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Wx Watch: Mesoscale discussions

Pilot Magazine | May 01, 2013

Most of us are diligent about studying convective sigmets, convective outlooks, and Nexrad radar imagery before our flights in the warmer months. They’re great for a broad-brush view of any convective situations, but there is another source of information that delves into greater detail, and provides analyses of situations that could be factors in your decision making.

Proficiency: Convective primer

Article | Apr 28, 2013

In the airline world there’s a saying: Why look at the weather when we’re going anyway? It’s not really true, by the way. We’re as concerned as any pilot, but we have better tools to work around the problem—mainly the ability to get above most of the weather and a 450-knot true airspeed to make large deviations around it when needed.

IFR Fix: Maximum magenta

Article | Apr 19, 2013

The altitude was one of only two numbers spoken in the radio call from the center controller, but not one the pilot would want to miss if reception were poor in the low altitudes after departure: “Leaving 3,000 feet,” the controller said, “Turn left to heading 270; when able proceed direct Augusta.” If you haven’t heard an ATC call like that one, eventually you will, because those are the type of instructions a flight receives from an air route traffic control center on initial call-up after departure from an airport not served by either radar approach/departure control or a control tower. (This airport’s tower is scheduled to close.) The “altitude leaving” part is there because a controller can’t give you an IFR clearance until you are above the sector’s minimum vectoring altitude (unless you can climb in VFR conditions).

Pilots recommend radar apps

Article | Apr 05, 2013

With spring here and summer around the corner, more thunderstorms and precipitation could be popping up.

Flight Guide iEFB updated with ADS-B capability

Article | Apr 02, 2013

Photo courtesy Airguide Publications Inc. Airguide Publications has updated the Flight Guide iEFB to display weather on the iPad in flight, with additional functionality planned for future releases.

Flight Amid Vertical Terrain

Article | Mar 25, 2013

AOPA's A Pilot's Guide to Mountain Flying Introduction Do you want to fly above snow-capped mountains, journey through narrow canyons and land at airports that have some of the most spectacular scenery in the world? If you haven't experienced this, you are in for a thrill. However, you will also be faced with greater challenges and different procedures.

Datalink Roundup

Article | Mar 25, 2013

Datalink Roundup Weather to Go What's it like in there? --> BY AOPA PILOT STAFF WRITERS (From AOPA Pilot, March 2004.) You're headed from Jackson, Mississippi, to Brownsville, Texas, and here's how your day is going: Alarm didn't go off; running late; spilled coffee driving to the airport while on the cell phone getting a briefing from flight service (yeah, you shouldn't drink, drive, and talk on the phone all at once, but these are life's pressures; at least there's no shaving or makeup involved). Thank goodness the weather's supposed to be good, right? Now, en route, you're feeling like maybe you drank too much of that coffee; it's bumpy, there's a big, fat headwind, and what's this? ATC talking at 20 knots gusting to 30: "Attention all aircraft: Convective Sigmet 11C valid until 2055 Zulu, an area from 50 west-southwest of Lufkin to 120 south-southwest Lake Charles to 100 southeast of Palacios to...." Wait a minute, where's Palacios? What's next? Did he say Brownsville? Was that embedded thunderstorms with tops to Flight Level 450? Oh man, you missed half of it.

Thunderstorms

Article | Mar 25, 2013

The Weather Never Sleeps --> Thunderstorms A Thunderstorm Unites Just About Every Hazard Known To Aviation! BY THE FAA (From Flight Training, February 1994.) Annually, and prior to the start of the season, we publish an issue of the Air Traffic Bulletin to focus your attention on the upcoming thunderstorm season and to remind all controllers and specialists of the hazardous weather associated with it. The more we understand the severe atmospheric hazards associated with thunderstorms, the better position we are in to aid the pilot in avoiding these hazards.

ASF - Mountain Flying

Article | Mar 25, 2013

Mountain Flying Resources High-Altitude Mountain Flying Accident Report Alaska Mountain Passes Colorado Mountain Passes Suggested Western Mountain Routes Northern, West to East Midway, West to East Southern, West to East Northern, East to West Midway, East to West Southern, East to West High-Altitude Mountain Flying High-altitude mountain flying has always been one of the more dangerous activities GA aircraft undertake each year. On average, 17 people die annually in GA accidents in the mountains of Colorado alone.