Flight Training - March 2013 - 46

CAREER PILOT»

TECH TALK

DIVERSION

When to continue, when to wait
» By Jared Dirkmaat

ONE TOPIC OF constant training that spans
from the private pilot level all the way
to the airline pilot level is the diversion.
Private pilots learn to divert from a VFR
cross-country because of weather or to
refuel—and airline pilots sometimes divert
for the same reasons.
En route from Chicago to Baltimore
at Flight Level 330, we heard the words
that no pilot wants to: “Advise ready to
copy holding instructions.” A two-person
cockpit crew is good for many reasons,
but it can also add levity to any situation
when you simultaneously groan in dismay.
A very dismal “go ahead” was the reply to
ATC.
The forecast for Baltimore was certainly not sunny and balmy, but it wasn’t
so bad that we shouldn’t be able to fly an
ILS approach and land. We had been dispatched to Baltimore with two alternate
airports in case the weather did deteriorate and now we had to mentally prepare
for the possibility of a diversion.
We were now cleared direct to a VOR
over western Pennsylvania for a hold.
Once we programmed the hold into the
GPS we began looking at the weather
in Baltimore and our two alternates:
Syracuse and Pittsburgh. Legally we’re
required to have enough fuel to fly to the
destination airport, then fly to the most
distant alternate, then fly for 45 minutes
thereafter. That means we don’t have a
lot of extra fuel for holding. We had 12
minutes of hold fuel, to be exact.
Once we entered the hold, we had 12
minutes before we needed to continue to
Baltimore or divert to an alternate.
It turns out it wasn’t all the weather’s
fault. With reduced visibility in Baltimore
because of fog, the runway lighting system
and approach light system are a critical
component for ILS approaches as well as
low-visibility takeoffs, and they were out
of service. Without those lights the runway was a parking lot. Even the wind was

46 /

FLIGHTTRAINING.AOPA.ORG

in cahoots with the inoperative lights and
was prevailing right down the centerline
of this piece of useless pavement.
Our decision was practically made for
us. With a prediction of “indefinite” by
ATC regarding how long we would need
to hold, we made our decision to divert
to Pittsburgh. We chose Pittsburgh over
Syracuse for a few reasons. We were holding over western Pennsylvania already,
which made Pittsburgh less than 50 nm
away and the weather was slightly better
there.
“Cleared to the Pittsburgh airport via
radar vectors, descend and maintain
12,000.” We’re still at FL330, we’re less
than 50 nm from our new destination,
and we now had a lot of work to do.
Reprogram the flight plan to our new
destination, alert the company to our
diversion decision, inform the passengers
that they won’t be going to Baltimore
directly anymore—and get the airplane
ready for an approach.


http://www.AirSafetyInstitute.org/FIRC http://FLIGHTTRAINING.AOPA.ORG

Flight Training - March 2013

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Flight Training - March 2013

Flight Training - March 2013
Contents
President’s Perspective
Right Seat
Letters
Not What It Appears
After the Checkride
How It Works
ASI News Action
Training Products
Since You Asked
Member Products Final Exam
Checkride
Flight Lesson
Flying Carpet
The "S" Word
Women With Wings
Problem Solver
Technique
Weather
Aviation's Glass Ceiling
Career Advisor
Tech Talk
Juggling the Airplane
The Known to the Unknown
You're Not Done Yet
Advertiser Index
Debrief
Flight Training - March 2013 - Flight Training - March 2013
Flight Training - March 2013 - Cover2
Flight Training - March 2013 - 1
Flight Training - March 2013 - Contents
Flight Training - March 2013 - 3
Flight Training - March 2013 - President’s Perspective
Flight Training - March 2013 - 5
Flight Training - March 2013 - Right Seat
Flight Training - March 2013 - 7
Flight Training - March 2013 - Letters
Flight Training - March 2013 - 9
Flight Training - March 2013 - Not What It Appears
Flight Training - March 2013 - 11
Flight Training - March 2013 - After the Checkride
Flight Training - March 2013 - How It Works
Flight Training - March 2013 - ASI News Action
Flight Training - March 2013 - Training Products
Flight Training - March 2013 - Since You Asked
Flight Training - March 2013 - 17
Flight Training - March 2013 - Member Products Final Exam
Flight Training - March 2013 - Checkride
Flight Training - March 2013 - 20
Flight Training - March 2013 - Flight Lesson
Flight Training - March 2013 - Flying Carpet
Flight Training - March 2013 - 23
Flight Training - March 2013 - The "S" Word
Flight Training - March 2013 - 25
Flight Training - March 2013 - 26
Flight Training - March 2013 - 27
Flight Training - March 2013 - Women With Wings
Flight Training - March 2013 - 29
Flight Training - March 2013 - 30
Flight Training - March 2013 - 31
Flight Training - March 2013 - 32
Flight Training - March 2013 - 33
Flight Training - March 2013 - Problem Solver
Flight Training - March 2013 - 35
Flight Training - March 2013 - 36
Flight Training - March 2013 - 37
Flight Training - March 2013 - Technique
Flight Training - March 2013 - 39
Flight Training - March 2013 - Weather
Flight Training - March 2013 - 41
Flight Training - March 2013 - 42
Flight Training - March 2013 - Aviation's Glass Ceiling
Flight Training - March 2013 - Career Advisor
Flight Training - March 2013 - 45
Flight Training - March 2013 - Tech Talk
Flight Training - March 2013 - Juggling the Airplane
Flight Training - March 2013 - The Known to the Unknown
Flight Training - March 2013 - You're Not Done Yet
Flight Training - March 2013 - 50
Flight Training - March 2013 - Advertiser Index
Flight Training - March 2013 - 52
Flight Training - March 2013 - 53
Flight Training - March 2013 - 54
Flight Training - March 2013 - 55
Flight Training - March 2013 - 56
Flight Training - March 2013 - 57
Flight Training - March 2013 - 58
Flight Training - March 2013 - 59
Flight Training - March 2013 - 60
Flight Training - March 2013 - 61
Flight Training - March 2013 - 62
Flight Training - March 2013 - 63
Flight Training - March 2013 - Debrief
Flight Training - March 2013 - Cover3
Flight Training - March 2013 - Cover4
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