April 2011 Issue

Is This Approach Legal?

Any instrument-rated pilot should know, as a double-I we knew well would stress, "While you’re flying straight and level is a good time to get set up for the approach." Sage advice, but that was back in the days when pilots of most personal airplanes considered themselves fortunate to have a working DME. Moving maps hadn’t been invented and the first GPS satellite had yet to be launched. As long as we had current plates—which was most of the time—and a record of a VOR check having been performed in the preceding 30 days, we were good to shoot almost any approach this side of a CAT IIIa ILS, including the then-feared-but-now-rare NDB procedure.

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