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About mparis

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    Will fly for food
  • Birthday 12/31/1912

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  1. approach practice

    The altitude alert algorithm is pretty simple. The entire airspace is divided into small blocks and each block has a minimum altitude. If you are a tracked target (not squawking 1200), and you fly into a block at an altitude that's lower than the specified altitude for that block, it generates an altitude alert. So it has nothing to do with how fast you are descending. Personally I like to fly that approach at no more than 80kts, especially if you have a tailwind and ceilings close to minimums. At 100kts with a 20kt tailwind you're going to need to descend at around 1000' per minute to get to the MDA before CUXPI.
  2. MDA vs DA

    I'm not an instructor, so teaching people IFR is a different ballgame. But here's some food for thought. Is the method of going missed the same with a precision vs non-precision approach? Generally speaking, no it is not. With a precision approach you go directly from the decent phase to the climb phase with no leveling off in between. With a non-precision approach you may and quite often will level off at some point prior to going missed. So let's say as a personal minimum you always add 50' to a DA to insure you don't descend below the DA. You are still descending when you make your decision. As a personal minimum if you add 50' to the MDA to make sure you don't go below it, you are just changing the point at which you level off, which may or may not be the same point where you make your decision to go missed.
  3. MDA vs DA

    In a continuing effort to add a bit of meat back into this site I'm going to continue with another IFR subject which was a bit of a mystery to me when I got my IFR rating. I'll also throw in some real world application of what it's like to fly an approach down to minimums, which is almost certainly quite different than anything you experienced in training. On a typical precision approach chart you'll typically have MDA, DA, and DH depicted and sometimes multiple values for some of these things. Decision Height (DH) is for aircraft equipped with a Radar AlTimeter, so if you don't have a RAT, don't worry about it. MDAs are for non-precision approaches and DAs are for precision approaches. That part is simple enough, but the application of those two things is quite different. To give a little different answer than the textbook one, assuming you wind up going missed a DA is something you can descend below while a MDA you cannot. The MDA is pretty simple. You level off at the MDA and you don't go below it until you are in a position to land. This is true whether it's a straight in, sidestep, or circling approach. The DA is a bit more complicated. At the DA you must make a decision to land or go around. So it's a pretty safe bet that if you don't make a decision until the DA, you're going to descend below it before you start to climb because you're in a descent when you make the decision. This does not mean you can change your mind and land after DA. Descending below the DA to "take a peek" has turned perfectly good pilots into a smoking craters. Make a decision at or above DA and execute that decision, period. When you are in training, you will fly many approaches down to "minimums', where the instructor tells you to flip up or pull off the hood and voila! The runway appears in HD clarity in perfect CAVU conditions. Flying an approach to real IMC minimums can be quite different. Let's assume a typical ILS approach with 200' ceiling, 1800' visibility minimums with a full set of approach lights. An approach to minimums could mean you have a well defined stratus layer that ends at 200' and good visibility below, or it could be the ceiling is higher, but visibility is reduced to RVR1800 below, or you could have a ragged ceiling where visibility has significant variances at various points along the approach, or any combination of all of these things. Professional pilots who routinely fly approaches down to minimums kinda like to know what to expect, and will often fly into big airports with lots of tools that help them in both their per-approach planning and the application. So it's worth familiarizing yourself with what those various tools are like different types of approach lighting systems, RVR vs ASOS/AWOS, and so forth, but I'm not going to get into that more than just touching on the subject. Suffice it to say, gather as much information about the conditions as you can and form an idea of what that's going to look like before you have to make a decision on whether to land or not. For precision approaches that do have an approach lighting system, the most common type is the MALSR, which features strobe lights farthest out for alignment and various perpendicular bars of lights of varying colors and lengths. The idea is that at 1800' of visibility, you're going to see those lights well before you see the runway, and they will provide you with a reference for centerline alignment and distance to the threshold. The critical phase of the approach is the point at which you must transition from instruments to visual. Without going into the human factors and aeromedical realities, it's worth stating there's some significant challenges you'll face that you didn't have to deal with on those training approaches. At 2400' from the threshold is where the flashing lights are. Unless you have a great autopilot or you're just really good or really lucky, you aren't going to be lined up on the centerline. Use those flashing lights to line up and do so immediately. By the time you get even with them, you should have the threshold lights in sight. By the time you are even with the last flasher, you are 1400' from the runway threshold and below both vertical and horizontal minimums. In your training, you had a full runway to line up on. In reality you may not, and you may not even have a nice pretty set of lights to line up on either as not all approaches have them, particularly those handy LPV approaches that go down to some pretty low minimums. Jets and other larger planes typically have two pilots and a lot of that reason has to do with flying approaches down to minimums. One pilot is outside while the other is inside and they have a defined strategy on how to transition from one to the other. This is a luxury you don't have flying single pilot IFR, so it's worth careful consideration of whether or not you want to even attempt flying at or near minimums. Part 91 you can even attempt an approach that is below reported minimum conditions. It's another one of those things which might be legal, but ain't all that smart. Single pilot IFR it's worth developing a personal minimum strategy of what approaches you'll even attempt under a given set of conditions. It's also worth knowing the difference between the MDA and DA, so when you develop those personal minimums you can apply them in the same way you would with published minimums.
  4. approach practice

