Winter is a popular time to travel. Everyone wants to visit to family, friends, go skiing all in different areas of the country in a short holiday season. Although winter weather conditions can create higher risk challenges, many pilots can’t help but to continue experiencing the wonders of aviation during the winter months.
If you plan on flying on your own this winter, you can have a safe and enjoyable experience, as long as you take a few extra precautions and spend a little more time planning.
Tips for Safe Winter Flying
Preflight Checklist for Small Airplane Pilots
Before taking flight in the winter, the last precaution you must take is going through this additional pre-flight checklist for cold weather conditions:
Understand Your Icing Charts
In order to avoid plane stalling, rolling, pitching or, in the worst-case scenario, total plane failure, it is necessary to study your icing charts before you fly if there’s any remote possibility of cold weather conditions during the course of your flight. There are several different options to help you understand what the potential for icing is. According to aviationweather.gov, there are four types of icing charts:
Stop by Coast on October 22, 2011 and check out the latest from Cirrus and Porsche. Sit in both cockpits and experience the power! Limited flights available with reservations. Event is free to attend, flights are $175. All profits will go to Rady Children’s Hospital.
Food and drinks will be served.
During initial training, Coast flight training students experienced a 98% pass rate. This high pass rate is a testament to the quality of the company’s experienced & knowledgeable flight instructors & the innovative flight training methods employed by Coast Flight. Nathan Linder recently passed his IFR checkride in a Cirrus SR22. Two days after the checkride, Coast Flight Training President, Will Dryden, instructed Linder on flying to Mexico, making it possible for Linder to take his wife on a surfing trip to beautiful Cabo San Lucas. It’s just one more way in which flight training makes a big difference in the lives of Cirrus pilots!
Will Dryden is the President and founder of Coast Flight Training. He is a career instructor with both Master Flight Instructor and Gold Seal Certified Flight Instructor designations. Will founded Coast with the focus of breaking aviation flight training paradigms (www.iflycoast.com).
The perfect way to reduce students’ anxiety about radio communication is to start by explaining to them that the air traffic controller they’re talking to is most likely wearing shorts and a Hawaiian shirt, and sipping a cup of Joe. He or she is nothing to be afraid of. The job of the ATC is to keep the pilots safe and help them when they have questions.
A common mistake instructors make is telling students that ATC radio calls have to be perfect and in a particular order. Instead, the instructors should encourage students and be positive. And while instructors should initially avoid fixing their students’ communication mistakes, it’s important that the students can rest assured that the instructor is there to back them up and can finish the call for them, in case they are having trouble.
Here are some simple steps to improve students’ radio calls:
Radios are often difficult for students. Air traffic controllers talking fast can be intimidating, creating a psychological “mountain” for the student. Reminding students that they’re just talking to that guy in the Hawaiian shirt enjoying his coffee can generally ease a lot of the pressure, and by identifying themselves as “student pilot” will alert the ATC to give them the extra attention they need and deserve.
As any good pilot knows, ground power is an essential part of modern flight. Ground power units are used to supply power to various aircraft while they are on the ground. The most common use for the larger power-supplying vehicles is supporting large aircraft as they are moving around the runway, such as after a landing. Ground power also helps create a low-pressure environment in which pilots in training can practice and learn the avionics of the plane before they actually fly.
A ground power unit is a may look like anything from a small box to a large truck depending on the planes it services. It carries electric energy from a generator to a connection on the aircraft. Some airports also have the ground power built in. Ground power allows aircraft systems to be used without depleting the battery, so new pilots can train without the pressure of flying and make sure they’re comfortable with the plane and all of its instruments before ever taking it into the sky.
The Benefits of Ground Power
Chair flying lets new pilots get familiar with the avionics of the aircraft. This is because the actions of the student’s body while sitting in the cockpit and envisioning flight help to develop muscle memory. Chair flying provides experience with GPS, frequency and different waypoint inputs. It makes lessons more productive, because once the student has become competent in the procedures, he or she is able to practice rather than just learn from a book or simulation. Students are focused on fine tuning their procedures instead of learning the procedures in a classroom.
Chair flying also provides students with practice in all the following areas:
Ground power is a resource you’ll find in practically any airport these days. It helps to reduce emissions, fuel costs and noise pollution around the airports while the aircraft are circling the runway. From a student perspective, it is also the most efficient way to learn.
Boeing has declared the world economic recession all but over and issued its rosiest commercial aircraft forecast in years. The company’s pre-Paris Air Show analysis predicts a doubling of the world fleet of commercial aircraft over the next 20 years, with 33,500 aircraft selling for a total of $4 trillion. “The world market has recovered and is now expanding at a significant rate,” Randy Tinseth, Boeing’s VP of marketing for commercial aircraft, told reporters. “Not only is there a strong demand for air travel and new airplanes today, but the fundamental drivers of air travel – including economic growth, world trade and liberalization – all point to a healthy long-term demand.” Much of the growth will come from emerging markets in China, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America, while traditional markets in Europe and North America will be buying planes for fleet modernization.
Although the big buzz at Paris seems to be how Boeing will counter the multi-front assault on its single-aisle 737, Boeing says the big market for the next 20 years will be in twin-aisle long-range aircraft that will respond to the demands of globalization and trade liberalization. The wild card will be the effect of fuel supply and demand on airlines. “While passengers are getting what they want – more frequencies and nonstop service – rising and volatile fuel prices are expected to continue to challenge the industry,” Tinseth said. Boeing is debuting its 747-8 stretched jumbo at Paris, which runs June 20-26.
