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Volume 25, Number 32c
August 10, 2018
 
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Flight Sharing Battle Continues
 
Kate O'Connor
 
 

Former online flight sharing service Flytenow says that the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) is standing in the way of flight sharing by opposing a Senate bill introduced in April by Senator Mike Lee of Utah. According to both AOPA and Flytenow, representatives from AOPA, NATA and NBAA held a conference call with Flytenow earlier this week to discuss the organizations’ opposition to the Aviation Empowerment Act (S. 2650).

If passed, the Aviation Empowerment Act would redefine the term “compensation” to exclude “flights in which the pilot and passengers share aircraft operating expenses or the pilot receives any benefit” and introduce a “personal operator” category for pilots with at least a private certificate operating aircraft with eight or fewer seats. Flytenow cites European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) oversight of online flight sharing services in Europe as an example of how similar operations could be safely regulated and conducted in the U.S.

“For pilots, [flight sharing is] a crucial method of financing a passion for flying, and for passengers, it's an alternative way to reach a destination or experience flying in a private plane,” Flytenow said in a statement released on Wednesday. “To be clear, this is not ‘Uber for the skies’ and there is no profit opportunity, rather, it’s pilots splitting the fuel costs with their passengers.” So far, the FAA has disagreed, holding that flight sharing app services like those once offered by Flytenow count as “common carriage.” Flytenow contested that interpretation in court, where judges found in favor of the FAA. The case worked its way up to the Supreme Court, which declined to hear it, upholding the lower court ruling.

AOPA says the concept of online flight sharing isn’t the reason for its opposition to the Aviation Empowerment Act, pointing to section 516 of the FAA Reauthorization bill (H.R. 4), which the organization says would allow flight sharing to move forward. Section 516 would require the FAA to conduct a study and issue clearer guidance on flight sharing, including a review of the rationale for flight sharing policy and related concerns. AOPA, NBAA and many other industry organizations voiced support for H.R. 4, which was recently passed by the U.S. House of Representatives.

“AOPA has always supported cost sharing for flights with others who have a common purpose and we have no issues with how pilots communicate,” said AOPA President Mark Baker. “We simply believe in order to facilitate this endeavor, especially given the recent court cases and legal interpretations on this matter, we must do this in a deliberate and safe manner […] with pilot and aircraft standards in place to properly manage risk. If, however, that risk is not managed, the reaction and ramifications could do real harm to general aviation.”

Dubious Idea Of The Week: Autonomous Skyhawk
 
Paul Bertorelli
 

When I read this week’s story about XWing’s idea of bolt-on technology to make, say, a Cessna 172 fully autonomous, I couldn’t shake the image of a 40-year-old N-model with cracked Royalite and moldy carpets puttering around aimlessly seeking four people who would actually agree to get into it. Think of it as the singularity improbably powered by Lycoming or that creepy V’Ger story in Star Trek, but with a vanity N-number.

To read XWing’s gauzy web copy is to be transported back to the first Popular Mechanics’ cover featuring flying cars—1906, evidently—and thinking, “oh yeah, that makes perfect sense. I believe that.” Because I’m a pilot—and you probably are too if you read this blog—I’m naturally predisposed to think poorly of an aviation business case that depends on selling 100,000 units a year by making pilots stars of some grand snuff film.

I think this not because I’m a dark, spinning vortex of cynicism, although I am, nor because I’ve been in aviation long enough to have seen too many dingbat, divorced-from-reality, delusional sky-castle new airplane ideas, although I have, nor because I’m just too intellectually stunted to have thought of it myself and, blessedly, that’s true, too. Nope, none of that.

I’m skeptical of this idea because it mentions autonomy and Cessna 172 in the same thought and second, powerful and sinister forces will see that it never happens. Think about it. In the bold new world of autonomy, AOPA would become AOA, only to be confused with instruments we will no longer need because only human pilots are stupid enough to require them. Mark Baker will never allow this.

But seriously, let’s unpack this. The kids are on to something by identifying pilots—or at least the onerous, expensive training necessary to become one—as a barrier to participation in aviation. Never mind that you got into aviation precisely because you wanted to become one, future humanoids will be engaged with the smartchip in their ears and will whistle up that robot Skyhawk whenever they want to see the houses get smaller. Or for whatever reason they want to abandon terra firma that isn’t flying.

