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Cockpit Weather Choices

For many, the cockpit weather product of choice is SiriusXM Satellite Weather (XMWX). Thats partly because of Garmins highly popular line of GPS portables with optional satellite XM receivers. That started with the GPSMAP 396 in 2002 and continues with the current aera series and GPSMAP 696. Theres also the GDL 69-an XMWX receiver compatible with most Garmin panel-mount devices. As dominant as Garmin and SiriusXM are in datalink weather, there are other choices. …

ATCs Side of Special VFR

The overcast was holding steady at 900 feet. Morning visibility wasnt faring much better, showing two miles. The airport was IFR and the beacon was lit. The temperature and dew point were dancing in lock-step. [IMGCAP(1)] I was working Ground and Clearance. A deep voice rumbled through my headset. Clearance, N4173A, requesting Special VFR. Im just trying to jump back over to Hewitt under that cloud deck. Im a Cessna 172 and I got information Mike. …

Need Data Link

Many of us just seem to need the latest gadgets. But others fly quite successfully with nothing on their laps but a chart and just conventional VOR navigation in the panel. Both ends of this technology spectrum are valid and which one is appropriate for you depends a lot on your type of flying, your skill and your level of comfort with the latest technology.

Read the Weather: Ice

Monday was spent in Dayton, Ohio at the Air Force Museum-one of the most interesting aviation museums in the world-with a vast selection of nearly 400 military aircraft in several huge hangars. Best of all theres no admission fee. We lost track of time and we were pushing the clock to get to Dubuque, Iowa that evening. Dave is with us again and he got a tip that the Best Buy there still has a few Sony PlayStation 4 units in stock. He doesnt realize avgas is over $6 per gallon, but you want the hours and theres probably a good local steakhouse to try. We agree, OK. Sounds good.

Reading the Storms

Dave strolls into the FBO carrying a travel bag and a pizza box. I let out a sigh. Well, look who showed up. Dave, youre 45 minutes late.

Reading Weather Data

Heading out to the ramp, we approach the Mooney in the darkness. The weather is cold and damp. You, the reader, are coming along for a ride. It is Dec. 8, 2013, a little after 9 p.m. Were flying out of Melfa, a little airfield about an hour north of Norfolk, Virginia. Our destination: Steel City, Pittsburgh. Its not the best weather for flying, but our friend Dave got last-minute VIP tickets for the Backstreet Boys/Avril Lavigne show at the Petersen Center tomorrow and called in a favor. Hell be riding in back.

Weather Sausage

There are many tidbits of wisdom we learn during our lives. One of those I recall hearing a long time ago was, If you like sausage, never go to a sausage factory. Seeing the product being produced from the various raw ingredients might keep you from ever eating it again. But, what would happen if you had no choice but to eat sausage? Would you still stay away from the factory? Or would you want to learn all you could about sausage and sausage making?

Spring Mountain Storm

Were preparing for our flight from Santa Fe, N.M. and theres been news of an unusually cold late spring storm moving through Colorado. On May 11, of all things, winter storm warnings are already up for Wyoming and much of Colorado. Our bumbling friend Dave called ahead and unfortunately most of the resorts like Aspen and Telluride had already closed for the season (What a waste, he complained.) but we found that Arapahoe Basin is still open. So our quest is to get to Denver.