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Volume 25, Number 35a
August 27, 2018
 
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Glider Altitude Record Now 62,473 Feet
 
Russ Niles
 
 

Airbus’ Perlan II glider shattered its own altitude record Sunday, reaching 62,473 feet over the mountains of Patagonia in southern Argentina. The massive sailplane touched down at about 2:40 p.m. local time after a 5.5-hour flight riding the mountain waves that blow through the area of El Calafate Airport in the wildly beautiful area in the southwest corner of the country. “What a day!” the crew tweeted when the aircraft landed safely after the flight. The previous record of 52,221 feet was set on Sept. 3, 2017, in the same area. That record was made official only four days before the new mark was set.

The Perlan II is aiming to reach 90,000 feet as part of an effort to study stratospheric mountain waves formed by the winds blowing off the Pacific and running into the wall of mountains at the border of Argentina and Chile. The mountain waves help create the hole in the ozone and affect the climate all over the world. If it makes that goal, it will be flying in an air density just 2 percent of sea level and although the aircraft's indicated airspeeds will be less than 100 knots, its true airspeeds will be about 350 knots. The aircraft is pressurized to 14,500 feet and carries two people and scientific gear. It gets towed to more than 40,000 feet by a turboprop Grob Egrett, as seen in the video below.

 

When There's No Need for Speed
 
Paul Bertorelli
 

I’m not sure I know where to look when seeking wisdom about things aeronautical, but I know two places not to look: the YouTube comments section and the dreary carnage of the NTSB database. But wisdom is different than inspiration and the latter can be found in both those sources.

Scrolling through the comment field for today’s video about light sport accident patterns, I saw an observation from one viewer suggesting that a little too much speed on landing is better than not enough. Ah, here we are; your X-rays are back from the lab and we think we see the problem.

I spend a lot of time plowing through the NTSB’s indices of carnage, mayhem and bent metal. If I have learned anything, it is only to reinforce what you already know: The plurality of aviation accidents happen in the narrow slice of rectangular airspace immediately above a runway and speed control—or lack thereof—has a lot to do with it.

For the video report and the accompanying article in Aviation Consumer, I used a basis of 212 light sport accidents, but I read many more to buttress what I think I know about this subject. My conclusion linking light wing loading and featherish control forces is somewhat of a theoretical leap. The NTSB reports are long on bloodless detail but short in describing what was actually transpiring between the pilot’s ears, if anything at all was.

For my next project, I’m going back into the data to sort out how many landing accidents are caused by too much speed rather that too little. My educated guess is about two thirds. In a heavier standard-category airplane, this is challenge enough, but in a light sport with immeasurably gossamer pitch and roll feedback, navigating a speed-of-heat landing flare requires skills and patience beyond the ken of mere mortals. Into this uncertainty, gravity renders the inevitable dope slap and the next thing you know, you’ve merited a few cells in one of Paul Bertorelli’s annoying Excel spreadsheets.

I’m pretty sure too much speed on landing emerges from fear of stalls because of too little. Many pilots—even experienced ones—are fearful or at least uncomfortable with stalls. A portion of those who are not can probably pull off a high percentage of good landings, while another portion are the clueless ones who end their careers in a heap of twisted metal that even a tyro investigator will immediately recognize as a stall/spin.

What to do about this? Billions of trees have died in the service of explaining how to improve landings. In its 91 years of existence, Flying alone has published the same article 4126 times. (I made that up, but go ahead, prove me wrong.) To this august body of repetitive stating of the obvious, I have no additional observations. I got nothin’ here.

All I can say is what works for me. And that’s not to fly with a CFI who may or may not know a whit about nailing the best airspeeds for landing and, in fact, not to fly with anyone in the right seat at all. In every airplane I have flown, I have had to figure out the best overall speed over the fence on my own, mostly by ignoring the POH and developing a feel for what works.

