GlobalAir.com - Page 2 Aviation Articles

3 Rare Symbols on Instrument Approach Charts, and Why You Should Know Them

Alright guys, I'm studying for CFII lately (which by the way I hate studying for check rides) and have gotten to the stage of practicing teaching approach charts.

I noticed in doing practice group sessions with students that everyone knows how to read the basic things like localizer frequency, final approach fix, missed approach instructions etc...the IMPORTANT stuff. The meat and potatoes of the approach. But you HAVE to know how to read EVERYTHING on that approach chart to be a good instrument pilot. 

Another reason you need to know how to break that approach chart down is because it factors into your plane performance-can you accept the approach along with missed approach instructions? This is something to keep in mind as well with departures. In instrument training you're likely flying something like a Cessna 172 where you don't usually accept SID's or even look at any "complicated" (so to speak) approach charts. So let's talk about 3 different symbols on approach charts that I find are commonly not taught/known.

1) VDP

VDP stands for visual descent point. It's not found on ALL approach charts but more instead on straight-in approaches to specific runways. If the approach chart has one, what this means is you should not descend below the MDA prior to this point. 

To be specific, it's the bold V circled on this chart from Telluride, Colorado. Check out the terrain in this area...might be important to know what this V means!

2) Maltese Cross

The circled "lightning bolt" pointing to ROVEZ on the RNAV 30 for KBPT is the maltese cross for this approach. It indicates the final approach fix on a nonprecision approach. Its purpose is to point out where the final approach segment begins. 

3) Cold Weather Corrections

Cold weather corrections are important to know to ensure that you're flying at the corrected altitude. If the system isn't operating to automatically compute this then it has to be done by hand by the corrections chart on page 5-19 of the Digital Terminal Procedures Supplement (pictured beneath the approach chart). 

In addition to this post, you may see some new blogs written on our blog page by our newest writer Nicole Lund! Nicole wowed us last year with an awesome scholarship application and proceeded to have very well written blog posts throughout the year with interesting topics & experiences. One of her craziest stories is she had an engine failure on a solo xc as a student pilot and had to land in a nearby field. A few days later, she was back flying and so was the plane because she was able to set it down without any damage (except for whatever caused the failure). Imagine getting that phone call as an instructor....

SO congrats Nicole and welcome to the team! 

Thanks for reading, hopefully these charts help point out some rare symbols for you to stay proficient on!

Questions or comments? Post below! 

6 Ways the Garmin Autoland Determines the Most Suitable Airport

Photo courtesy of Elliot Jets

The Garmin G3000 Autoland System (HomeSafe) is the first of its kind to receive certification from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). HomeSafe selects an airport to autonomously land at in an emergency. The system ensures stable flight while navigating, descending, and landing at the most suitable airport. At a starting price of $85,000 USD, this system can be installed in the 2020 Daher TBM 940, Piper M600 MLS, and Cirrus Vision Jet.  Several 2019 models can be retrofitted with the system. Garmin's intentions are to expand the autoland system into other airplanes that have a G3000, such as the Honda HA-420, Embraer Phenom 100 and 300, Curtis Vision SF50, and the Cessna Citation CJ3+. The autoland system is only certified in the G3000. However, Garmin's goal is to expand autonomous flight into more modes of aviation, according to Garmin's Executive Vice President, Phil Straub. 

 

The autoland system is activated through a button in the cockpit. The system can automatically activate if it renders the pilot unable to fly. HomeSafe is designed to only be activated in an emergency, such as an incapacitated pilot. The system will then pick the most suitable airport to autonomously land at. The factors that determine which airport the airplane selects are listed below.

 

1. Airport is Within 200 NM

HomeSafe system will pick an airport in a 200 NM radius from where the the autoland system was enabled.

 

2. Fuel Reserves

HomeSafe will determine if the airplane has the range to reach a specific airport. A plane may not have the fuel reserve to reach an airport that is within the 200 NM radius, thus fuel range is used to consider a closer airport.

 

3. GPS Approach

Contrary to CAT III ILS approaches, HomeSafe is the first certified system that can autoland on a GPS approach. The airport chosen by the system must be equipped with a suitable GPS approach.

 

4. Weather

The G3000 will select an airport based on the weather and winds. The GPS will avoid adverse weather once the emergency autloand system is enacted.

 

5. Runway Length

The runway used for the approach must be at least 4,500 feet long for most airplanes. However, the exact runway length is dependent upon the aircraft being used. For example, the Cirrus VisionJet requires a runway of 5,836 feet or loner.

 

6. Terrain Considerations

When choosing an airport to land at, the GPS will consider the terrain of a given airport and its surrounding area.

 

There are approximately 9,000 airports where HomeSafe can land autonomously at. In an emergency, the system picks the most suitable airport based on distance, fuel range, instrument approaches, weather, runway length, and terrain. Only time will tell if more airplanes will be equipped with this technology and if more airports will accommodate to the requirements needed for HomeSafe landings.

