VOR Redistribution

November 28th, 2006

In Africa we often find ourselves dealing with terms like affirmative (and not the response to a query in Radiotelephony) redistribution of assets.
You must imagine the scene after the redistribution of a VOR, which occurs now and then, well at least twice that I am aware of since I have been flying here.
VOR stations are primary navigation aids on many standard arrival and departure routes, and serve as primary enroute navigation aids for many aircraft.
Aircraft cleared inbound to the VOR as early morning rush hour starts begin reporting no signal. ATC while busy routing aircraft all around the sky to compensate for the loss of the Nav. facility checks the VOR status indicator and finds the station is U/S ie un-serviceable.
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Cessna Training Manuals

Operator Pressures

November 21st, 2006

During a meeting recently at the Civil Aviation Authority, the CAA official relayed an analogy that seemed fitting and in hindsight fairly obvious, but not ever spelled out to me before.

- The law applies when there is someone to protect.

This particular statement was being applied to the definition of “commercial flight”, however it may be viewed in any situation, for example dead legs and freight flights. Why are there strict monitoring in these cases, because there is someone to protect, in this case the pilot.

The most operator pressure is normally on the low-time pilots.
Like the old scenario – you always start out flying the worst aeroplanes in the worst conditions with the worst equipment and the worst support network.

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Flinching Techniques

November 21st, 2006

This is a story about a young pilot from Nambabwe who had problems with landing. I think we all identify there. The instructor had tried everything. He explained the correlation between speed, height and elevator control, the importance of looking down the end of the runway, the constant picture of the threshold getting bigger, and the crucial hold off phase. But still the student drew a blank.
Finally the instructor gave up, thinking well I am just going to shut up and see what happens. The instructor used all of his will power wo manage to shut up during the approach which was somewhat on profile, well at some point. And during the flare…
The student by some miracle managed to round out at the right height, and although the touchdown was not perfect it was on the runway and on the main wheels.
Like the airline pilots like to say after a bit of a controlled crash – the only good thing about the landing was the destination.
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Heard on Frequency…

November 21st, 2006

Radio transmissions are such a great media, you must remember however in our case we are being recorded 24-7

Foreign Pilot: “Sir can I have radar vectors to final approach?”
Controller: “Sorry we cannot comply we are not radar equipped”
Foreign Pilot: “Sir my approach chart says you have radar”
Controller: “Sorry again, we dont have radar, and, there’s really not much hope for the next ten years…”

Student pilot: “ABC request taxi to Ondangwa”
“ABC cleared to taxi to Ondangwa via the SH1, turn left, go through the boom gate, take another left on to the main road, report leaving the zone, and good luck.”
(approx 300nm trip – a long way to taxi)

Student pilot: “Request descent to flight level 900″
Controller: “Descend as required, report re-entry”
(flight levels are altitudes on standard pressure and denoted by 100′s of feet, i.e FL090 is 9000ft,FL900 is 90000ft)

Pilot: “Somesville Tower XYZ request ATC”
Controller “There’s 3 of us here now would you like me to fetch the others, it may take a while?”

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