In Wx Smarts, we go beyond the basics you learned in flight school. Sure, you know that winds are stronger at higher altitudes, and that you find fronts near where the jet stream is, but why? What makes the winds flow from the southwest at 20,000 feet when there’s a storm system approaching? Let’s go past the usual weather playbook to look at why the given upper-air pattern is in place.
Really big winds and airplanes are not compatible. Of course, our first desire is to avoid those big winds. But, occasionally they sneak up on us even when we’re diligent about avoiding them. Then what should you do?
We’ve discussed the benefits of personal standard operating procedures (SOP) for our own flying. We’ve taken the main elements (“Using an SOP in GA,” September 2016) and began creating our own (“DIY SOP Considerations,” February 2017). Meanwhile, we tried to wean you from your do-list in favor of a flow and check (“Change Your Checklist,” October 2016 and “DIY Flow and Check,” January 2017). In this final article, we assemble a personal SOP for a light GA single.
Anything that can go wrong, will, and at the worst possible moment—so states Finagle’s corollary to Murphy’s Law. This notion is drilled into pilots from the beginning, so that it becomes second nature to have a plan to handle all sorts of potential failures that could be experienced in flight. Engine failure: check. Instrument and system malfunction: got it covered. Communication failure: no problem. GPS failure... Uhhh, what? Hang on a minute.
A radar controller’s primary concern is the safe sequencing of airplanes. Accomplishing this requires more than just good judgment, clear communication, effective working speed, and knowledge of aircraft and airspace. It depends also on up-to-date information and the ability to stay focused on his airplanes. The controller needs access to a variety of data, such as weather, NOTAMs, nationwide flow restrictions, PIREPs. SIGMETs, etc. This (often critical) information changes frequently, comes from a variety of different sources, and affects aircraft in a many ways.
Keeping your instrument-flying skills sharp is like high school football. No, not the social activities after the game; we mean the combination of drills and scrimmage. This sim challenge is a bit of both. The scrimmage part is that you’ll practice in the context of a (nearly) complete flight. The drill part is that flight is focused on one skill: the anvil descent.