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

Go-Arounds

Go-Around Maneuver

Captain Judy’s Corner: Go-Arounds? That is the question! To Go-Around or not to Go-Around, that is the question. However, there are some questions pilots should ask themselves before making this decision much sooner than the final approach. Safe pilots should ask themselves, “Is the landing checklist complete?” and “Is the approach stabilized?” A good, safe landing begins before entering the airport environment with continued evaluation throughout the entire phase of landing. What are some examples of go-around situations? One go-around I recall, after having completed the appropriate landing checklists and while on a stabilized approach, was when a sudden gust of wind lifted my airplane into the air over the runway threshold. This destabilized my approach so the decision was … 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

Ready for Attitude Flying?

Avoid Hazardous Attitudes

Captain Judy’s Corner: Avoid Hazardous Flying Attitudes Is it important to verify checkpoints? Hazardous flying attitudes can occur at any time. I knew myself fairly well when I started flying lessons at age 40. Or so I thought. The long solo cross-country was when I discovered what I did not know. During that flight, I had not properly timed or verified checkpoints resulting in becoming completely off-course. My drive home from this particular flight provided reflection on how to be a better pilot. I’d replayed each skill set. I flew the airplane well and used the checklist regularly but was consistently lost. What surprised me was how many times I said to myself, “That check point is only slightly off … Read more

Aeromedical Part 2: Hypoxia

Hypoxia Captain Judy Rice

Captain Judy Rice and Navigator Fred by their Cirrus SR22T during the National Tour Captain Judy’s Corner: Aeromedical Part 2 – Hypoxia “Are my lips blue…?” Hypoxia aeromedical awareness matters. The Cirrus SR22T effortlessly reached the altitude of 8,500 MSL. The turbocharged airplane had a built-in oxygen system for higher altitudes. The maximum altitudes along our 3-month national tour would not exceed 10,000 MSL. It seemed unlikely we would be using the Cirrus oxygen system according to oxygen requirements when flying 12,500 MSL for over 30 minutes as stated in FAR 91.211. We had reached our crossing altitude before approaching the Arizona mountain ridges. I focused on clearing the ridges with ample altitude if encountering turbulence. We were safely on … Read more

Aeromedical Part 1: Motion Sickness

Motion Sickness Aeromedical Conditions

Captain Judy’s Corner: Aeromedical Part 1 – Motion Sickness “I alerted my aerobatic instructor…” My earliest memory of riding in a car was leaning out the window for fresh air and positioning my head carefully into a brown paper bag while my stomach was churning. My parents reassured that eventually I would outgrow these queasy moments. At a very young age, I learned to avoid looking down, such as looking at picture books, if I were inside a moving vehicle. I also always had water, sat next to a window, and if all of these precautions did not work, then the brown paper bag was nearby. Can flying a plane cause motion sickness? My first experiences as a student pilot … Read more

Technology and Problem-Solving

Captain Judy Rice Madrid

Madrid, Spain: Captain Judy Rice with Madrid students Captain Judy’s Corner: Pilot Technology and Problem-Solving “Our fuel stop was forecasting ceilings (clouds) at the lowest landing minimums and a slow moving line of thunderstorms…” Pilots rely on technology and problem-solving skills. My crew met me in the lobby for a quick cup of coffee before checking weather and then pre-flighting the Citation. We had our flight plan on file from our departure: Regina, Canada (CYQR) to Churchill, Canada (CYYQ) for a fuel stop, and then to Iqaluit, Canada (CYFB). This would be our final destination on our second night of this world flight voyage. Our fuel stop was forecasting ceilings (clouds) at the lowest landing minimums. There was a slow-moving … Read more

What is IACRA?

What is IACRA

IACRA – Everything You Need to Know What is IACRA, and why is it important to pilots? IACRA stands for: Integrated Airman Certification and Rating Application. The Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) in in charge of pilot license applications and oversees the process. This is to make sure pilots meet all requirements. It is a web-based system where pilots can apply, monitor, and obtain their certifications and ratings. Pilot training is more than flying. Pilots also have to learn the rules, regulations, and procedures that govern flight and pilot credentials. How does IACRA work? IACRA FAA offers a progression of pilot certificates or licenses. They begin with the student pilot and including subsequent licenses and ratings. For example, they include private … Read more

Shared Goals, Shared Knowledge, Mutual Respect

Shared Goals and Knowledge

Shared Goals, Shared Knowledge, and Mutual Respect Captain Judy’s Corner What do shared goals, shared knowledge, and mutual respect have to do with a major airline, a world flight, and Epic Flight Academy? “Citation N178SF, do you need assistance?” The Sakhalinsk air traffic controller gave us a straight-out departure on Runway 19. I was flying left seat, and my first officer, Edwin, was busy with communications. I had almost thawed from the biting Russian cold. The Citation climbed effortlessly at 3,000 feet per minute. As we climbed through solid gray clouds, the advanced avionics technology displayed on our glass cockpit went blank! Both displays were totally dark, leaving us with no instruments or navigation aids. We were in the ‘soup,’ … Read more

VFR Pilot Rating vs IFR Pilot Rating

VFR and IFR Pilot Ratings What do the terms “VFR” and “IFR” mean? The acronyms VFR and IFR stand for different types of FAA pilot certifications. VFR stands for “Visual Flight Rules.” This means that a VFR-rated pilot must follow specific guidelines when flying using visual references. A pilot holding a Private Pilot License (PPL) must fly in VFR conditions. IFR stands for “Instrument Flight Rules” and allows a pilot who is Instrument Rated (IR) to operate an aircraft by relying almost solely on instruments. Once a pilot holds a PPL, the next step is to be Instrument Rated (IR). This allows the pilot to fly IFR. Every aspect of flying is impacted by these ratings, such as flight planning, taking … Read more