Okay so I don’t know about everyone else, but I’m so glad that it’s finally feeling like fall weather, and especially the fact that next week is Thanksgiving weekend. It’s hard to believe that it’s almost the end of the semester and I’m sure that a lot of college students (including me) are ready for the holiday break; however, are not looking forward to finals week. While fall and winter bring in cooler temperatures, major holidays, gathering with friends and family, and bringing out the ugly Christmas sweaters; these two seasons also bring a major problem for us aviation majors, and that is poor weather conditions for a long period.
Now don’t get me wrong I absolutely love cooler temperatures, drinking hot chocolate next to the fire place, and playing out in the snow; but it drives me insane when I want to go fly and when I look outside all I see in low hanging clouds with either sleet or snow falling, as well as the winds just howling out of every direction. The worst part is that this weather pattern could last for days, or even weeks. Hopefully you are just like me when you think of these weather conditions and all you do is just shutter since there is nothing you can do about it and that you know that it’s unsafe to fly in these conditions.
While winter can bring some unwanted weather conditions, and may prevent you from flying for long periods of time; bad weather should not significantly affect your flying skills. In fact, bad weather should help improve your flying and knowledge skills which is a key area that we pilots tend to forget to focus on. So, when bad weather hits your area causing you to be grounded, here are my five biggest tips to help stay on top of your flying skills as well as improving your knowledge portion of flying.
Tips to staying on top of flying during poor weather
#1– Chair fly- By far the number one biggest advice that I can give to you, as well as your instructors would give to you, is that when bad weather strikes you need to chair fly. Now I know this seems kind of ridiculous, and your friends and family might be wondering what is wrong with you, but chair flying helps you stay on top of your flying skills. When it comes to chair flying you want to focus on executing maneuvers properly just like you would do in the aircraft. Also, chair flying helps you to remember where everything is and what order to do them in, like when to pull pack on the throttle, put down the landing gear. Or when to throw in the flaps. Chair flying really helps you stay on top of your flying skills when bad weather keeps you grounded.
#2- Study oral- So if you’re like me, you tend to forget to go over oral question that could be asked on your stage checks and check rides since you focus so much time on flying and other school work. However, during times of bad weather it is a perfect time to review oral exam questions that could be asked on your next stage or check ride. For example, I typically will go online and visit other sites that have oral questions and try to answer them correctly, or I will also use my exam books from previous aviation courses since examiners can bring up questions from past check rides. Again, it’s always important to review all possible questions, even previous courses that you have already completed.
#3- Review charts and graphs- Again, when it comes to your stage checks and check rides, examiners will also ask questions about items on your sectional charts. Typically, they will ask you questions like what airspaces, towered airports, where transition areas are, and much more about the sectional chart, and believe me it’s embarrassing when you just stare at the chart and you blank so hard since you forgot how many things are on a sectional chart, so it’s important to keep reviewing items on a sectional chart. In addition, during plenty of my stage checks and check rides, the examiner will ask me questions about the various charts in my POH. Most of the time the examiner will ask me how I got my true airspeed, top of climb, density altitude, and so many other chart questions. My biggest tip is that you review and know how to do those charts and graphs properly because these questions will be asked on every major flight that you do for the rest of your flying career.
#4- go over checklist- If there is one thing that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has gotten on to pilots about is the lack of checklist awareness. Not only that, but when it comes time for you to take a check ride and you forget to do one of the checklist, that is an automatic failure since it’s required for every phase of flight. So, when bad weather hits I recommend going over your checklist as many times as possible so that you don’t fail a check ride due to a checklist. my biggest recommendation is that you go over very checklist so that you gain proficiency and it becomes a habit that you never forget to do a checklist. I even recommend memorizing every checklist, but still use it so that you don’t forget one of the items during flight.
#5 Flight Simulator- So this tip is kind of a more personal tip, but I still find it very helpful, and that is to fly o flight simulator. Hopefully you all have flight simulator like I do, and if you don’t it may be something you should ask Santa Clause bring you for Christmas. Playing on flight simulator has really helped me stay on top of flying since I can set up using the same aircraft that i fly in, the same airport, and the good weather conditions. Flight simulator has also helping in my execution of maneuvers since I can put the aircraft into a steep turn, or power on/off stall or any maneuver for that matter. by doing this on flight simulator, it has also helped me with my execution during actual flight to do every step to a maneuver perfectly. Finally, flight simulator has helped me memorize where all my instruments are. Since flight simulator had the same aircraft that I train in, the cockpit is in the exact same format. So now i’m not lost looking for a specific instrument or gauge since flight simulator has helped me become more familiar with the aircraft’s cockpit. So if you don’t have flight simulator, I highly recommend getting it for Christmas this year.
Well guys that’s it for this week’s post and I hope all of you have an amazing Thanksgiving filled with lots of food and football. Also with the holiday break coming up please visit https://blog.globalair.com/ for other great blogs from across the county, as well as what they have to say about the upcoming travel season since I’m sure many of you will be traveling over the holiday break. As always guys remember “Adventure is out there”.