5 Ways to Improve Your Scholarship Application

Whether you're pursuing a college degree, flight training, or both, your wallet will surely feel the financial burden. Scholarships are a great option for students to alleviate the cost of schooling. Although pilot hiring in the aviation industry has slowed due to COVID-19, it won't be long until the pilot shortage surfaces once again. The pilot shortage prior to the pandemic had several casual factors. One of the prominent factors was the expense of initial flight training. The aviation industry has many generous donors who provide funding for struggling students through scholarships. Here are five ways to make your scholarship essay stand out.

 

1. Did you follow the directions?

Many applicants can disqualify themselves for not thoroughly following the directions. This can be as simple as not submitting an official transcript, an essay that doesn't meet the length requirement, or the omission of other requirements.

 

2. Do you qualify for the scholarship?

This goes hand-in-hand with not following the directions. Some scholarships are directed towards applicants with certain characteristics. These characteristics could be a certain grade point average, area of study, grade in school, gender, and other demographics. 

 

3. Tell the scholarship community how YOU are different from other applicants.

The best place in the application to do this is in the essay. The essay is the place to make the scholarship committee remember you. This is the ultimate goal of the application. Many applicants have a similar essay on how they work several jobs and can't afford their flight training/schooling. Instead, focus on writing an essay that explains how you are different from everyone else. Explain what you are doing to better someone else, describe your volunteer experience, express your hobbies, etc. 

 

4. Double and even triple check for grammar and spelling errors.

A good place to be remembered (for the wrong reason) is in an essay with grammatical mistakes. Find a friend or family member to read through your essay after you triple checked it for flaws.

 

5. Do your research on the organization/individual offering the scholarship.

Explain in your application why you are honored to receive their scholarship. Include their mission and goals in your explanation. Show the scholarship committee that you have done your research. 

 

Filling out scholarship applications can be timely, however, it will always be worth your while. You will get better at applying for scholarships with trial and error. A great scholarship opportunity for anyone interested in aviation is the annual GlobalAir.com Scholarship. The application window is open until August 15th, 2020. Follow the tips above and make sure to get your application in!

What To Do If You Have a Bird Strike

Last month I gave some tips on how to conquer summertime flying. It's hot outside, performance is decreased, the weather isn't always the best, etc. 

Well, there's one topic we didn't really discuss, and that's...

BIRDS.

Cue the dramatic music. Because they're EVERYWHERE.

Since the last post, within the past two weeks, I've had two bird strikes while instructing. Neither were catastrophic, but each one cut our flight short (so more just inconvenient).

Here's what happened each time:

Pictured above is from the first bird strike incident. A student and I were doing some laps in the pattern and were all too familiar with dodging birds from earlier lessons. So when we saw a small bird coming at us we didn't panic, just tried to curve to the side and avoid it. 

At first, it seemed we were in the clear until we heard a "ding" sound from the left side. We looked at each other then looked back at the strut and gear to see where it hit but couldn't see anything. BUT, we heard it, and even though we weren't 100% sure where it hit we decided to just make a full stop. 

After shutting down on the ramp we saw where it hit the strut. Mechanics verified our inspection and no damage was done!

Now bird strike number 2: this one was a little more dramatic (and kind of funny if you have terrible humor like me). 

Instead of a Cessna, a different student and I were in our SR20 who we named "Sherman." Don't judge, it's a great plane and therefore needed a great name! Anywho, Sherman, myself, and the student were just cleared for takeoff and started bringing the power in. As the engine instruments and airspeed were being checked we saw a black shadow hit our windshield and roll off. So, power was brought back and as we kept positive control of the plane we notified tower we had a possible bird strike and needed to taxi off to shutdown. Once approved we taxied off and shutdown as soon as possible. That's where we found some blood on the cowling...it didn't just hit the windshield.

So, I called tower back and said we'd need a tow back to the hangars. While we waited we obviously had to document the incident with a selfie! I knew this would be going on the blog too after the second time, so I wanted to capture the proof. After we got our tow back mechanics checked the engine and verified yet again no structural damage, and Sherman was back on the flight line. 

So, I know one thing you might be thinking: why did they shutdown for a bird strike? 

In both incidents, I wasn't 100% sure where the bird hit. And even then, I can't see just from the cockpit what possible damage the hit caused. Bird strikes can be kind of funny like in our selfie moment, but they can also be as serious as the famous Sully on the Hudson River case. I know another instructor who had a bird strike and kept flying because "it was fine" and later landed to find a huge dent in the flap. Even in terms of structural damage, what if it strikes the wing and ruptures a fuel tank? It's okay to be too safe and cautious in these cases. 

