"Ground, Alaska 789, ready to push, gate 7"
"Alaska 789, contact South Ground on 121.75"
"Oh, sorry ..."
Being ready to taxi ourselves, I couldn't resist:
Good morning Oakland Ground, Cessna 12345, ready to push at the port-a-ports, VFR Lodi, request runway 33, with Lima."The ground controller didn't miss a beat
Cessna 12345, Oakland Ground, good morning, push at your discretion, taxi runway 33, VFR at or below 2500, standby for the squawk."
For the past three weeks, the weather throughout California has been bad for flying light aircraft. For a professional flight instructor, this means an irregular working schedule and unpredictable hours. That in turn has kept me from having a regular blogging schedule, hence the delay since my last post. Lots of rain, low freezing levels, snow as low as 1500' at times. Even trying to teach on my usual days off didn't seem to work. A cold front passed, but unstable, moist air remained. I discussed the options with two different students and we agree that the end result might not be that productive, maybe even unsafe. Later the sun was shinning through broken cumulus and I wondered if I made the wrong call. A few minutes later, small hail is bouncing off my front porch and I feel better about our choice.
When an instrument approach has a Hold In Lieu Of a procedure turn (sometimes called HILO), the only way you can be assured that you have a clearance to fly the hold is to ask the controller for "Pilot Nav" or "the full approach." If you are approaching the airport such that you are flying opposite the approach course, you can let ATC vector you to the intermediate approach course (assuming there is radar coverage in your area) or you can ask for "pilot nav." Pilots often ask for the full approach to maintain instrument currency so they can put in their logbook that they flew a holding pattern.
Consider the Stockton ILS 29R.
When you load this approach in a Garmin 530 and you want the full approach, you'll need to select SC (the Locator Outer Marker) as the Initial Approach Fix (IAF). This can cause considerable confusion to the uninitiated when requesting the approach "pilot nav" because NORCAL will tell you "Proceed direct JOTLY." It's unfortunate that there are two names for what is essentially one fix, and it certainly doesn't reduce the workload in a single-pilot environment.
Take a look at the GPS flight plan. Notice that the approach is coded so that once you complete the holding pattern for course reversal, the next waypoint appears to be SIMMS which is well outside the hold boundary.
When you complete the course reversal, the leg between SIMMS and JOTLY is activated once you are established inbound. Fascinating, though I can't explain why this approach was coded this way.
Now consider the Sacramento ILS RWY 2. Like the Stockton ILS 29R, this approach has a Locator Outer Marker.
Yet when you go to load this approach, the LOM is identified as EXECC, not SA. I wish I knew why this approach is different than the Stockton ILS 29R, but I don't. The good news here is that when you ask the controller to fly this approach "pilot nav," they will tell you "proceed direct EXECC" and you'll have no trouble correlating that with the options displayed by the Garmin 530.
It seems the moral of this story for IFR pilots who fly by themselves is similar to the old Samurai adage: "Expect nothing and be prepared for anything."