IFR Fix

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IFR Fix: The quick pick

IFR Fix | 2015, 06 29

It’s comforting that you can always pick up an IFR clearance if conditions deteriorate. It’s another thing to pull the trigger and manage any complications.

IFR Fix: Two loud bangs

IFR Fix | 2015, 06 12

One stricken aircraft was in cruise; the other, near landing. Were these emergencies? Dramatic to ponder, but secondary to problem solving.

IFR Fix: Unknown problem, imperfect solution

IFR Fix | 2015, 06 01

There was a bang, the instructor says, followed by a vibration in the control column. Did something on the cowling let go, striking the tail?

IFR Fix: Red flag warning

IFR Fix | 2015, 05 12

From one 56-day cycle to the next, a U.S. en route low altitude chart contains an average of 1,361 changes.

IFR Fix: Aircraft for rent, maybe

IFR Fix | 2015, 04 28

A flight school/aircraft rental business had a double scare recently when two of its aircraft didn’t show up at two different destinations on separate days.

IFR Fix: Situational awareness a last defense in CFIT scenario

IFR Fix | 2015, 04 13

As you prepare to level off from the descent in instrument conditions, a ground proximity warning goes off. What's the correct response?

IFR Fix: Danger at the heart of embedded thunderstorms

IFR Fix | 2015, 03 30

The crew, struggling against severe turbulence, icing, and loss of altitude and bank control, had inadvertently penetrated an embedded thunderstorm.

IFR Fix: Snowflake approaches

IFR Fix | 2015, 03 16

An aircraft is flying at 10,000 feet msl. Outside air temperature is 5 degrees Celsius. Is the aircraft higher or lower than its altimeter indicates?

IFR Fix: Cold and calculated

IFR Fix | 2015, 03 02

The caustic combination of crosswind and an ice-crusted runway sent the aircraft skidding into a snow bank built up by plowing along the runway edge.

IFR Fix: Alternate realities

IFR Fix | 2015, 02 18

For a pilot who flies IFR infrequently, should weather requiring an alternate raise a caution flag about the go/no-go decision?

IFR Fix: One hour to burn

IFR Fix | 2015, 02 02

What would you choose to work on if offered a complimentary hour to tackle the IFR proficiency challenge of your choice?

IFR Fix: An uneasy compromise

IFR Fix | 2015, 01 12

The pilot wasn’t the first “expert” ever humbled by an icing encounter. Here was a chance for redemption.

IFR Fix: Keene expectations

IFR Fix | 2014, 12 29

Your preparedness to fly the ILS or LOC RWY 2 approach to Dillant-Hopkins Airport in Keene, New Hampshirethis, is a result of your hour-long preflight ground review.

IFR Fix: Power, and distraction

IFR Fix | 2014, 12 19

After a complete electrical failure during an initial climb from the departure airport, the pilot of a Beech King Air 200 learned a valuable lesson from a simple but costly omission.

IFR Fix: Timing the handoff

IFR Fix | 2014, 12 12

No one likes to blow a radio exchange with ATC, but it's not possible to know exactly when a handoff from one center sector to another, or from a center to approach, is going to happen.

IFR Fix: In uncharted territory

IFR Fix | 2014, 12 08

When was the last time you were instructed by a controller, or requested by an instrument flight instructor to fly an uncharted hold?

IFR Fix: Pitch anomalies

IFR Fix | 2014, 12 01

The aircraft does seem less responsive in pitch now—but what would that have to do with icing?

IFR Fix: Why 'No SID'?

IFR Fix | 2014, 11 21

Your CFII usually follows up route-planning drilling with a review of appropriate regulations, and today’s selection is 14 CFR 91.185, "IFR Operations: Two-way radio communications failure."

IFR Fix: BATLE station

IFR Fix | 2014, 11 14

The DME has been acting up on today’s flight. Now it’s doing it again.

IFR Fix: 'My first ever runway incursion'

IFR Fix | 2014, 11 10

You have your clearance, have made the “go” decision, and are taxiing toward the active runway. Gusty winds and rain are making this a more demanding task than usual; if anything unexpected comes up such as a last-minute routing change or an anomalous indication on the panel, will you be able to sort everything out without error?

IFR Fix: ‘Descend a little more’

IFR Fix | 2014, 11 03

Do you always aim to fly to practical test standards on proficiency and practice flights? Are you sure?

IFR Fix: Military exercise

IFR Fix | 2014, 10 27

Few features are more striking on an aeronautical chart than a mass of special-use airspace near a planned destination or astride a proposed route.

IFR Fix: 'We missed this'

IFR Fix | 2014, 10 20

When you brief an instrument approach with circling minima, can you explain whether it has a standard circling approach maneuvering radius, or an expanded one?

IFR Fix: 'Only localizer minimums authorized'

IFR Fix | 2014, 10 10

Some weather, a self-inflicted communications glitch, and the distraction of diverting had forged the error chain.

