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Instrument Flying Update

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New in 2006

Instrument Flying UpdateJohn Eckalbar's latest book...Instrument Flying Update: What every Instrument Pilot Needs to Know About the New Rules on Approach Transitions, WAAS, LPV, LNAV/VNAV, RNAV SIDs, TAWS, and Much More.

If you completed your instrument training in the era of VOR, ILS, and basic GPS, it is time you make a commitment to getting yourself up to speed for new world IFR.

Instrument flying is evolving at an incredible pace. New technologies (like WAAS and TAWS) are being applied, new rules (like those on transitioning onto RNAV approaches) are being written, and new procedures (like LPV approaches) are being developed. The big payoff is in unprecedented 3-D position accuracy and enhanced situational awareness as the aircraft position is displayed in relation to complex waypoint strings together with surrounding terrain and obstacles.

To navigate the new world of IFR safely and efficiently, pilots and controllers need to do their homework. We need to keep up with the nuances of the new equipment as well as the rules and procedures that evolve with the equipment. To cite the most important example, many thousands of pilots are about to upgrade from GPS to GPS/WAAS. With this upgrade comes the promise of vastly improved instrument approaches, but we also move into an environment which we have not yet been trained to enter–where, for example, we get strange messages from our avionics saying that LPV is unavailable because VPL exceeds VAL, or where LNAV/VNAV is available, but a knowledgeable pilot will know that, given the current weather, LNAV might be better. The relatively simple days when we tuned an NDB or VOR, identified it, and flew the chosen course are ending.

Safe and efficient operation in this new environment is going to take a commitment to continuing education. I hope this book will help.

Here is a quick outline: The first three chapters deal with WAAS.

  • Chapter 1 investigates how WAAS is able to correct GPS position estimates.
  • The next chapter looks at the TERPS criteria for WAAS-based approaches.
  • And the following chapter examines the topic of flying with WAAS.
  • Chapter 4 brings us up to date on recent changes in RNAV departure procedures and adds a brief section on RNAV Q- and T-routes.
  • Chapter 5 explains how TAWS works, what its various warning/alert messages mean, and what you can and should do in response. Most pilots are unaware that ATC has its own TAWS-like system called MSAW, Minimum Safe Altitude Warning system. MSAW alerts controllers when an aircraft is or is expected to be too low, and then controllers are supposed to alert pilots. But, what prompts the alert, and what are you supposed to do when you get one? Are you automatically getting MSAW protection when you are assigned a transponder code and talking to ATC? We will address these questions in chapter 6.
  • Chapter 7 deals with radar vectors. Special attention is paid to the meaning of the MVA and the issue of when it is permissible for ATC to issue a vector when you are below the MVA.
  • Chapter 8 tests our knowledge of the above topics by examining the chain of events leading to an accident in San Diego during a night departure, when a Lear 35A impacted terrain while trying to maintain VFR under an overcast while following a vector below the MVA. If nothing in the last sentence strikes you as odd, you are likely to really benefit from reading this book.
  • Chapter 9 covers the surprisingly complex topic of transitioning onto an approach. What is permissible as you fly "GPS direct" from one fix to another toward the FAF, Final Approach Fix? Is it okay to go direct to the FAF from anywhere as long as you are so cleared? Is it okay for ATC to clear you GPS direct to the FAF or to issue a vector to the FAF? And, what is wrong with the following clearance? "...two miles from the outer marker, turn left heading 050, maintain 4000 until established, cleared ILS runway 36 left." Hopefully, when chapter 9 is finished, you will have a clear idea of some of the problems created by any of the above.
  • Finally, in chapter 10 we study the sad case of a relatively new instrument pilot struggling against a barrage of ATC handling mistakes as he tries to get established on an RNAV (GPS) approach. This accident touches on many of the major themes of the book—getting established, radar vectors, TAWS, MSAW, and more.

Instrument Flying Update is another fantastic book in the series that you have written...I re-read sections of the book at least every two weeks. Many thanks for this magnificantly written, detailed and informative book. George Mead Hemmeter, A.T.P.

Just wanted to drop you a note of thanks for Instrument Flying Update, which now occupies a coveted spot next to IFR: A Structured Approach on my bedside table for frequent re-reading. I find the information to be indispensible and your comprehensive yet approachable style unmatched in aviation writing. Mike Frantz, Cirrus SR22

Thanks for another excellent book on IFR. Having read IFR: A Structured Approach several times, I ordered Update the instant I heard about it. I just finished my first pass through it. It won't be the last...thanks again for another great book. Rick Tavan, Cessna T210

I am writing you to let you know how pleased I am about your new book Instrument Flying Update. I am in the middle of it now and am amazed at the detail and completeness you provide...Thank you very much for providing this book! I truly appreciate what you have done here. Hal M. Staniloff, Beech G58 Baron

All this, and a great deal more.
Hardback, 250 pages

View Table of Contents

Read Introduction

Read the first page of each chapter

This book is now available only as an ePub or mobi(Kindle) file. Click here for a purchase link.

