An RNAV Approach in VMC

In this video, I depart Jefferson County International Airport (0S9) on the Olympic Peninsula and fly the RNAV RWY 20 approach at Bremerton (KPWT) in visual conditions.

This is an exercise I do with my instrument students as they begin flying approaches. It’s useful to observe several approaches, preferably with the autopilot engaged, to help new IFR pilots correlate what they see out the window with the navigation displays, aircraft attitude, power settings, and configurations used during an IFR approach. Watching the autopilot fly the approach helps students clearly see the subtle corrections needed to track courses and glidepaths. And observing the proximity to terrain and obstacles reinforces the need to fly the published courses and altitudes precisely.

Aerobatics with Data

Here’s a look at an aerobatic ride with data from a Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 camera’s sensors overlaid. The GPS-based position, speed, and altitude don’t match the information from cockpit instruments precisely, and the sensors sometimes can’t keep up with the dynamics of aerobatics, but the data do give you an idea of how quickly things change during aerobatics. We also had a tailwind of about 6 knots during the landing, so the GPS-derived groundspeed is higher than the indicated airspeed during the approach and landing.

It’s also worth noting that during aerobatic rides I try to fly smoothly and keep the Gs under control. Rides aren’t aerobatic contests or airshows.

To display the data in a video, I first import the video and corresponding data into the free Garmin VIRB Edit program. After choosing the gauges to display, I export the video and do the final editing in Adobe Premiere Elements.

Aerobatic Ride on a Summer Morning

New Kneeboard Nav Log at 1800wxbrief.com

The official FSS website, 1800wxbrief.com, now offers a new kneeboard-style navigation log that you can print and use in the cockpit.

You can set up a free account at 1800wxbrief.com, also known as Flight Service Pilot Web. It’s the official portal to FSS (DUATS was shut down in May 2018). To learn more about the services at 1800wxbrief.com, visit the site’s YouTube channel.

To see the kneeboard navigation log, first create a flight plan and click the NavLog button at the bottom of the flight plan window to display the standard naviation log.

LeidosFSS-Navlog-01
LeidosFSS-Navlog-02.jpg

To creat PDF version of the log in kneeboard format, click the Kneeboard PDF button at the top right of the standard NavLog window.

LeidosFSS-Navlog-03
You can print the PDF, which is formatted to fold to fit a typical pilot kneeboard.

AOPA Focused Flight Review

The AOPA Air Safety Institute has a new free guide and resources for pilots who need a flight review.

AOPA-FocusedFlightReview

The Focused Flight Review includes several profiles that emphasize such areas as:

  • Positive Aircraft Control
  • Weather & CFIT
  • Fuel, Engine, & Other Systems
  • Instrument Proficiency
  • Takeoffs, Landings, & Go-Arounds
  • Mountain & Backcountry Flying

The AOPA information complements AC 61-98 Currency Requirements and Guidance for the Flight Review and Instrument Proficiency Check and Conducting an Effective Flight Review, both FAA publications.

Declining Demand for FSS Services

The July/August 2018 issue of FAA Safety Briefing includes a note about the end of TIBS, the Telephone Information Briefing Service (TIBS) in the contiguous United States, effective Sept. 13, 2018.

(TIBS is recorded information, including weather reports and forecasts. Flight Service created TIBS when there was a large demand for briefings, with the potential for extremely long wait times. You can read about TIBS in AIM 7-1-8.)

The interesting news the in article, however, isn’t about TIBS, which most pilots don’t know about and therefore don’t use and won’t miss. Instead, there’s the following detail about how pilots are actually using FSS:

With the advent of the internet and other enabling technology, the demand for information from Flight Service specialists has declined. From more than 3,000 specialists in more than 300 facilities during the early 1980s, staffing has decreased to fewer than 400 specialists in three facilities. Radio contacts have dropped to less than 900 per day, from an average of 10,000 per day.

A chart from another FAA document shows the trend graphically:

FSS-RadioContacts

This trend led to the end of Flight Watch in 2015 and a program to reduce the number of remote communications outlets (RCO) for FSS.

As the article notes, complying with 14 CFR 91.103 Preflight Action doesn’t require calling FSS (for more background, see What Qualifies as an Official Preflight Briefing? at BruceAir):

There are multiple sources available to pilots to access weather and aeronautical information, which are often presented in an easier to understand graphical format. Pilots no longer need to call a Flight Service specialist to adhere to Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) section 91.103 to maintain awareness of weather and aeronautical information.