    Generally speaking the towers are very receptive of practice approaches, so you can always talk to them and find out how to do it. You can even ask to visit the tower and speak to them in person about it. I have little doubt GPM tower has a method worked out for doing it and since they now have a radar display, it makes it easier for them to accommodate. Personally I just don't like flying practice approaches in busy areas and there's just so many other better places to go that aren't that busy. Going against the flow of traffic makes things even more difficult and it just increases the chances you're going to have to break out prematurely. The frustrating part is you spend time setting yourself up for the approach only to have to break it off because of traffic. Not my idea of fun. As far as keeping the needles centered goes, my advice is to learn to use the rudder to keep yourself on the LOC and the throttle to keep yourself on the GS. When you can master flying an approach without using the yoke, you'll be able to fly an ILS approach to within one dot.
  5. approach practice

    My answer is don't do practice approaches at GPM, at least repetitive ones where you plan on going missed. There's nothing challenging about either of the non-precision approaches to GPM. Both feature no turns between the IAF and FAF, and less than 1,000' to descend to the MDA. The area over Joe Pool Lake is very busy with aircraft transitioning in all directions. There's obstructions, an adjacent class D, the cedar hill towers, and class B you have to deal with, along with a lot of helicopter traffic that doesn't always mix well with fixed wing. So in essence a lot of additional risk with very little benefit. If you want to do practice approaches into GPM because it's your home airport, make it the last one of the day where you plan on a full stop landing. My favorite place to practice approaches is Mesquite. It's not far from GPM and there's usually not much traffic even though there's a control tower which gives you another set of eyes. I fly the ILS 18, go missed, and then fly the back course to 36, go missed and then do the whole thing over again. Throw in a hold or two at PQF and I can get my six month IFR currency done inside of 30 minutes.
  6. Sport Pilot training in DFW?

    If you can get a 3rd class medical, then I think your best bet is to get the PPL. The hours you save in training aren't going to be worth it over the long term, and the additional hours spent training has value even if you don't plan on using the additional privileges. This is now especially true since the rules on the 3rd class medical have loosened.
  7. Another cool ForeFlight trick