Last week I was in Kerrville, Texas, flying Mooney’s new M20V Acclaim. (Spoiler: It’s kick-ass cool.) Because the external cameras freeze and die at altitude, I rigged them up for a series of takeoffs and landings so as to keep the viewer mildly amused with as many views as possible. The POH recommends an airspeed of 74 knots for the landing which is itself probably a little high. We had about 15 knots of wind, slightly quartering. So the approaches were flown at 80 over the numbers and sometimes a little higher because in turbulence, the airspeed tape is like a berserk slot machine.

And here a sidebar. I wonder if some seriously smart young Embry-Riddle student did a study, he or she wouldn’t find that pilots flying steam gauges would get better landings than those flying glass tapes. A modern skill for the modern pilot is to avoid target fixation on that digital airspeed value. Not that I’m blaming glass for bad landings, but wondering if it helps or hinders.

Anyway, my too-fast landings weren’t horrible—an LSO might call them fair passes. But they were long and floaty. I was flying with the preternaturally calm Premier Aircraft Sales’ Lee Drumheller, but there’s a certain deferential nature to the flight demo dance that causes an understandable nervousness when approaches in a near million-dollar airplane are flown a little slow instead of a little fast. So I don’t fool around trying to hang it on the prop.

But I would if I were alone. Although I talk to myself and sometimes answer, I don’t make myself nervous. When I get serious about this stuff, I’ll do eight or 10 landings, nibbling the airspeed back right to the point of the impending mush, then easing it off. In my view, the best landings ensue from a slow approach with a taste of power right into the flare. Finishing it with that final tug of pitch causes the airplane to surrender all of its energy at once. Done right, you make the first turnoff by adding a little power, not stomping the brakes. Probably won’t be a greaser and who cares?

Confidence accrues from performing well without the right seat adding sotto voce tension, needed or not. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only guy to think this, but I’m also pretty sure not enough pilots actually go out and practice it, given the number of metal-rending arrivals. And as I’ve said before, the NTSB only hears about a fraction of them. But there are more than enough to populate one of my annoying spreadsheets.

Why Light Sport Airplanes Suffer So Many Crashes
 
Paul Bertorelli
 
 

Light sport airplanes were supposed to be a cheaper alternative to certified aircraft and they are. But AVweb's look at the accident record of these airplanes confirms what many skeptics worried about: They suffer more crashes than standard category aircraft. This video explains why.

 

 

Lycoming 'When can an engine give you 200 extra flying hours?'
RC Pilots Protect Turf
 
Russ Niles
 
 

The powerful radio control aircraft lobby is squaring off against the FAA, Department of Defense and some members of Congress over the future of their hobby, and the government departments may be outgunned politically. At issue is the so-called Rule 336 that essentially exempts those flying model planes for “hobby and recreation” from the long list of flight restrictions and certification requirements that apply to drone operators. It was pressure on Congress from the RC groups that resulted in the exemption in the first place several years ago and they’re mobilizing to protect that initial victory.

“If Rule 336 is modified or removed, our hobby will be dealt a heavy blow—hobby shops will close, club memberships will drop, flying fields will disappear, and young pilots will be discouraged from the great fun of building and flying models,” RC supporters say in a We the People petition filed with the White House. The Academy of Model Aeronautics has led the battle so far and is continuing to lobby in Washington. The House has passed its version of the reauthorization, which maintains Rule 336, but the Senate is still formulating its bill. The current short term authorization for the FAA expires Sept. 30.

Burning Man Lands A 747
 
Russ Niles
 
 

Burning Man, the massive art and culture festival in the Nevada desert, has always had an aviation angle (including an airport with a tower staffed by ATC volunteers) but the ostentatious gathering of dissimilar minds took that to a new level this year. The fuselage of a Boeing 747, minus the empennage, was towed to the gathering site, known as Black Rock City, last week and will serve as a “mobile art cart” with a bar and lounge inside. The top of the upper deck has been cut away to provide an open-air lounge area. And since it can be moved around, the old Jumbo Jet is also considered an “official mutant vehicle.” It took a coordinated effort by police and utility companies to get the hulk to the desert and some Burning Man devotees think it’s a bit much.

