General aviation weather safety is nothing to take lightly. Our pilot weather articles are designed to help you maintain your skills for flying in tough conditions and improve your overall aviation safety.
Don’t automatically lock your airplane in its hangar this winter. The cold months can be some of the best times to fly.
Defining winter by the severity of cold weather on the North American continent can be a difficult task. In most years, anything south of a line through Atlanta, Little Rock, Oklahoma City, Santa Fe and Los Angeles has a good chance of a modest winter. Any location above 35 degrees north latitude can reasonably expect more »
The pilot of a JetPROP-converted Piper Malibu tried to thread his way through severe weather without airborne radar
It happened on June 18, 2014: With thunderstorms popping, the pilot of a turbine-powered Piper Malibu PA46-310P JetPROP conversion seemed to be doing a good job of weather avoidance, but then made a turn and flew into a monstrous cell. The airplane crashed at Lehman, Texas, killing the pilot and both passengers. It took two more »
How’s the ride up there? Follow these 5 simple steps for smoother flying
They say the three most useless things to a pilot are runway behind you, fuel not in your tanks, and altitude above you. So when you’re choosing your VFR cruise altitude for your next cross-country, is higher really better? It could be, but you have a lot to consider. Here are five things to think more »
But use caution: the wind might be a little tricky
Most prospective aviators are excited about joining Lindberg, Yeager and Hoover in the sky, but they’re usually less enthusiastic about investigating the ways of weather, at least until they start flying places. In this case when we say “weather,” we’re talking mostly wind. For safety’s sake, we need to understand the movement of fronts, development more »
Are you prepared for when the weather deteriorates?
It has been a long day on a long cross-country flight. The weather forecasts have not been very accurate—you’re reminded of a quote from an anonymous wag: “Weather forecasts are horoscopes with numbers.”
It had been a long day. It was January 2003, and I’d departed Reykjavik, Iceland, in a 58 Baron; destination Iqaluit, Nunavit, Canada, with stops in Greenland, where it was clear and cold—in this case, minus-20 degrees C. I’d landed on the gravel runway at Kulusuk in the dark of noon, refueled as quickly as possible to avoid having the engines cool down, and leaped back off across the ice cap for the old U.S. air base at Sondre Strom Fjord, well above the Arctic Circle. The weather remained perfect as I spanned the cap at 14,000 feet in smooth, frigid air.
Whether Punxsutawney Phil sees his own shadow or not, winter is losing its death grip. But it isn’t dead yet. Widespread icing still exists during the transition months of March and April. Gulf moisture, warmer temperatures and an overactive jet stream guarantees that convective SIGMETs will begin to spring out of hibernation. With temperatures slowly on the rise, you need to tailor your briefings to focus on key weather products that track the vernal transition.