169. Established on the 169 outbound, we tune up the localizer and join it south of the airport. We know the winds are out of the west, so as the needle centers we turn to our reference heading of 180 and wait.

Our airplane has a heading bug, so we set that at 180. The needle starts moving left and we turn right. (Remember, we don't have an HSI, so this is reverse sensing.) We have determined that 180 won't hold the course so we need a new reference heading. Move the heading bug right five or 10 degrees; turning the airplane further right to the right edge of the heading bug yields a correction.

When it centers, we turn back to the center of the heading bug. Holding that heading, the needle stops moving and we have found a good reference heading. If it moves again, we make a smaller adjustment and again turn to the edge of the heading bug until it centers again and then back to the reference heading. Passing the marker outbound, we have a reference heading at 182.

The procedure turn is straightforward and after we return to intercept the localizer inbound, we set the heading bug for our new inbound reference heading. Our first guess is the published heading of 352 degrees less the outbound correction of 10 degrees and we set the bug at 342. As the needle centers, we turn to bug and wait. If we nailed the intercept, all we have to do is wait. If we missed it, we will turn to one edge of the heading bug until the needle centers and then back to the reference heading. Our primary effort is keeping the wings level. If the wings are level, our heading won't change. Small changes of the reference heading will stop any CDI needle drift. With the wind determined on the outbound leg, finding the inbound reference heading will be quick unless there is an error in the magnetic compass or heading indicator.

Compass errors and heading indicator precession are common and will be magnified by the course reversal. Headwind switching to a tailwind also changes the correction, so don't be alarmed or surprised if the correction used on the outbound leg is significantly different than the inbound correction. Once the reference heading is found, it will probably not change much throughout the approach.

There are exceptions to that rule, of course. If the winds at altitude are blowing from the northwest and the surface winds are from the east, we can anticipate a shear and a major change in the reference heading crossing the shear. Be ready. These shears often cause a layer of choppy air during the descent and when that happens, we're prepared for a significant change in reference heading. It might be a 15-degree right turn and, the moment we feel the bumps and see the needle start to move, we'll change the reference heading. If the GPS were working, we would take a peek now to establish our new reference heading quickly.

That's it. Find the heading that parallels the course and correct it with small turns when the CDI is not centered.

Simplicity Itself

An airplane equipped with a heading bug removes most of the thinking and the math, so our mental horsepower is reserved for things like remembering reverse sensing, timing legs, and tracking our altitude. We end up having only three choices: on-course and centered on the bug, correcting left on one side of the bug, or correcting right on the other. Really good pilots, or those flying fast airplanes, can use one-half the bug for even smoother corrections. There is no math and no remembering the heading, and crosswind correction numbers disappear from our thought process.

Some airplanes don't have a heading bug and that takes a little more effort. The process is the same: Figure out the heading that it takes to parallel the course and then fly only three headings: on-course, correcting left or correcting right. If the correcting left or right heading is not moving the needle, that becomes your new reference heading; turn further to the appropriate correcting heading.

Even though there is no heading bug, keeping the numbers and the math out of the process as much as possible makes it easier. Just turn until the reference heading is one hash mark left or right of the pointer. This is the secret that makes the difference between a smooth ILS and something that looks like Paul Bunyan's work with an ax.

This basic process not only works for lateral navigation, it works for vertical navigation as well. The approximate descent rate on a three-degree glideslope is five times our groundspeed. If we use a 100-knot approach speed, our "reference rate of descent" would be 500 feet per minute. Crossing the marker is when we establish a 500-foot-per-minute descent and then adjust the descent rate to move the glideslope needle. Whatever the reference descent rate is, use it and increase or decrease the rate to center the needle. It is exactly the same process as the heading, and it works. The same caveat applies regarding windshear: If we feel some turbulence and we know there was a tailwind aloft and a headwind on the surface, add power the moment we see the needle start to rise and reduce the reference descent rate accordingly.

