In our last issue, we talked about the building blocks of weather radar—how it was developed, the basics of radio waves, problems with radar sampling, and the important differences between composite and base reflectivity. If you haven’t read that, I highly recommend you do so to get a good grounding in radar fundamentals. In this issue we’ll take that knowledge and teach you a bit about interpretation.
About the only thing I personally know about Lincoln, Nebraska is a Denny’s off Interstate 80. In my moderately delinquent youth, I helped a friend who couldn’t afford a move from Connecticut to Colorado by renting a truck for local use one Thursday afternoon, disconnecting the odometer, round tripping across two time zones, and reconnecting it in time to log 30 miles before returning the truck Monday morning.
In 1957 the Soviet Union launched Sputnik, the first man-made satellite. The American psyche was troubled by the potential of this technological second place. This planted the seeds of one of America’s greatest military and technological innovations—GPS.
Each year I pore through between 1500 and 2000 NTSB accident/incident reports searching for bonehead pilots who heed the siren’s call of stupidity and invent creative means of destroying a variety of aircraft without killing anyone. To walk the “Stupid Pilot Tricks” red carpet requires a willingness to ignore good airmanship and, frankly, dance with fools.
Even after a couple hundred hours behind my Garmin GTN 650, there are still things I struggle to do properly. Chief among those is flying multiple approaches. Sure, we mostly have to do that in practice, but if you miss at a busy airport or the winds change after you’ve set up, you might find yourself needing to plug in that second approach, or third. If you were like me, you’d get things hopelessly bollixed up before you just cleared the flight plan and started over.
From reading Hadfield’s autobiography An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earthand listening to various interviews online, it’s clear Hadfield is no stranger to unexpected problems. From a seagull strike in an F/A-18 Hornet fighter at 500 knots a mere 50 feet above the water, to temporarily going blind during his first spacewalk because of contamination in his helmet, he has faced some unique situations.