In other words, you my friend, are a back-glancing dinosaur long overdue for replacement and if I take you for a little ride on the GA sales curve, you’ll concede that we haven’t done a smashing job of propagating our species. At this juncture, a just-graduated MBA would say airplane companies aren’t in the airplane business, they’re in the transportation business. And the smarmy little punk would be right, or soon will be.

All I wish to do is to pry the conceptual thrust of this technology away from believing that it usefully applies to a Skyhawk. Or any legacy design I can think of. We all love 172s, rightfully. But it’s a 62-year-old design, people. Fitting it with sentient autoflight is like putting warp drive in a 1965 Dodge Dart just because it might fit. Or even putting an electric motor in a 172. Oh, wait. Someone already did that.

This is another way of saying that XWing’s idea isn’t too bold, it’s not bold enough. Far better would be to leap past the high-drag, high-weight designs of the past and into the future with more structurally efficient designs with powerplants to match. XWing seems impressed with the efficiency of legacy airplanes as transportation machines, but a Lycoming running at a BSFC of 0.44 dragging a strutted design at 110 knots doesn’t wow me. A Skyhawk gets 15.8 MPG; Mooney’s aborted M10 trainer, with its diesel engine, would have gotten twice that. To be fair, let’s point out that XWing is using the Skyhawk as a placeholder in lieu of something that isn’t a multirotor. I'm focusing on it merely for comic relief. But still, at the volumes the company imagines—like 15 times what Cirrus has built, ever—there ought to be ROI to a future that isn't ... a Skyhawk. 

As have others, XWing posits the chicken-egg scenario that eliminating the pilot requirement will drive up access and aircraft volume, driving prices down. Yes, but not with hard-to-manufacture Jurassic-age airframes. As a throw-out number, they mention 100,000 aircraft a year, arguing that such volume would translate to purchase prices as cheap as expensive cars.

Shockingly, that math pencils out.

The reason I think that’s true is because I’ve been comparing notes with Scott Taylor, who runs production at Vashon Aircraft. Several people have asked me what I see in the Vashon Ranger, which appears to be just another high-wing LSA. But as I pointed out in this video, Vashon is the first company I’ve seen to invest in and apply automated aircraft production at a modest scale, something we didn’t think possible not that long ago. Taylor says the company is within sight of trying automated riveting and welding. They’re dancing around matching the investment to the production economics. Advances in affordable, capable and flexible CNC machines make this possible in ways that weren't even five years ago. 

Relying on such technology, the Ranger was designed for efficient manufacture in a way the Skyhawk was not. If Vashon succeeds, there’s no reason to assume these economics can’t be applied to a new generation of airplanes that … aren’t Skyhawks. Even at volumes far smaller than 100,000, Taylor thinks fixed-wing airplanes could sell in ranges not much north of high-end SUVs. Is the demand there to do that without ditching pilots in favor of autonomy? Or would lower prices gin up sales in a way we always hoped they would but never have? Egg, meet chicken. I can't see how much changes without a major paradigm shift of the sort that a marriage of autonomous flight and efficient manufacturing represent. 

What we’re seeing here is a confluence of ideas all gelled around the notion that small aircraft are the answer to choked streets and urban congestion. In other words, the quaint idea of the $100 hamburger will, by and by, be displaced by app-driven, on-demand aircraft that whisk people who don’t care about flying for flying’s sake from A to B. Could be a multirotor, a VTOL or a fixed-wing airplane. XWing’s project merely provides the hardware for the platform and throws fixed wings into the mix. Such aircraft do have the advantage of more speed and range than multirotors, at least for the foreseeable future.

The autonomous control thing may be the easiest part. Recall that Diamond Aircraft was flying pilot-monitored autonomous flights three years ago. Others have been experimenting similarly. Driving the daunting regulatory wall is the difficult task of reliable sense-and-avoid. This is still work in progress and the solutions will emerge from the drone segment, as will how ATC--or AI--will deconflict supposed swarms of flying machines. I actually don’t think the swarms will materialize. Some demand will be there, I’ll wager, but it's vastly overestimated because Uber believes its car rider data translates to urban flight demand. And also because anyone involved in aviation projects has to sign a contract obligating them to inflate expected demand tenfold over what they expect is real demand. Tell me I’m wrong.

Also, tell me if you’d like an autonomous autopilot for your airplane. But please don’t tell me it’s a Skyhawk.

