I haven’t used the textual Area Forecast for flight planning since the early 2000s, aside from showing it to students for training. The same goes for actually phoning a weather briefer. I use the wide array of digital weather resources available to us from both official and unofficial sources for determining conditions for each flight, and I believe that all pilots should be comfortable and capable of determining this from these textual and graphical resources without assistance. Guess what? The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is finally getting rid of the limited-utility Area Forecasts (FA).
A few months ago I published an article showing you my single-bag lifestyle when traveling for jobs/training. I have been living in an “extreme minimalist” mindset for a few years now, and experimented as well with “office-living” and “vandwelling.” Originally I planned to write a short book on the subject and discuss my experiments with these lifestyles, but I have since decided to turn this into a series of weekly blog posts, starting here with Part 1.
Certified Flight Instructors (CFI) are taught that there are four basic levels of learning: Rote, Understanding, Application, and Correlation.1 There are other variants of these levels, but the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) uses this set in their publications and exams, so we will also. Let’s review each level.
I saw this quote (with no source listed) regarding in-flight weather decision-making posted on a wall the other day and thought it was well said: “The least experienced pilots press on, while the more experienced turn back to join the most experienced who never left the ground in the first place.“
Understanding the fundamentals of altitudes and altitude reporting systems (altimeters) is important for flight planning, performance calculations, regulatory compliance, and in-flight problem solving. This subject is covered early in training for the Private Pilot Certificate, but I found it often needs review even up to the Certified Flight Instructor Certificate training level, thanks primarily to disuse.
This past week the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) published a report about the July 3, 2015 crash of an Airbus AS350B3e conducting Helicopter Air Ambulance (HAA) operations in Colorado. As seen in video at the base helipad, the aircraft yaws left while skids are on the ground and then continues to yaw left as the helicopter becomes airborne and goes out of camera view. The helicopter reappears as it crashes behind the site, and a post-crash fire develops almost instantly. What happened? What actions could the pilot have taken?