According to the Reno Gazette Journal, the aircraft is regarded by some as “exactly what people say makes Burning Man into an event full of excessive capitalism.” But others claim it plays into the hands of critics of the annual event. "I love Burning Man. And I hate this. It's absurd," one fan posted in a comment on Facebook. "And not in a good way. Ammunition for the folks who are down on the event for being a self-indulgent festival for tech bros with more money than sense."

Martha King Appointed To CAP Board Of Governors
 
Kate O'Connor
 
 

The Civil Air Patrol (CAP) has announced that Martha King, co-chair and co-owner of King Schools, has been appointed to CAP’s Board of Governors. King will be succeeding retired U.S. Air Force Major General Teresa Marné Peterson when Peterson’s second three-year term comes to an end in November. In addition to founding King Schools in 1975 with her husband, John, King has been inducted into the International Air & Space Hall of Fame, named one of the “100 Most Influential Women in Aviation” by Women in Aviation International, and, according to King Schools, is the only woman to ever hold every category and class of FAA rating on her pilot and instructor certificates.

“Martha King has an excellent reputation as an industry leader in innovative approaches to pilot training, and we’re all delighted to welcome her to CAP’s Board of Governors.” said CAP national commander Major General Mark Smith. “The vision and experience she brings to our governing body are especially valuable as we increase our emphasis on flight training for our youth in response to the nation’s ongoing pilot shortage.” The Board of Governors is made up of eleven members, including four Air Force appointees, three members appointed jointly by the Secretary of the Air Force and CAP national commander, and four members-at-large selected by CAP’s Senior Advisory Group to represent industry, government and education. It is tasked with creating policies, plans and programs for the organization.

The Civil Air Patrol is an all-volunteer U.S. Air Force auxiliary, which operates a fleet of approximately 560 aircraft. The group performs search and rescue, homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions. According to the organization, CAP members also serve as mentors to over 25,000 young people in CAP’s Cadet Programs. Currently, CAP reports that it has more than 60,000 members.

Dynon Expands Its Certified Retrofit Avionics Suite
 
Larry Anglisano
 
 

The Dynon Certified HDX retrofit flight display has an STC for installation in Cessna 172 models, but Dynon announced that it is expanding the upgrade to include Beech V35B Bonanza and Piper Seneca aircraft. Looking ahead further into 2019, Dynon is targeting the Cessna 182, Mooney M20, Cirrus SR20 and the Piper PA28 for STC approval. 

The company said the first aircraft to be added to the existing Dynon Certified HDX model list will be the Beechcraft V35B, with approval expected in the last quarter of 2018. It will include a second display option (7-inch or 10-inch versions), the Dynon Comm radio, a dedicated control panel for the integrated autopilot and a dedicated control panel for controlling the displays. Dynon is estimating the total cost for the components and the STC at $28,531, which includes dual 10-inch HDX displays, the Dynon three-axis autopilot, ADS-B Out, engine monitoring module and installation kits. 

Additionally, the Piper Seneca is expected to have an HDX STC in the last quarter of 2018 and will have the option for adding a third HDX display for dual engine monitoring. Dynon hasn't yet announced pricing for the Seneca package. A second display option will also be available for the Cessna 172.

Dynon is doing something interesting when it comes to installation, which includes the currently approved Cessna 172. Since it hasn't completely grown its network of installing avionics shops, many potential HDX Certified buyers don't have good options for having the installation accomplished. According to Dynon, at the time of equipment purchase, buyers can nominate a qualified installer (either an avionics repair station or A&P with IA credentials) and if approved (which includes a three-year factory warranty for the equipment), that installer will be specifically identified on the STC permission statement. The buyer contracts directly with the installer for all of the labor to get the job done.    