Caltech Develops Bird-Herding Drone Tech
 
Kate O'Connor
 
 

Engineers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have developed a new control algorithm that they say will allow a drone to autonomously herd flocks of birds away from an airport. According to the university, the project was inspired by the encounter with a flock of geese that resulted in US Airways Flight 1549 being forced to land in the Hudson River. To teach the drone to herd autonomously, the researchers studied flocking behavior and created mathematical models, then used those patterns to create the herding algorithm.

"When herding birds away from an airspace, you have to be very careful in how you position your drone,” said Soon-Jo Chung, an associate professor of aerospace in Caltech’s Division of Engineering and Applied Science and the principal investigator on the drone herding project. “If it's too far away, it won't move the flock. And if it gets too close, you risk scattering the flock and making it completely uncontrollable. That's difficult to do with a piloted drone."

One of the tricks, the researchers say, is getting the flock to move away from the airport without scattering. As shown in the video below, the algorithm uses how bird flocks respond to external threats to produce ideal flight paths for the drone. Although the team did design their own drone for the project, they found that a standard quadcopter was equally effective.

The bird-herding algorithm was tested in Korea and researchers “found that a single drone could keep a flock of dozens of birds out of a designated airspace” and that “the effectiveness of the algorithm is only limited by the number and size of the incoming birds.” Chung says the next step for the project is to create a system for multiple drones herding several bird flocks at the same time.

FAA to Publish Remote Connectivity Guidance
 
Kate O'Connor
 
 

The FAA said that it is working to finalize an Advisory Circular (AC) related to the use of connectivity technologies in a letter to the Aeronautical Repair Station Association (ARSA) on Tuesday. The AC is designed to provide guidance on using technologies such as video and live streaming for remote witnessing, allowing certain oversight activities, tests and inspections needed for FAA compliance to be conducted without individuals needing to be physically present.

A draft of the AC, titled “Guidance for Using Remote Connectivity Technology and Tools,” (PDF) was submitted by the ARSA and 15 other aviation organizations last May. Its development was coordinated with the FAA. According to the agency, “The Aircraft Certification Service (AIR) and Flight Standards (FS) are working together to finalize the draft of the AC and begin the publication process.” The FAA says the AC will likely be published in October 2019.

In the interim, the letter (PDF) goes on to say that AIR plans to publish a policy statement on remote connectivity in the next few months that “will align with the guidance in the AC” and “allow [the] industry to begin using remote connectivity upon its publication.” Currently, the FAA says that “FS policy and guidance do not prohibit the use of remote connectivity” and that FS will address questions and support remote connectivity requests until the AC is published.

Aviation Dream Jobs: Aviation Photography
 
Kate O'Connor
 
 

John Slemp of Aerographs Aviation Photography started taking pictures in 1984 as a hobby during his time in the Army. After leaving the service in 1989, he went to school for a year and a half to get a grounding in advertising photography before he began a career as a generalist—taking pictures for everything from advertising campaigns to magazine editorials. He worked under other photographers for several years before striking out on his own. In 2001, he began shooting aircraft and hasn’t looked back since.

“In a visual sense I find the myriad shapes and sizes of aircraft fascinating and organizing those contours within a camera frame can be quite the challenge,” he said. “In addition, keeping in mind the background, the light on the subject, and controlling it all in a limited time and space can test any photographer’s mettle … and that’s if the aircraft is on the ground! Put ‘em in the air, and the challenge becomes even more dynamic, as you are now working within a three-dimensional space.”

Eye of the Beholder

Leading up to a photoshoot, John has a lot to think about. There is equipment to consider: what cameras to bring and what sorts of lighting will be necessary to supplement the natural light at the airport. The equipment needed can change a lot based on the types of photos desired and the subjects photographed. Then there’s facility access to discuss, weather to watch and adjust for, and aircraft and personnel availability to organize. Finally, once all of that is sorted out and the moving pieces and persons make it to the same place at roughly the same time, John can begin taking pictures.

For a professional photographer, there is a lot more going on than point and shoot. Photos are taken with an eye on the end goal—meaning goals need to be established beforehand to make the best use of time and resources. The photographer needs to give the client a good selection of different looks to choose from. Photoshoot days can sometimes be long ones, John says. For one two-day commercial photoshoot, he shot 24 different setups, which resulted in more than 2,300 images.

Changing Times

Once the images are taken, John moves on to the second major part of his job: image processing. These days, he spends about 65 percent of his time on processing the photos he takes. That wasn’t always the case. John says that in the earlier days of his photography career, he could drop his film off at a lab, collect the developed images, and just pick out the ones he wanted to send to the client.

