first XC after PPL - weather diversion, VFR on Top and ADM

Discussion in 'Pilot Training' started by WannFly, Nov 11, 2017.

  1. jspilot

    jspilot Cleared for Takeoff

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    I think something to consider is you are choosing to fly on days with cold fronts in the area. Those make for nearly constantly changing weather patterns and much more difficult conditions to predict. Consider selecting days that are relatively predictable and relatively clear weather days at the start of your XC experience building. Even on those clear type days, you'll see clouds and you will slowly venture out on days less than ideal. My CFI said to me that he did not want me to be "cloud shy" meaning, clouds are worth respecting but we can't only fly on clear sky days as those are far too rare. Lowering visibility is an entirely different animal. I have flown in 5 mile visibility and you are correct it is very different from flying on clear and unlimited days. When the visibility drops, you can't mess around. Clouds are important to avoid but in order to avoid them, you have to be able to see them. I always think visibility is more important than cloud coverage.

    Sounds like you are handeling gaining experience slowly in a very repaonsible way. If just be a bit more selective on the days you fly at the start and eventually you can branch out into less than ideal days!
     
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  2. James331

    James331 Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Always err on the side of caution, and your gut normally knows what to do, don't second guess it.
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2017
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  3. bobmrg

    bobmrg En-Route

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  4. WannFly

    WannFly En-Route

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    my CFI told me the same thing.. slowly start building experience in less than ideal days, because in all reality... that what you are gonna get, especially this part of the world. I am trying my best to go by predictions where they are calling for unlimited visibility like yesterday. I also found out later that there aren't a log of reliable reporting points between KFAR and KABR (for example there is a ASOS at Gwinner, which didn't report the sky condition or visibility when I tuned to it from the air). another thing I am learning is how to best guess weather depending on what kind of front is out there.... so much to learn!! I have gotten a book, yet to start reading it, but a lot of pilots have good thins to say about it - Weather Flying https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0071799729/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
     
  5. Sinistar

    Sinistar Line Up and Wait

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    Would someone mind elaborating a bit more on:

    1.) Radar Approach - what is it, when it is used, do you need IR to get this service?
    2.) No Gyro Vectors - what does this mean specifically?
    3.) Approach Surveillance Radar - is this different than normal radar? How do you know if a field has it?
    4.) What is a PAR - some type of radar?
     
  6. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    Radar approaches are approaches based upon ground radar seeing you, not you flying to a navaid or a GPS created waypoint.

    They’re done by the controller telling you they’re going to key up continuously and you just follow their (standardized) commands. Typically they’ll announce they want all half-standard rate turns and whatever for vertical descent rate changes. Then they literally talk you down the approach.

    If you have all your instruments, they’ll issue commands like “Fly heading XXX” just like you’re normally used to.

    If you’ve lost your gyros (vacuum system failure) they’ll switch to no-gyro style commands.

    “Left turn. Stop turn. Slightly high. Increase descent. Right turn. Stop turn.”

    Etc etc all the way to the bottom of the approach.

    There’s both “precision” and “non-precision” equipment versions of this. That’s ASR and PSR Radar. One gets you lower than the other.

    PAR has an even faster radar sweep, and PAR also has vertical guidance from a second radar antenna.

    The ASR does not. You just get altitudes to fly told to you.

    Then ASR and PAR approaches are then based on the capability of the ground radar system.

    The approaches are getting fairly hard to find. A number of airports have an ASR radar. Most big airports do. (They spin faster than the long range radars used by Center and update faster.)

    The approaches were always mostly a military airport thing so you used to see them published quite a bit for mixed use airports... but GPS tech coming along and old radars breaking and no controllers current and certified in doing them, they’re headed the way of the dodo.

    But sure nice if all you have is a backup instrument like an electric turn coordinator and a compass and a handheld radio and everything else has failed. You don’t need anything to fly the approach. Just listen and follow instructions.

    No gyro vectors are continuous radar guidance for the same general reason but in cruise. All your stuff on the panel has crapped out and the controller is vectoring you somewhere with better weather or an approach you can fly or whatever. They’ll do the same thing as the approaches. Turn, stop turn, etc. The controller figures out the lag in the radar and your responses and changes their command cadence to match.

    For better than my “typing on a phone in a parking lot” descriptions, some of this is in the AIM and some is in the Instrument Flying Handbook.

    Here’s something I googled real quick.

    http://www.safepilots.org/library/c..._TeachingNo-gyro&RadarApproaches_08-20-10.pdf
     
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  7. Sinistar

    Sinistar Line Up and Wait

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    Thanks for the detailed explanation and references. I learned something new and I have some reading to do now!

    One more question, if needed can a non-IR pilot request a Radar Approach since there are no requirements for VOR, DME, WAAS GPS, Waypoints, ILS, etc? I don't mean this to justify flying through clouds when not rated. Rather if unknowingly into clouds or heavy rain or night time or basically...need help now to get into the airport. And sounds like you'd be hard pressed to find a airport that could support it.
     
  8. WannFly

    WannFly En-Route

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    As a VFR pilot u can always ask for vectors to the field. I have heard find big boys in FedEx do that in my home base. I think they will give u ASR too if they are equipped to do so, workload permitting if it's for training and the controller is able.

