With the delight of what I had accomplished on Saturday, I was ecstatic to do more landings today (Sunday, November 13, 2011). Tim had mentioned to me yesterday, that we could do other maneuvers to break the monotony of landings. I politely declined and said, “Tim, I don’t mind it at all. I’m determined to master this maneuver even if it takes me a hundred attempts”. Tim laughed and said, “Okay, no problem!”
After I did my pre-flight check, I asked Tim if he knew what the weather was like up in the air. It was slightly overcast on the ground so I thought it might be worse with poor visibility once we flew. Tim said he didn’t think it was too bad and that it looked as though if the clouds were clearing. He then said, “Let’s go and check the weather out on the computer”. He then had me type in the following website, http://www.aviationweather.gov/ in to the browser. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Weather Service website is not new to me as I’ve had it listed in my blogroll on the left, however I did not know how to fully use it. I added it near the commencement of this blog knowing that one day I would need to know how to use it.
Once we were on the homepage, on the left hand side, under Observations in the menu, I clicked on METARs and then clicked in the box displayed on the right of the map. In here I entered the code for Crystal Airport i.e. KMIC. Then clicked on the second radio button labeled “Translated” and clicked the “Submit” button. This returned the information you see below. Clearly this is not the weather at the time I was doing my search on Sunday morning, but it’s similar and I’m presenting it here so that you can see what I saw:
|Aviation Digital Data Service (ADDS)Output produced by METARs form (0155 UTC 16 November 2011)found at http://www.aviationweather.gov/adds/metars/index.php|
| METAR text: KMIC 160053Z 27013G19KT 10SM CLR 03/M08 A2979 RMK AO2 SLP099 T00281078Conditions at: KMIC (MNPLS/CRYSTAL , MN, US) observed 0053 UTC 16 November 2011
Temperature: 2.8°C (37°F)
Dewpoint: -7.8°C (18°F) [RH = 46%]
Pressure (altimeter): 29.79 inches Hg (1008.9 mb) [Sea-level pressure: 1009.9 mb]
Winds: from the W (270 degrees) at 15 MPH (13 knots; 6.8 m/s) gusting to 22 MPH (19 knots; 9.9 m/s)
Visibility: 10 or more miles (16+ km)
Ceiling: at least 12,000 feet AGL
Clouds: sky clear below 12,000 feet AGL
Weather: no significant weather observed at this time
This meteorological information is for pilots and from this a pilot is able to make decisions regarding flying. Tim proceeded to explain the listed categories above and said that all the bold text listed in caps near the top, was being translated below. “You will learn about what the bold text means and how to read it in your Ground School”, said Tim and continued, “It’s much easier to read that bold text rather than going down this list”. I agreed. There were other things that Tim showed me on this website, such as other pilots reporting back weather in the areas they were flying in and this was updated on this website. This is helpful for other pilots that might be in the area. But I won’t waste time on it. As Tim was showing me this website, I was asking questions and then I asked more questions on the huge map of the USA that was on the wall. It was displaying the mountains on the map, but what I found interesting was that almost half of the map, i.e. from the Mid West to the West Coast was mountainous. My question was if the map was deliberately constructed in such a way to prove a point or to show how a mountainous region looks like, but Tim said, “No this is how it is. The western part is all mountainous and the eastern side is very much less so. Pilots must know how to fly in mountainous areas, and there are fewer airports in mountainous regions”.
All this was very interesting but we realised that we only had about an hour left to practice landings again. Since we had little time, Tim said, “Let’s just practice here at Crystal”. “I was wondering why we never practiced here Tim, why did we always go to Anoka airport?” I asked. Tim said, “Well the runway is longer there and for a learner it’s much easier to practice landings there, but you’ve improved and you don’t need a longer runway now”. Having heard that made me feel really good and boosted my confidence further still. 😀
We again did about 7 – 8 landings and by the time we were disembarking from the plane, I had a huge smile on my face because Tim had said, “Yesterday was good, but today was even better!” I agreed because I felt the same and said, “Thank you Tim!” No doubt we will be practicing more next week because although I’ve improved, I could be better. I want to get to a stage where its second nature. I remember how difficult it was to Parallel Park using a stick shift, but now I can do it without any difficulty. That’s how I would like to be with my landings, perfect every time! 😀