"We're particularly excited about the ability for Cessna 172 owners to buy directly from us and use an A&P/IA or repair station of their choice while we spool up our installation network," Dynon's Michael Schofield told AVweb.

There are currently only two authorized Dynon Certified installation centers—Thrust Flight in Addison, Texas, and Merrill Field Instruments in Anchorage, Alaska.  

For more on the Dynon Certified STC schedule and pricing structure, visit the Dynon Avionics webpage.

Industry Round-up, August 17, 2018
 
AVweb Staff
 
 

This week, AVweb’s weekly news roundup uncovered reports on National Aviation Day celebration at the Air Zoo and a visit from members of the U.K.’s All-Party Parliamentary Group on General Aviation. In honor of National Aviation Day, Portage, Michigan’s Air Zoo will be offering free entry to its Flight Discovery Center from noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 19. The Air Zoo opened in 1979 and offers more than 100 rare aircraft and spacecraft, interactive exhibits, indoor amusement park rides, full-motion flight simulators and more.

Also in the interests of supporting aviation, a group representing the UK’s All-Party Parliamentary Group on General Aviation recently visited Washington, D.C. to discuss topics such as the regulation of general aviation in the United States, the current legislative environment in both the U.S. and the U.K., the economic benefits of GA and post-Brexit standards. The group also travelled to Oshkosh, Wisconsin, to attend AirVenture 2018, where they met with GA organizations including the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) and General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA).

Top Letters And Comments, August 24, 2018
 
 

Garmin Sues uAvionix

I knew it was just too good to be true. Any chance of ADS-B technology selling for under two thousand dollars is gone. Back to ten thousand dollar ADS-B systems with subscription charges on top. People think that autonomous electric UBERs are going to get certified in a couple years.... HaHaHa! ADS-B 2020 mandate and lawsuits is the end of simple friendly pleasure flying. Wonder why there's a pilot shortage?

Klaus Marx

I do understand Garmin wanting to protect their investment in R&D. This new uAvionix should not have collaborated, cancelled joint work and then launched their system so soon and so close to Garmin's product. It just screams "I stole your idea and now I will make my money for nothing and my chicks for free." I want my, I want my, I want my ADS-B.

Roger Mullins

As an old friend once put it, "it's a mighty thin pancake that has only one side." I find it curious that Garmin has sued the smallest company with the cheapest product (i.e. smallest legal defense fund, most threatening to their market share). Unencumbered by experience or training, it seems to me that Freeflight and L3 also 'sniff' the transponder code like Garmin's patent. Yet no one's bothering them. The cynic in me says this is more about market share than patent protection. If I'm wrong then uAvionix should be punished. But if I'm right, boycott Garmin.

Kirk Wennerstrom

Paul Beard, CEO of uAionix pioneered 2.4Ghrz spread spectrum technology. It revolutionized all facets of RC modeling almost overnight. Millions of RC vehicles aerial or otherwise use this technology today including military remote piloted aircraft. RC technology has led the way for physical control of the drone/UAV/UAS 's we see today and the foreseeable future. None of this was possible with out 2.4Ghrz technology. Spread spectrum technology allowed the demonstration of 100 drones flying in a coordinated fashion at Oshkosh during the night airshow and the talented gal flying that 3D aerobatic routine with her 1/3rd scale Extra.. No drone crashed or ran into each other or was "glitched" by any other drone or frequency. Nor did the RC pilot have any frequency/jamming issues with any other transmitting or receiving device. By his own words, Beard had to deal with the American Modeling Association which is the RC modeling counterpart of the FAA. It is a huge now bureaucratic organization with congressional lobbying power not only familiar to all RC modelers but with drone integration and traffic identification/separation issues, is working with the FAA in partnership. Beard has much experience dealing with a powerful agency with a built in resistance to change. He went from being banned flying his new technology to revolutionizing all facets of remote control now embraced and recommended by the AMA. He has the intestinal fortitude and knowledge to handle Garmin, the FAA, and I believe he did not just "give away" his patented 2.4Ghrz technology which could make him well equipped to take on Garmin financially. In my layman's, blue collar opinion 2.4Ghrz technolgy applied to ADS-B OUT is the magic ingredient Garmin does not have. This is why uAvionix will prevail. And if Garmin continues down this path, it could prove to be a major blow to their already tarnished image which could cost them far more financially due to lost customer loyalty than they presently imagine.

