We owe the FAA a debt of gratitude for the most excellent job the agency has done to provide data to aid our flying. It is amazing that for a relatively small cost pilots have access to a wealth of navigation information. Much of it—VFR charting especially—is gorgeous, pretty enough to hang on a wall or use as wrapping paper after the expiration date.
An AINSafety story published last year demonstrated that a relatively straightforward GPS approach can be fraught with danger even when pilots precisely follow the instrument approach plate. Our editors began thinking about what readers might regard as their most challenging instrument approaches.
From May 2, the FAA will start publishing new instrument approach plates that include an enlarged segment of airspace to protect aircraft during circling approaches. The new airspace also offers pilots additional obstacle clearance while considering their MSL altitude above the MDA, which affects true airspeed.
The boundaries of protected airspace for circling approaches are defined by arcs drawn from the threshold of each runway at an airport. The larger the aircraft, the larger the arc.
The weather at Saratoga Springs, N.Y. on the night of July 13, 2008 was 1,100 overcast, one-and-a-half miles visibility with moderate rain, and wind calm. Albany approach control vectored us for a GPS approach to Runway 5. We intercepted the inbound course toward the airport.
The FAA’s release of an updated Advisory Circular 120-76B covering electronic flight bag (EFB) guidelines is raising concerns about possible increased scrutiny of Part 91 Subpart F operators of business jets that weigh more than 12,500 pounds.
The FAA does not want pilots to use Apple’s iPad tablet computer for navigation. Yet pilots are using the iPad and the many moving-map applications available for the device to navigate and view approach plates, Sids and Stars, en route and sectional charts, aircraft documents and a lot more.
The FAA has outlined its official policy toward use of Apple iPads and other tablet computers as Class 1 electronic flight bags (EFBs) in an Information for Operators document (InFO 11011).
Evidence that Jeppesen is moving rapidly toward a world cluttered with less paper can be seen in airline terminals all over the world. Many airline pilots have been freed of the burden of dragging around their own bulging chart cases full of approach plates and en route charts and regulations, thanks to Jeppesen’s Airside service, which facilitates the delivery of charts to aircraft instead of to pilots.
Electronic flight bags and newer devices like the Apple iPad and Android-based tablets are part of what is driving Jeppesen to more electronic distribution of its charting products, but that is just the tip of the iceberg.
Chicago-based charter/management provider N-Jet has started using Apple iPads for in-flight display of approach plates. Avionics & Systems Integration Group (ASIG) of Little Rock, Ark., helped N-Jet meet guidance in FAA Advisory Circular 120-76A and Order 8900.1, Volume 4, Chapter 15 and create an iPad test plan that includes depressurization and electromagnetic interference testing. ASIG’s rapid depressurization tests cost $200 per iPad.
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