All of this sounds so simple and it is. Those of us who learned to fly before moving maps and GPS flew the same approaches to the same airports in the same weather we do today and we did it very successfully. The good news is GPS makes the reference-heading process even easier. After the first estimate of a reference heading, hold it for a few seconds and then cross check it with the ground track (TRK) on the GPS. With no more than one adjustment, the new reference heading should be nailed. If, at that point, we eliminate the GPS from our scan -- for all but an occasional glance -- the result will be better, smoother and more accurate approaches.

The biggest challenge of the new information age in the cockpit is to remember the basics and learn what is important and what to ignore. No one would argue that the improved situational awareness offered by GPS, moving maps, terrain avoidance, traffic avoidance and downlink weather is a good thing. The problem is the same as taxiing on the ramp in Kansas. We've got to remember to look at her hands.

// -->

More AVweb articles about flying in the IFR system are available here. And for monthly articles about IFR flying, subscribe to AVweb's sister publication, IFR magazine.

AVweb Insider Blog: Raise the #@!$% Fares (Part II)

Last week, the major airlines sent a letter to their customers blaming oil speculators for high prices. AVweb Editorial Director Paul Bertorelli thinks they're giving customers the runaround, asking them to become junior lobbyists and urge Congress to crack down on oil speculators instead of demanding a consistent, practical national energy policy. Read what Paul has to say about this on the AVweb Insider blog.

Dr. Blue Says, "Don't Be Stupid — Carry a PLB!"
Flying, hiking, camping, riding your ATV or bike — accidents happen that can become a life-threatening situation. Be prepared with a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB). It's as easy as pushing a button. PLBs from Aeromedix.com include the ACR MicroFix 406 MHz for pilots and SPOT, the world's first handheld Satellite Messenger, for when you're enjoying activities in unpopulated areas. Click now to visit Aeromedix.com for complete details.
The Top Reporter on Our Crack Staff ... Is You! back to top 

AVweb's Newstips Address ...

Our best stories start with you. If you've heard something 200,000 pilots might want to know about, tell us. Submit news tips via email to newstips@avweb.com. You're a part of our team ... often, the best part.

Survey: How Is Flight Service Doing Now That They Supposedly Have the Bugs Worked Out?

Our sister magazine, IFR, is asking pilots nationwide how their experience with Lockheed Martin Flight Service has affected the way they do their preflight prep. We'd love to hear your thoughts on how LockMart is doing these days.

The survey takes just a few minutes. Click here to take part.

(The results will appear in a future issue of IFR magazine. For subscription information, click here.)

Jeppesen NavSuite
Better information that's more easily accessible means faster, safer and better flying. There's no better time than now to consider a tablet PC/electronic flight bag (EFB). Jeppesen NavSuite combines Jeppesen JeppView Electronic Charts with their popular FliteStar flight planning, providing a fully-integrated, easy-to-use, affordable solution for charting and flight planning. This powerful integration provides bundle pricing discounts, an efficient update process and ease of use. Visit Jeppesen.com/NavSuite for more information.

» Explore your destinations with Jeppesen at booths 1019-1021 (Combo B) at EAA AirVenture
Your Favorite FBOs back to top 

FBO of the Week: St. Petersburg Flying Service (KSPG, St. Petersburg, FL)

Nominate an FBO | Rules | Tips | Questions | Winning FBOs

AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to St. Petersburg Flying Service at KSPG in St. Petersburg, Florida.

AVweb reader Shaina Lotu writes:

I've never met a more user-friendly FBO. This FBO has an extremely competitive fuel price for how much service they offer ... [and] they have a brand-new terminal and are located right in downtown St. Pete.

Keep those nominations coming. For complete contest rules, click here.

AVweb is actively seeking out the best FBOs in the country and another one, submitted by you, will be spotlighted here next Monday!

