ATIS and AWOS
Weather is one of the most important parts of flight planning. At first, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense why pilots would care about things like the temperature, dew point, cloud ceiling, etc. Let’s start off with temperature. The outside temperature doesn’t affect the aircraft as much as you would think. However, ice, frost, and density altitude do play a very important part in how an aircraft performs. As you can probably guess, it is not smart to fly with snow, ice, or frost on the aircraft, as the wings won’t produce as much lift, and many instruments just won’t work accurately. Also, a dead engine over the Alaskan Bush or Lake Superior usually doesn’t make for a happy flight (such as a Civil Air Patrol or Coast Guard search). Summer usually has fairer weather, but summer storms can make for very, very bumpy rides. And about density altitude: This name makes little sense, for the higher the density altitude, the less dense the air is. This could better be explained as performance altitude. (As I’m not yet a private pilot, I don’t know a ton on that, but I’m sure that John and Martha King would be happy to sell you a private pilot course.) Now, let’s get to ATIS and AWOS.
ATIS (Automatic Terminal Information Service) is usually found at reasonably large airports with lots of controllers. The controller will record a tape of the last weather update, and put a letter with it. For those of you who don’t speak the Air Traffic Control language, here is the list of letters:
Now, let’s look at what this report for Montgomery Field in San Diego means.
Montgomery airport information Hotel, 2159 Zulu. Wind: 238 at 8. Visibility: greater than 20 miles. Sky condition: few clouds at 5,800. Temperature: 18. Dew point: 10. Altimeter 2990. Visual runway 28R and Visual runway 28L in use. Landing and departing runway 28R and runway 28L. VFR aircraft say direction of flight. All aircraft read back hold short instruction. Advise controller on initial contact you have Hotel.
In other words, this is:
Montgomery airport information Hotel, 1: 59 PM Pacific Standard Time. Wind: coming from 238 degrees at 8 miles per hour. Sky condition: few clouds at 5,800 feet. Temperature: 18 degrees Celsius. Dew point: 10 degrees Celsius. Set your altimeter to 29.90 inches of barometric pressure so it will tell you your correct altitude. IFR is using the Visual approach to runway 28 right and runway 28 left. VFR aircraft tell the controller your position, altitude, and intentions. All aircraft acknowledge the hold short of runway instruction. Tell the controller on your first transmission that you have Information Hotel.
For the fun of it, let’s look at this rather unlikely ATIS report for Ronald Reagan/ Washington National airport in DC.
Washington airport Information Charlie, 1256 Zulu. Wind: 012 at 23 gusts at 28. Visibility: 3 miles in snow. Sky condition: ceiling 300 overcast. Temperature: -8. Dew point: -9. Altimeter 2950. ILS runway 1 in use. Landing and departing runway 1. All aircraft read back hold short instructions. Advise controller on initial contact you have Charlie.
Washington airport Information Charlie, 7:59 AM Eastern Standard Time. Wind: coming from 12 degrees at 23 miles per hour with gusts up to 28 miles per hour. Sky condition: ceiling 300 feet overcast. Temperature: -8 degrees Celsius. Dew point: -9 degrees Celsius. Altimeters should be set to 29.50 inches of barometric pressure. IFR is using the ILS approach to runway 1. Landing and departing runway 1. The airport is currently below VFR minimums. All aircraft read back the instruction to hold short of the runway. Tell the controller on your first radio transmission that you have Charlie.
As you can see, there’s a lot to it, but that’s important. However, you get the hang of it pretty quickly.
For an AWOS (Automated Weather Observing System) report, you’ll hear a computer voice give you the report. Here’s one for Sedona, Arizona.
Kilo Sierra Echo Zulu Automated Weather Observation, 1359 Zulu. Wind: calm. Visibility: greater than 20 miles. Sky condition: Clear… Temperature: 20 Celsius. Dew point: 8 Celsius. Altimeter: 2992.
Now that’s about the best weather that you could hope for. As you can see, the AWOS is pretty self-explanatory.
I hope that you’ve enjoyed reading this!
Keep the pointy side forward, the dirty side down, and by all means, please… stay out of the trees!
Have a great day!
(And yes, King Schools does use Montgomery Field, and yes, the Kings did use Sedona for one of the courses. And I would greatly recommend flight training through King Schools over Sporty’s.)
Hello, aircraft fans!