Jim Holdeman

EASA Approves Simpler GA Training Rules

EASA "listened to the call from the GA community to make the process simpler ... !" Have I entered some sort of time warp or am I having a dream or hallucinating? There HAS to be a mistake here. It's about time that Regulatory bureaucracies started realizing that there's a major difference between recreational pilots and pilots who are moving up the food chain into commercial aviation. We can only hope that someone with a modicum of common sense at the FAA takes note and DOES something in the US, as well. They could start by immediately adopting the tenets of the FAR Part 23 rewrite document that recommended establishment of the Primary Non Commercial category of airworthiness for certificated airplanes used solely for recreational purposes. The ARC document has an appendix which provides all the necessary FAR updates ... all they have to do is put them into action. Oh well ... time for me to awake from my dream and face reality ...

Larry Stencel

Special VFR

That special VFR thing continues to piss me off. This is the real world folks, not Monty Python or Princess Bride. When conditions are marginal, VFR pilots should get any and all help available, without having to remember to dredge up some magic incantation.

Brian Forsyth

Controllers have the authority to declare an emergency for the pilot if they feel it is an emergency situation, so I don't see any reason why they can't also at least suggest "if you request a special VFR clearance I can let you land". But I guess some lawyer might think it a good idea that if the pilot had a problem on landing, he could point to the controller's suggestion as the cause, so maybe that's why controllers apparently aren't allowed to overtly suggest special VFR.

Gary Baluha

The Limits Of Reality

Thought worth pondering: Pilot training may be as worthwhile in 2020, as keypunch training was in 1970. Trivia: In 1968, I cut my teeth on an IBM 360/40. The programming language was APL. And it didn't HAVE any key-card reading machines - it used something called "magnetic disk storage." Yeah - an early Hard Disk Drive. I advised a lot of school friends NOT to pursue a career as a keypunch operator. A few listened. Later, I advised NOT to become a Word Processor operator. Occasionally, you can spot an asteroid before it hits. Pilot farms would do well to purchase some telescopes.

Tom Yarsley

At the expense of alienating the context of this op-ed, I can't help but sustain that a pilot will always be in the loop to complete the experience for both the passenger and aviator. What VR brings are forgone the "what if's" into the "what now's!" The advancement of both perception and physical realities garner an understanding and trust between man and machine that, until now, has been conceptual at best. At least at the EP level. No, VR will not replace the reality. The reality of pilot in the loop. However it will precipitate some truths about individual perception. "As long as I fly like this, this will always happen." Nope, throw some VR ice on your VR 182 and find out!!

Kevin Strange

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Negotiating With ATC
 
Ted Spitzmiller
 
 

Effective and efficient use of the IFR system requires you to know the essence of the FARs and AIM. Essentially FARs are typically written to define what the controller cannot let you do. But only your imagination and operational needs will determine what the controller can let you do. So, you must be somewhat creative, and negotiate with ATC.

Often negotiation is a simple process of communicating to ATC what you want to do and working around the limitations imposed by what the controller cannot legally let you do. Too often pilots fail in negotiation because they don’t fully understand the legal limitations under which the controllers are working. We’ll explore four areas of negotiation: approaches, altitudes, departures and routing.

