While some readers probably welcome a refresher on turbulence, shear, and thunderstorm dangers, others might see it as beating a dead horse. But Wx Smarts is that intersection between my 30 years of forecasting and your thousands of hours of instrument time. Within these articles I guarantee there’s always something that wasn’t fully covered in flight school or the FAA circulars. Whether it’s more detail or just an unusual situation, the goal is to keep you interested, thinking outside the box, and having more insight into aviation meteorology than the average pilot.
Situational awareness is critical when you’re on the gauges, right? Few of us will argue that with a good EFIS it’s child’s play to maintain that situational awareness, regardless of the quality of your scan. So far, so good.
Shakespeare elegantly downplays the importance of naming in Romeo and Juliet, writing: “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” What matters is the subject and not what the subject is called. But this is an over-simplification because changing the subject would make the quote non-sense: That which we call a fish by any other name would smell as sweet. Words have meaning.
The first GPS I used in the air was a Garmin 95 portable. Brick-shaped and nearly brick-sized, it’s etch-a-sketch screen was a still a revelation. We could go direct to airway fixes and watch the little black pixels approach just as the CDI needles swung to center. This was back when we taught instrument students how to eyeball a course “direct” to a fix defined by two VOR radials.
Which came first: the chicken or the Federal Egg Administration? Impossible to say. Physics teaches us that when Bernoulli found lift, his nemesis, Newton, said there must be an opposing reaction. So, when the Wright brothers flew, government pondered how to keep them from impacting all those other aeronauts. Little happened because of Newton’s Law of Administrative Inertia: An agency at rest remains at rest until acted upon by an un-ignorable force. …
You are flying the VOR-A approach into Salem Memorial (K33) in your Cessna 182. The airport has no tower, with Class E airspace starting at 700 feet AGL. The winds favor Runway 17. You “dive ’n drive” after the DME stepdown and break out at 680 feet AGL with the runway in sight two miles ahead. Do you (a) cross midfield and make left downwind to 17, or (b) turn right to the upwind leg for Runway 17 and make left traffic from there, or (c) turn left before reaching the airport and make right traffic for 17.