The website's primary goal is to centralize
some local interest aviation sites for general aviation
pilots in the Tri-State area plus provide pertinent
information about general aviation.
TOWER _HIT LIST, FALSE ALARM :
Well, the FAA's bluff worked, and just coincidently when
congress needed to fly home for their one-week recess.
The legislation passed on April 26 eliminating
controller furloughs gives the FAA permission to
allocate funds from their capital improvement budget to
pay for controller salaries. It does not go so far
as to take the possibility of contract tower closures
off the table, in other words, the FAA may still make
decisions at some time in the future as to which towers
remain open and which can be closed.
MEDICAL : Migrate
to the computer or die seems to be the FAA's unspoken
motto. Now, we must fill out the FAA Form 8500-8. form online
that before we got at the doctor's office before a
flight physical. Actually, it's not that bad and
it does have advantages.....after the first time you do
it. The information you put in this time will be
available next time you have to renew your medical so
there's no question in your mind about what you may have
disclosed last time. When you're done filling out
the form, you have the option to print or save a copy on
your hard drive. Do both.
Go to medxpress.faa.gov,
enter your e-mail address and a password, (try to
remember it for the future) and you're set to start
filling out the form. The big problem at the
moment is that if you do have a problem, the phone
service is really clogged by people trying to whine
their way out of going along. 877-287-6731 is a
private contract service help line, NOT the FAA, and
they'll help you in a courtesous tone of voice if you
A few rules...your password much contain 8 to 12
characters, using at least three of the four; capital
alpha, lower case alpha, numbers, or special characters
like punctuations. Don't use your name or an old
password you've used on the site before. And don't
try to log in or use the site from your iPhone, iPad, or
other Mac-type device or a PC running Google Chrome. Use a PC running Internet
Explorer Version 7 or higher. Or, drive yourself
nuts and try it your own way.
VAD WINDS BUTTON:
Sorry, but the velocity-azimuth wind displays are
a little more difficult to get to at the moment.
They're provided by the College of
DuPage and show vertical wind profile at each NEXRAD site at every
1000' interval but getting to them involves an extra
step. After you click on the gray VAD radio button
here ( in theleft "Site Links" column on this page) ,
you'll need to click again on "NEXRAD Sites" on
page to see a map of all the NEXRAD sites themselves.
Clicking a map site on the map will display
its current radar image. One more click on the "VAD" link at
the bottom of the left column will pull up the vertical
wind profile history for the past couple of hours.
HUMIDITY VS. DENSITY
Most of us were surprised the first time we were
told by our instructor that increased humidity reduces
air density rather than increases it. "How much?"
you asked. "Not a lot, but some." replied the
instructor in that practiced tone of voice that
indicated that you had asked one too many questions.
At last here's a calculator for computing the effect of
humidity on density altitude.
If you've taken an FAA knowledge test in the past
few years, you know some test questions have become
outdated, eclipsed by modern technology. So, the
FAA is in the process of adding new questions to the
tests. And, acting just as Wile E. Coyote
preparing to snare the Roadrunner, they're not releasing
new test questions for publication as they did with the old
ones. Apparently, the FAA is touting the
success of their latest initiative (and the inadequacy
of candidates) by citing a 50%
failure rate among pilots taking the updated CFI and
Fundamentals of Instruction knowledge tests.
The FAA is now focusing on updating the private pilot knowledge
test. If you're needing to get a private knowledge
test out of the way, it would behoove you to get moving.
Meanwhile, NAFI and others in the flight instruction
industry are raising issues with the FAA concerning
inadequate advance notice of the FAA's altered testing
methods. The clandestine implementation hasn't allowed for revised instruction
techniques or proper manuals to be developed. Look for changes in both the ways instruction will be presented
and in the testing arenas.
I just took the commercial written exam in September,
2012 and didn't have to answer a single question about
GPS but had about ten or twelve related to ADF
KILLER "ALL-IN-ONE" WX
WEBSITE: Somebody really got it right on this
one. If you want to know what's happening now with
aviation weather at any airport, here's the website for
THE END OF
100LL? There's been a movement afoot
for some time to eliminate leaded gasoline.
Recently, the EPA opened a comment period on the subject
of eliminating lead from avgas. For a lot of plane
owners I know, it makes no difference because they're
blithely putt-putting through the sky on mogas, with and
without an STC. For a few owners, it will make a
difference because as of now, there is no acceptable
substitute fuel for higher compression aircraft piston
Let's face it, mogas is cheaper. "My plane runs
just fine on mogas....and I buy Playboy just for the
articles." That's almost believable, on both
counts. Ask that same guy if he would still use
mogas if it cost the same as 100LL.
TOLL-FREE CLEARANCE DELIVERY :
Ever have trouble using an RCO to get a clearance?
Click the mike four times and get frustrated instead of
FSS? Click the mike six times and get more
frustrated instead of ATC? 1-888-766-8267 is a direct
line to Flight Service strictly for clearance
delivery. You do need to give the state you're
calling from in this instance because "any" may get you
to a briefer on the west coast who doesn't have a clue
what ATC center will be handling your flight plan.
DID YOU KNOW OR DO YOU CARE?: Statistically,
take-off accidents are about ten times more lethal than
accidents that occur during the landing process.
It will take the average pilot, not you of course, about
six seconds to realize the situation and react to a
sudden engine failure during take-off. Next time
you're over safe terrain, start a Vy climb
and pull the power back to idle for six seconds without changing
the pitch attitude. You'll be surprised how
quickly the airspeed drops off.
What you might add as the last line of your
pre-takeoff check list is a self-prep, "If the engine
coughs, I'm going push forward like this on the elevator
control." Prepping yourself for an engine
malfunction immediately before you power up will
significantly decrease your reaction time.
SOMETHING TO ENGAGE YOUR MIND:
Any group of pilots will contain that one who
always commands center stage only to tell you how many whiskers
Charles Lindbergh had on his left cheek. Now, maybe
that's talking aviation, but it's a painful stretch.
Here's a real aviation related question for you:
Why do we routinely make left turns in the
traffic pattern? Don't suggest it's because the
pilot's seat is on the left...the pilot sits on the left
in a side-by-side cockpit because the
standard pattern uses left turns. (Click here for the answer)
HELP WITH THE CROSSWIND GO / NO
GO. How many times do you get the ASOS winds, "270 @ 12,
peak gusts 24,...." as you're setting up to land on Runway
31. Now, are you really going to whip out that
crosswind component chart (you know the one with all the
arcs, lines, and little teeny numbers along the edges)
or are you going to do it like most of us, attempt the
landing on Three-One by the Braille method and hope for
the best? How about something in between?
Have a look at Mr. Sweetie's Simplified X-Wind Approximator, the product of a misspent technical
education. Note: This is not intended for your flight
bag, it's intended to go between your ears as a quick
memory tool for calculating a working crosswind
component using three simple rules. (Crosswind
ON THIS PAGE
Planning a local flight and need an airport identifier? Click
the little red button on the right for ASOS information by state.
It lists most airports with ASOS or AWOS observation equipment along with
its identifier. With the identifier found, click the "Calculators" button, and
that website link will provide you with a "Distance Calculator" between any
combination of two airports or navaids.
Check the Event Calendar
frequently to find places to fly
that aluminum Wichita Buick of yours straight and level and eat pancakes
in some smoke-filled hangar. The site page links out to aviation event calendars as well as to ASOS information for Iowa,
Wisconsin, and Illinois.