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Seattle, WA
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BruceAir’s Goodies for Pilots

BruceAir IFR Kneeboard Log

I recently bought a new kneeboard to replace my old standby, which has gone missing. The new one came with a pad of printed navigation logs, which, based on my experience, are cluttered with spaces for extraneous information and don’t leave enough room to note strings of routine instructions from ATC.

BruceAir Kneeboard LogYou can download a .pdf file of the kneeboard note-taker that I like to use during IFR flights. It keeps things organized and neat, and the layout makes it easy to see your last assigned heading (or fix that you’re cleared to), altitude, and frequency/squawk. Just fill in the columns as you talk to ATC. The last entry in each column is the last instruction received. When you fill in the left side, move up to the top of the right half and continue. I’ve adopted this approach after watching too many students scribble frequencies and other information all over the page, only to discover during a flight that they can’t locate the last information they noted.

The .pdf document is designed to be photocopied on standard 8½ x 11 paper and then be sliced down the middle to a fit a typical kneeboard.

I’ve omitted the usual spaces for noting arrival times at fixes, ETAs at fixes ahead, weather, switching fuel tanks, and the like, because these days I fly with a flight log generated by DUATS or another flight-planning program, such as Voyager, and printouts of relevant weather. I can note times when I pass or estimate fixes, new weather (other than the ATIS), etc. on those documents.

To learn more about writing ATC clearances efficiently and clearly, see Appendix A, “Clearance Shorthand,” in the FAA Instrument Flying Handbook.

Visualizing Holding Pattern Entries

Holding Pattern EntriesMany IFR pilots struggle with holding pattern entries. They buy gizmos to solve the holding pattern puzzle, create custom hieroglyphs to sort out ATC instructions, or apply trigonometry to figure out the recommended entry for a particular hold.

I’ve long preferred a visualization method that many instructors teach, and I’ve created a brief, self-paced Microsoft PowerPoint show (see below) that you can review to learn the technique for yourself. You can practice the method by flying several of the BruceAir IFR Practice Flights described on the home page for Microsoft Flight Simulator as a Training Aid.

To download the PowerPoint show, right-click the following link and save the .pps file (about 800 KB) to your hard drive. If you don’t have PowerPoint installed on your system, you can download a free PowerPoint viewer from Microsoft.

By the way, if you’re one of the pilots who wonders why you should bother to learn and use the recommended holding entry procedures, read Postfight Briefing #6-1: "Hold Everything" (.pdf), one of my contributions to Rod Machado’s Instrument Pilot’s Handbook.

Microsoft Flight Simulator Essentials

The companion CD to my book, Microsoft® Flight Simulator as a Training Aid: A Guide for Pilots, Instructors, and Virtual Aviators, includes an interactive, self-paced Microsoft PowerPoint show, "Using Flight Simulator Essentials," that explains key features and offers tips to help you get the most out of Flight Simulator. You can download that .pdf version from this website. follow this link to save the 7 Mb .pdf file to your hard drive.

The CD includes the free PowerPoint viewer from Microsoft that lets you view the interactive presentation even if you don’t have PowerPoint installed on your system. If you prefer to hold paper in your hands, the CD also includes a .pdf version of the presentation that you can print for reference.

More BruceAir Practice Flights for Flight Simulator

I’ve created additional challenging BruceAir Practice Flights for Flight Simulator. The first set focuses on several demanding IFR procedures at the Yakima, WA (KYKM) airport.

You can learn about and download these free BruceAir Practice Flights at More BruceAir Practice Flights.

For more information about the Flights feature in Flight Simulator, see Chapter 7, “About the Practice Flights,” in Microsoft Flight Simulator as a Training Aid. Also see the topic “Flights” in the Microsoft Flight Simulator Learning Center (also available in the Learning Center section of the official Flight Simulator Insider website).