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Procedures

Posts about aircraft operating procedures

I once read Henry Winkler's account of his audition for the part of Arthur "Fonzie" Fonzarelli in the 1970s TV show Happy Days. The script called for him to walk up to a mirror and comb his hair in stereotypical "greaser" style. But the moment he got the comb out, he had an insight into the character. The Fonz was perfect. His hair was perfect. It didn't need combing. He looked at himself in the mirror, paused, smiled, and ad libbed what would become the character's signature utterance.

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When I was a boy, my parents and I moved to the small town on the Northern California coast where my dad grew up. On one of my first trips to the beach, I remember playing in the wet sand along the shoreline. Something caught my eye and I bent down for a closer look. The next thing I knew, my mother was snatching me up off the ground just as a big wave came surging up the beach.

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IPC

The GPS display was black. The attitude indicator and heading indicator were covered by yellow sticky-notes. I was being vectored for a VOR approach at Stockton, California.

"Skyhawk 377, 6 miles from the VOR, fly heading 280 to intercept the final approach course, maintain two thousand five hundred until established, cleared for the VOR 29 right approach," said the Norcal Approach controller.

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It was a beautiful morning at the small gliderport just outside of Middletown, California. A faint mist was rising from the ground as the sun warmed the dew-covered grass. I was a student pilot learning to fly in gliders and had only a few hours under my belt. My instructor that morning was Jim Indrebo, CFI, DPE, and champion glider pilot. He and his wife Connie, also an instructor, own and operate Crazy Creek Air Adventures in Southern Lake County.

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"Wind 320 at 12. Peak gusts 18," intoned the automated weather broadcast at Little River airport on the North coast of California. I was flying with my wife Janet and Eddie Pippin, Canine Aviator in our club's Cessna 172, and we were approaching from the Southeast, intending to land on runway 29. The wind and the surrounding terrain at Little River always make the approach a bit squirrely, but it's usually blowing pretty much straight down the runway. I thought about the Airmet for strong surface winds in effect for Northern California coastal waters and did the math out loud.

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