Wx Watch

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Wx Watch: Eyes in the Sky

Pilot Magazine | May 01, 2009

WXWatch GOES satellites show more than clouds By: Thomas A. Horne Every pilot I know regularly checks out weather satellite imagery as part of his or her preflight duties, and for the most part, interpreting satellite photos is fairly intuitive.

Wx Watch: Calm up high, roaring down low

Pilot Magazine | Apr 01, 2009

It’s a question that often pops up in the minds of high-time airline captains and beginning students alike: Why do winds increase with altitude? Are there any exceptions to this informal rule? Sometimes I get e-mails from pilots wondering about strange, weaker-than-usual winds aloft, many times with descriptions of increasing winds during the descent phase of the same flight. Yes, this sort of phenomenon happens from time to time.

Wx Watch: Rain or snow?

Pilot Magazine | Jan 01, 2009

Will it snow tonight? Should I put the airplane in a hangar, just to be on the safe side? Will my approach and landing be affected by snow-reduced visibilities and reduced braking action? Will it be snow or rain? These are just a few of the wintertime concerns for pilots planning to operate out of airports affected by snowfall. Forecasters use computer-generated chart data to come up with a general rule (with the emphasis on general) to help them locate areas of likely snowfall at lower altitudes and at the surface.

Wx Watch: Icing facts and myths

Pilot Magazine | Dec 01, 2008

Most of us have been around enough wintertime bull sessions to have heard some hair-raising stories of icing encounters. You know, landing with full power.

Wx Watch: Winter Rules to Live By

Pilot Magazine | Nov 01, 2008

What if you were at some desolate airport, and had no access to weather information? Could you concoct at least a rudimentary idea of what the local weather held in store? There are ways of determining the weather in the next eight to 12 hours—under certain circumstances. And no, I’m not talking about using the “weather rock” you saw in that tourist trap at the side of the road, among the ridiculously huge cigars, the commemorative spoons, and the paperweights made of scorpions encased in plastic.

Wx Watch: Fronts on the Move

Pilot Magazine | Oct 01, 2008

Pilots are always looking for easy answers to weather questions, most of which relate to determining forecast conditions. Unfortunately, the terms “easy” and “forecasting” seldom go together.

Wx Watch: The Scoop on Spin

Pilot Magazine | Jun 01, 2008

Ever hear your local TV weatherpeople preface a warning of bad weather by mentioning “spin” in the atmosphere as a culprit? What they really mean is that parcels of air at high altitude are moving in such a way as to create a net upward movement of air. In other words, forces aloft are causing lift at the surface.

Wx Watch: Storm Survey

Pilot Magazine | Apr 01, 2008

All thunderstorms are not created equal. They vary from region to region, from season to season, and rely on slightly different mechanisms to help them fire off.

Wx Watch: IFR Onslaught

Pilot Magazine | Feb 01, 2008

Last December, the weather in the Pacific Northwest made big headlines. There were four cycles of two-day-long stretches of low IFR weather between December 2 and December 11.

Wx Watch: Icing Escape Clauses

Pilot Magazine | Jan 01, 2008

Here’s hoping it never happens to you, but let’s look at some of the emergency measures you can take should you ever become caught in icing conditions. We’re assuming that you’ve made all the necessary preflight checks to prevent an icing encounter in the first place, received encouraging updates through Flight Watch or (if so equipped) your satellite weather provider, and made your “go” decision based on a conviction that icing conditions won’t be a factor.