FSS Weather Briefing and Maneuvers

It was a very hot day on Friday (06/29/2012) but a very bright and sunny day. The temperature was around 91 F with a little breeze when I arrived at 12:55 pm for my 1:00 – 3:00 pm scheduled flight lesson. Logan my instructor was not present; at least I didn’t see him in the reception area. I checked in and went to pre-flight the plane, and when I returned I was informed that Logan was in-flight with another student. I sat down and waited and a few moments later Logan arrived. Last lesson he had said he would teach me how to get the weather briefing from a Flight Service Station (FSS). Logan and I greeted one another and we went to his office so that I could learn how to call the FSS. “First I’ll show you the procedure of how to call the FSS and then you’ll call them on your cell phone using the speaker” said Logan. Then he wrote the following on the board and said I should say these things to the FSS person in the order they’re listed:

Calling the FSS for a weather briefing (1-800-FX-BRIEF)

1. Dial number and say:

  • Student Pilot  (You can say you’re a student pilot if you want, as this will inform the briefer to go slowly as you take down the information)
  • First Time Calling     (This is optional. You can say this if you want the briefer to go slowly with the information)
  • State full name, if aircraft is unknown
  • You may be asked plane type

E.g. Tail Number N536PU (say 536 Papa Uniform) / Plane type: PA-28-161

2. Requesting (whichever type of weather report you want):

  • Abbreviated Weather report
  • Standard VFR Weather report
  • Outlook Weather report

3. Place of Departure

E.g. KMSP (Mike Sierra Papa) – Minneapolis – St. Paul

4. Estimated time of departure in Zulu Time

E.g. 2000 hours

5. Destination

In this case the destination is Local Area (For Thunderbird, Local Area is the Practice Area)

6. Time en-route

This is the maximum time you’ll be gone for.

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7. You can personalize your briefing by asking for or saying:

  • I only need 3000′ winds
  • I only have NOTEMS

Logan asked if I had any questions and when I said no, he told me to call the FSS and to put them on speaker phone so he could hear everything. I did as requested and I called the FSS and got a Standard VFR Weather Report.

After this we flew out to the practice area to practice some maneuvers but ended up practicing only the Steep Turns. I was able to satisfactorily able to complete the steep turn to the left, but had some difficulty in performing it toward the right. I managed to land the plane quite nicely when we returned.

In my next flight lesson (on 07/02/2012) we’ll be practicing some other maneuvers such as Stalls – power on and power off. Further, Logan said that he expected me to take him out to the practice area, do the maneuvers and return to the airport without any help from him. He will be there should I need him, but I shouldn’t expect him to tell me things, but I should do everything myself.

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