Tuesday, May 10, 2005

A.I.P. Updates

I'm updating my A.I.P. with the pages they mailed me, only a few weeks late. (That ambiguous sentence allows me to imply that Transport Canada sent me the pages late, and not that they have been sitting in a pile of bank statements and pizza coupons for the last month. You decide which is true). There will only be a couple more updates until the little white ring binder of advice to pilots is retired forever, replaced by the new A.I.M., so I'd better get it right.

What sky-shattering changes have occured in the last few weeks to endanger the tardy-updating pilot? Lets see. They have removed a diagram showing the hold short line markings for non-instrument runways. There used to be a single solid line and a single dashed line for a non-instrument runway and a double solid with a double dashed for an instrument runway. The replacement page shows only the double line case. I haven't noticed any line repainting going on, but I can't honestly say whether there are single or double lines on any given runway. Now I'll have to look at all the hold short lines I cross, to verify. My hypothesis for the reason for this change is that the introduction of GPS means that there may be instrument approaches developed for almost any runway sophisticated to have paint on it, so the instrument versus non-instrument distinction goes away.

Speaking of GPS, the entire section on GPS approaches with vertical guidance has been rewritten to incorporate a distinction between those based on WAAS and those based on BARO VNAV. Sounds impressive, doesn't it? It is, sort of. I'll explain it another day.

One-letter morse code identifiers for NDBs have all been replaced with two or three letter identifiers. I knew that. The section on ILS was edited, giving me opportunity to refresh my knowledge that the ILS should provide reliable coverage 35 degrees each side of centreline for 10 nm from the transmitter and then ten degrees each side of centreline for the next 8 nm, and that the normal width of the localizer is five degrees. I had forgotten that it could vary between three and six degrees in width. That means that some ILSes are more sensitive than others for the same distance from the transmitter. There's some stuff on LORAN-C in there, too, but I've never used LORAN-C in my life.

Sept-Îles has been removed from the list of airports where ATC is available in both English and French. I suspect this reflects the closure of the tower as opposed to a sudden refusal to speak French, because they are still willing to relay IFR messages and provide advisory services in French.

"Flares dispensed in immediate vicinity" is now a method of indicating interception of an aircraft. It's no longer terrifying enough to have a military jet scream up in front of you and rock its wings, but now it might shoot flares at you. There's actually a circular on it, in addition to the dry change to the interception procedures list.

NORAD interceptors may dispense flares in your vicinity as an attempt to communicate the following:
1. Pay attention;
2. Contact air traffic control immediately;
3. Follow the interceptors' visual ICAO signals;
4. Non-compliance may result in the use of force.
There's even two pictures of flares being dispensed. Okay, I'll keep that in mind. I can't really imagine someone deriving any meaning from the very nearby presence of a military jet spewing flares besides pay attention and do what I say, or you're going to die.

Lots of changes are like those puzzles they have in the kids' pages of newspapers. Can you spot the difference? Typos corrected, commas inserted, shall changed to should, and telephone numbers updated. The supplements include airspace restrictions for a royal visit. Ooh, that's next week. I'm not allowed to loiter while they are here, else someone might dispense flares in my immediate vicinity.

And that's it. I'll report back about the hold short lines.


Anonymous said...

LORAN-C is a Coast Guard thing, is it not?

Anonymous said...

LORAN-C is a Coast Guard thing, is it not?

Anonymous said...

Sometimes, there is an awful lot of jargon.
And if someone fires a flare at you, shouldn't you have a few air-to-air missiles to shoot back with?

Scott Johnson said...

When I was SCUBA diving, twenty or so years ago, the dive boat captains all used LORAN-C to find the dive sites.

Oh, and flares aren't "shot" ... they're basically dropped, ejected from their little tubes by spring tension or from dispensers by an electromechanical ejector. The only way you'd be hit by one is if the fighter flew across your nose and flipped one in your path.

Aviatrix said...

LORAN-C is a naval navigation tool, yes. But it covers huge areas of the world with just a few stations, and some aircraft use it too. Maybe I'll find out who and write about that later.

I know the flares aren't literally being shot at the offending pilot, but I imagine that if I were piloting a small, slow airplane in the immediate vicinity of a very fast pointy airplane that was "dispersing" flares, the distinction would not be instantly apparent. Firing, ejecting, dispersing, dropping, flipping ... if something comes out of a little tube on an interceptor aircraft in my immediate vicinity I'm going to be paying attention to a few final words to the deity of my choice, even if that includes choosing one then and there. I'm thinking launching anything in a retaliatory manner would escalate the situation to the use of force.

Anonymous said...

The evening news today keeps talking about figher jets "shooting flares at" the Cessna 150 "trainer" that strayed too close to the White House today without having been granted an "authorized ID code". I fear I'm going to have to decide that the mass media gets everything subtly wrong.