No Cute Cartoons, No Fancy Covers, IFR Magazine Brings You the Facts
IFR magazine has insightful facts to polish your proficiency, updates on changing regs, and articles that help keep your decision-making skills sharp in the demanding IFR environment. Order your subscription online for savings from the regular rate.
AVweb Media: Look, Listen, Laugh and Learn back to top 

Meet Wing-Walker Carol Pilon

File Size 6.5 MB / Running Time 7:08

Podcast Index | How to Listen | Subscribe Via RSS

AVweb got a chance to visit with Canadian wing-walker Carol Pilon, who performed two shows this weekend at the 2008 Geneseo, New York air show dubbed "The Greatest Show on Turf." In today's audiocast, learn what sets Carol apart from other wing-walking acts. She is the only female wing-walker in Canada, is also a skydiver and a pilot, and she owns the airplane she uses in performances, a red 1940 Boeing Stearman named Royal Rhapsody.

Click here to listen. (6.5 MB, 7:08)

Exclusive Video: F-16 Intercepts Jet & Turboprop Legally Flying Through MOA

Original, Exclusive Videos from AVweb | Reader-Submitted & Viral Videos

Last March, AVweb told you about a close encounter between two private aircraft, a Pilatus PC-12 and a Beech Premier and an F-16 in an Arizona Military Operating Area (MOA). AOPA has obtained the radar video and audio from the incident, and AVweb Video Editor Glenn Pew has put them together in an enlightening package.

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Try disabling ad blockers and refreshing this page.
If that doesn't work, click here to download the video directly.

Exclusive Video: Cirrus The-Jet -- First Flight

Original, Exclusive Videos from AVweb | Reader-Submitted & Viral Videos

July 3, 2008, Cirrus Design marked the first flight of its jet offering. The aircraft, currently dubbed "The-Jet" successfully flew for 45 minutes. AVweb's Glenn Pew has video of the flight.

Don't see a video screen?
Try disabling ad blockers and refreshing this page.
If that doesn't work, click here to download the video directly.

AVweb Classified Ads: Buying or Selling Anything & Everything Aviation!
From Aerostars to Zenairs; aircraft tools and parts; employment opportunities and those looking for employment; houses/hangars for sale and lease; avionics — just take a look on AVweb!

Ads change daily.
Post your no-cost ad, too!
The Lighter Side of Flight back to top 

Short Final

Overheard in IFR Magazine's 'On the Air' Section
Overheard in IFR Magazine's "On the Air"

Overheard in Southern Florida:

Fort Myers Approach:
"Cessna Three Four Alpha, say heading."

"Ah, we're headin' for Tampa."

Fort Myers Approach:
"Cessna Three Four Alpha, say heading."

"Well, okay. We're headin' for the LaBelle VOR first and then going on to Tampa."

Fort Myers Approach:
"Cessna Three Four Alpha, could you look at your compass and tell me what number is behind the little line?"

"Oh — you want to know which way we're going right now. Three five zero, sir."

Jerry Zezas
Marathon, Florida

More AVweb for Your Inbox back to top 

AVwebBiz: AVweb's Business Aviation Newsletter

HAVE YOU SIGNED UP yet for AVweb's NO-COST weekly business aviation newsletter, AVwebBiz? Reporting on breaking news, Business AVflash focuses on the companies, the products and the industry leaders that make headlines in the business aviation industry. Business AVflash is a must read. Sign up today at http://www.avweb.com/profile/.

Names Behind the News back to top 

Meet the AVwebFlash Team

AVwebFlash is a weekly summary of the latest news, articles, products, features, and events featured on AVweb, the internet's aviation magazine and news service.

The AVwebFlash team is:

Timothy Cole

Editorial Director, Aviation Publications
Paul Bertorelli

Russ Niles

Contributing Editors
Mary Grady
Glenn Pew

Features Editor
Kevin Lane-Cummings

Click here to send a letter to the editor. (Please let us know if your letter is not intended for publication.)

Comments or questions about the news should be sent here.

Have a product or service to advertise on AVweb? A question on marketing? Send it to AVweb's sales team.

If you're having trouble reading this newsletter in its HTML-rich format (or if you'd prefer a lighter, simpler format for your PDA or handheld device), there's also a text-only version of AVwebFlash. For complete instructions on making the switch, click here.

Aviate. Navigate. Communicate.