All pilots are required to conduct a weather briefing before each flight, whether that means calling Flight Service or looking up the weather online. But for true weather geeks, a pre-flight weather briefing can be a lot of fun, not just a requirement to be completed as quickly as possible. And for pilots looking to go beyond the basics, there is a wealth of information online with details about ceilings, visibility, turbulence, icing and more.
Everyone has their list of favorite weather sites. Here is my top 10 list of useful weather websites that aren’t as well known as they should be (and they’re all free).
Hang around pilots long, and you’re sure to see someone get all teary-eyed about the J-3 Cub, Piper’s venerable taildragger that turns 75 this year. That yellow color, the open door, the grass in the tailwheel–it’s all part of the mystique, supposedly remnants of the Golden Age of aviation.
But for a while, I just didn’t get it. The Cub seemed old fashioned, small, slow, drafty and hard to fly. What’s to love?
That embarrassingly naive opinion changed one sunny Saturday about 15 years ago, when I was a student pilot. I had soloed but I had yet to take my checkride, and my father (who is also a pilot) took me up to a local grass strip. This was to be my introduction to “real flying,” he said. Typical old-timer BS, I thought. How much fun can you have at 70mph?
As it turned out, quite a lot.
A recent trip from Florida in a Piper Aztec provided an excellent opportunity to test out the newGarmin GDL 39 ADS-B receiver. Hooked up via Bluetooth to an iPad equipped with the Garmin Pilot App, I set off to see how much traffic we would see on the screen vs. out the window.
Threat and Error Management (TEM) is not a term you hear much in general aviation circles, but it is widely adopted among airlines and is taking hold in corporate operators as well.
I am exposed to TEM through my employer who does Part 121 training under-pinned with the Threat and Error Management philosophy.
TEM is the brainchild of human factors researchers from the University of Texas and in a way it is not new, it is rather a modernized form of risk mitigation that accounts for the human(s) that are in the loop. With so many accidents attributed to pilot error and with modern airplane reliability it makes sense that we focus on the human part of the equation.
Today’s flight is a quick one, from the Atlantic coast of Florida (West Palm Beach, PBI) to the Gulf Coast (Tampa, TPA). You’re headed home after a week of meetings in Palm Beach, and your 1979 Mooney 201 will get you there in just about an hour. Your airplane has no on-board weather, but you do fly with an iPad and a portable ADS-B weather receiver. You are instrument rated, and between your datalink radar and your eyes, you are pretty good at dodging the inevitable Florida thunderstorms.
The weather doesn’t look too bad as you drive to the airport around noon, but the afternoon is yet to come. In Florida, you’ve learned to expect the unexpected, as conditions change quickly. Read the weather report below, then decide if you’re going or not going.
Dick Collins shares a confession: “almost 60 years ago I wanted very badly to become an airline pilot.” He explains why in this trip through history, complete with DC-3 flights, local service airlines and $7 airfares.
Read more of this fascinating article at Air Facts…
Editor’s note: This post is a guest editorial by David Zitt, Flight School Manager at Sporty’s Academy. He offers valuable insight into how to best integrate technology into the flight training process.
Many students beginning their training often ask the question “is the iPad the right tool for me in my flight training?” There are many schools of thought on the use of technology during flight training and I couldn’t possibly cover all of them, so rather than try, I will stick with how we recommend the use of technology in a balanced learning approach to flight training.
Depending on if you are working on your first certificate (Sport, Recreational or Private) or if you are adding on the Instrument Rating to your Private certificate, the use of an iPad will differ greatly on how best to integrate it into your training so as to not provide an unnecessary distraction or complication. The most important rule that you should follow when using an iPad, regardless of VFR or IFR, is to learn to use all of its functions properly! Fumbling to find a required piece of information or getting lost into the sea of images and functions will only delay or compromise your training, not accelerate it. Spend the time to learn the features of the iPad and the aviation program that you are using. This time can be by yourself with the help page or a tutorial video, or it can be spent with a qualified instructor who has experience in that app. Either case, this training time will save you money and make your investment work for you during your training.
Last week, we offered 5 quick tips for ForeFlight, and received a lot of positive comments. So today we’ll present another 5 tips you can try right away, this time for WingX. This powerful app has loads of features, but you may not know about all of them. With a few tips and some experimentation, you can get more out of your iPad in the cockpit.
Here’s our list of 5 tips for WingX:
Like most of us, I always regarded ATC as my best friend, always there to help and guide me, a calm and trusted resource. As you will see, that all changed one spring day in Oregon. Now I am more likely to think of them as the Air Traffic Cops and, sadly, I don’t think of them anymore as my friends.