Radio Short funnies – Out of Fuel

January 19th, 2008

(Heard on the radio – Really )

Cessna: “Somewhere Tower, Cessna V5-ABC, student pilot, I am out of fuel.”

Tower: “Roger Cessna V5-ABC, reduce airspeed to best glide!! Do you have the airfield in sight?!?!!”

Cessna: “Uh…Tower, I am on the south ramp; I just want to know where the fuel truck is.”

Cessna Training Manuals

Learning To Fly Under IFR

January 19th, 2008

The following is an exerpt from the up-coming book on IFR procedures by Danielle Bruckert and Oleg Roud.

Learning to fly IFR is a bit like learning to fly all over again, and you will feel like this on many occasions, so don’t be disheartened.
From day one when you began your flight training, you have been taught to look out the window and base your judgements on the attitude of the horizon, then back this up by what’s displayed on the instruments. Now you are in a whole new world – the horizon you’ve come to know and love is gone, and all sorts of funny errors will start to appear to utterly confuse your basic sense of what’s up and down. Gravity will not feel the same way as it does when you can see the sky, and on top of this you have to involve incredible powers of concentration to ensure you can continually scan the numbers in front of you to make sense of it all.
The bad news is it may take from a few hundred to several hundred hours depending on how often you fly IFR to have this environment feel natural. The good news is, these difficulties have been well documented, and typically happen to everyone. If you concentrate, work on applying the techniques which have been tried and tested, and listen to your instructor when he points out the common mistakes you’re falling into, before long you will be competent to fly IFR on your own – and thus prove this to the testing officer with confidence.

Important Concepts
IFR, being a completely different environment requires different methods and another set of rules to those you have flown in under VFR. Hence the term IFR – Instrument Flight Rules! Aircraft separation, terrain separation, flight patterns (joining, circuits) and weather planning all have new and much more complex rules.
These topics are covered in detail under the relevant chapters, for now it is important to be aware of the concepts and dangers involved, so that studying the rules and procedures carries the significance that it needs to have, as vital life saving knowledge, and a means of survival in IFR, or the difference between a successful happy flying career or pastime and another CFIT statistic.

VMC and IMC in IFR

It is important to remember that whilst in VMC you could only fly in VMC, in IFR you will fly both in VMC and in IMC.
ATC may treat you the same when flying under IFR in VMC and in IMC, as they often have no way of telling your actual flight conditions, howevr the two visual states have entirely different meanings and consequences to you as a pilot.

When flying IFR in VMC, for practise or operational purposes, you will be expected to follow all the IFR procedures, however you are also expected to LOOK OUTSIDE. Only an IFR pilot flying with a safety pilot or instructor with visual reference may fly “BLIND” in VMC, in all other situations a pilot with visual reference must maintain a visual scan.
In VMC you may request a VMC descent below MSA, and request a visual approach. It is important to remember once this is commenced it is your responsibility to MAINTAIN VMC, and you must be reasonably sure that VMC can be maintained throughout the procedure until you are again above MSA or on an approach/departure or other IFR procedure.
IFR in VMC also requires less concentration on the part of the pilot, and may be a good way to familiarise yourself with procedures while you are new to the IFR environment, however remember if you intend practising “simulated IFR” you NEED a safety pilot.
While IFR in VMC can seem almost like a lot of fun to a new pilot, IFR in IMC is like trying to walk around your house with your eyes shut. What was once familiar is now very different and requires a lot of effort, concentration, and adherence to procedures to ensure a safe outcome.
Flight in IMC not only takes a lot more concentration from the pilot, it also has a lot more added dangers lurking for the unknowing or under-prepared. As an added pressure to the increased workload you should remember that cloud seldom exists without weather phenomena, and what ever phenomena is causing the IMC it generally will have side effects. These may include icing, turbulence, a limiting base or visibility beyond the IFR requirements for takeoff or landing, contaminated runways, and in accordance with Murphy’s law, weather (moisture) typically effects systems we depend on for IFR, for example weather radar or navigation aids.
Just like if you considered you might have to walk around your house blind you would spend significant time planning your furniture to ensure you didn’t trip over things, in IFR flight, especially when there is IMC conditions present, the level of pre flight planning you complete needs to be thorough and comprehensive. Do not go into IMC unaware!

Rules and Procedures of IFR
To avoid flying double blind, knowing and adhering to the rules and procedures will help you ensure you are fully prepared for an IFR flight. They will also give you the guidelines to determine when it is safe to fly and when not, for example to prevent arriving at an airfield with weather below minimums and no suitable alternate.
If in doubt, find someone for a briefing and if you are still feeling unsure, taking a more experienced co-pilot will greatly relieve the workload, and probably improve your awareness for the next time you fly alone, and it is often not difficult to find someone willing to fly with you.

Remember keep studying, just because you got away with it today, doesn’t mean you always will.


