Steam gauges and IFR avionics

Discussion in 'Cleared for the Approach' started by jeffs chips, Jun 2, 2019.

Tags:
  1. jeffs chips

    jeffs chips Filing Flight Plan

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2019
    Messages:
    29
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    bulgin
    Hello. I'm considering the purchase of a single-engine aircraft and I know this may sound like blasphemy, but I'd rather stay with steam gauges for a while (mostly because of cost). My concern is that I know if steam gauges die in an approach, it's not a nice thing to have happen. I also know that it's not allowable to fly an IFR/RNAV approach with portable GPS.

    However, what is a recommended portable GPS device that can be used in an emergency and provide guidance down to the ground? I do understand that these devices are not approved but I would like to have something in the flight bag that can be used in a pinch. Thanks.
     
    mryan75 likes this.
  2. Walboy

    Walboy Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2014
    Messages:
    1,057
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Walboy
    Best thing is to be proficient at partial panel procedures. That's been around long before GPS.
     
    PilotRPI and dtuuri like this.
  3. jeffs chips

    jeffs chips Filing Flight Plan

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2019
    Messages:
    29
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    bulgin
    And if the entire panel goes down? That's why I'm inquiring about a suggested totally separate device powered by it's own source of electricity.
     
  4. Walboy

    Walboy Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2014
    Messages:
    1,057
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Walboy
    Sounds like you may not have had any instrument training. The idea behind partial panel is to use instruments that are independent of the vacuum system used by the attitude indicator and heading indicator. The electrically driven gyro in the turn coordinator is used to keep wings level during a vacuum system failure. Static instruments are used to control pitch. The turn coordinator is a required instrument for IFR flight in traditional steam gauge airplanes. See 91.205 (d).

    Also, I recommend reading the Instrument Flying Handbook put out by the FAA and is downloadable for free.

    https://www.faa.gov/regulations_policies/handbooks_manuals/aviation/media/FAA-H-8083-15B.pdf

    GPS is for navigation guidance, not for attitude reference.
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2019
  5. alfadog

    alfadog En-Route

    Joined:
    May 3, 2010
    Messages:
    4,955
    Location:
    Miami
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    alfadog
    Steam gauges have nothing to do with your GPS. The standard 6-pack of "steam gauges" is for aircraft control about the three axes, not navigation on the approach per se (leaving out HSI for the moment). If you lose those in IMC, you go partial panel to control the a/c unless you have a better backup. You can have a very snazzy suite of GPS equipment and still have steam gauges and many a/c do.
     
  6. jeffs chips

    jeffs chips Filing Flight Plan

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2019
    Messages:
    29
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    bulgin
    My bad I should have been more clear and not mentioned gps, full panel failure along with steam gauges in the same thread, I stand corrected.

    Let's just say your *entire* panel goes down - steam gauges, partial panel instruments, radios, turn coordinator, auto pilot, HSI, altitude,radio (other than portable backup) everything in the *entire* panel. Entire as in *entire*. Kaput as in gone.

    What type of backup GPS portable device - acknowledged that it is not to be used except in an emergency - would be recommended to have onboard? GPS as in something with moving map and attitude backup.
     
  7. Walboy

    Walboy Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2014
    Messages:
    1,057
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Walboy
  8. Ravioli

    Ravioli Final Approach

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2014
    Messages:
    6,791
    Location:
    Fort Worth
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Pasta Man
    You'd need to be in a Cirrus so you can pull the red handle. The chances of all those systems dying at the same time are very low.
     
    Grum.Man and Brad Smith like this.
  9. alfadog

    alfadog En-Route

    Joined:
    May 3, 2010
    Messages:
    4,955
    Location:
    Miami
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    alfadog
    IDK but whatever you choose, have two of them. I guess.
     
  10. Cap'n Jack

    Cap'n Jack Final Approach

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2006
    Messages:
    6,695
    Location:
    Nebraska
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Cap'n Jack
    Really, that won't happen. As mentioned earlier, the heading and attitude indicator are vacuum powered in most planes, and run off the engine (with a very few exceptions). The turn coordinator is off the electrical system, which is completely separate from the vacuum system. Altitude and air speed are from the pitot-static system, another entirely independent system. The magnetic compass stands on its own.

    Better than a GPS might be a hand-held radio, the portable backup you mentioned. If you lose electricity, use that to get vectors and use the magnetic compass for course. There are also procedures for loss of communications. your vacuum based attitude indicator will still work. If you lose the vacuum system, electrical system, pitot-static system, and the compass all at once, you've got more problems than a GPS might solve. @Walboy gave some good advice and commentary.

