Cessna pilot becomes incapacitated in-flight, intercepted by FlyDoc aircraft

October, 27, 2020

We don’t normally cover real world events, such as a possible pilot incapacitation. We obviously don’t have emergencies such as this in Infinite Flight. You fly while you’re on your couch. This interaction was so interesting thought that I felt I wanted to share it. The ATSB is still actively investing the cause of this incident.

It’s a testament to the power of remaining calm in difficult situations.

The Hurricane Hunter ‘Nav’

October, 26, 2020

A crew is made up of a minimum of five members consisting of a pilot, copilot, navigator, aerial reconnaissance weather officer, and loadmaster who is also the dropsonde operator.

While the pilots handle the controls, there is a third person positioned behind them, known as the navigator or ‘nav’ for short.

Navigators are responsible for preparing flight plans, which include routes, headings, checkpoints, and times. During flight, they operate from their station using equipment such as GPS, radio, radar, and communication systems that assist in guiding the aircraft through weather.

Maj. Mark Withee, 53rd WRS navigator said “As a nav, we have to be the middle man between the weather officer and pilots, and we have to be able to compromise on a route to get to an area of interest, which is crucial in a storm”.

Withee explained that while weather officers are gathering weather data and are requesting flyover of an area of interest, it may not be safe for the aircraft to take a direct route. Thus, the navigator plots the safest course to accomplish the request and accomplish their mission.

You can track the hurricane reconnaissance missions on Tropical Tidbits, which plots out active recon data. And you can track the recon team’s movements on the National Hurricane Center website.

References: Paraphrased from “Hurricane Hunters: navigators guide through storms”

Niner

October, 25, 2020

Being on the same page is key in controlling. In Infinite Flight we have the luxury of using text-to-speech. It’s a luxury because not everyone speaks English fluently, and in the real world dialects have to be taken into account. That is why you hear “niner” or “tree” instead of “nine” or “three.

The pronunciation of the digits 3, 4, 5, and 9 differs from standard English – being pronounced tree, fower, fife, and niner. The digit 3 is specified as tree so that it is not pronounced sri; the long pronunciation of 4 (still found in some English dialects) keeps it somewhat distinct from for; 5 is pronounced with a second “f” because the normal pronunciation with a “v” is easily confused with “fire” (a command to shoot); and 9 has an extra syllable to keep it distinct from German nein ‘no’.

The phonetic alphabet is not a random selection of words.

The final choice of code words for the letters of the alphabet and for the digits was made after hundreds of thousands of comprehension tests involving 31 nationalities.

Reference: Wikipedia

AMA with John Goering

October, 24, 2020

Please welcome John Goering for an AMA “Ask Me Anything”!

John is the developer of several fantastic third-party apps for use in both Infinite Flight, other flight simulators and games. He’s the creator of the In-Flight suite of apps that include In-Flight Assistant, In-Flight Operations, and In-Flight Instruments. His most notable and latest creation though is SmoothTrack, a mobile app that is the best input source for the free OpenTrack software which enables you to use head tracking in your games.

You have to check out each one of these apps individually. We highly recommend them as they can provide a ton of extra immersion and functionality that you may not have known you were missing.

You will be able to ask John question right now. Leave an aviation, software development, or general question in the comments below.

Changes to Check-In and Flight Following

October, 23, 2020

In the v20.2 Infinite Flight update comes a subtle change to the way Check In and Flight Following are shown on the pilots end and a small procedure change. Changes that will hopefully make it more clear as to what the uses of check in and flight following are for.

Check In (IFR)
Check In is a request for IFR service from ATC. Pilots are expected to follow their filed route in the absence of ATC-assigned headings, altitudes, and speeds. ATC is responsible for aircraft separation from aircraft and terrain.

Flight Following (VFR)
Flight Following is a VFR service that can be requested by a pilot with or without a flight plan. Pilots are expected to see and avoid other traffic and may be subject to ATC altitude and heading assignments. VFR aircraft with a filed flight plan are expected to follow it.

If flying VFR with a flight plan, you may request the destination that is auto-populated or you may send “Flying VFR” if maneuvering without a flight plan.

On initial contact with a radar facility, only send one or the other. Checking In and then requesting Flight Following is a warnable offence.

More information on the change can be found here.

Long Hauls; Planned Arrival Runway

October, 22, 2020

When planning long hauls, it’s difficult to know which runway you’ll arrive on. Winds can change, the ATIS can change, and traffic can change. There are many independent variables to take into account, but must you think about them before departure? Maybe next time, you can plan in a way that allows you to change your arrival runway at the last minute. Here are a few tips to aid you in doing just that.