In this edition of the Plane Splash (pun intended), we will look at today’s most discussed airliner: The Boeing Model 777 (“triple seven”). I’ll share about some Lockheed P-3 Orions that were launched for a possible resolution. And I’ll even share a pretty lousy theory that the media has NOT tapped into, and probably won’t.
First off, there have been three previous crashes since its first flight in 1994, and this could be the fourth. Of course, it was a night flight, and poor vision, hijacking, terrorism, sabotage, foul play, and mental failure are all possible causes as well.
Here are a few aircraft specs about the 777.
Crew: 2 or 3
Power plant: 2 Pratt & Whitney, General Electric, or Rolls-Royce turbofan engines
Performance: Max speed: 588 mph (946 km/h); range: 4840 miles (7785km) with full cabin; service ceiling 38,697 and 43,100 ft. (11,795 and 13,135m)
Dimensions: Wingspan: 199 ft. 11 inches (60.93m); length: 209 ft. 1 in. (63.73m); height: 60 ft. 9 in (18.51m); weight: 515,000 lb. maximum take-off weight (233,604 kg).
The Boeing 777 entered service with United Airlines on June 7, 1995, and the craft has proved valuable ever since. In fact, some airlines have begun to replace their 747s with 777s. Emirates operates the largest 777 fleet, with 127 passenger and freighter aircraft as of June 2013. The airliner is rated as one of the safest aircraft based on its accident safety record and high number of flight hours. The Asiana Airlines Flight 214 accident in July 2013 was the first fatal crash of the aircraft in 18 years of commercial service.
Here is the latest news on the Orions as of March 20, 2014.
PERTH, Australia (AP) – Search planes scoured a remote patch of the Indian Ocean but came back empty-handed Friday after a 10-hour mission looking for any sign of the missing Malaysia Airlines jet, another disappointing day in one of the world’s biggest aviation mysteries.
Australian officials pledged to continue the search for two large objects spotted by a satellite earlier this week, which had raised hopes that the two-week hunt for the Boeing 777 that disappeared March 8 with 239 people on board was nearing a breakthrough.
But Australia’s acting prime minister, Warren Truss, tamped down expectations.
“Something that was floating on the sea that long ago may no longer be floating – it may have slipped to the bottom,” he said. “It’s also certain that any debris or other material would have moved a significant distance over that time, potentially hundreds of kilometers.”
On Friday, five planes, including three P-3 Orions, made the trip. While search conditions had improved from Thursday, with much better visibility, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority said there were no sightings of plane debris.
On March 19, 2014, a friend of my family was driving his work route, and passed the Madras City/County airport. For those of you who do not live in the Northwest, Madras is a small town in central Oregon. As he passed, he reported seeing three Boeing/McDonnell Douglas MD-80s sitting on the taxiway. 1: Madras Municipal is much too small for these planes, and 2: The airplanes had Spanair markings (meaning they were from Spain). Possibly, they meant to fly to Madrid, and ended up in Madras instead? Perhaps the 777 made the same mistake? Okay, enough of that lousy theory…
Have a great day!
Hello, aircraft fans!
In this edition of the Plane View, we’ll slap a one-timer into the Trivia net… The rules are as follows, anyone who breaks them will lose. CHEATING IS STRICTLY PROHIBITED. Please send me your results via a “comment” box.
1. Which of these is NOT in the World’s top 10 busiest airports?
A: O’Hare International B: London Heathrow C: Frankfurt
D: Amsterdam Schipol E. Tokyo International
2. Which USA airport had the most passengers visit in 2013?
A: Los Angeles International B: JFK International C: George Bush Intercontinental D: Denver International E: O’Hare International F: Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International G: Johnson’s Landing
3. Which Chinese airport had more business last year: Guangzhou or Shanghai?
4. Which of the following is not in the top 10 busiest airlines?
A: Delta B: United C: Southwest D: Lufthansa E: American
F: Air China G: British Airways
5. Which cargo giant shipped more tonnage through the skies in 2012; FedEx or UPS?
6. BONUS QUESTION: How many goals does Alex Ovechkin currently have this season?
A: 27 B: 31 C: 35 D: 40 E: 50 F: 802
Have a great day!
Hello, aircraft fans!
In this edition of the Plane Crash, we’ll look at the U.S. Navy’s WW2 top three: the Grumman F6f Hellcat, the Vought F-4U Corsair, and the Grumman F4f Wildcat.
