January 8, 2013
By Dan Namowitz
A two-panel cartoon that was making the rounds as 2012 wound down showed a fitness center packed to the gills after the New Year began, and the same place, mostly uninhabited, later.
Pitiably, the praiseworthy promises of unpracticed pilots are also prone to predictable pauses. So here’s a chance to launch your planned proficiency campaign even before you make your first trip to the airport in 2013.
The only rule recommended for tackling this three-course menu of a twister, a terminological tidbit, and a turn with a troubling taboo is to not peek too soon at the hints provided following each item. Just have some fun, perhaps refreshing your book knowledge in the comfort of your favorite armchair (while every form of precipitation known and unknown streams down outside) starting with this weather quiz that should be a snap for those who pride themselves on decoding obscure coded items in METARs and TAFs: What began falling from the sky at 52 and ended at 53? 302153Z 31018G28KT 10SM OVC070 M08/M13 A2955 RMK AO2 PK WND 32033/2117 UPB52E53 SLP012 T10781128 PNO $
Here’s the hint: The answer is buried in the preceding paragraph’s second sentence.
Runway visual range (RVR) is a subject every instrument pilot encounters when learning about instrument approach procedures. But unless you fly a lot in low IFR conditions, the what and how of RVR may need a refresher. If a table says that RVR 1600 is comparable to ground visibility of a quarter mile, and RVR 2400 is comparable to ground visibility of a half mile, what is the ground visibility for RVR 1800?
Here’s a hint: Don’t interpolate! Legend has it that it’s wiser to err on the side of safety.
Aviation columns ask a lot of questions, but around here, questions are a two-way street. A good one arrived in the email queue from a regular reader after the Jan. 4 IFR Fix examined this VOR or GPS-A approach. Instructor Craig D’Ambra asked, “The intermediate leg between JOEYL Int (IAF) and SHANO Int has the NoPT notation on the leg - why?”
Here’s a hint: A good answer for Craig is still needed. You can weigh in by responding to this week’s poll question.
Dan Namowitz is an aviation writer and flight instructor.
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