Differences between Part 61 and Part 141 Flight schools have either or both authorizations.
Part 61 and 141 are sections of the Federal Aviation Regulations. They outline the requirements for an individual to obtain a pilot’s certificate or rating. Each section has it’s own details as to what is required during the training process which will make the candidate eligible to take their checkride. How do they differ? Part 61 is more open when it comes to the overall structure of the training timeline. Any flight instructor can train under Part 61. Given the openness of the training time line, the overall flight experience requirements are slightly higher.
To train under Part 141, a student must be officially be enrolled in a 141 course. Only schools that have been evaluated and approved by the FAA can issue these enrollments. In order for a school to be approved, it must count on a strict syllabus for the training course. The student must follow the syllabus exactly. Given the enforcement of adherence to stringent protocols, the over all experience requirements are less demanding.
The following chart depicts the comparisons for the initial Private Pilot
|Part 61||Part 141|
|Solo Flight Time||10||5|
|Solo Cross Country||5||3|
|Cross Country Distances||1 flight 100 nm distance||1 flight 100nm distance|
|Take Off/Landings Night||10 full stop||10 full stop|
|60 days prior to flight Test||3||3|
While choosing, the student should analyze individual study habits and ultimate aviation goals. Benefits to doing a part 61 course mainly concentrate in the flexibility it entitles. If the student needs to skip one lesson and come back to it later or is not able to train on a regular schedule, then the right choice is part 61.
If the student’s ultimate goal is professional flying, having completed a Part 141 course may be preferred by some employers. Sometimes part 141 is a requirement if the student is using financial assistance to pay for his/her training. If the student keeps up with studies and trains on a consistent basis, Part 141 is the correct choice. At completion, either section finishes with a pilot’s certificate with same privileges. Selection depends on the form not the contents.
Weather in Flight
For most people, checking the weather is a simple matter of sticking a hand out the window. Cold? Wear a scarf. Raining? Get a jacket. But for pilots, the weather report is not so straightforward. Weather conditions, good or bad, have a dramatic impact on how an aircraft needs to be flown, so knowing the weather in intimate detail is an essential part of the pilot’s job; pilots must work with the weather, never against it. Coast Flight Training embraces this paradigm and therefore spares no effort to make sure pilots know how to assess and respond to various types of weather conditions.
Gauging the Weather
Weather is described in two ways: what is happening currently (observation), and what is going to happen soon (forecast). Both types of information are useful to pilots, and are equally important to know. Both are available via a variety of reporting formats.
Forecasts come through a separate set of reports, including:
Stay Informed, Stay Safe
Pilots must become comfortable reading these and other weather reports so they can stay abreast of the most current situations and fly accordingly. Before flying, check these reports and make a careful “go/no-go” decision. While in the air, continue to check for updates and adjust your flight plan whenever necessary. Know your personal limits and those of the aircraft so the weather can remain a friend and not become an enemy.
The Surface Prognostic (Prog) Charts are available at the Aviation Digital Data Services
Valuable Training for Right-Seaters and Passengers
No matter how talented or experienced a pilot is, there is still a great need for him or her to have an alert and knowledgeable partner in command. There is always the possibility that the pilot could become incapacitated or overwhelmed during a flight due to unforeseen, dangerous weather conditions or other complications. No matter what problem arises, it is the right-seater’s duty to ensure that the other passengers and airplane are kept safe if the pilot is no longer able to do so.
The duties and necessary skills of the right-seater are more than meet they eye. For example, does he/she know what to say on a radio, or even how to operate one? How to find and activate the ELT from the right seat? Does he or she have first aid or medical training, including experience dealing with choking victims, hypoxia, carbon monoxide exposure and other flight-relevant issues? Is he or she familiar with how to steer to a CAPS-suitable area using autopilot?
For the answer to all of these questions and many more, Partner in Command training can be of invaluable assistance to any right-seater, or even a passenger. Non-pilot companions who frequently sit next to the pilot, such as spouses or other loved ones, could benefit especially from this training. It is designed to make these frequent flyers more at ease in the aircraft, teach them how to be an active participant in the flight as a resource to the pilot, and explain the availability and use of safety equipment in an emergency, including the Cirrus Airframe Parachute System (CAPS).
A few ways in which the partner in command can be of assistance include:
In addition to our course for partners in command, Coast Flight Training offers an introductory course to help passengers excel in their ability to help. This course covers:
– Introduction to radio communications
– Cockpit resource management
– Flight maneuvers
– Systems operation
– GPS use, how to find useful information and autopilot management
– Procedures for getting help and deploying the CAPS
In certain cases, learning what is available in these courses can mean the difference between life and death. The decision to take one of these extremely helpful courses is a no-brainer!
Working with Will Dryden and Chris Krone at Coast Flight Training has been a great experience. I purchased a 2001 Cirrus SR22 that was located on the field. It was in need of maintenance which Will was very instrumental at getting it in for service. I live 1400 miles away from San Diego so logistics became a problem. Will was quick to offer one of his instructors to fly the plane to my location. Chris Krone was the pilot who flew my new plane to my location. He communicated the progress of the flight at every stop. Thanks to the exceptional customer service at Coast Flight Training the plane made it to it’s new home without any problems!
Cedar Rapids, IA