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Which Way to Turn?

Every seasoned pilot occasionally finds a stubborn thunderstorm blocking the path like a bully in the schoolyard. We wonder not only where to deviate but whats on the other side. If you have a weather display, youve got a better idea of what lies ahead, but theres always uncertainty about how safe it is to cross the area. An understanding of thunderstorm patterns and ingredients, and considering the basic meteorology pattern of the day is…

Tame the Fog Monster

When operating near large bodies of water, especially on the west coast of the United States, you might encounter the "Fog Monster" from the...

Those Shifty Winds

An excellent article by editor Frank Bowlin on ILS technique appeared in the February issue. A small error led to some confusion, and IFR...

Thunderstorm Safety

As summer arrives and the days get longer, pilots may let their guard down when it comes to weather. Icing and large hail may...

Pop-up Clearances

The pilot wasnt having much luck on his flight review. As he and his instructor were about to depart, the airport weather went from a manageable SCT006 to BKN006, requiring an IFR clearance. Since they had planned to depart VFR, they didnt file an IFR flight plan. To top it off, the part-time tower was closed.

XMWX Satellite Weather

Not many years ago your airborne weather information was limited to what you could see out the windshield and what information you were able to gather on the radio from Flight Service-if you could reach them. Plus, reported weather was limited. Thus, it was nearly impossible to form a full, accurate mental image of the weather. …

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.

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.

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 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.

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. …