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Category Archives: Weather

CFI Brief: Wind Shear

Wind shear is defined as a change in wind direction and/or speed over a very short distance in the atmosphere. This can occur at any level of the atmosphere and can be detected by the pilot as a sudden change in airspeed. As a pilot you can be certain that you will experience wind shear […]

Weather: Wind Shear

Wind shear is a sudden, drastic change in wind speed and/or direction over a very small area. Wind shear can subject an aircraft to violent updrafts and downdrafts, as well as abrupt changes to the horizontal movement of the aircraft. Today, we’ll go over the basics of this common weather phenomena, with excerpts from the […]

Weather: Dew Point

As we’ve talked about before, being aware of the weather at takeoff, at your destination, and en route is a key part of flight planning and flying safety. By now you know which models to check before you leave, but an understanding of the basic elements of weather and atmosphere can help you anticipate changes […]

Weather: Turbulence

This week: turbulence. Some degree of turbulence is almost always present in the atmosphere and pilots quickly become accustomed to slight turbulence. Moderate or severe turbulence, however, is uncomfortable and can even overstress the airplane. Today we’ll talk about its causes and share some best-practices when encountering turbulence. Words and pictures have been excerpted from […]

CFI Brief: What’s the deal with fog?

Fog, just like clouds, is formed when invisible water vapor in the atmosphere condenses in the air into visible water droplets. You can best think of fog as simply a cloud that reaches the ground. As a pilot you are bound to encounter fog at some point, probably sooner than later as it is one […]

Weather: Fronts

Out here in the Pacific Northwest, we’re used to what’s generally characterized as “bad” weather. And since we’re setting regional rainfall records right now, let’s talk about weather. Specifically, fronts. As an air mass moves across bodies of water and land, it eventually comes into contact with another air mass with different characteristics. The boundary […]

CFI Brief: Identifying Clouds

Today we are going to spend some time on the subject of clouds. Understanding the various types of clouds is important to pilots as clouds are direct indicators of the type of weather that one can expect. Having the ability to understand and correlate the meaning of a particular cloud as it relates to weather […]

Weather: Temperature and Atmosphere

Today we’ll think about the effect of temperature on the weather. We’ve covered how solar energy from the sun drives all atmospheric and geological processes on Earth, so now we’ll address it’s role in atmospheric stability. Words and pictures in this post come from the FAA’s Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge. Atmospheric Stability The stability of the […]

CFI Brief: Thunderstorms, BOOM!

For a thunderstorm to exist, you need two very basic elements: moisture and warm, rapidly rising air. This is why in the spring and summer months with the warmer conditions you tend to see an increase in thunderstorm activity. According to NOAA, at any given time across the world there are 1,800 thunderstorms occurring all […]

Weather: Circulation and Wind

Differences in temperature create differences in pressure. These pressure differences drives a complex system of winds in a never ending attempt to reach equilibrium. Wind also transports water vapor and spreads fog, clouds, and precipitation. This week, we have a post from the classic FAA text Aviation Weather (AC 00-6A) to describe how the atmosphere […]

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