    Sent from my SM-G935V using Tapatalk
     
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  9. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    Any pilot can ask for anything they need anytime. Even practice approaches. (That’s how all the non-IR pilots learn, after all.)

    Hopefully your stellar PIC skills wouldn’t ever put you inside the clouds where you’d need such a thing, and the statistics say you’d be coming out of the bottom of that cloud in broken airplane pieces, but any port in a storm, literally. If you need help finding an airport, always ask. Controllers will do whatever they can.

    Finding a PAR that’s published and flyable will be a lot harder than finding an ASR and getting vectors, but in both cases you still have to figure out how to keep the shiny side up and the dirty side down. If you can do that and make a half standard rate turn and then stop on command, or shallow climbs and descents, you have a decent chance of surviving it. Maybe.

    It’s worth doing some hood or simulator work with a CFII (do it with a CFII so it counts toward your instrument later!) trying out some of these things as a way to dip your toe into the IFR water a bit. A couple of real or simulated radar approaches and maybe an ILS and you end up hooked.

    It’s pretty neat to just be scanning a panel full of instruments and making constant small corrections and thinking about where the airplane is on a chart in your head, and a runway appears out in front there.

    Or doesn’t. And you fly the miss procedure and execute Plan B to try again or go somewhere else on the chart in your head. :)

    But yeah. You can ask for an approach. Anybody can. Recommended if you’re VFR to ask for it as a “VFR practice approach” so the controller knows you’re looking out the windows (or more likely your CFII or a safety pilot are...) and doesn’t tapitty tap tap on their keyboard to get you a pop-up IFR clearance.
     
  10. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    And sometimes controllers offer radar vectors back to the airport when they’re not even asked to...



    Aaron won an Archie award for that one, and the student and CFI and some other folks had a bit of a chat after she got back on the ground safely, or so I heard...

    Her willingness to just ask the controller in plain English if she should be flying into the clouds, and the controller recognizing that there was a problem here, and turning her around on her student cross country and sending her back to my home airport, likely saved her life that day.

    The Palmer Divide was doing what the Palmer Divide does, orographic lifting, and the dew point spread wasn’t that much. Poof. Clouds. VFR in DEN and VFR in COS but low clouds in between. Happens all the time.

    No flight following, no questions asked, somewhat unprepared for the weather to go down on her, could have been a much worse day.

    Yay Aaron. Haven’t met him in person but have talked to his voice a whole lot.
     
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  11. wayne

    wayne Line Up and Wait

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    Good decision. Glad it worked out fine. No sense in putting yourself in the VMC into IFR accident category.

    Sounds a lot like one of my early XC flights after getting my PPL, but no ice for me in the southeast. Checked weather at departure and destination points, but not well enough in between. Got over a solid layer, ended up climbing to 9500' to stay above it. Destination kept reporting "better than 5000 and 5", but not clear. I'm at 9,500' which could still mean a layer between me and the ground. :( Oh, the family was onboard the plane too. :eek:

    The clouds started breaking up, and then I got a big hole, really big, so I descended through it. Ended up I could have continued and descended later, but the weather report wasn't totally clear on that. So I took a safe route down while I had it.

    I learned quite a bit about checking the weather from that trip. :oops:
     
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  12. luvflyin

    luvflyin En-Route

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    Here's what a PAR Approach with No Gyro vectors sounds like
     
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  13. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Final Approach

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    IMG_3100.JPG IMG_2426.JPG IMG_3101.JPG IMG_1086.JPG IMG_3102.JPG IMG_1656.JPG
    Good overview by Nate but a few more points to add. Just to give you a visual of the differences in ASR vs PAR. Top to bottom being ASR, old CRT PAR and new digital PAR.

    An ASR approach uses the approach radar and their extended FAC on their video maps. They talk to you at a min of once every 15 secs. The radar has about a 4.5 sec update and while technically a transponder isn't required, the controller uses it to help with spacing (ground speed) and low altitude / safety limits alert (mode C). Distances are given for each mile on final from the runway end until the MAP. Recommend altitudes are given if you desire and if at a towered field, the final controller will relay your landing clearance from tower.

    PAR uses a whole separate scope and provides both azimuth and glide path. The controller talks at a min of every 5 secs. Some, such as the old green monochrome display update every .5 second while the newer pencil beam x band antennas and digital displays are essentially a constant update. A few systems can display a tag just like an ASR with callsign, speed and altitude. Distances are given for each mile on final from touchdown and the approach goes up until DH, there after advisory only. You can also do a surveillance approach utilizing PAR azimuth if you desire.

    The PAR obviously has lower mins because of having a glidepath and faster refresh rate but that's only part of it. The PAR display itself is more precise. The target itself is a smaller, more fine tuned target and you have a more precise map vs an ASR scope. A target on an ASR might look dead on, while a PAR could show it slightly left / right. Old school accuracy numbers are +- 30 ft of centerline for a PAR and +- 400 ft of runway edge for ASR.

