While watching football games yesterday I was checking Ithaca weather as I often do, to see if I’m going to be able to get my lessons in during the upcoming week. Unfortunately Mother Nature has not been kind to me or my students lately.

Yesterday I saw this TAF for Ithaca and had to read it twice.



WS015/18040KT was forecast at 0200 and WS020/16050KT at 0800. That got me wondering how many of my students had seen that and if they knew what it meant. I know that they had read and I had told them (I hope) that WS was wind shear and the coding was the altitude of the shear, the direction and the magnitude. Besides being able to read that a wind shear is forecast how many would know what a 50 knot shear really means to their ability to control an aircraft. Would they know what to expect if they heard this on an ATIS broadcast?

I did some digging and found this FAA article on Wind Shear.

Click to access FAA%20P-8740-40%20WindShear%5Bhi-res%5D%20branded.pdf

The diagrams leave a little to be desired but it acts as a good primer for our student student pilots and a refresher for our certificated pilots.

I was wondering if any of our members have experience with wind shear and if so if they would relate their stories here.

Sure enough I was awakened at about 4:00 AM this morning by the wind howling outside and thought that it was a good night not to be flying but a bad night to be a Giants fan.

If Mother Nature keeps me from seeing you at East Hill, Happy Thanksgiving.




2 thoughts on “Wind Shear

  1. We encountered a twenty-knot wind shear at Ithaca coming back from the fly-out lunch in Hamilton in January. It was reported by an airliner just ahead of us in the pattern, so I added a little extra speed on final. About 1/4 mile out, the airspeed dropped instantly from about 80mph to 60. I pushed the nose down and added power to maintain the normal full-flaps approach profile, and it wasn’t a big deal, at least for me (the students who were riding with me got an interesting lesson, though). If we hadn’t been warned, and if I’d been doing a slow 60-65 instead of 80+, the sudden drop to stall speed or below would have been interesting, to say the least.

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