We have some unfilterable interference right on 125.0 at our Chicago megafeed site so we've finally had to lock out 125.0. This creates a hole in the Chicago Departure coverage, especially overnight on the mid shift.
If anyone is within range of O'Hare (5-12 miles +/-) and think they can help, please contact me.
On Nov 29 a Virgin America flight from LAX to JFK returned to LAX shortly after takeoff. The emergency occurred shortly after takeoff after the flight was handed off to LA Center. Unfortunately, no coverage by Liveatc on the frequency. The flight was handed off from Approach to LA Tower on frequency 127.85, also not covered by Liveatc. The tower controller was simulcasting on 133.9 which is covered so only the tower side of the conversation could be heard on landing. The recording is attached. Unfortunately, not much is said about the emergency situation, so not sure what happened here. The AVHerald also has no information at the moment...
I too used Skytest when I did the selections for Skyguide. And it helped a lot ! It's not exactly what there is at the real test, but it gives a very good idea. At least you know what you're up for, and that is a big advantage.
I'm not sure where "too different" begins, but it's quite different in the US. The transition altitude is uniformly 18000 over the entire continental US. Airspace above that is Class A, IFR only. The vast majority of airspace below that is Class E, and there is definitely mixed IFR and VFR traffic at all altitudes; it seems to be working out okay so far. We have Class B around the largest airports, and then Class C and D around the medium and smaller ones. In B, C, D as is true everywhere radio contact and a transponder is required. Speed restrictions do apply under 10,000 and within the lateral boundary of Class B.
I dare say that a lot of VFR traffic that is going cross-country will ask for VFR advisories, and thus will get traffic point-outs, and my experience is that it's almost always granted. The rated pilots that I know will very often file IFR even on good days when they are on a cross-country mission in order to get the extra level of separation services and immediate help if the weather is sketchy.
Also, we don't use the terms QNE, QNH or QFE. It's just "Southwest 1542, descend and maintain one five thousand, Manchester altimeter 30.03" cleared to descend from the flight levels.
You will see the occasional US military field report a TAF with QNHnnnnINS (but they report it in inches as indicated by INS).
Although they could have used ground speed combined with reported winds, it is most likely they simply used known power, configuration and attitude to keep airspeed within a safe envelope, as any good pilot not overly dependent upon instrumentation can do, especially in visual conditions close to the ground.
From another website I read the captains pitot tube was damaged (in foreign language that can also mean inop) and it would be a bit confusing doing the crosscheck on instruments. To eliminate the confusion they might have had a discreet channel with ATC available, or they used the groundspeed shown on the navigation display (which would be computed from GPS).