IFR Refresher
The magazine that takes instrument flying
as seriously as you do.

A Belvoir Publication. Telephone: 1-203-661-6111

IFR Refresher Subscription Office:
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Palm Coast, FL 32142
Telephone: 1-800-829-9156


IFR Refresher Articles By Wally Roberts

You can download the following IFR Refresher linked articles on-line:

Caution slow links: articles, by necessity, contain extensive graphics. PDF files are in Adobe Acrobat format. Each article is contained in its own PDF file. All pages are either ©1995, ©1996, ©1997, or ©1998 by Belvoir Publications. All rights reserved. Distribution limited to one copy for personal use of person who downloaded file.

May, 1995: "Departing IFR Safely"

It's in your best interest to adhere to takeoff minimums and to follow the departure procedure. PDF File of May Article

June, 1995: "Establishing Visibility Minimums"

How the FAA determines the minimum visibility for an approach is part formula and history. PDF File of June Article

July, 1995: "Where to Start the Missed Approach"

Knowing the location of the MAP is important to understanding obstacle clearance protection. PDF File of July Article

August, 1995 "When Are You a Non-Radar Arrival?"

Even though you might be on radar, there are times you're expected to fly the entire procedure. PDF File of August Article

September, 1995 "Threading the Needle Properly"

It's important to know when you can descend in the hold, and when to complete the procedure. PDF File of September Article

October, 1995 "Airway Operations"

Flying VOR airways is a seamless operation, but there are a few quirks you need to know about. PDF File of October Article

November, 1995 "Vectors Below the Hilltops"

Don't rely on ATC to keep you out of the rocks, especially when you don't have climb performance. PDF File of November Article

November, 1995 "Feedback from Readers" PDF File of Reader's Advisories


December, 1995 "The Peculiarities of Holding"

Although the idea of holding is widely known, the finer points are relegated to mystery manuals. PDF File of December Article

January, 1996 "Circling and the Visual Segment"

The circling approach contains ambiguities and complexities unmatched in instrument flying. PDF File of January Article

February, 1996 "En Route Arrival Clearances"

Altitude awareness is especially important where the Center provides approach control services. PDF File of February Article

Reader comments in February issue: PDF File of February Comments


March, 1996 "Lost Com: Let's Get Real"

Some practical advice on exercising your PIC authority to handle these types of emergencies. PDF File of March Article

April, 1996 "What's Below MDA and DH?"

The published minimums reveal a lot about what's in the airspace from MDA/DH to the runway. PDF File of April Article

May, 1996 "When Are You Established?"

A reader encounters differing opinions about when to descend on the glideslope from an arc. PDF File of May Article

June, 1996 "The Approach Chart Rules!"

If you think sectional charts are a complex art, look at what goes into an approach procedure. PDF File of June Article

SNS ILS FAA Form 8260-9: ILS Dash 9

SNS LOC FAA Form 8260-9: LOC Dash 9

NOS Chart for SNS ILS: NOS Chart, SNS ILS


July, 1996 "When It's Time To Reverse Course"

There continues to be confusion about course reversals, even within the many factions of the FAA. PDF File of July Article

August, 1996 "Lights, Camera, Action!"

Approach lighting is a complex weave of operational, political, and human factors requirements. PDF File of August Article

September, 1996 "The 'Look-See' Crash"

Flying an approach to take a look requires the utmost in mental awareness and discipline. PDF File of September Article

September, 1996 editorial about user-group participation in the TERPs process: Editorial

September, 1996 short article on GPS IAP feeder routes: GPS IAP Feeder Routes


October, 1996 "Authority and Command"

The proper roles of the pilot-in-command and ATC are often blurred, especially in congested airspace. PDF File of October Article

November, 1996 "Nit-Picking About Straight-Ins"

The comments keep pouring in about doing that course reversal when it doesn't make sense. PDF File of November Article

December, 1996 "Low Visibility Operations"

Assessing visibility during low visibility approaches is fraught with operational and regulatory ambiguities. PDF File of December Article

January, 1997: "GPS Approach Concepts"

With the onslaught of GPS procedures, there are some important items to know before taking the plunge. PDF File of January Article

Reader comments in January issue: PDF File of January Comments


February, 1997: "Graphic IFR Departure Procedures"

If the FAA had provided a graphical depiction similar to a SID, the USAF C-130 crew might still be alive. PDF File of February Article

My commentary about the enhanced ground proximity warning system in the February issue: PDF File of Commentary


March, 1997: "How Wide is that Intersection?"