Now, his images are digital rather than film and he uploads them to his computer and processes them himself. Unlike most everyday photography where the camera settings do the processing automatically, commercial photographers shoot RAW files, which basically means that the image is saved exactly as it appears to the camera’s sensor.

The Art of Processing

Without the camera automatically processing the images, the RAW files usually look a bit flat, but they allow the photographer to use his own eye and artistry when doing the processing. The result of the choices made during processing is a style unique to each photographer. John says even biology plays a part in how a photographer approaches this part of their work—everybody sees the world a bit differently. He himself is a touch color-blind, which he has learned to adjust for in his photos.

When it comes to creating finished images, John says he likes “punchy,” saturated colors. He’s had more than one person tell him his photos look almost like paintings, although that isn’t something he pursues consciously. According to John, style is a developmental process, evolving and changing over the course of a photographer’s career.

Subject Matters

Some of John’s favorite things to photograph include vintage aircraft, particularly the 1930s art deco designs. He also has a fascination for World War II aviation. However, he says he realized early on that it is the people that make it all go—he takes quite a few portraits of the folks that make up the aviation industry and has learned quite a bit about the history—and characters—involved in flight by listening to the stories of the people he photographs.

“The history surrounding aviation is really a history of our country, and that intrigues me greatly, which is probably one of the reasons why I enjoy photographing older aircraft as well. It combines business intrigues, personal fortunes, wacky ideas, showmen, risk takers, authentic military heroes … and that’s for starters! With all the color, characters, and the ever-changing visual tableau, it’s a wonder more photographers don’t pursue aviation as a specialty. The places it can take you, the people one can meet, and the possible experiences one can have all combine to create a more balanced view of the world.”

Some of John’s favorite people to photograph have been Neil Armstrong, Patty Wagstaff and Bob Hoover. Recent projects he’s worked on include collaborating with an array of museums and individuals to photograph World War II bomber jackets and taking portraits of Women Air Force Service Pilots (WASPs).

You can hear more about John’s career and photography in this podcast or see more of his images on his website: aerographs.com.

Akka Seeks Support For Train-Plane Concept
 
Mary Grady
 
 

Akka Technologies, a French engineering firm, pitched a futurist concept for a train-plane vehicle to Boeing and others last month at the Paris Air Show, according to Bloomberg News. Passengers would board a pod at a local train station, according to Akka CEO Maurice Ricci, then at the airport, a cockpit and wings would be added to the pod and it would take off as usual. Passenger screening and security procedures could be completed during the ride to the airport, and the system would bypass or simplify many of the usual travel chores, such as dealing with luggage and parking. Ricci said potential customers in Asia have expressed interest in the design, but declined to name any specific companies.

The Akka link-and-fly concept is about the size of an Airbus A320, and would carry up to 162 passengers on short-range flights. The seats also could be removed for conversion to freight hauling. “Planes need to become more efficient, less polluting and less noisy,” said Ricci. “Our role is to point our customers to technologies of the future.” The company has created a video mock-up to promote the idea.

Honda Delivers First Elite Models
 
Kate O'Connor
 
 

Honda Aircraft Company announced on Tuesday that it has begun deliveries of its new HondaJet Elite model. Honda introduced the Elite last May at a special hangar event ahead of the 2018 European Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition (EBACE) in Geneva, Switzerland. The Elite adds noise-attenuating structures for the engines, upgrades to the avionics, including automatic stability functions, and an additional 200-NM range to the original HondaJet.

“This milestone showcases Honda Aircraft’s steadfast commitment to setting new standards in business aviation and enthusiasm for remaining at the forefront of an evolving industry,” said Honda Aircraft Company CEO Michimasa Fujino. “We are excited about the very positive worldwide reaction to the HondaJet Elite’s market entrance.”

According to Fujino, more than 10 HondaJet orders were placed in Japan following the company’s expansion into the region in June. Honda expects to receive type certification from the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau in early 2019. Honda also announced that it has delivered 17 HondaJets to customers in the first half of 2018, which the company says makes it the most delivered aircraft in it its class.

Evolution Flight Display System Angle of Attack Indicator (AOA) || Aspen Avionics - Technology That Matters
Picture of the Week, August 9, 2018
 
 
We were about 45 NM north of EYW on the 2nd leg of my first flight in a Cirrus SR22 GTS. N900KP was rented from Paragon Flight (KFMY) and flown from Page Field to Key West International (KEYW). Photo by Robert Murray.

