Wind Shear

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.




Weather Planning

I was always interested in the weather even before I became a pilot. Once I started my flight training I became, like most pilots, a weather geek. Clouds and rain for our ground bound brothers means maybe bringing an umbrella, for us it is much more important.

One of the things I always love to do to improve my weather knowledge is to look at the available weather information and make my own weather forecast. I would try to plan a flight several days off and then see how accurate my prediction was.

One of the first things a student pilot realizes is that the big “L” (low pressure) on the weather maps means a greater chance of canceled flights. So let’s take a look at some surface prognostic “prog” charts for the next couple days.

To start the discussion I ask our VFR and IFR student pilots the following questions to hopefully get a better understanding of what happens when the big “L” gets close. Base your comments on just the prog charts.


image image

The forecast temperatures today are going to be near 70 degrees. Why?

Do you think it would be smart to go flying this evening. Why?

Where do you expect the winds to be from Tuesday into Wednesday this week? Why?

Comments are welcome from all our members, students or not. I find that I learn something new every time I discuss the weather.


Kenny Martin


Flight Training questions

In my year and a half instructing at East Hill I’ve come to realize that many student pilots have the same questions about flight training.
I thought this blog would serve as a good forum to hopefully answer some questions and promote some discussion between students and certificated pilot members.
My idea is to post some questions and observations regarding things like weather, flight planning, aerodynamics, flight maneuvers, and so on.
As we all know our pilot certificate is a license to learn. Hopefully this blog will start some good discussions between our members and we will all learn something new.