You need to know about that wiggly crossing radial or bearing on which you sometimes bet your life. PDF File of March Article

April, 1997: "Radar Service Terminated"

Knowing the subtle limitations of ATC IFR radar services is no easy task. PDF File of April Article

Also in April issue:

Article about confusion over textual charting of IFR departure procedure: Notam Man Strikes Again!


May, 1997: "Tricky Mountain IAPs"

Traps await the unwary pilot who hasn't first flown IAPs like these two under VMC. PDF File of May Article

June, 1997: "Electronic Charts"

The marriage of GPS and accurate electronic charting isn't quite ready for single-pilot IFR.

This is a graphics-intensive article. The high resolution version has much better graphics than the moderate resolution version, but requires almost twice the download time.

PDF File of June Article (Moderate-Res 561KiloBytes)

PDF File of June Article (High-Res 1 MegaByte)


July, 1997: "The Properly Flown Missed"

Far too often, missed approaches are neglected in both planning and execution. PDF File of July Missed Approach Article

Second, short July article:"Confounded SIDs and STARs"

The lack of standardization requires a careful review before accepting these in a clearance. PDF File of July SID/STAR Article

August, 1997: "IFR Personal Risk Considerations"

Proficiency, equipment, and personal limitations are a very subjective mix. PDF File of August Article

September, 1997: "What the Hell Did We Hit, Man?"

These two pilots ignored the final segment step-down fix during a VOR approach, with tragic results. PDF File of September Article

October, 1997: "The Incredible Shrinking Final"

New FAA criteria mean you'd better keep the needles centered to avoid scraping the canyon walls. PDF File of October Article

November, 1997: "Circle-To-Land Tactics"

The circling maneuver varies widely, from almost a straight-in to a large visual segment. PDF File of November Article

December, 1997: "Vectors to Hector"

You'd better understand the different capabilities of center and approach radar when getting vectored. PDF File of December Article

January, 1998: "The Geometry of Visibility"

Do as much prior planning as possible to avoid getting caught too high, too close in. PDF File of January Article

February, 1998: "Vectors to the Final Approach Course"

ATC radar is used to substitute for the published initial approach segment. PDF File of February Article

Color version of February article: (Large file, 1 megabyte, for those who have the bandwidth and would like to see charts in color) Feburary PDF File (Color)


March, 1998: "The Fragile Voice Com Link"
The essential link between pilots and ATC hasn't changed much since the 1940s. PDF file of March article

April, 1998: "Instrument Departure Update"
The FAA is merging SIDs and IFR departure procedures into a common system. PDF file of April article

May, 1998: "Oddball Approach Charts"
Instrument approach design philosophies sometimes defer to the politics of expediency. PDF file of May articles

Second sort article included in May PDF file: "The 'Racetrack Pattern' Trap"
An ATC hold at a standard procedure turn fix can be dicey at high altitude.


June, 1998: "TERPS, CFIT, And Me"
The Korean Airlines B-747 controlled flight into terrain accident at Guam: DEJA VU. PDF file of June article

July, 1998: "GPS Approaches: Design and ATC"
Lots of rough spots are showing up as GPS standalones proliferate.

Article led by IFR Refresher editor's article, "GPS, Pilots & ATC." PDF file of July articles


August, 1998: "Should You Time the ILS as a Backup?"
Hitting the timer at the outer marker when executing a full ILS has become IFR folklore. PDF file of August article

September, 1998: "Hold, Then Reverse"
Sorting out the missed approach or traffic delay hold from the course reversal can be confusing.

Plus, second short article: "GPS and Victor Airways." PDF file of September articles


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