    Yes. I like to put it on the far right and put descent rate next to it. That way when I'm ready to descend I match up the two numbers.
  8. I know some of you are working on getting IFR rated, and inevitably once you get rated and start flying IFR one of the things you are most likely to fumble with is copying the IFR clearance. Even experienced IFR pilots seem to have trouble with it. Personally I almost always go IFR when I am on a cross country trip even in good weather because it gives me practice working the system. Flying skills are perishable and particularly IFR, so with a bit of knowledge and practice, simple things like copying clearances get just that much easier. When I first started I followed all the advice you get from the experts on the subject, diligently following the C-R-A-F-T method and found it just didn't work for me. That's not to say it's bad advice, just that it required me to think faster than my slow brain works. So maybe that method works for some, but I'm just not that smart. That's not to say C-R-A-F-T is useless, because you will always get your clearance in that order unless the controller is doing something wrong. I just copy the whole thing down consecutively and don't worry about categorizing all the fields while I'm copying. More on this later. The first thing that's worth mentioning is how you file your flight plan. You can file your flight plan with nothing more than the origin and destination. Once filed, the computer will spit out your actual flight plan based on any required routings. The advantage to this is you won't get any arrival or departure procedures if they aren't required. The disadvantage to this is you might not get the transition you might prefer, or you might get a routing that you don't want. For instance, when flying from KNEW back to KGPM, I don't want to get routed over the lake, so I file via RQR VOR which is to the west. More on this later, but speaking of this I'll use this flight which I made on Monday as an example, which was KNEW RQR CQY DODJE5 KGPM. The next step which I think is important is knowing what the computer spit out. Foreflight has some great features which will actually send you a message when your route is accepted and will automatically load it into your active flight plan. You can also go to FlightAware.com and search on your tail number. Provided there's been enough time for it to process, you can find your flight plan there. Have your accepted flight plan up on your iPad or on the same piece of paper you're going to copy your clearance. C More often than not, your clearance is simply going to be something like "cleared to GPM as filed". The C part is actually just GPM. This is your clearance limit. While it is possible your clearance limit would not be your destination, this has never happened to me. R The R part is just "as filed" which means the route which you hopefully already have handy has been accepted. If what you filed and what the computer spit out aren't the same, then you're going to have some work to do writing down the route. This is where your homework will pay off. If you already have this information, then it's probably going to be the same. It is possible that from the time the computer originally spit out your route and now your route changed, so be ready if it's different. This is where shorthand is a must. For arrival and departure procedures, I always write down the first letter of the procedure and the number. So Hubbard Nine becomes H9. Kingdom Four becomes K4. You get the idea. There's all sorts of other shorthand methods and I'm not going to cover them all, but the point is develop something that works for you. In this case my route is something like "Reserve VOR, Dodge Five Arrival with Cedar Creek transition", but that's exactly what I filed, so all I get from Clearance Delivery is "as filed". A The shorthand for altitude is pretty simple. They will almost always assign an intermediate altitude followed by the altitude listed in your accepted flight plan. So "climb and maintain four thousand, expect eight thousand ten minutes after departure" becomes CM40 X80 10. F Departure frequency is pretty simple, but I simplify it even more by only copying the two numbers before and after the decimal point. For instance, 135.975 becomes 35.97. Unless you fly military aircraft, the first number will always be a 1 and the last number doesn't matter because you can't change it in your radio anyway. If you read back 35.97 instead of 135.975, ATC probably isn't going to call you on it. For the record, I never read back more than 4 digits even during routine frequency changes. Unnecessary communications is like nails on a chalkboard to ATC and they generally appreciate any effort to shorten transmissions. T Transponder code is self-evident. I usually write down S1234 just to remind me to read back "Squawk". Even though I've broken all these things out, I just copy them all onto one or two lines. With practice you should be able to read these things back exactly as they were given even when the controller talks like an auctioneer. This isn't going to happen the first few times out, so when you first call them up say "Speak Slowly". Immediately after getting your clearance, put as much of it as you can into your GPS, Radio, and Transponder. Don't wait until after you start taxiing as inevitably you'll forget something. Taking off with the wrong squawk code, coming up on the wrong departure frequency, and flying the wrong route on departure are all grounds for a deviation. You don't want to be fumbling around with those things after you take off. Inevitably this happens and you learn why it's a great idea not to let it happen. Another fun topic is a new clearance once airborne. This once happened to me no less than 4 times enroute. This is really where it pays to be skilled in copying down clearances, because if you think it's hard on the ground, wait until you're trying to copy down a clearance single pilot in the soup with no autopilot.
  9. I stopped in there a few days ago to pick up a passenger. I didn't eat, but noticed the restaurant is still active. I think it used to be the Blue Pig, but now it's some other BBQ joint.
  10. VDP, what is it?

    Yes, you can’t execute the missed approach until you reach the MAP. IIRC, I think you can go as far as 2.5 nm after the MAP and still be guaranteed obstacle clearance provided you can meet or exceed the minimum climb gradient.
  11. Another cool ForeFlight trick

    I wish ForeFlight had VNAV functionality, but one handy tool it does have is the Descent to Dest. It basically takes your current groundspeed and calculates the ROD required from your present position to be on the ground at your destination. I don’t fly much VFR cross country, but I tried it out yesterday and it works like a charm. If you are doing a constant speed descent, it’s a no brainer. You just wait till the Descent to Dest number gets to the ROD you want and start down. If your speed increases when you start downhill, then you need to lead it a bit. So for a 500fpm decent I started down when it got to 450, and made adjustments from there. There’s probably an easy way to estimate the lead for a given groundspeed, but I’m not that smart. From 11,500’ I started descending to SHV about 35 miles out, and with a good tailwind was making about 215 mph over the ground. I just matched my ROD to the Descent to Dest all the way down, and it took all the guesswork and math out of it.
  12. Multifunction pens

