November 2011 Issue

Winter Tech Traps

When properly applied and used, the latest technologies can make a lot of our winter flying much less risky. Understanding the technologies’ limitations is key.

If you haven’t noticed, the days are becoming shorter, it’s not as warm out and—depending on where you are—the trees probably have changed color. Welcome to winter, sometimes a seasonal smorgasbord of aviation weather conditions. May we interest you in some unexpected fog? Perhaps a premature sunset? How about a nice mix of solid overcast, low sun angle and variable winds? If you’re a fair-weather pilot, you may be tempted to hang up the headset for a few months, at least until it’s time to adjust the clocks forward. For the most part, that’s the wrong reaction, but it’s clear the short days, low sun angles and long shadows, and freezing precipitation winter brings can tax our individual systems.

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