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Winter instrument approach

An instrument approach to an airport in mountainous terrain with the ceiling just 100 feet above minimums on a windy winter day.



With 10 miles of visibility under the clouds, the trip into Maryland’s Garrett County Airport in my Beechcraft Bonanza A36 is not significantly challenging, but, as always, there are things to consider. There is a little crosswind from the left for Runway 27 as I fly the RNAV (GPS) 27 approach and just one degree of separation between the temperature and dew point, meaning just a slight temperature change could cause the visibility to decline in fog. Also, there’s a significant upslope to the first half of the runway, so when I break out on short final, that could lead to some optical illusions. To guard against that I will want to stay on the GPS glidepath even after breaking out and also mind the VASI off to the right of the runway. It’s fun when it all comes together.


Thomas B. Haines

Thomas B Haines

Editor in Chief
AOPA Editor in Chief Tom Haines joined AOPA in 1988. He owns and flies a Beechcraft A36 Bonanza. Since soloing at 16 and earning a private pilot certificate at 17, he has flown more than 100 models of general aviation airplanes.

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