See all submissions

French Aviator Movie Now Online
 
Mary Grady
 
 

A group of students from the Montpelier School of the Arts in France have produced a short animated film based on the true story of Jacqueline Auriol, a French pilot, who was the first European woman to break the sound barrier, in 1953. The effort won an award early this year for best student film at the Paris Images Digital Summit, and recently the creators have begun to post the full seven-minute video on social media. Auriol learned to fly in 1948 and was an accomplished aerobatics flier and test pilot. She logged time in more than 100 aircraft types, and set five world speed records for women in the 1950s and 1960s.

Several times, Auriol’s records broke the previous record set by Jacqueline Cochran of the U.S., and the two maintained a famous rivalry for years, according to The New York Times. That story was told in a 2015 TV movie, “Supersonic Women: A Duel in the Sky.” Auriol published her autobiography, “I Live to Fly,” in 1970, and died in 2000 at age 82. At the time, according to the Times, French president Jacques Chirac called her ''the incarnation of courage and modernity for the French people.''

Brainteasers Quiz #246: Let There Be No Confusion
 

Before beginning a flight, FAR 91.103 says that a pilot must become familiar with all available information concerning that flight, plus anticipate the weird unavailables that could pop up, making it possible to ace this quiz.

Click here to take the quiz.

Breaking Solemn Vows
 
Armand Vilches
 
 

Flying is often a convenient and valuable means of travel. But it can also be lethal if we fail to abide some simple guidelines designed to keep us safe. Many of these rules, procedures, and limits were explained to us by our instructors, and then followed up by a request that we make a vow such as... “Promise you’ll never go below minimums, and that you will divert instead,” may have been one of those made, when first learning to fly instruments.

We may have also been asked to promise never to fly impaired. Not just from alcohol, but also when we’re feeling under the weather, or taking medications that may affect our ability to think clearly. When we were asked to make this promise, we certainly would have thought to ourselves, “Of course. That makes total sense. Why would I do that?”

Most of us took these types of oaths seriously. After all, our instructors knew best. They had experience, we didn’t.

But as the years went by, and we gained experience, we may have bent a few pledges, every now and then (just a little) because in the end there is a fine line between being too conservative and operating an airplane for business. A built-in conflict exists between using an aircraft as a reliable form of transportation, while remaining 100-percent safe. And if we have a lot of experience with a particular airplane or familiarity human factors with airport, it is easy to fall into the trap of bending a rule or two because we have done it before without consequences.

Pilot Experience

The 50-year-old pilot was the co-owner of a charter operation, which at the time of the accident, had been in business for 22 years. The pilot held an airline transport pilot certificate with rating for airplane single and multi-engine land. He had a total time of 19,600 hours, of which 17,000 were in multi-engine aircraft, and 15,300 hours were in the Cessna 310. He had more flying time in a single type aircraft than what most general aviation pilots can ever hope to accumulate in a lifetime. The accident aircraft was a Cessna 310R, a venerable aircraft used extensively by charter operators, and part of the pilot-owner’s fleet. The pilot was certainly experienced with both the airplane and with charter operations.

The pilot’s charter company was based at Portland Municipal Airport (KPLD), in Portland, Indiana. After the accident, investigators interviewed the charter company’s chief pilot. According to him, the purpose of the flight was to take a geotechnical engineer to review some field work near Pikeville, Kentucky. The chief pilot mentioned that the accident pilot should have been familiar with the Pike County Airport (KPBX) since he had flown the engineer to the airport a number of times previously.

The chief pilot also mentioned the charter company promoted weather safety. One example he gave was the cautions the company made to their pilots about making proper weather decisions. The company even kept a van at the nearby Fort Wayne International Airport (KFWA) for their pilots in case they were unable to land at the company’s home base, KPLD, due to weather.

IMC Conditions Prevail

An hour before departure, the NWS Surface Analysis Chart depicted an area of low pressure in Eastern Kentucky. There was a developing stationary front southwestward into Tennessee, and the Radar Summary Chart indicated light precipitation over Eastern Kentucky. The closest weather station, Julian Carroll Airport (KJKL) 36 miles west, was reporting calm wind, four miles visibility in light rain and mist, with ceilings of 800 feet broken, and 1,600 feet overcast.