    An iPad running ForeFlight, or the Garmin software, will give you some charts. Some tablets have the GPS built in. I'd be careful trusting them because the GPS signal bounces around and sometimes leads to a false position. I've seen hand-helds a mile off the actual position.
     
  11. Rgbeard

    Rgbeard Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2017
    Messages:
    1,219
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ and Ensenada, Mexico
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    rgbeard
    It seems you need a little education on how traditional instruments actually work.

    You’re not likely to have a simultaneous vacuum failure, electrical failure and fully-iced pitotstatic system.

    IMO, There’s no scenario for “losing the whole panel” in real life.
     
  12. mryan75

    mryan75 Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2014
    Messages:
    1,201
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    mryan75
    Foreflight.
     
  13. alfadog

    alfadog En-Route

    Joined:
    May 3, 2010
    Messages:
    4,955
    Location:
    Miami
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    alfadog
    I am as guilty of falling into a bad POA habit as anyone. That is, attacking the premise on which you base your question rather than addressing the question. Though this thread is not a particularity bad example, you do have answers to your questions mixed in with criticism of the premise. I am just musing because I have no real answer for you beyond speculation because I am a steam gauge guy and not a gadget guy (not to imply that the two are mutually exclusive).

    edit: I fear that I am a bit of an aviation Luddite.
     
    labbadabba likes this.
  14. apr911

    apr911 Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2015
    Messages:
    397
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    apr911
    As others have commented, the chances of losing your entire panel with steam gauges is very remote. The same cant be said about a glass cockpit but that's why the FAA requires the PFD and SFD be swappable and why you'll also still see some basic instruments (particularly the attitude indicator) even in aircraft with glass cockpits (particularly the airliners).

    The biggest risk you face when flying instruments is going to be an electrical failure. Without power, you'll have no communications, VOR nav or GPS nav. For this reason I carry a handheld radio. They also sell handheld radios capable of VOR/ILS navigation; that's your best bet for a backup. It gives you the ability to communicate and to shoot VOR, LOC, ILS and even ASR/PAR approaches.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2019
  15. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2007
    Messages:
    17,215
    Location:
    Catawba, NC
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    FlyingRon
    I've got steam gauges, but a good moving map in the panel. Of all the stuff I have (autopilot, HSI, etc...) the moving map is the one I rely on the most.
     
  16. 1RTK1

    1RTK1 Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2014
    Messages:
    1,340
    Location:
    Central Left Coast
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Ralph
    “IF” and as mentioned before is a big if to lose everything, have a hand held fore flight and sentry/stratus with AHRS.
    My adsb In is the sentry coupled with foreflight, the AHRS is accurate from the little I have played with it. I know it’s not legal, but if everything goes TU............... I’d use anything available to me.
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2019
  17. bflynn

    bflynn Final Approach

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2012
    Messages:
    5,241
    Location:
    Fuquay Varina, NC
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Brian Flynn
    Then you need to go play the lottery. That's like 8 different independent system failures. Maybe not 8, but far more than one should ever expect without also loosing the engine and wings.

    Foreflight pro has a synthetic vision mode, so if the above is a legitimate concern for you, be sure to get the pro version and test it out to assure yourself it works.
     
  18. jeffs chips

    jeffs chips Filing Flight Plan

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2019
    Messages:
    29
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    bulgin
    Thanks all! Super educational and instructional - from everyone. Really appreciate the answers every single one of them both insightful and helpful. I just don't want to become a statistic whilst relying on technology that never fails. I'm pretty sure the people at Boeing would love to tutor me on what I should have done, but never say never. . . . I'll just buy two planes. That should settle it.
     
  19. Rgbeard

    Rgbeard Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2017
    Messages:
    1,219
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ and Ensenada, Mexico
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    rgbeard
    The lack of vocal inflections is a disadvantage here. Trying to decide if we have all just been told to go fark ourselves. Leaning towards yes.
     
    PPC1052, PaulS, WannFly and 2 others like this.
  20. olasek

    olasek Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2009
    Messages:
    1,687
    Location:
    Oakland, CA
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    olasek
    My concern would be making typical piloting errors that lead to deadly accidents far more than equipment failure.
    They are also far more probable statistically, pilots die and rarely is is because of some equipment failure.
    If steam gauges are your choice I would definitely invest in a portable terrain avoidance tool (like synthetic vision). You may get
    it form ForeFlight are other sources.
     
