Plane & Pilot
Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Takeoff Alternates

Garmin tips for flying IFR

June gloom is here—a time for low ceilings and low visibility due to fog and mist. Here’s a scenario: You arrive at Van Nuys (KVNY) for a two-hour flight to Scottsdale (KSDL). Wind is calm and there’s an overcast ceiling of 600 feet. The ILS 16R is in use, landing and departing 16-L/R.

You complete the before-takeoff checklist and call the tower for the IFR release. But are you really ready for release? Have you thought about your takeoff alternate? That’s takeoff alternate, not your filed alternate. A takeoff alternate is a standard instrument approach procedure (SIAP), either at the departure airport or a different airport, that’s used in case of an emergency. Note that it may be quicker to execute the takeoff alternate approach—even if it’s at another nearby airport—than to return for a procedure at the departure airport.

Let’s use KVNY as an example. Right next door is Burbank (KBUR), which is so close that the localizer for the ILS 08 approach runs across almost midfield of the KVNY aerodrome. The problem at KVNY is that if you took off and for some reason needed to land immediately, SoCal Approach would need to vector you all the way back to the KADIE intersection (the FAF) or, worse, UMBER, which is even farther out. KADIE sits some eight miles north of the runway. Requesting to be brought back to KVNY via the ILS could take as long as 10 minutes. But by using the takeoff alternate, you could be back on the ground and clear of the runway in less than four minutes by diverting to KBUR, your takeoff alternate!

Planning ahead is the key. Many of you are Garmin 430/530 operators, and I have two techniques for loading and activating a takeoff alternate should the need arise.

Technique 1
Technique 1: Two Garmins
This is for operators with two Garmins: either a 430 and 530, or two 430s. If you have only one Garmin or use the G1000, then skip to Technique 2.

On both units, you’ll need to make sure Auto Crossfill is turned off and set to Manual. Next, take your second Garmin, and load it up direct KBUR. Then, using the PROC button, load up the ILS 08, selecting Vectors as the transition. Place the localizer frequency 109.50 in the standby slot on the primary NAV radio.

Once airborne, if you need a takeoff alternate, assuming you had Garmin 2 set to Nav Page 3 (Traffic), you’d simply press the FPL button, then Menu (which would automatically highlight Crossfill), and then ENT ENT. This will crossfill the flight plan from Garmin 2 to Garmin 1. The last step would be to press PROC and choose Activate the Approach. Be sure you transfer the localizer frequency 109.50 from the standby slot to the primary slot on VLOC 1, and set or confirm the approach course.


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