Departures

Departing airports surrounded by high terrain often requires procedures that fly you away from your intended course, or require a climb to the MEA in holding during the initial part of the flight. Here is where negotiating with ATC can often save time. If you can maintain visual terrain separation for an on-course climb, let ATC know. Remember, the controller doesn’t know what you are able to see. If you understand why a controller has asked you to do something “inconvenient,” you can often come back with an alternative that will save time and money

Another example of working VFR into the IFR system involves the IFR release. On a particularly nice VFR day, a Learjet announced that he was ready to depart IFR. The tower advised there would be a ten-minute delay prior to release because another aircraft was executing an instrument approach. The day was CAVU and the inbound was an IFR training flight.

Yet that Lear captain, although annoyed that the “training flight” refused to cancel, didn’t think to depart VFR. An “unknown source” suggested that perhaps the Lear should consider departing VFR, maintain visual separation from the incoming, and then contact center to get into the “system.”

I was surprised to hear the Lear ask the tower if he could really do that. The answer was affirmative, the Lear departed, and a few people learned a bit more about the system.

With respect to this example, it is important for IFR pilots to recognize that, even though they have received a clearance, there may not be a space in the system for them when they announce, “ready for take-off.” If you do elect to depart VFR, you must remain VFR until accepted into the system by the departure or en route facility. If that facility is not able to accept you as IFR, you will be advised to “remain VFR.” This of course requires that you know the VFR minimums for the type of airspace you are flying. Obviously, you would not consider accepting a “maintain VFR” restriction if you are dealing with low ceilings or visibilities even if the Class D airspace is VFR.

Altitudes

Occasionally, I will choose to go VFR on-top during an IFR flight (conditions permitting, of course) to take advantage of several interesting options. When bucking a headwind or without oxygen, sometimes a lower IFR altitude is not available. Requesting VFR on-top allows me to use more favorable altitudes that would otherwise not be available. Switching to a VFR altitude can usually avoid a “hold” for conflicting traffic or an undesirable dogleg around traffic.

Block altitudes represent another area. Trying to maintain an assigned altitude during significant up and downdrafts can be tiring and dangerous. If you find yourself constantly reducing and then adding power to maintain altitude, request a “block altitude” from center. Again, this might not be approved in high density locations, but I have never had it refused in sparsely populated airspace.

Another reason for requesting a block altitude is the desire to provide “actual” IFR time when the clouds aren’t in the right places. Requesting a block from center and then picking a non-standard altitude may permit you to remain in IMC—and log the time.

A discussion of IFR altitude requirements can generate an argument at any hangar flying session. Recall that 14 CFR §91.179 defines altitude requirements for the direction of flight in uncontrolled airspace and VFR on-top operations. It doesn’t require “east odd” and “west even” for controlled airspace, although this practice is typical. In the western portions of the country, the MEAs are quite high and it’s often difficult for normally aspirated singles to reach higher than the MEA, especially in the summer. I often file for—and receive—the MEA, regardless of the direction of flight.

Routing

Flying aircraft with the equipment code ROMEO or GOLF indicates Performance Based Nav (PBN) or GPS aboard. Controllers tend to use that capability at every opportunity. I am often “cleared direct” to intersections and airports that would have required doglegs to the navaids themselves. Short-cutting an airway may require a higher off-route altitude, but requesting VFR-on-top can be the secret to this scenario.

Requesting direct routing is not a prerogative that belongs only to PBN or GPS systems. You can request direct based on radar coverage. I had filed to Bakersfield, California, from Livermore one stormy morning as the first leg of a “let’s see how bad it really is” flight. I wanted to press on to Prescott, Arizona, but ice and severe turbulence had been forecast over the Sierras.

As I reached the decision point it was obvious that, based on pilot reports and our current conditions, I could continue. I called Los Angeles Center and advised them that I would like to amend the flight plan to continue to Prescott. As I prepared to read-off the Victor airways and VORs that would be needed, the controller said, “I can give you direct HECTOR at this time. Would you like a vector?” Not only did a vector to HECTOR cut off two VORs and a big chunk of time, it also moved me through the restricted airspace over Edwards Air Force Base.