In the case of a bird strike, here's what to do:

  • - Try to pinpoint where the bird hit so you can estimate what kind of structural damage may have been caused, and have a game plan set to counteract any problems that could have come from it.
  • - Land as soon as possible. You can't see everything from the cockpit and there may be damage unseen to you. 
  • - Be cautious, but never panic. I can't stress this enough, don't stress!! This is when your flying will be negatively affected. 
  • - Report the bird strike. You won't get in trouble, birds can be impossible to avoid in many cases so it's likely not your fault. Report it to a controller if you're in controlled airspace or other pilots if you're at an uncontrolled field. 
  • - Do a thorough inspection after landing and shutdown, but also have a mechanic verify it before releasing it back to fly. 
  • - After landing, report it to the FAA on the FAA Wildlife Strike Database. This is used for collecting statistics and understanding how we can mitigate further incidents. 

Bird strikes usually have a minuscule impact on the flight, but imagine other cases where they come through the windshield and have even hit the pilot(s). That's a scary thought, but at the end of the day, you just have to FLY THE PLANE. Never panic, maintain control, and fly like you were taught too.

In other news, don't forget about the annual Globalair.com Scholarship! Applications close this month on August 15th. We'll be picking two recipients to help further their flight training towards a professional pilot career. 

Questions or comments to add to this article? Post below!

4 Tips for Safer Summer Flying

There's no doubt about it, summertime is hot and it feels like it gets hotter every year this time around. 

You walk out to go preflight and just feel the heat wave take over you. As a CFI in Texas I feel this all too often this summer, so I wanted to share some tips on how to overcome it and make sure you don't put yourself in a dangerous scenario.

Pictured above is a photo I took flying above the Houston coastline the other day, and then edited it to make it look like I'm flying somewhere like Hawaii instead.

You have to know how to finesse the system my friends.

The relevance of this photo is that I took it on one of my last flights of the day and this was actually around sunset. All day I had been drinking a ton of water and before going up for this flight ran out and didn't have any left at the flight school. I decided "oh, it's okay I'll be fine. The temperature is starting to cool off now anyways."

Well, I was fine. But on this flight I did land close to exceeding my personal minimums. Preflight was hot enough to do without having a sip of water here and there, coupled with the fact that as a CFI our job is basically to talk the entire flight. I remember taking this photo while in the middle of a ground reference maneuver and realizing how much I was still sweating and how quickly I really wished I had water with me. So tip #1:

Bring. Enough. Water.

-Not just A bottle of water, but enough to last throughout the entire flight. I also remember being on a cross country last summer and running out of water in the middle of the flight. It was about 35 degrees Celsius outside and about an hour into being out of water I started to feel slightly dizzy and have a blur in vision. It was a very very faint dizziness and change in vision, but I knew it wouldn't be long before it got worse. Luckily I was near my home airport and landed shortly after, but what if I wasn't? what if I had 200 miles left to go? This could have easily turned into an emergency had the problem persisted. Don't let the Macho attitude take over and make you feel like you can overcome anything. Bring water, bring food, make sure you're well rested...all those aeromedical factors need to be addressed before EVERY flight and taken seriously. 

Pack Windshield Cleaner

-Summertime is when all the bugs like to come back out. Love bugs, mosquitoes, lightning bugs, you name it. They hit the windshield and leave guts everywhere. Make sure the windshield is clean before you fly, and if for some reason it builds up too much during flight then land at a nearby airport and clean it off. Bug spots seem so minuscule but they're important in looking for traffic and can easily be a risk factor. A good tip is if you have trouble getting spots off, don't scrub the windshield harder. Let the cleaner sit on the problem area for a minute or two and then it will wipe right off. 

Do Your Performance Calculations

-Remember that the hotter it is outside, the worse your airplane will perform. It causes your density altitude to increase, and factors such as fuel burn, takeoff, and landing distances will increase. If you're pushing fuel minimums, have a short runway, or especially an obstacle to clear after takeoff these numbers are extremely important. 

Prepare for More Air Traffic

-Even though our planes perform better in the wintertime, people just don't like to fly as much when it's cold. Summertime is when not only airlines are at their peak travel season (outside of corona times) but also general aviation. One thing to talk about here is the new requirement of ADS-B Out this year as of January. While there is the requirement of ADS-B Out there is NOT the requirement of ADS-B In, meaning you don't have to be able to receive the signal of other planes to display on your map screen (ex through syncing an iPad with ForeFlight and seeing it there).   

the busier the skies are, the safer it is to start using ADS-B In. If you can't see them physically then at least you can see them on a screen (like a redneck version of TCAS is what I jokingly say) to avoid them. If you'll be flying this summer, take all the precautions you can to help see and avoid traffic. While midair collisions are rare, they are possible. 

In conclusion, summertime flying is fun and should definitely be enjoyed but with good caution. Never just go out and fly the plane without doing a thorough flight plan and risk assessment. 

Have any tips to add for summertime flying? The more we have the safer we are! Feel free to comment below. 

 

End of content

No more pages to load