AEA Pilot's Guide 2020-2021 - 34

CRASH AVOIDANCE

Continued from page 33

measure of weather avoidance when the storm isn't embedded
but visible as individual cells.
Picking a way to thread around such weather requires
staying at least 20 miles away from the storm clouds. And
flying through the rain of a convective storm cell is never a wise
choice.
But pilots need to know that the colorful Doppler weather
radar images are always a few minutes old when received -
and thus only good for strategic planning, not real-time, live
weather avoidance. For that capability, airborne weather radar is
the best solution, though out of reach for most pilots - and sadly
unavailable for most single-engine aircraft.
Terrain avoidance
Pilots enjoy a variety of terrain-alert, terrain-avoidance and
obstacle-warning-and-avoidance tools - many of them standalone systems, such as ground-proximity and warning systems
and radar altimeters, others a feature of EFBs, as well as
portable and panel-mounted GPS navigators.
The terrain-alert-and-avoidance systems generally provide
active alerting, both aural and visual.
The warnings indigenous to MFDs and GPS navigators, both
panel-mounted and portable, tend to be passive, as do similar
features in EFB software.
It is, as with every alert and warning tool, critical that the
pilot know, understand and recognize their functions - such
as terrain on a moving map turning yellow and then red as the
aircraft gets closer to rising terrain or obstacle.
A relatively new feature in the past few years offers pilots the
option to select a profile view of the flight path, in addition to the
common top-down view typically displayed on EFBs, portable
and panel-mounted navigators, and MFDs. Viewed in profile,
this graphic shows the pilot in advance when terrain elevation
changes await ahead and when ground-based obstacles or
airborne traffic loom ahead.
Loss of control in-flight
One of the risks of trying to fly VFR into IMC grows out of
the potential for spatial disorientation - when your lying inner
ear sensors tell you one thing is happening and your eyes say
differently ... if your eyes can see anything.
Many instrument pilots call flying in clouds an experience
akin to flying in an eggshell - no lines, no horizon, no features.
And no way to maintain stable, level flight short of the flight
instruments.
For pilots not trained to fly on the gauges, the allure of
believing your eyes when your inner-ear sensors say otherwise

typically proceeds a loss of control and a descending spiral into
the ground.
Some of our electronic flight displays offer help in countering
what our ears tell us. Automation also offers help for pilots of
aircraft equipped with one of the latest flight-control systems -
autopilots with an automatic-recovery function available at the
push of a single button.
Once again, however, using that button depends on the pilot
recognizing the circumstances and acting on them.
Synthetic vision: a double-threat safety system
Here's another option available at relatively low cost and on
a variety of devices and systems: the synthetic vision system,
or SVS.
Safety experts credit the availability and use of SVS for
improving flight safety on two levels: terrain awareness and
avoidance; and loss of control in-flight.
These authorities credit the improvement in situational
awareness that stems from a pilot's view of the world outside
in an accurate depiction of attitude and altitude. Viewed on a
PFD or portable display, SVS correctly depicts the aircraft's
attitude, whether turning, banking, stalling, climbing.
In all weather and visibility conditions, SVS shows the way.
Today's SVS systems vary in how far ahead they show the
outside world, but the view correctly reflects the altitude and
ground speed of the aircraft.
With the color-coding capabilities of most SVS systems,
the pilot should always know when terrain begins to near the
altitude of the aircraft. While increasingly common on PFDs and
as part of integrated avionics packages, SVS can also be found
as a function of EFBs and some portable GPS navigators.
EVS - enhanced vision systems - offer some of the same
help as SVS, but with limitations due to smoke, fog or other
hindrances for the infrared camera sensor delivering the image.
The best tool: a well-trained, savvy pilot
As one flight-training company used to note in its
advertisements, the best safety system in any aircraft is a welltrained, current pilot.
With so many sources of risk and so many tools created to
help pilots avoid those risks, it's up to the operator to recognize
and act on any warnings or alerts sounded by those systems.
Beyond that elementary need is another big one: the
necessity of responding correctly to such warnings. And the
best hedge against making the wrong decision or wrong
maneuver is as simple as a trip to the airport to practice using
and responding to the systems' warnings.
The avionics community continues to provide useful,
affordable tools for accident avoidance. It takes only a welltrained, well-schooled pilot to make up the difference. q

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AEA Pilot's Guide 2020-2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of AEA Pilot's Guide 2020-2021

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