Future flight — Airscape Magazine

The next 10 years Despite the large amount of historical content on ‘airscape’, there’s also an abiding interest in what’s coming next… If you want to see the future, hold a mirror up to the past. So when I was recently asked what I thought would be aviation’s biggest influencer in the coming decade, I […]

via Future flight — airscape Magazine

Ice, Ice Baby!

Pushing the limits

I rarely fly in IMC.

First off, not too many pilots I know want to fly in IMC. Second most of my flying is, for that coveted ham (veg) burger and there is rarely a need to set off in IMC conditions for that. So yeah,  I know no one who wants to fly in IMC or through icing scenarios.

And yes, this was my first foray into icing conditions!


Sometimes, I set off with my favorite  CFI (see Night and Actual ) or a favorite  safety pilot (see Chasing Clouds )when the limits are reasonable for either an IFR flight in actual IMC or a VFR on top flight,  or for shooting an approach at an airport with minimums much higher than necessary for a brand new IFR flight.

Occasionally, I fly with a friend of mine as a safety pilot. I am totally comfortable with his flying skills, so much so that I don’t even plan to adjust my seat position to be able to reach the rudder pedals.

That is how confident I am of his flying skills!

NY_HusdonRiver_0174Did I mention that just after I became a private pilot, I learnt to fly from the right seat and land? I was flying with so many different pilots of different skills, that I wanted to learn to land from the right seat, if necessary.

This was one of those days, when the weather was iffy.

Ceiling at 3,900 ft and visibility at 3 miles. We discussed and perused the weather for a solid hour. Both of us were instrument current. After much discussion we departed with the plan to return if uncomfortable.

Maybe it was because I flew almost 28 hours recently in different weather conditions, over oceans, in IMC, conquered NEMO, strong winds and more. Or maybe it was because I knew I could land this baby if necessary from the right seat. Or maybe I had confidence in my friend to keep us safe. I was relaxed.

The snow was supposed to come later.

I quietly said, “I think, I see ice. It is hard to make out if it is raining or snowing”.

My friend took a peek and knew it was not good. He had turned on the pitot heat as added protection. “We need to return,”  he said.

And I concurred.

Visibility was deteriorating rapidly.

“Potomac Approach,” he said, “We need to fly back IFR.”

With  the approach plugged in, we were glad of our two iPads with Foreflight.  With at least one Foreflight Pro iPad, we were assured of the geo-reference tracking.

What are your limits when flying in IMC?

Drop me a line…

‘Tis the season for airframe ice — ForeFlight

Now that cold air has infiltrated a good portion of North America, it’s time to review one important aspect of airframe icing, namely, precipitation type. The three basic wintry precipitation types include snow, ice pellets (colloquially known as sleet) and freezing rain (or freezing drizzle). Surface observations (METARs) and forecasts such as TAFs typically report these […]

via ‘Tis the season for airframe ice — ForeFlight


If your mind jumps to the green thing that grows in your garden, then I am happy to note I am not alone in making that connection. MOS stands for Model Output Statistics that ForeFlight added recently in addition to Synthetic Vision. MOS is derived from weather prediction models and run by researchers at NOAA. Although MOS has been around for a long time, only recently it has seen use in aviation industry

Courtesy: ForeFlight

I typically hibernate in winter and lately my flying has been reduced to zero. Although we had planned a few VA stamp collecting, the trips were either canceled due to low ceilings, rain, winds, snow or other weather related factors. Sometimes it is a bummer to be an aircraft renter, since I need to plan well in advance to reserve an aircraft all day. And if a flight pushed to the next day, chance of procuring an aircraft for a full day is almost impossible especially a C172.

Having done most of my in California until recently, I am still a wuss when it comes to winter flying. Temperatures in the 30’s or below means preheating the engine and worst of all to clear the aircraft surfaces of frost. And attempting to land at airports and taxiing on taxiways at small generally aviation airports is tricky. Not all taxiways are cleared and seeing piled up snow always unsettles me.

snf19Here is a fun site I came across recently that provides an excellent graphical view of winds, temperature, pressure, and humidity around the world from surface to high altitudes. It includes forecast weather for winds, precipitation and temperature, links to a website with 14-day forecast weather site, and links to webcams if available for the location.