January 8th, 2008

More From a Blog that seems akin to our own themes….
This post is not very recent, however the article seemd so typical of a problem that I have seen time and time again with commercial and ATPL pilots, and not really surprisingly it leads to a reocurring theme in CFIT and other similar types of accidents:
Accident cause “pilots failure to complete adequate preparation for the flight”.
Pilot-Controller Conflict
Writer – Michael Oxner
Source Site –
3rd January 2007
Abrieviated by GoNumbers


A recent post in the forums got me thinking about pilots who don’t carry publications, or at lease don’t carry all they need. Now, I’m speaking from the IFR standpoint, but it’s good food for thought for the VFR pilot as well. I want to share a couple of examples I’ve seen over the years. A while ago, I posted in my former blog about how wrong it is for a pilot to fly to an unknown airport without pubs. That particular post was sparked by an American registered aircraft proceeding from KBGR , Bangor, MR, to CYYR, Goose Bay, NL, on what would appear to have been one of those North America to Europe (or Beyond) ferry flights. The pilot, once in Moncton’s airspace, began asking questions about the approaches at CYYR. Localizer frequency, VOR frequency, NDB frequency and so forth. I told the pilot that all of those could be found on the approach plates, and he was bold enough to admit right then and there, “Oh, we’re not carrying approach plates, but the numbers you gave us will suffice.” I find that scary. If the weather changes to the point where the approach you just asked me about is impractical, what do you do? What if a communication failure prevents you from getting food information on other approaches? This particular post sparked an email question that very same night. Another pilot was preparing for the exact same flight and read my post. Perhaps while searching online for approach plates for CYYR. The reason I say that? HE asked me this: “Ok, smart guy. What am I supposed to do? My boss wants me to fly this aircraft to CYYR but didn’t give me approach plates. I have to leave in four hours and nobody here in BGR has Canadian approach plates.Do you recommend that I just sit here and get fired instead of making the flight?” What would he have me say? “No fo ahead and break the law, putting yourself at risk in the process.” Here is the opportunity for you, as a pilot, knowing a deficiency in your planned flight, to stop a chain of events before they even start. You’re safe as long as you’re on the ground. Another more recent event was interesting. Three aircraft inbound to CYSJ, Saint John. The first one asked for the ILS on RWY 23. He was told 05 was available with the winds favoring that runway. The response? “Under those conditions, we need to use runway 23”. We discussed what possibly could be “those conditions”. The wind was 050@10kts, runway conditions were bare and dry. There is an ILS on both runways. After offering the ILS on 05 pilot said “No, we have to use the ILS on Runway 23, but we can circle for runway 05.” Aha. Gotcha. Came unprepared for the flight, didn’t we? Probably only bought one approach plate. I don’t understand. You’ll fly a multi-milliion dollar bizjet but won’t pay for approach plates that could help keep it safe. Interesting. Same goes for a VFR flight, too. A while ago, we saw a pilot in a situation which had the aircraft some 110nm off course. The intended destination was on the edge of a VNC, so only that VNC was brought along. When the pilot inadvertently missed the destination airport, the aircraft ended up in an area well beyond the only VNC that was carried, and therefore was at a complete loss for determining where the airplane really was. It was a set of strange circumstances which allowed us in the ACC to help find the airplane and help get the pilot home. I don’t know why people insist on doing this sort of thing it’s such a small component of safe flight but it could have such a big impact in the end. Having the right information for the flight is like having the right tool for the job. Making that job at hand easier is just part of it. It makes getting the job done well so much more likely, too. Same with the pubs. There should be no other alternative, in my mind.

Ed – not only essential for getting the job done well, but also a vital safety tool. I can only imagine the increased risk trying to navigate without VFR charts or fly instrument approaches without approach plates. Makes you wonder what other kind of short cuts these pilots and operators take, and what happens when things do go wrong.

Mis-miked – Short funnies

January 4th, 2008

It seems it doesn’t matter how long you fly, you are never immune to accidental-mike-syndrome, and it still has me rotflol at times, which normally makes it difficult and unwise to activate the microphone for the next call.

Copilot -”Please take your seats for takeoff” (inadvertently keyed on Com 1 and not on the crew intercom)
ATC -”we’re all seated here, and waiting in eager anticipation”
Copilot – (stifiling laughter) “Er – then could we please have a take-off clearance”

There’s so much chatter it is a wonder we realise what is going on sometimes. It really takes time to develop an “ear” for the radio, hence sometimes you end up listening to fragments of conversation. It only becomes a concious process when you are away for a while, especially in a medium such as instruction when you are typically listening and talking to more than one person.

ATC – “Nambabwe 743 Change to Approach 120.5″
Aircraft “Changing Area 120.5 Nambabwe 173, speak to you later”
ATC “Yes, maybe sooner than you think”
Brief Pause –
Aircraft “Area, Nambabwe 173, they don’t want to talk to us”
ATC “Yeah thought so”

Note – check the call signs.
Further note – these two ficticious planes may or may not be based on some real call signs that arrive at about the same time from completely different directions, and believe it or not even with five aeroplanes in the airspace we still manage to mix them up.

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