Flying the Beech Bonanza:

is packed with interesting and important information which is available from no other source:

  • How much help are flaps in getting over a 50-foot obstacle?
  • Does it really pay to cruise climb in a Bonanza?
  • What airspeed and rpm yield emergency maximum range?
  • Does it make sense to run lean of peak?
  • What is the optimum altitude for a trip of 200 or 600 miles?
  • How should you adjust your turbulent air penetration speed for light weights?
  • How do the performance, handling, and loading characteristics of the four Bonanzas vary?
  • How can two tail members do the work of three?

"...required reading for any Bonanza Pilot."AOPA Pilot, April 1998

Absolutely outstanding job.  It is extremely well researched and reads in a manner that all pilots can understand...I think it is about time that someone had done this type of book for the Bonanza. I think it can be a major contribution to aviation safety."  John Frank, founder of the Cessna Pilots Association

"...an important contribution to the aviation literature...melding of precise technical information with practical observation makes (the) book enjoyable reading for any pilot...I found it fascinating and suspect other will, too."  Peter Dogan, late President of PIC (Professional Instrument Course)

"As a retired Navy test pilot, I was particularly impressed with both the technical presentations and the straightforward pilot talk. I believe that I have a keen insight into how the bird really performs."  Capt. Jay Arnold

"...absolutely must reading for Bonanza pilots. It is dedicated specifically to Bonanza flight safety and performance." Paul Morton, retired Braniff Captain

"I don't fly Bonanzas; in fact, I haven't ridden in one for about three years. Despite this, I've just finished re-reading your "Flying the Beech Bonanza" for the fifth time. It's got to be the most engaging and useful technical book about flying I've ever seen. It literally forces one to think about the airplane and the flight environment in a structured and deliberate manner. The fact that it's type-specific hardly matters. Reasonable good data exists for every airplane, but what's missing is a way to think about that data. Your book fills that gap nicely. Thanks for a fine work." Paul De Zan

202 pages, hardback

$38.50 retail

view table of contents

read introduction

read first page of each chapter

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IFR: A Structured Approach

If your instrument training was as haphazard and unstructured as that of most general aviation pilots, then this book may cause a profound change in your method for managing the extraordinary demands of single-pilot IFR.  With the help of this book, you will establish your own personal standard operating practices for IFR., including the incorporation of checklists, flows, callouts, briefings, and "by the numbers" aircraft control. Your flying will be much less haphazard, and much more regimented, structured, and above all, safe.

...a wholesale review and analysis of IFR operations with special emphasis on the integration of GPS into modern IFR.  This is long overdue. Tens of thousands of general aviation IFR pilots are now using GPS. Most of these pilots took their last ground school or IFR written exam years before the advent of GPS and have never really studied the new system. Instructors see the effects of this lack of training all the time.  Many pilots have only a perfunctory knowledge of how the GPS systems works, and how it sometimes fails to work.  Many pilots comprehend only a small fraction of the capabilities of their specific GPS units.  Even more commonly seen are failures to understand the new regulations that govern GPS use and the newly formatted charts that have evolved with the GPS approaches.  There are a great many subtleties here, and it is time for serious instrument pilots to roll up their sleeves and get to work bringing themselves up to date.  I am confident this book can help.

"There is an EXCELLENT discussion of this whole GPS area in John Eckalbar's new book IFR: A Structured Approach...The GPS chapter alone is worth getting the book...it is certainly the best instrument flying book I have ever read, and it also ought to be required reading right after (new instrument pilots) finish formal training ...It is also quite funny in places. He has a great sense of humor...Wish I knew him." Fred W. Scott, Jr, ATP, B55

"For the instrument pilot seeking to upgrade his or her skill, John C. Eckalbar's IFR: A Structured Approach provides compelling insights...If one book could help you make the leap from a bit player to a skilled conductor of instrument flight, this is probably it." AOPA Pilot, November, 2003, p. 168

"Just picked up a copy of your new book at OSH. While I am still working my way through it, it is already apparent to me that this is perhaps the most useful aviation training publication I have encountered in almost 40 years of GA involvement. I regularly train at FSI, SimCom and BPPP, and have spent many hours with many CFI's (including a number of high time airline captains) since I began flying in 1966; none have been able to put it all together in the thoughtful, lucid way you do in this book. I have read your other books and found them useful, but IFR is a different kind of book, with its emphasis of procedures rather than technical matters. IMO, there is a large unmet need for this kind of training material in GA. For those of us who have not come up through the military or airline path, access to this information is quite limited, and much of what is available is outdated or otherwise irrelevant to flying in today's IFR system."--Fredric R. (Rick) Boswell, PhD

