Grabbing the Weather

Grabbing the Weather

        Visual and Instrument flying alike both have minimum requirements for flights based upon many factors.  Getting accurate and useful weather updates prior to departing and while in the air is important so that a safe and efficient flight can be executed.  Finding the useful information isn’t too difficult as there are many resources available such as using an application like Foreflight, or going to  Creating an effective procedure towards getting your information is essential, so I am going to explain my process involved using Foreflight.  I just did a simple flight plan from KFCM (Flying Cloud Airport) to KDLH (Duluth International Airport).  Generally, I like to use the VFR Sectional Chart to add the different weather criteria in which my route will involve.  Using the Foreflight application on my Ipad Mini, the overlays are nicely laid out creating a very simple layout where you can work procedural from top to bottom.

The first thing I start out with is selecting the Radar so that I can visibly see any significant weather to give a basic insight towards what kind of weather to be expected, such as IFR conditions,or VFR.  I proceed to check the conditions at my Departure point and also at my Arrival point.                                  IMG_0204


Simply go through the different reports.  (METAR, TAF, MOS, and Winds Aloft)




Second, I pull up the Radar summary, then select the AIRMET/SIGMET reports for the given areas.  I am generally checking for Ice levels and the flight category the area is depicted as.  I find it helpful to reference as well and print out the TAF with the METARS for applicable surrounding airports so that you might know what to expect in the future.









        Finally, I go down the list and select the different overlays to explain what the conditions are like at all of the reported areas near my routing. checking for any Temporary Flight Restrictions, the Flight Category (VFR, MVFR, IFR, LIFR), Winds Aloft (Specifically relative to altitude chosen), Temperature and Dewpoint, Reported Visibility, Cloud Ceilings, and Sky Coverage.  Another good thing to look for are Pireps (Pilot reports), to see if any reported conditions of changes in WX or any in-flight set backs such as ice or turbulence.


Flight Category
Winds Aloft
Flight Category


I hope everybody is having a great Holidays, and please let me know in the comments what you use for getting your weather!  


I was told a good/realistic protocol towards should an engine-out emergency occur at night.  You know for fact that you won’t make any runway and are now in a descent into the black abyss below.  

  • Pitch for Best Glide 
    • Attempt to Restart the Engine and Declare the Emergency
      • Use best judgement towards which direction into the darkness will be best suitable for a off-field landing
        • Turn the Landing Light ON
          • If you don’t like what you see with the Landing Light ON…….     Heavily Wooded Area
            • Landing Light OFF


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Instrument Stage Check One

Instrument Stage Check One

Well, it has come time in my Instrument Training to determine how well my instructor Joe has been training me by sending me off with a different instructor.  I was scheduled to fly with Dan to whom is a fantastic instructor at Inflight and is known to fly with many of the older well respected individuals in the aviation community that come back to require their currency, or want to fly with a older more experienced instructor.  The best part about my stage check was walking into the Inflight office after work and seeing Dan just as excited to fly as I was which shows his true passion for what he does.  We sat down to start it off and went over some Low IFR charts where he asked me what a few things were and I didn’t quite know all of them, but I knew enough to plan a route.  We discussed some outside-of-the-box important things that the FAA examiner on the oral exam could potentially ask.  After getting acclimated with each other, we went over what the plan was for our flight and I wrote down all the specific material and loaded the charts up into Foreflight so I had them handy prior to getting into the plane.  We planned on doing the VOR-A approach into Buffalo, Minnesota with the full missed approach procedures including holding.  After the approach into Buffalo we planned on doing the RNAV into 28R at Flying Cloud, but the winds shifted and were favoring the 10’s, so we planned on doing the RNAV 10R instead.  I went outside and preflighted the plane in a T-shirt.  Yes… I said a “T-Shirt,” since the weather here nearing mid-December has been varying between low 30’s and high 40’s.  We didn’t have enough fuel, and few line guys working were extremely busy, so since I am an employee of Elliott Aviation I took it upon myself to help them out by fueling my own airplane prior to our flight haha!  Anyways, we started up and I picked up a local IFR from KFCM to KFCM via KCFE (Buffalo Municipal), and went on our way.  The flight to KCFE was easy as we went direct to LORDE, flew an outbound course before flying the VOR approach down to minimums and going missed.  The missed procedure was rather simple and took us back to LORDE at 3,000′ where we did a parallel entry and held for 5 or 6 laps around the pattern.  We had quite a bit of wind and my hold was getting rather sloppy by the 5th time around, but nonetheless, Dan was satisfied.  We then proceeded to go direct to the YICUK waypoint on the RNAV (GPS) 10R approach at KFCM where I programmed the GPS and got setup for everything to come ahead of time.  Dan blocked my Directional Gyro Compass and my Attitude indicator making for a partial panel approach, but since it was an RNAV, it was really easy just to use the indications given off by the GPS as they are correcting for wind and ground speed.  We flew the approach down to minimums as well and I had another 9/10 landing on 10R before taxiing down to Elliott.  We postflighted after getting inside and his only comments were just minor things such as the holding, and just basic advice on how to do certain things more efficiently.  This was an important lesson and enjoyable Instrument Training experience I will never forget.  I hope to get back in the airplane soon and work hard on becoming more and more proficient all the way up to my checkride!  I am nearing my FAA written exam as well and plan on taking it Monday, so I will let everybody know how it goes!

As always, Fair Winds and Blue skies for all!