Scenic Approach at Tillamook, OR

I’ve been testing the latest system software in my Garmin avionics and checking out the A36 after its annual inspection. A break in the weather allowed a scenic VFR flight from Boeing Field (KBFI) to Tillamook, OR (KTMK) and a practice RNAV RWY 13 approach using the automation available with the Garmin GTN 500Txi, GTN … Continue reading “Scenic Approach at Tillamook, OR”

One Cloud in the Way on Approach

Sometimes just one cloud gets in the way when you’re flying an instrument approach. In this video, I fly the RNAV (GPS) RWY 35 approach at Olympia, WA (KOLM), southwest of Seattle. Although the weather was mostly good VMC, and the Olympia airport was operating under VFR during my flight, as you’ll see, I had … Continue reading “One Cloud in the Way on Approach”

Flying to LP Minimums

A break in icy winter weather allowed me to make a short IFR flight from Boeing Field (KBFI) in Seattle to Port Angeles (KCLM), on the north side of the Olympic Peninsula, where I flew the RNAV (GPS) RWY 26 approach. That procedure offers an LP—localizer performance—minimum descent altitude of 760 feet, 160 feet lower … Continue reading “Flying to LP Minimums”

Using VNAV on an Approach

Pilots of GA piston singles don’t typically fly STARs, and usually ATC vectors us to join approaches that don’t require many step-downs as we intercept the final approach course. Instead, we tend to use the VNAV (or older VCALC) features in our avionics to meet crossing restrictions, manage the descent from cruise to an initial … Continue reading “Using VNAV on an Approach”

Flying an Approach with only an iPad

You’re suddenly having a bad IFR day. As you approach your destination, Huron, SD, after a routine departure and a comfortable cruise in IMC, most of your panel abruptly goes dark. You still have basic flight instruments, including an electronic PFD and an HSI, which run on backup batteries. Your last communications with ATC included … Continue reading “Flying an Approach with only an iPad”

Mixing RNAV and an ILS

If you fly an airplane with a suitable RNAV system (for most of us, that’s an IFR-approved GPS navigator in the panel), you’re accustomed to flying RNAV (GPS) approaches and other procedures, such as RNAV departures and arrivals. And since most RNAV navigators currently in use also support flying ILS and VOR procedures, you also … Continue reading “Mixing RNAV and an ILS”

VNAV with a GFC 600 Autopilot

I recently flew the Beechcraft A36 Bonanza from Boeing Field (KBFI) to Aurora State (KUAO) just south of Portland for system software updates at Pacific Coast Avionics. The IFR flight was in benign weather, but I did need to fly the RNAV (GPS) RWY 35 approach at KUAO. It was a good opportunity to exercise the VNAV capability … Continue reading “VNAV with a GFC 600 Autopilot”

RNP: Performance Monitoring in Light GA Aircraft

The discussion of RNP–Required Navigation Performance– in AIM 1−2−2. Required Navigation Performance (RNP) and other FAA guidance confuses many pilots because the usual definition of RNP focuses on the type of equipment typically installed in bizets and airliners, not light GA aircraft. Here are the key sentences in that AIM description of RNP: RNP is … Continue reading “RNP: Performance Monitoring in Light GA Aircraft”

Unscrambling RNAV, RNP, and Other Chart Naming Conventions and Notes

Many pilots are confused by the terms RNAV, RNP, and RNP APCH that appear on instrument approach charts, and it’s easy to see why. Although ICAO is adopting a new naming standard as the world shifts to Performance Based Navigation, or PBN, the FAA is sticking to its conventions. And that approach leads to some … Continue reading “Unscrambling RNAV, RNP, and Other Chart Naming Conventions and Notes”

Handling a ‘Random Radial’ Clearance

I recently rode along on an IFR flight that involved an amended clearance during the descent and arrival that pointed out a challenge you may encounter while flying with GPS as your primary navigation source. The original IFR clearance received before departure ended with a leg from the Beatty VOR (BTY) northwest of Las Vegas, … Continue reading “Handling a ‘Random Radial’ Clearance”