Wildcat: Before the greatness of aircraft like the Grumman Hellcat and Vought Corsair, the Grumman F4f Wildcat was a fine aircraft. First built in 1939, this rugged mid-wing 318-mph six machine-gun aircraft held a critical point in the U.S. Navy until better aircraft were supplied. For instance, Lieutenant Butch O’Hare destroyed five Japanese bombers in six minutes. Later, despite being shot down in the Pacific, the Chicago-O’Hare airport was named for him. The Wildcat had a crew of 1, one 895kW (1200hp) Pratt & Whitney R-1830-66 radial engine, a maximum speed of 512km/h(318mph), a range of 1239km (770 miles), and a service ceiling of 10,638m (34,900ft).
Dimensions are as follows: Wingspan: 11.58m (38ft.). Length: 8.76m (28ft. 9in.). Height: 3.61m (11ft. 10in.).
Armament: Six 12.77mm (0.50in.) machine guns in wings and an external bomb load of 91kg (200lb.). Total loaded weight was 3607 kg (7952lb.).
Hellcat: The Hellcat flew for the first time on June 26, 1942. Many of its war abilities had been learned from its predecessor, the Wildcat. Specifications for this war-changing plane are as follows:
Powerplant: one 1492 kW (2000hp) Pratt & Whitney R-2800-10W radial engine.
Performance: Maximum speed: 612 km/h (380mph). Range: 1521km (945 miles). Service ceiling: 11,369m (37,300ft.).
Dimensions: Wingspan: 13.05m (42ft10in.). Length: 10.24m(33ft.7in.). Height: 3.99m (13ft.1in.).
Armament: six 12.7mm(0.50ibn.) machine guns in wings, or two 20mm(0.79in.) cannon and four 12.7mm(0.50in) machine guns, provision for two 453kg (1000lb) bombs or six 12.7cm (5in) RPs.
Weight: 7025kg (15,487lb).
In all, the Grumman F6f ran up a 19 to 1 kill ratio.
And now: the Chance Vought F4U Corsair. The speed, strength, and firepower of the Corsair enabled it to dominate Japanese opposition, shooting down 2140 against a loss of 189. Its performance and dependability allowed great flight leaders like John Blackburn, John Smith, Marion Carl, Joe Foss, and Pappy Boyington to create legendary fighter squadrons. It was truly a superior aircraft.
Have a great day!
Hello, aircraft fans!
In this edition of the Plane Crash, we’ll take a look at the aircraft of the BBMF, or ‘Battle of Britain Memorial Flight’ of the RAF.
Now, we will take a look at the Avro Lancaster. Specifications are as follows: A crew of seven; four 1233kW (1640hp) Rolls-Royce Merlin 28 or 38 12-cylinder V-type engines; a maximum speed of 462km/h (287mph), a range of 2784km(1730miles), a service ceiling of 5790m(19,000ft); a wingspan of 31.09m(102 ft), a length of 21.18m(69ft 6in), and a height of 6.25m(20 ft 6 in), all adding up to a total loaded weight of 229,484kg(65,000lb). In addition, the armament was two 7.7mm (0.303in) machine guns in nose turret, two in dorsal turret and four in tail turret, and a maximum internal bomb load of 8165kg (18,000lb). It was a splendid aircraft, and the BBMF’s Lanc is still flying and is coded ‘PA474’.
The Hawker Hurricanes: coded LF363 and PZ865. Well, despite all of its Battle of Britain fame, the two Hurricanes, Night Reaper and The Last of the Many, have both seen numerous disasters since rolling off the factory lines. Despite this, the little 1-seat, 1460hp Rolls-Royce Merlin-powered 322 mph fighter is still in use in air shows.
Supermarine Spitfires P7350, AB910, MK356, PM631 and PS915 make up the most important part of the Flight. They had not nearly as many disasters as the Hawkers, and all of them, especially ‘THE LAST’, PS915, have been a great part of RAF history. With a crew of one; one 1074kW(1440hp) Rolls-Royce Merlin 45/46/50 V-12 engine; a maximum speed of 602km/h(374mph), range of 756km (470 miles), a service ceiling of 11280m(37,000ft); as well as two 20mm(0.79in) cannon and four 7.7mm(0.303in) machine guns. This all added up to a total loaded weight of 3078kg (6785lb).
And now: The Douglas DC-3 Dakota (or C-47 Skytrain)-ZA947. The Flight’s DC-3 succeeded the de Havilland Devon as the main support in 1993. The Flight also uses the de Havilland Chipmunk.
Have a great day!