"A unique and welcome aspect of the book is Eckalbar's treatment of GPS. Not only does he give it extensive treatment, he integrates it with other nav systems the way we do in the real world. Eckalbar addresses a problem I struggle with, remembering to run in-flight checklists. His suggestion is to use the trigger of power change. Any time you change a power setting, you run a (the appropriate) checklist. Based on his discussion of the subject, I've modified my checklists and adopted the "power change" trigger idea. The book is targeted at pilots flying the high performance singles and twins. The flight example he uses is a Beech Baron equipped with the full suite of avionics: HSI, autopilot and Garmin 430 GPS. However, there's plenty in the book for the more basic 172 driver as well. The discussion of enroute and approach charts is enlightening and includes the latest additions to IFR approaches LNAV/VNAV and RNP."--Peter Cassidy

250 pages, hardback

$34.95 retail

view table of contents

read introduction

read first page of each chapter

To purchase with credit card or with PayPal, click below


Flying High Performance Singles and Twins

  • Operating new engines, like the Continental IO-550, which permit running lean of peak EGT.
  • Chapters on turbochargers and intercoolers.
  • Chapters on normally aspirated engines, turbine engines, and propellers.
  • A tutorial on partial panel flying and instrument flying "by the numbers."
  • Two comprehensive chapters on multi-engine flying.  One dealing with the aerodynamics of engine-out flight, including performance, the meaning of the "ball" when an engine is out, and the importance of zero sideslip.  The other offering practical advice for multi-engine survival, including special considerations regarding takeoff technique and the handling of an engine failure in all phases of flight.
  • Four chapters on advanced systems and situations, including pressurization, autopilots and flight directors, radar and lightning detectors, and icing.
  • Four hundred pages that continue his tradition of clear tightly executed explanations." John Geitz, ABS Newsletter

"A worthwhile read for any pilot." Flight Training

Used as a text at Embry-Riddle, Midland College, and more.


400 pages, hardback

$38.50 retail

view table of contents

read introduction

read first page of each chapter

To purchase with credit card or with PayPal, click below


Instrument Flying  "By the Numbers"

  • This is a 46 minute cockpit video shot in a Beech A36 Bonanza as the author demonstrates the power settings, pitch attitudes and aircraft configurations that work so well to add simplicity and precision to handling an airplane on instruments.
  • A thorough ground school covering the whys and wherefores of the "by the numbers" technique.
  • The tape provides in-flight demonstrations to answer questions like:
    • What pitch attitude should you use on a missed approach?
    • What power setting works best on an ILS?
    • When should you drop the gear on approach?
    • What's the best way to arrest your descent at the MDA?

This video is about the hands-on, stick and rudder basics of flying on instruments.

"I have shown this method to over eighty Bonanza Pilot Proficiency Program participants and all have adopted it immediately."  Bill Hale, BPPP instructor, board member

"How could one not be impressed with...the rationality of John's "Flying by the Numbers," which has caused a total change in my approach to flying the Bonanza."  V. Bryan Medlock, ABS Newsletter

46 minute DVD

$48.50 retail

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About the Author:

John C. Eckalbar is an airline transport pilot and instrument flight instructor for single and multiengine airplanes.  He has been a pilot for ExecutiveJet and has flown in the Federal Express feeder system.  He has been an active FAR Part 135 charter pilot with air taxi and cargo experience in a wide range of general aviation airplanes, from Skylanes, 210s, and Bonanzas to Barons, 400 series Cessnas, Caravans, King Airs, and Citations.  At one time or another he has owned a Grumman American TR-2, three Bonanzas, an E55 Baron, and a Piper Seneca II.  He is the author of the books IFR: A Structured Approach, Flying High Performance Singles and Twins and Flying the Beech Bonanza as well as the creator of the video tape "Instrument Flying By the Numbers."  John is one of the original ground and flight instructors in the American Bonanza Society's highly regarded Bonanza and Baron Pilot Proficiency Programs, and he is a co-author of the manuals for those classes.  He is also the author of numerous articles in general aviation magazines.  He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Colorado and is a Professor in the California State University system. He has published many articles on mathematics for economists and been the principal investigator on a National Science Foundation research project on dynamics and stability.

How to Order:

1. Send check or money order to SkyRoad Projects, 41 Crow Canyon Court. Chico, Ca. 95928
Include $6 postage and handling for the first item, $4 for each additional item.
California residents add 7.25% sales tax.

2. Phone 530-343-6791 or email to order COD.

To purchase with credit card or with PayPal, click below


SkyRoad Projects

41 Crow Canyon Court

Chico, Ca. 95928


Photos courtesy of Paul Bowen

Email Mr.Eckalbar