    So here’s something so cheap many of the swankier FBOs are giving them out for free, but I find incredibly useful in the cockpit. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B019PMR0JW/ The light puts out just enough to be useful, but not so much that it completely kills your night vision. The stylus is great when you are wearing gloves, and you always need a pen. There’s a similar type that puts the light on the end of the pen. This type might be good for writing in the dark, but the light is much less directional and I don’t like it as much. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B06XGNJHDL/
  13. VDP, what is it?

    If you have a VGSI in sight then you don’t have to worry about VDP much other than the realization that the useable range of the VGSI is only about 2.2nm from the runway IIRC. There are some airports where the VGSI will actually run you into or near obstructions if you intercept too far out. Still gotta pay attention to those stepdowns. Another good reason to pay attention to the VDP is if you start your descent late and don’t break out prior to the VDP. Might as well level off or start climbing, and proceed to the MAP for a missed because the chances of a stabilized approach to the runway are slim.
  14. VDP, what is it?

    Since nobody else is throwing topics out there, I'll throw VDP into the mix and share a few nuggets of interest for those working on their IFR rating or just need to brush up on important topics. So maybe you've seen the big bold V depicted on approach plates and read a bit about VDP, but don't really understand what the practical application is. VDPs are for non-precision approaches and are used to provide an aid to pilots for establishing a stabilized approach from the MDA to the runway visually. So does this mean if you are past the VDP at MDA you MUST go missed? No. It just means it might not be a bad idea because if you have leveled off at the MDA, the closer you get to the runway, the steeper your descent must be and/or the farther down the runway you're going to be at touchdown. So before we get much farther into VDP, it's worth mentioning what a stabilized approach means. An exact definition is a bit hard to come by, but in essence it means you should be making your approach with minimal changes to pitch, power, and course. In other words the plane should almost be able to land itself with very little correction from the pilot. Now the airlines and many commercial operators will have much more exact definitions for what constitutes a stabilized approach written into their SOPs, and variances require a go around. So it's probably worth putting some thought into developing your own standard on what constitutes a stabilized approach and when you're going to go around if you don't have one established, but this is a topic for another day. Most VDP are set at about a 3 degree glidepath and very roughly a 50' threshold crossing height. Sometimes they are depicted on the chart and sometimes they are not. I'm not going to go into the reasons why they might not be, but either way you can estimate your own VDP pretty easily if you remember the magic number 300. 318' of height at 1nm equals a 3 degree gradient. Rounding down to 300 makes the math a little easier as does forgetting about threshold crossing height. So if at 1nm I'm about 300' above the ground I'm in a pretty good spot for a stabilized approach. At 2nm and 600', 3nm at 900', and so on. I'm not much for doing math in the cockpit, but 300' is one of those rules of thumb that comes in handy for all sorts of situations. The tricky part here is knowing the distance to the runway, which isn't the same as the distance to the airport. Sometimes the GPS Database gives this to you and sometimes you can figure it off the DME. Inevitably if you calculate your own VDP when one is listed on the chart, it's going to be slightly farther away from the runway because of rounding errors and failure to consider threshold crossing height, but it gets you in the ballpark. If you take a look at one of my favorite approach plates, the VOR/DME for GPM 35, you'll see the MDA is 451' above the ground. If we divide this number by 300, you get pretty close to 1.5nm. So at MDA and 1.5nm from the runway is a pretty good spot to depart the MDA and descend to the runway. The approach plate lists JIPID at 12.4 DME and 1.9nm to runway. So using nice round numbers 12 DME is going to be pretty close to our calculated VDP and should be a good spot to depart the MDA for the runway. Naturally if we have a VGSI (PAPI), this is going to be a better reference, but we don't always have one.
  15. UFQ In-ear Headset

    I tried it out in the sim today. Performance was pretty good, actually perhaps too good for the sim anyway because I could hear everything on the intercom quite well, but everything else was considerably attenuated. About the only negative I found was when I leaned my head back against the rest it contacted the part that wraps around your head and started moving it around. The ear pieces remained in place so it wasn't all that bad, but will take some getting used to.