    Radar approaches (GCA) are mostly a military thing, especially PARs but some FAA facilities have them. Just look in the radar mins section of the approach plate to find them. Some facilities that work a lot of GCAs will have multiple freqs just for GCA, while the slower facilities will just have one. Most military facilities have no problems providing them to civ aircraft if traffic allows. Usually a with a caveat of a low approach though.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2017
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  14. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    One thing that was cool running PARs in the Air Force was C141s and C5s with the big T tails. On our PARs you'd see a short vertical slash that was the radar return of the aircraft. Fighters, and most other aircraft have just this one slash. But on the elevation portion (glide path) of the PAR we'd get a return on those big tails as though it was another plane behind the aircraft, right behind and slightly higher.
     
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  15. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Just to make sure I understand, are you stating that no-gyros vectors are not used on a surveillance approach? I think you're saying what an ASR is, correct? I've done plenty of no-gyro vectoring at Air Force Bases on ASRs and PARs is why I ask.
     
  16. GaryV

    GaryV Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I think your decision making was spot on. You checked the available resources, made a plan, checked to see if things changed during your trip, and then chose a safe option when things changed.

    I’d much rather land thinking I might have been able to get to my original destination than to push on when things got uncomfortable and then come to the realization that I should have turned back. The stats are filled with people that decided to push it until it was too late to turn back.

    You made a good choice.

    Gary
     
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  17. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Final Approach

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    Yep, seem to recall that on C-5s as well. Even with the gain down, they're big targets. Fighter formations you'd get glimpses of dash 2 if they weren't tight.
     
  18. HornetDriver

    HornetDriver Filing Flight Plan

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    A no-gyro approach is a combination of no-gyro vectors with a radar approach. No-gyro vectors are when the controller tells you "turn left... stop turn". That's only necessary if your primary attitude (specifically heading) indicator has failed. On a normal ASR or PAR the controller will tell you if you're right or left of course, with a heading to fly; no-gyro vectors are not a part of it.
     
  19. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Yes, I know. I was an USAF controller. I was confused what you meant, thought you were saying that no-gyro vectoring on a surveillance approach is not used.
     
  20. WannFly

    WannFly En-Route

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    I asked for an ASR approach in KFAR, they said they don't so it here . Gotto go back to BIS and try it again. Kinda fun. May be they offer it at GFK, last time I was there on a dual night XC, think there were about 25 planes in the airport, all students at 2300 hrs.... too many freaking planes to watch out for

    Sent from my SM-G935V using Tapatalk
     
  21. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Isn't Minot Air Force base nearby? If they have approach control you might get one there.
     
  22. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Final Approach

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    GFK doesn't have one. Neither does Minot. Either check the radar mins section if you have an approach plate near by, or even quicker, check on Airnav. It'll be at the bottom of instrument approaches listed as "radar approaches available."
     
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  23. WannFly

    WannFly En-Route

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    nopes, I am no where close to Minot. but planning to go there soon to collect a stamp or two
     
  24. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Where's KFAR? Thought that was Fargo ND.
     
  25. iamtheari

    iamtheari Cleared for Takeoff

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    KFAR-KMOT is 200 nm. Distance is a relative thing. (Edit to add: KGFK is only 60 nm from KFAR, so KRDR would be a significantly closer AFB to @WannFly, if only it had a radar approach to offer.)

    But @Velocity173 is correct. Bismarck Approach has ASR capable of providing a radar approach to KBIS and Y19, but oddly enough neither Minot AFB or Grand Forks AFB approach control has it. Nor does Fargo despite its big, huge TRSA. I haven't flown the Bismarck radar approach yet but I recall being surprised to learn about this once when I asked around here how to ask for it at an air force base.
     
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  26. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Final Approach

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    With an Army NG unit there, BIS is prime for a radar approach. Y19 is also a good example of an off station ASR approach. 6 miles away, slightly higher than BIS with no obstacles.
     
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  27. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Guess things change. Used to be every Air Force base had surveillance approaches and of course PARs.
     
  28. WannFly

    WannFly En-Route

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    Well it's plenty far for this wimpy pilot

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  29. iamtheari

    iamtheari Cleared for Takeoff

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    GF AFB doesn’t even have manned aircraft anymore :p
     
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  30. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Wow. A few bases (mostly ANG I think) are losing planes and getting drone missions.
     
  31. fudge80

    fudge80 Pre-Flight

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  32. KaiGywer

    KaiGywer Pre-takeoff checklist

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  33. WannFly

    WannFly En-Route

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  34. Sinistar

    Sinistar Line Up and Wait

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    Aren't you wondering if he landed with-traffic or against. :)

    On a new side note, his wings are in the right place but tragically, he lost both wing struts during the incident.
     
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  35. KaiGywer

    KaiGywer Pre-takeoff checklist

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    "Schauer guided the plane into the north ditch after landing". Flying Fargo to Bismarck and put the plane in the north ditch would indicate he landed with traffic. Unless of course he did a 180 before landing.
     
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  36. WannFly

    WannFly En-Route

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    U gonna start a war on low vs high wing huh

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  37. Sinistar

    Sinistar Line Up and Wait

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    You currently outrank me :)
     
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