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Quiz: What Happens If You Lose Your...

Live from the Flight Deck

Pilots are great at losing stuff, because that's what we train for. Lost radios, lost instruments, lost engines...no sweat, right?

  1. 1) You lose pitot heat, and your pitot tube ices over on climb out. Your static ports remain open. What instruments fail?

    The airspeed indicator is only instrument that uses ram pressure from the pitot tube, so it will fail.  The vertical speed indicator and altimeter are connected to the static ports, but not the ram port on the pitot tube, so they'll work.  The remaining instruments aren't connected to the pitot static system, at all - so they'll also work.

    The airspeed indicator is only instrument that uses ram pressure from the pitot tube, so it will fail.  The vertical speed indicator and altimeter are connected to the static ports, but not the ram port on the pitot tube, so they'll work.  The remaining instruments aren't connected to the pitot static system, at all - so they'll also work.

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  2. 2) You're flying westbound on Victor 244 at 13,000 over NADIN with a complete radio failure. Denver Center last cleared you to 13,000 and has not told you to expect higher. When should you start your climb higher?
    View Enroute Chart

    Normally, you should start your climb to a higher MEA as you cross the fix where the higher MEA applies.  However, in this case, PAROX has a 13300' minimum crossing altitude for aircraft westbound on Victor 244.  In this case, you should start your climb early enough to cross PAROX at or above the 13300' minimum crossing altitude, and continue climbing to the new 15500' MEA.

    Normally, you should start your climb to a higher MEA as you cross the fix where the higher MEA applies.  However, in this case, PAROX has a 13300' minimum crossing altitude for aircraft westbound on Victor 244.  In this case, you should start your climb early enough to cross PAROX at or above the 13300' minimum crossing altitude, and continue climbing to the new 15500' MEA.

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  3. 3) As you descend below the decision height on an ILS in patchy fog, the tower reports 1/4 SM visibility. The approach requires 1/2 SM visibility, but you can clearly see down the length of the 6000' runway. Can you continue?

    The approach minimums specify flight visibility, not reported visibility.  Since you can clearly see down the 6000' runway (well more than 1/2 SM), you have the required flight visibility and can continue to land.

    The approach minimums specify flight visibility, not reported visibility.  Since you can clearly see down the 6000' runway (well more than 1/2 SM), you have the required flight visibility and can continue to land.

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  4. 4) Denver Center reports, "Cirrus Two Five Bravo, radar contact lost." You're on an IFR flight plan, cleared via Victor 8 to Rifle (RIL). You've passed ZUKSO northeast bound. What are you NOT required to report as you cross JNC?
    View Enroute Chart

    Since you're not in radar contact, you need to make a position report.  However, you aren't required to report your airspeed during a position report.  FAR 91.183 requires that you report your time and altitude crossing the point (your position).  The AIM expands on the report in section 5-3-2, requesting your identification, position, time, altitude or flight level, type of flight plan (unless you're calling center or approach control), ETA and the name of the next reporting point, and the name of the next succeeding reporting point along your route of flight.  It's a mouthful.

    Since you're not in radar contact, you need to make a position report.  However, you aren't required to report your airspeed during a position report.  FAR 91.183 requires that you report your time and altitude crossing the point (your position).  The AIM expands on the report in section 5-3-2, requesting your identification, position, time, altitude or flight level, type of flight plan (unless you're calling center or approach control), ETA and the name of the next reporting point, and the name of the next succeeding reporting point along your route of flight.  It's a mouthful.

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  5. 5) You lose static port heat, and ice buildup clogs your static ports. You open your alternate static port. In most light aircraft, how will the altimeter react?

    In most light aircraft, the alternate static port takes air from the cabin.  The airflow around the outside of the cabin slightly lowers cabin pressure - below ambient static pressure.  So, when you open your alternate static port, most light aircraft will show a small, brief climb on the VSI, and the altimeter will indicate slightly higher.  Following the Airplane Flight Manual's instructions minimizes this change - so use your checklists when you engage alternate static.

    In most light aircraft, the alternate static port takes air from the cabin.  The airflow around the outside of the cabin slightly lowers cabin pressure - below ambient static pressure.  So, when you open your alternate static port, most light aircraft will show a small, brief climb on the VSI, and the altimeter will indicate slightly higher.  Following the Airplane Flight Manual's instructions minimizes this change - so use your checklists when you engage alternate static.

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  6. 6) You're flying into Jackson Hole and decide to fly the LOC RWY 19 because the ILS glideslope is inoperative. You are equipped with two GPS/VOR/LOC Nav radios, but you don't have DME, and your GPS units can't pick up any satellites. You decide to fly the LOC RWY 19. How can you identify the final approach fix?
    View Jeppesen Chart
    View FAA Chart

    This approach doesn't require DME.  You can identify the final approach fix (FAPMO) by the intersection of the 241 radial from DNW and the localizer.  Once you cross FAPMO, you can identify the missed approach waypoint by timing past FAPMO.

    This approach doesn't require DME.  You can identify the final approach fix (FAPMO) by the intersection of the 241 radial from DNW and the localizer.  Once you cross FAPMO, you can identify the missed approach waypoint by timing past FAPMO.

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Nice try, but you might want to find a CFII...

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KJAC-LOC19-JEP X
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V244-JEP X
V244-NOS X

Colin Cutler

Colin is a Boldmethod co-founder, pilot and graphic artist. He's been a flight instructor at the University of North Dakota, an airline pilot on the CRJ-200, and has directed development of numerous commercial and military training systems. You can reach him at colin@boldmethod.com.

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