This article originally appeared in IFR Refresher, May 2007.The VOR/DME-A approach into Weatherford, Texas, contains a specific missed-approach procedure, as do all instrument approaches. The concept is simple: When you get to the missed-approach point (MAP), the plane should be at the minimum descent altitude (MDA) and -- if the airport is not visible or the aircraft is not in a position to make a safe descent to the runway -- the missed approach must be flown. Yet on Jan. 15, 2004, the pilot of a Beech B36TC Bonanza failed to do so. In fact, he told ATC that he was "unable to finish the approach ... Need climb out instructions." The airplane crashed shortly after the Fort Worth Center controller cleared him to fly directly to Odessa, Texas. The pilot, the sole occupant of the aircraft, was killed in the crash.
Big Sky protects us in cruise flight, but where traffic funnels onto final, knowing where the other guy is will keep you alive. More
Mark Robidoux caught this postcard-perfect image of a seaplane in National Geographic light. Nice shot Mark.