NOTAMs

Decoding NOTAMs

Decoding NOTAMs: Hanoi to Hong Kong Captain Judy’s Corner The Citation jet was ready for departure at Hanoi, Vietnam (VVNB) with a destination Hong Kong (VHHH). Weather was agreeable along our entire route. The NOTAMs were an issue. Acquiring the most current weather and NOTAMs can be challenging when flying international. For example, each country will have a different responsible agency to contact for this information. Once the pilot locates the agency, they must often pay a fee and apply for ramp access to the facility. Airlines provide this information to the crew. General aviation pilots can pre-purchase this information through a commercial contractor or locate the agency on their own. During our 2015 World Flight, we pre-purchased these services. … Read more

PIREPs

Cross-Country Adventure PIREPs

Captain Judy’s Corner: Cross-Country Adventure with PIREPs Sunrise brings the promise of perfect flying weather! Today is a satisfying day to apply your knowledge to practice with the long solo cross-country. Therefore, your private pilot check ride prep will follow.  You arrive at Epic Flight Academy obtaining a final review on weather before departure. There are ample computers in the flight planning area connected to Aviation Weather. The METeorogical Aerodrome Report (METAR), Terminal Aerodrome Forecast (TAF), graphic weather, radar and satellite imaging, prognostic charts all indicate departure, enroute weather, and destination are visual flight rules (VFR). There are currently no pilot reports, also called PIREPs, along your route. A call to 800-WX-BRIEF Flight Service Station (FSS) briefer verified the VFR online … Read more

What is turbulence, and why is it so scary?

Flight Turbulence

Does turbulence shake you up? It shouldn’t! Pilots experience different types of turbulence during flight. Understanding turbulence can help you better respond when you face this situation. What is the definition of turbulence? Flight turbulence is something most passengers hate. What is turbulence? The meaning of turbulence is a sudden, violent shift in airflow. It creates up and down currents caused by irregular atmospheric motion. You can also define turbulence as that sudden jerking you sometimes feel in an airplane! So, what does understanding turbulent flow have to do with safe flying? We were in the clouds, Instrument Meteorological Conditions (IMC), and flying in an area without radar coverage. My first officer (FO) was busy programming the Citation jet’s system … Read more

Flying in Fog

Flying in Different Types of Fog

Foggy Facts “Caution, Sea Smoke approaching Ormond Beach.”  Lifting my view limiting device while on a practice instrument approach at Dayton Beach (KDAB), a solid wall of white clouds rolled over the ocean toward my home airport at KOMN. I immediately canceled my practice instrument approach with KDAB approach requesting direct to KOMN.  Fog is the most frequent cause of reduced surface visibility and is a persistent weather hazard. The speed with which fog can form makes it especially hazardous. In a matter of minutes, visibility can drop from Visual Flight Rules (VFR) to less than a mile. Fog can also reduce visibilities below Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) minimum approach requirements. Fog is composed of either water vapor or ice crystals. A … Read more

Hurricane Preparedness

Nat Geo Hurricane Tracks over 10 years

10-Year Hurricane Track (2005-2015) Source: National Geographic Captain Judy’s Corner: Hurricanes – What’s in a name? Did you know that “Huracan” was the god of big winds and evil spirits worshiped by the Maya people of Central America? Hurricane preparedness is serious business. While people have been naming major storms for hundreds of years, meteorologist first named hurricanes by the latitude and longitude coordinates where the storm was located. This system of tracking was confusing to people seeking hurricane information. In the early 1950s, the U.S. National Hurricane Center started the process by naming storms according to a phonetic alphabet, such as: Able, Baker, Charlie. The first hurricane of each season was always named “Able,” the second “Baker,” and so … Read more

Thunderstorm Flexibility

Flying in thunderstorms

Captain Judy’s Corner: Flexibility is the Key to Safety in a Thunderstorm Thunderstorm flexibility is essential for all pilots. The Citation was at FL370 (37000’) when I saw a thunderstorm building in the distance. I was amazed to watch and feel this energy from a far distance. The cumulonimbus clouds were building higher than the jet’s altitude. The lightning brightened the darkening sky. Are thunderstorms really all that dangerous? Every student pilot dreads the thunderstorm. Thunderstorms are part of summer weather in Florida, and most pilots here know to respect them. Thunderstorms are one of nature’s most powerful forces and a weather hazard that are dangerous for all pilots. Flying too close to these powerful beasts can end in disaster. … Read more

Density Altitude

Density Altitude Article

Captain Judy’s Corner: Density Altitude After all, airplanes don’t feel. Or, do they? How does hot, humid air affect flying? The cockpit felt like a sauna in the Arizona heat. Not only was I enduring the summer heat, but so was the airplane. How might an airplane suffer from heat? After all, airplanes do not feel? Or do they? Flying on a cool Florida morning or evening, you will notice ample runway remaining before lift-off and how eager the airplane climbs. Fly on a hot, muggy afternoon, and the runway remaining before lift-off will be far less. The airplane would climb much slower, as well. Temperature, pressure, and moisture (dewpoint) in the air affects our airplanes’ performance: an increase required … Read more