Avoiding the Vectors-to-Final Scramble

One key to staying ahead of both ATC and the computer in the cockpit during the high-workload phases of an approach is avoiding the temptation of the Vectors-to-Final option available on IFR-approved GPS navigators like the Garmin GTN 750/650, GSN 530W/GNS 430W and integrated avionics such as the Garmin G1000. For information about a change … Continue reading “Avoiding the Vectors-to-Final Scramble”

Flying a STAR with the GNS530W

On an IFR flight yesterday in the Bonanza, I had to do some creative knob-twisting on the GNS530W to comply with an unusual clearance from Seattle Center. The process showed the value of using the Flight Plan page on the GNS530W and understanding how to use the menu options available on that page (viz., the … Continue reading “Flying a STAR with the GNS530W”

A New Note on Sectionals

The other day, I checked some sectional charts, dreaming about a long cross-country flight that I plan to make this fall. I ran across an interesting note that I hadn’t seen before: When I learned to fly in the early 1970s, instructors emphasized that the airspace near VORs was a danger zone, because traffic converged … Continue reading “A New Note on Sectionals”

Use of Approved GPS (RNAV) Systems on Conventional Procedures and Routes

The introduction of IFR-approved GPS units has caused much confusion among pilots who wonder when they can use those units in lieu of or as supplement to ground-based navigation aids. The latest edition of the Aeronautical Information Manual (released August 27, 2009) finally clarifies the issue in section 1-2-3 “Use of Suitable Area Navigation (RNAV) … Continue reading “Use of Approved GPS (RNAV) Systems on Conventional Procedures and Routes”

Garmin G1000 Checkout from Sporty’s

Sporty’s has released a new DVD-based training package, Garmin G1000 Checkout. It’s a great training tool for pilots and instructors who are working with what has become the standard glass cockpit for GA aircraft, because the two-disc set ($89.95) offers both a well-organized introduction to the system and the official Garmin G1000 PC Trainer (which … Continue reading “Garmin G1000 Checkout from Sporty’s”

Garmin 696/695 and Sporty’s Checkout DVD

Garmin recently announced the 695/696 handheld GPS, and it’s showing the unit this week at AOPA Expo. Sporty’s has already produced a DVD, Garmin 695/696 Checkout ($29.95), which I’ll review here. First, a few words about the 696 series. It’s clearly a cousin of the G1000 system that I’ve flown with and taught for several … Continue reading “Garmin 696/695 and Sporty’s Checkout DVD”

Flying WAAS: The Sequel

Before I flew south for a few days of aerobatic practice over the Nevada desert, I took advantage of another good day for IFR practice in the Pacific Northwest. Today’s flight in the A36 was a round-robin excursion: KRNT–KHQM–KOLM–KRNT, with RNAV (GPS) approaches at KHQM (RNAV Rwy 24) and KOLM (RNAV Rwy 17). I won’t … Continue reading “Flying WAAS: The Sequel”

New Version of Voyager Flight Planning Software

My friends at Seattle Avionics today announced a new version of their Voyager Flight Software System–my favorite preflight planning tool. The latest screen shots look great, and Version 4.0 of the program apparently has a new DirectX rendering engine, so it should offer real-time scrolling and zooming, much like Google Maps and Google Earth. And … Continue reading “New Version of Voyager Flight Planning Software”