  1. Check out windy.com for wind forecasts up to a week in advance.
  2. Choose a STAR that works for all runways so that you may quickly change your approach.
  3. Be alert when arriving to combat any changes to the ATIS.
  4. You can always receive vectors from Approach rather than following a STAR. Simply request an approach without a valid FPL.

KASE’s LOC frequency shouldn’t have a glide-slope

October, 21, 2020

If you’ve flown into Aspen-Pitkin County Airport (KASE), you’ll notice that you are able to tune into the LOC frequency for runway 15.

The localizer (LOC) provides lateral course guidance, side to side, during an approach to landing. What it does not provide is vertical guidance, up and down. This is different compared to an ILS approach which will provide both lateral and vertical guidance. KASE does not have an ILS approach procedure.

You may have also noticed, if you’ve flown an approach into KASE in Infinite Flight, that the LOC frequency has a glide-slope. The approach also isn’t nearly as steep as shown on the approach plates for runway 15, each showing that the glide slope should be 6.59 degrees. This is different compared to the standard 3.00 degrees that is normally used at most other airports. It’s one of the steepest approaches in the world. Here is why that is, from a developer.

”KASE has LOC/DME, but no glideslope/full ILS, so from what I understand pilots need to make this 6? approach based on sight and no instrumentation other than localiser info (and likely some dead reckoning calculations).

Since Infinite Flight sees the LOC, it must treat it as an ILS, but since it doesn’t have an assigned glideslope, it just defaults it to the standard 3? approach.”

I found this interesting. You wouldn’t know this without looking at the approach plates beforehand, which could be misleading if you didn’t know this information.

The most fun you can have is to learn how to understand the approach plates so you can fly these types of approaches properly. Do your research before setting up a flight and reap the rewards on arrival. It’s a very satisfying approach to pull off.

References: CFI Notebook

How do Controllers On-Guard Aircraft in the Real World?

October, 21, 2020

In Infinite Flight, if someone doesn’t tune into your frequency you just tap on their aircraft on the map then Send On Guard Warning. Some may think this is a concept exclusive to IF, but this is not the case.

In the real world, all aircraft are tuned to a certain frequency at all times. This frequency is 121.5 MHz and is the international distress frequency. If a controller wishes to On-Guard an aircraft, they tune to this frequency and transmit the same message we hear in IF “ABC123, you’re in an active airspace, please contact Melbourne Center on 127.0”.

An example of this being used in real life is MH370. When the flight never contacted Ho Chi Minh Center on that fateful night, attempts were made to reach the pilots on the distress frequency.

The Dip

October, 20, 2020

From Seth Godin:

Asking the question, the one I get asked the most, “how do I know if it’s a dip or a dead end?” is the wrong question, just as asking, “how do I know if it’s remarkable?” isn’t the key to the Purple Cow. No, the key insight is to ask the question, not to know the answer in advance. Asking yourself, “is this something that will respond to guts, effort and investment?” helps you decide whether or not this is where you can commit. And then, if you do commit, you’re not browsing, you’re in it.

The leader who is struggling with inactivity within their virtual organization. The radar trainee who continues to have terrain separation busts in training. The local trainee who just failed their final IFATC theory attempt. Are you in a dip or at a dead end?

The Dip by Seth, my favorite book of all time, is a book I’d highly recommend anyone read, that you can apply to almost any difficult conflict when you’re at a crossroad. Quick check every once and a while and then you’re off, more focused then ever.

How I’d check ATIS while flying

October, 19, 2020

There’s several different scenarios for how I’d check ATIS when flying when I hear broadcasted “Attention all aircraft, information Bravo is now current”. That is the broadcast message used by ground and tower when a new ATIS is published.

  • Before pushback and while taxiing: I’d check ATIS, not D-ATIS. D-ATIS is a good reference though. I’d check so that I can have the updated information and be able to use the current information in the ATC transmissions so ATC knows I have the current information.
  • Departing: I’d check ATIS, not D-ATIS. Same reason as before.
  • Before contacting approach: Check ATIS, same reason as before.
  • While with approach: I would check D-ATIS, I’d never leave approach’s frequency.
  • If approach isn’t open when with Tower: Check ATIS or D-ATIS.
  • On final: Check nothing unless I’m asked to, I’m landing.

Checking ATIS would just be a quick in and out of the frequency so that I can read it in the ATC log or D-ATIS and be able to use the phonetic letter in the ATC messages.

It’s important that all controllers and pilots have the same information. The way controllers check this is by checking what information you have. This information will be included in the message you send in your pushback, taxi, takeoff, landing, or approach requests. By tuning into ATIS it’ll automatically add the phonetic letter (i.e. Alpha, Bravo) for the ATIS you heard to your message. So you have to tune in again to get the new phonetic letter.