The most trying aspect of accepting vectors is that not everybody you get handed-off to knows what’s going on. On occasions, I’ve been given a vector by one controller and then handed off to another, who doesn’t know that I’m IFR traffic, and I get “what is your request” response. Sometimes when transiting approach control facilities, they try to get me to land at their airport. It can be an uncomfortable feeling to realize that this controller doesn’t know who you are and what you’re doing. When you are handed off while on a vector, advise the new controller that you are “IFR on a vector of 090, en route to Podunk.”

Negotiating a “direct” clearance can save time during the approach phase. Often, the published approach shows feeder routes to an IAF. It may be advantageous to request direct to that IAF from your en route position rather than flying to the navaid and then via the feeder route to the IAF. The key here is to tune and identify the navaid/intersection/waypoint you want to use. Then advise ATC that you are receiving that navaid and would like to go direct.

Approaches

During our IFR training we’re exposed to the terms Contact Approach and Visual Approach. But we have few practical examples of how these two procedures can realistically be used. We often get cleared for a visual approach when the conditions are good VFR, so we have seen that side of the coin. But many pilots don’t really know what can be done with each and under what conditions.

I was involved in a situation going into Dayton a few years back while being vectored for the ILS when I descended below the cloud layer and spotted the airport off to my left. I kept waiting for the controller to issue me a visual approach, so I could save some time. Only after I had been turned onto the localizer did it dawn on me that the controller was not aware that I had made visual contact with the airport and if I had advised him of this he might have approved a visual approach.

There are different criteria for the issuance of a visual approach depending on the ATC facilities. In general, you cannot expect the controller to issue a visual approach if the reported ceiling is less than 500 feet above the minimum vectoring altitude (MVA). In a radar environment the lowest minimums under which the visual approach could be approved would be a 1,500-foot ceiling and three miles visibility; Because the MVA varies with the terrain and radar coverage, some airports have considerably higher minimums for visual approaches. It is a good idea to know the MVA for the airports you frequent as they are not the same as the MSA (minimum safe altitudes) shown on the approach charts.

On one occasion I was on frequency with an IFR aircraft making an approach to a towered airport. The pilot was “cleared for the approach.” While en route to the IAF he suddenly popped out of the clouds and caught sight of a portion of the airport. He immediately requested a visual, but because the Class D airspace was reporting 800 and five it was technically not VFR, thus requiring an instrument approach procedure. Had the pilot requested a “contact approach” it might have been approved.

Closing Thoughts

Negotiating is a more difficult proposition when there is heavy communications flow. Controllers often have well-defined plans for their targets and might not be interested in your creative genius unless it is apparent that they can benefit from your suggestion. With few exceptions, negotiation must be made with the facility that can grant the request. Sometimes when a request can’t be approved they will provide a reason, at other times they use that ubiquitous word “unable.” But it never hurts to ask and those on frequency might learn a bit more.


Ted Spitzmiller is the Editor of IFR Refresher and recently released his new book The History of Human Space Flight.


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

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

 

Picture of the Week, August 23, 2018
 
 
Flying my Rans S-12S Light Sport on final for 26L Brown Field Municipal Airport (KSDM). Taken with a GoPro mounted under tail and set to take a photo every 2 minutes. Photo by Peter Sigrist.

See all submissions

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.

Short Final: Reroute!
 

As soon as Hurricane Irma had moved inland north of Florida, there was a lot of traffic heading east back into the Florida panhandle from the Gulf Coast; you could see the line of traffic on ADS‑B stretching for miles. ATC called each aircraft in sequence:

ATC: Cessna 123, you get a reroute. Advise ready to copy.

ATC: Bonanza 456, you get a reroute! (This was said in an Oprah voice.)

ATC: Piper 789, and you get a reroute! (Continued in Oprah voice.)

Piper 789: Uh, well, OK. I was hoping for a new car.

Tom Leffingwell
Fort Lauderdale, FL
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