IFR Fix: 'When ice becomes perceptible'

IFR Fix | 2014, 10 06

You describe the current and forecast conditions, taking pains to note that despite the early-fall warmth, you made sure to check the freezing level.

IFR Fix: 'One harrowing experience'

IFR Fix | 2014, 09 30

Even brief flight under actual conditions can expose how well your basic instrument flying is serving.

IFR Fix: Two white, two red

IFR Fix | 2014, 09 23

What a pilot gleans from a PAPI’s white and red lights depends on other design features of the approach, reviewed and noted during preflight planning.

IFR Fix: Tower, CFI help VFR pilot who takes off into clouds

IFR Fix | 2014, 09 17

A VFR pilot enters instrument conditions shortly after takeoff. Air traffic control gets an instructor on the ground involved to help talk the pilot through the serious situation to narrowly avert tragedy.

IFR Fix: 'To comply with published procedures'

IFR Fix | 2014, 09 09

On a second inspection, the numbers do make sense.

IFR Fix: Missing for real

IFR Fix | 2014, 09 02

Spatial disorientation? Isn’t that only a hazard for VFR pilots?

IFR Fix: The 'flexible safety buffer'

IFR Fix | 2014, 08 22

When it comes to establishing personal minimums, you need a working definition of the term.

IFR Fix: Coded weather? GMAB!

IFR Fix | 2014, 08 19

If it’s been a while, try starting your next proficiency session by getting the weather with a pad, not the iPad.

IFR Fix: Careful what you wish for

IFR Fix | 2014, 08 12

The Skyhawk’s cockpit is sweltering as the pilot monitors the engine oil temperature and waits for the center controller to call.

IFR Fix: 'Trust my instincts'

IFR Fix | 2014, 08 04

The Center controller who had issued the flight’s late-night IFR clearance heard the truncated transmission but thought little of it.

IFR Fix: 11 degrees of separation

IFR Fix | 2014, 07 28

The arcing dashed arrow that ushers in the missed approach lends it a deceptively simple appearance, but there’s more here than greets the eye.

IFR Fix: Where there's smoke

IFR Fix | 2014, 07 22

Spot quiz: What is the METAR/TAF code for smoke?

IFR Fix: Nonprecision, not imprecision

IFR Fix | 2014, 07 15

In the satellite age, it’s still true that the less precision exists for navigation, the more precise the flying must be.

IFR Fix: What color is your SA?

IFR Fix | 2014, 07 08

Raw-data aviation remains relevant in one respect: No one ever said that pilots flying raw-data approaches had sacrificed their airmanship on the altar of technology.

IFR Fix: IFR in name only

IFR Fix | 2014, 06 30

The trip’s unraveling began when approach control called with an amended IFR clearance, producing instant pandemonium in the complacent cockpit.

IFR Fix: 'Look out for Bud'

IFR Fix | 2014, 06 24

“Look out for Bud,” was all an instructor had to say to a trainee. Bud had unknowingly become a see-and-avoid metaphor for countless aviators.

IFR Fix: Slow and unsteady

IFR Fix | 2014, 06 17

Quiz: After a pilot changes airspeed in a standard-rate turn, is more or less bank needed to maintain the turn?

IFR Fix: 'No useful correlation'

IFR Fix | 2014, 06 09

When sizing up a thunderstorm from a distance, what are the most important visual aspects?

IFR Fix: 'Let the adrenaline subside'

IFR Fix | 2014, 06 02

Technology in the cockpit is only as good as the pilot operating it. Are you managing your avionics, or letting the technology manage you?

IFR Fix: Distractible you

IFR Fix | 2014, 05 27

The pilot has just started a level-off at the assigned altitude when departure control calls with an unexpected request.

IFR Fix: Weather so bad, it's good

IFR Fix | 2014, 05 20

If your favorite instructor hasn’t already called to see if you want to add to your actual-IMC experience, reach out.

IFR Fix: Briefing for the Brickyard

IFR Fix | 2014, 05 12

Descending in moderate turbulence through multiple cloud decks, the two pilots, who are unfamiliar with the destination airport and local approach architecture, are all business.

IFR Fix: 'It seemed a reasonable clearance'

IFR Fix | 2014, 05 06

Pop quiz: What are you expected to say when picking up your clearance if you have filed a route, but revised it before departure?

IFR Fix: A passably perilous procedure

IFR Fix | 2014, 04 28

After an instrument proficiency check lesson, your instructor gives a blow-by-blow critique of your flying. He wants to fly again before signing you off. You can’t resist mentioning that your flying never exceeded instrument rating practical test tolerances.

IFR Fix: Out of the loop

IFR Fix | 2014, 04 22

There is another aircraft nearby, and its pilot is going to unusual lengths to keep you in sight.

IFR Fix: What is a clearance?

IFR Fix | 2014, 04 14

Discussing the pros and cons of possible routes, your CFII poses an unexpected question: “What is an air traffic clearance?”