    PaulS likes this.
  21. benyflyguy

    benyflyguy Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2018
    Messages:
    2,204
    Location:
    NEPA
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    benyflyguy
    Agree. The scenario the OP is concerned about will not be saved with a simple handheld backup as a much bigger problem just happened. That is a pull the chute moment if equipped of not then your time is up.
     
  22. Challenged

    Challenged Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2011
    Messages:
    1,724
    Location:
    Louisiana
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Challenged
  23. chemgeek

    chemgeek Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2009
    Messages:
    1,148
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    chemgeek
    As others have mentioned, your "steam gauge" panel has electric components (typically turn coordinator, COM and NAV units), vacuum-driven components (typically AI and DG), and pitot-static components (ASI, VSI, altimeter). (You also have a compass but let's leave that out for now.) It is very unlikely you will lose more than one of these components with a system failure, and it is possible to fly with any two of these systems functional (although the pitot-static failure would be really confusing), and an IR pilot will practice partial panel with either electrics or vacuum "failed".

    Having said that, it is not at all a bad idea to have a backup mapping navigator for positional awareness. This can potentially simplify navigation in a partial panel emergency. I have a Garmin AERA 510 mounted to the windshield bow and wired to ships power so it is always fully charged. If the entire electrical system crumped, I would still have about an hour or so of GPS navigation from the AERA battery. And of course an EFB tablet could perform the same function, although my AERA will also receive XM weather., which is a nice extra. Neither is really suitable for flying an IFR approach, but positional awareness will be a big help during a partial panel emergency. In a pinch, you can get pseudo-altitude from your GPS unit, but it could be a hundred feet off or more depending on the positional solution geometry. But approximate info is better than none, I suppose.
     
  24. idahoflier

    idahoflier Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2017
    Messages:
    687
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    idahoflier
    Don't fly IFR, problem solved!
     
  25. jeffs chips

    jeffs chips Filing Flight Plan

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2019
    Messages:
    29
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    bulgin
    I was not being sarcastic or snarky, I truly appreciate all the great advise and ideas. No ill intent or otherwise and I apologize if my writing telegraphed that message to some readers.
     
    Rgbeard likes this.
  26. jeffs chips

    jeffs chips Filing Flight Plan

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2019
    Messages:
    29
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    bulgin
    This really looks interesting. Apparently it's sensor/electrical generator suspended under the wing which broadcasts all manner of aircraft orientation and other useful information wireless to the receiving monitor in the cabin. Pretty cool:


    https://levilaviation.com/thebom/
     
  27. simtech

    simtech En-Route PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2012
    Messages:
    2,672
    Location:
    mississippi
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Simtech
    foreflight pro subscription and a status2. Gives you moving map gps and AHRS.
     
  28. PaulS

    PaulS Final Approach

    Joined:
    May 29, 2007
    Messages:
    8,804
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    PaulS
    Don't worry about it, that's what we do here, especially to new guys. Just bring your thick skin, ignore the chaff and you'll be fine. I would reread Osalek's post as it is something that seems to hurt more pilots than equipment failures. As far as portable back ups, an ipad with foreflight and a portable unit like a Stratus could help. But it needs to be on and ready to go.
     
  29. Rgbeard

    Rgbeard Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2017
    Messages:
    1,219
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ and Ensenada, Mexico
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    rgbeard

    Me likey this.
     
  30. WannFly

    WannFly En-Route

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2016
    Messages:
    4,483
    Location:
    KFAR
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Priyo
    I don’t remember who but someone in this board have this is his plane
     
  31. alfadog

    alfadog En-Route

    Joined:
    May 3, 2010
    Messages:
    4,955
    Location:
    Miami
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    alfadog
    Se post #22 above.
     
    WannFly likes this.
  32. Challenged

    Challenged Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2011
    Messages:
    1,724
    Location:
    Louisiana
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Challenged
    I have one (mentioned it above), it's sweet.
     
    WannFly likes this.
  33. N1120A

    N1120A Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2018
    Messages:
    806
    Location:
    AG5B MYF
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    N1120A
    If you had a complete failure of any and everything, your concerns are FAR worse than staying IFR legal on approaches. At that point, you either maintain VFR (hopefully with a back up radio) and go find somewhere you have the gas to get in VFR, or you are in a major emergency and you use everything you can. At that point, you are doing compass turns and using engine noise, assuming your pitot static, vacuum and electrical systems all pooped the bed at the same time, which is probably less likely than being struck by lightning.

    For such a catastrophic scenario, your best backup is likely a tablet talking to a GDL or Stratus.