Flight Training - February 2014 - 22

FLIGHT LESSON

By Terry Akins
FLIGHT LESSON offers the
opportunity for pilots to learn
from the experiences of others.

At the same moment that I realized
what this thing was, the gust front hit me.
The wind sheared from a 15-mph tailwind
to a 25-mph headwind. Airspeed immediately spiked into the yellow arc and my
little Musketeer was in an uncommanded
2,000-fpm climb while still in a level
attitude. I shoved the nose down, and the
tach went from 2450 to 2700. The words
of my CFII came to me from when we
were flying cross-country in instrument
meteorological conditions. "Don't fight
the updraft with pitch, reduce power and
watch your attitude." I reduced power to
keep from overspeeding the engine and I
was still climbing at 1,000 fpm.
I fixed my eyes on the artificial horizon
wenty-five hundred feet mean sea level (msl), 1,500 feet
in preparation for zero visibility, sure that
above ground level (agl), smooth air, 130 indicated at 65
this thing was going to eat me for lunch,
percent power, and my GPS is showing 146 knots over the
when-as I passed under the cloud-the
ground because of a tailwind. I'm heading north into Misclimb stopped. I skimmed the bottom
souri from a visit with my dad in Fort Smith, Arkansas. I left in clear
of the cloud, keeping the airplane level
skies and cool morning air on the day after a summer scorcher. The
by releasing forward pressure. Then the
humidity was 98 percent and last night's thunderstorms were still
thought hit me: Oh, no, this thing must
lurking to the north. For the past 30 minutes I had been watching the
have a back side.
Nexrad as a blotch of bright red crossed the magenta line between
Oh, yes-yes, it did. Just as I shoved
me and home. "No problem," I said to myself, "these things run out of
the throttle forward, the other side of
steam and fall apart this time of day." It isn't always good to be right.
this thing found me. Full throttle, nose in
climb attitude, and headed for the ground
Just 24 hours earlier, I was following
Visibilities were greater than 10 miles,
at 1,500 fpm. The sensation was just like
the same magenta line heading south.
the air was smooth, and ceilings were so
doing an autorotation in a rotary-wing,
That previous day I climbed to 8,500 feet
far above me that I didn't even bother to
but this was my first autorotation-style
msl to catch the northerly winds up high
check what they were. No clouds at my
descent in a fixed-wing. The downdraft
and get out of the hot, humid air below.
altitude, except-what is that odd cloud
relented at roughly 500 feet agl, and I
The air at 8,500 was cool, cloudless, and
up ahead?
was able to resume normal flight, but the
smooth, but it was rough with thermals
Wow, that's an odd cloud. It's all by itself, outflow from the storm had reduced my
below. I thought, This is going to kick
halfway between the surface and the overgroundspeed from 146 knots to 109.
something up later.
cast above, stretched across my path several
This cold, dissipating storm outflow
Sure enough, by evening some nasty
miles each direction. I wonder what kind of had a rolling wave at its leading edge as it
storms had built up to the northwest and
weather anomaly would cause that?
cut under the warm air blowing at it from
were headed southeast overnight. I kept
I was about to find out. I was admiring
the south. It's similar to the dust cloud
a wary eye on them, but by the time I was
what looked like a gray garden hose until
you see rolling across the ground when
ready to leave on Sunday morning, red was I got close enough to see that this thing
they implode a building with explosives.
mostly giving way to orange, which was
was rolling backward as it moved forward. The cell that caused it had already moved
in turn changing to yellow. I decided to
I was set to cross under this skinny little
many miles off to the east, but it left this
launch at 8 a.m., as it looked like the path
cloud (it was only about 600 to 800 feet in nasty little offspring in its wake. If not for
would clear ahead of me.
diameter and four to five miles long) with
my XM satellite weather, I wouldn't even
An hour into the flight, the air was
adequate VFR clearance. I could see that
know what had caused it.
smooth and the last red blotch on the
there were no other clouds behind it. Clear
In the future, I'll stay well clear of odd
radar lay 20 miles east of my course from air. No big deal, right? Until I noticed the
clouds near dissipating thunderstorms.
where it had crossed 10 miles ahead.
backward roll of the cloud.
They bite.

AN ODD CLOUD

LITTLE THINGS OFTEN BITE

T

FLIGHTTRAINING.AOPA.ORG

SARAH HANSON

22 /


http://FLIGHTTRAINING.AOPA.ORG

Flight Training - February 2014

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Flight Training - February 2014

Flight Training - February 2014
Contents
Member Benefits
Right Seat
Letters
Fun on the Water
Success Story News
How It Works
After the Checkride
News Abeam the Numbers
Training Products
News Final Exam
Asi News
News
Flight Lesson
Accident Report
Around the Patch
Flying Carpet
Flight Training Excellence Awards
Awards Recipients
All for You
Dream Maker
Weather
Career Pilot
Instructor Report
CFI to CFI
Career Advisor
Accident Report
Advertiser Index
Debrief
Flight Training - February 2014 - Flight Training - February 2014
Flight Training - February 2014 - Cover2
Flight Training - February 2014 - Contents
Flight Training - February 2014 - 2
Flight Training - February 2014 - 3
Flight Training - February 2014 - Member Benefits
Flight Training - February 2014 - 5
Flight Training - February 2014 - Right Seat
Flight Training - February 2014 - 7
Flight Training - February 2014 - Letters
Flight Training - February 2014 - 9
Flight Training - February 2014 - Fun on the Water
Flight Training - February 2014 - 11
Flight Training - February 2014 - Success Story News
Flight Training - February 2014 - How It Works
Flight Training - February 2014 - After the Checkride
Flight Training - February 2014 - News Abeam the Numbers
Flight Training - February 2014 - Training Products
Flight Training - February 2014 - News Final Exam
Flight Training - February 2014 - Asi News
Flight Training - February 2014 - 19
Flight Training - February 2014 - News
Flight Training - February 2014 - 21
Flight Training - February 2014 - Flight Lesson
Flight Training - February 2014 - Accident Report
Flight Training - February 2014 - Around the Patch
Flight Training - February 2014 - 25
Flight Training - February 2014 - Flying Carpet
Flight Training - February 2014 - 27
Flight Training - February 2014 - 28
Flight Training - February 2014 - Flight Training Excellence Awards
Flight Training - February 2014 - 30
Flight Training - February 2014 - 31
Flight Training - February 2014 - Awards Recipients
Flight Training - February 2014 - 33
Flight Training - February 2014 - All for You
Flight Training - February 2014 - 35
Flight Training - February 2014 - 36
Flight Training - February 2014 - 37
Flight Training - February 2014 - 38
Flight Training - February 2014 - 39
Flight Training - February 2014 - Dream Maker
Flight Training - February 2014 - 41
Flight Training - February 2014 - 42
Flight Training - February 2014 - 43
Flight Training - February 2014 - Weather
Flight Training - February 2014 - 45
Flight Training - February 2014 - 46
Flight Training - February 2014 - Career Pilot
Flight Training - February 2014 - 48
Flight Training - February 2014 - Instructor Report
Flight Training - February 2014 - CFI to CFI
Flight Training - February 2014 - Career Advisor
Flight Training - February 2014 - Accident Report
Flight Training - February 2014 - 53
Flight Training - February 2014 - 54
Flight Training - February 2014 - 55
Flight Training - February 2014 - Debrief
Flight Training - February 2014 - Cover3
Flight Training - February 2014 - Cover4
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