The relevant TAF at KJKL was forecasting winds out of the north-west at three knots, six miles visibility in light drizzle and mist, a broken ceiling at 500 feet and an overcast sky at 1,500 feet. Nineteen minutes later, the KJKL TAF was amended to winds variable at four knots, visibility at six miles, in light drizzle and mist, with a lowered ceiling forecast of 300 feet.

The Cessna 310 left KPLD at 1100 local and uneventfully traveled the short distance to Day ton Wright Brothers Airport (KMGY). The plan was to pick up the sole passenger at KMGY, then fly to KPDX, wait for the passenger to complete his business in the Pikeville area, and then return to KMGY. Once the pilot arrived at KMGY, he filed an IFR flight plan via phone, with flight service. The plan was for a direct flight to KPDX at 7,000 feet. The estimated time enroute was one-hour, and the 310 would have four hours of fuel on-board. The flight departed KMGY at approximately 1148 local.

There was no mention of weather during his conversation with Flight Service, but that does not suggest the pilot did not have weather information. He may have simply self-briefed, and it was not noted or discovered by the NTSB. Additionally, the chief pilot stated, the Cessna pilot “would have picked up two approach plate books that would cover Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky.”

Low IMC Approach

As the aircraft approached KPBX, two critical communications occurred. Unfortunately, it is impossible, based on the available NTSB reports, to determine which radio call was made first by the pilot—a call to the airport’s CTAF frequency, or the call to the controller requesting a clearance to fly the RNAV GPS RWY 9 approach?

This may be significant, since it could have determined the pilot’s choice for the better approach into the airport. The RNAV approach was more expedient based on the direction of flight, but the ILS to Runway 27 would have allowed for significantly lower minimums. The RNAV RWY 9 approach had minimums of 506 feet AGL and one-mile visibility. The ILS to runway 27 had minimums of 200 feet AGL and one-mile visibility.

However, according to the relevant factual provisions, noted in an order arising from a lawsuit, it appears the pilot may have requested a clearance for the RNAV approach prior to receiving weather information directly from an airport employee/observer on the ground.

This airport employee recalled the pilot reporting being 20 miles out on the CTAF frequency and requesting weather conditions. The airport employee reported the AWOS as one and one-half mile visibility with a 200- to 300-foot ceiling. The airport employee also told the pilot the weather conditions were worse than reported. During the investigation, a city employee mentioned visibility was so bad and fog so thick he could not see more than thirty feet ahead, and a worker located 200-300 feet below the approach end to runway 9 reported thick clouds at treetop level.

The Cessna was flying the approach as published until the last three ATC radar returns. At approximately 1248 local, the radar returns showed the Cessna 310 aligned with the runway at 1,900, 1,800, and 1,700 feet MSL respectively, with the last plot being one-half mile from the runway end. The MDA for the approach was 1,960 feet MSL.

Individuals at the worksite below the approach end of the runway saw the 310 appear, from beneath the clouds, on top of a ridgeline and roughly in line with the runway. The 310 then hit trees 1,100 feet right of the runway centerline.

Contributing Factor

A toxicological exam of the pilot revealed night-time cold medication above therapeutic levels. The NTSB agreed that the self-medication by the pilot may have resulted in his impairment and listed it as a contributing factor to the probable cause of the flight “Descending below published approach minimums.” The unanswered question is “why.”

The FAA document worth refreshing ourselves on the basics of meds and flying is a short two-page pamphlet: https://tinyurl.com/faamedbrochure

When asked by investigators why he thought the pilot descended be-low minimums, the company chief pilot said “...the pilot may have seen the terrain below the clouds as he approached the airport, but didn’t realize that the terrain rose as it approached the airport.” He also stated “...descending below approach minimums was out of character for the pilot,” and added “The only thing I can think of is that he was running a little late.”

Look Back To Our Training

So many of the accidents I have reviewed could have been avoided by following the simple maxims given to us by our primary and instrument instructors—and of course by the FAA. We have all been guilty of bending a few rules, but before we make the mistake of doing so again, we should remember the promises we gave to our instructors—and ourselves.


Armand Vilches is a commercial pilot and instructor who lives in Brentwood, TN. His extensive background in risk management and insurance allows him to bring a unique perspective to aviation and flight instruction.


This article originally appeared in the February 2018 issue of IFR Refresher magazine.

For more great content like this, subscribe to IFR Refresher!

 

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