IFR

Look Out for VFR Pop-Up Traffic

Explain this to me. I was on the cockpit jumpseat as we were descending into San Francisco International yesterday. Inflight visibility was good, though the sun was blinding as it sank towards the western horizon. Suddenly, Norcal Approach said, “Airliner 521 Heavy*, expedite a right turn, heading 280.” The Pilot Flying complied. A second and …

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St. Maarten Tower, You’re Driving Me Crazy!

It happened again this week. I bring it up so you’ll know you are not alone with this problem. This was at St. Maarten International–yes, that St. Maarten. The place where everyone hangs onto the fence, and their swim shorts, as the KLM 747 comes screaming overhead at 50 feet. “Didja get it? Didja get the …

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Airspeed Readback to ATC

Tampa Approach Control: “Cessna 30D, maintain 130 knots.” How would you read back that clearance? Here’s what the AIM says: 4−4−7. Pilot Responsibility upon Clearance Issuance b. ATC Clearance/Instruction Readback. Pilots of airborne aircraft should read back those parts of ATC clearances and instructions containing altitude assignments, vectors, or runway assignments as a means of …

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Reading Back a Final Approach Clearance

When giving you final instructions to intercept an instrument approach, an air traffic controller uses a very specific format. This format is: Position Turn Altitude Clearance to fly the specific approach Thank goodness this forms an acronym. We can’t fly without a proper acronym. PTAC, pronounced “Pee tack”, gladdens our aviator’s heart. Let’s look at …

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Aircraft Radio Discipline Before You (Think You) Need It

We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. Hey, we’re already there! If you are just starting your career or avocation as a pilot, you are probably thinking about the basics of radio communication. Specifically, you would be happy to fire off a radio transmission without getting tongue-tied: Town and Country Tower, Cessna 9130 …

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Photo of ear

You’ve Been Had by Air Traffic Control*

You think that air traffic control is watching your backside? Think again. In my last article, I said the FAA emphasizes the need for air traffic controllers to “ensure the [pilot’s] read back is correct.” (FAA JO 7110.65T.) Listening for correct responses to air traffic control clearances is called “hear back.” In this article, I …

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