Flight Training - November 2014 - 26

CHECKRIDE

By Bob Schmelzer

PLUS How good are your decoding
skills? Take the Air Safety Institute quiz.

INFORMATION
OVERLOAD

THE ESSENTIAL WEATHER BRIEFING

Y

ou don't need to become a meteorologist to earn your pilot
certificate. That's a good thing, because you could spend a lifetime learning meteorology skills. But, pilots do need to analyze
and evaluate current and forecast weather conditions to avoid
potentially hazardous flight conditions and the risks they present.
An amazing number of products
and resources can help pilots to obtain
weather information and preflight briefings. Speaking with a flight service briefer
is still a valuable (and wise) resource, but
it is by no means our only option. In fact,
combining some online weather resources
with a telephone briefing might provide
the most complete analysis of general and
hazardous weather, notices to airmen, and
temporary flight restrictions-all essential
to making an appropriate go/no-go decision and ensuring a safe flight.
The practical test standards do not
specify which resources must be used.
They do emphasize the requirement to
analyze a variety of "aviation" weather
reports, charts, and forecasts. So, relying
solely on newspaper or television weather
reports would not be a good idea for your
flight planning activities. Most designated
pilot examiners (DPEs) gladly allow their
applicants to utilize what they've become

26 /

FLIGHTTRAINING.AOPA.ORG

accustomed to using during their training. However, some examiners have been
known to provide sample weather products to further evaluate their applicants'
weather report or chart analysis skills.
If you're not sure what your DPE has in
mind, it might be wise to ask in advance.
Be certain that you can identify and
interpret the many symbols and codes
used in aviation weather products. You
won't have to know each tiny detail of
every tool, but have an especially good
working knowledge of the ones you use
regularly. Nothing is more embarrassing
than not being able to correctly utilize
the tools that you provided and claimed
to have been using during your training.
For example, if you present the examiner
with the current prognostic charts, make
sure you can describe the meaning of the
variety of symbols used and how those
various weather phenomena might affect
your flight.

No checkride would be complete without an examination of aviation routine
meteorological reports (METARs) and
terminal aerodrome forecasts (TAFs).
While most websites offer the ability to
decode these into long-winded paragraphs of information, doing so
will not impress the examiner. It sends
a clear message you have little interest
in learning the language of aviation
weather reports.
Although a DPE might not fail an
applicant who can't read coded aviation weather reports, consider that the
FAA does not provide decoded weather
reports for knowledge tests. This implies
that the agency expects pilots to actually learn the symbols and abbreviations
these reports utilize. To some extent,
becoming a pilot does require learning a
new language; coded aviation weather is
only a small part of that new language.
It's there for good reason. Embrace it!
Some of the other often-evaluated
reports are the winds aloft forecasts, area
forecasts, radar, pilot reports or pireps,
airmets, and sigmets, to name just a few. It
would serve you well to be able to locate
and analyze these as well. Your examiner
is not going to spend a great deal of time
exploring every detail of these reports if
you can quickly and accurately discuss
them. The more prepared you are with
your weather briefing and analysis skills,
the shorter and easier this task will be.
And this is true for much of the checkride.
Don't skimp on your thorough preparation efforts, and you will be rewarded
with a quick and pleasant, low-stress
checkride.
 
Bob Schmelzer is a Chicago-area designated pilot
examiner, a United Airlines captain, and a Boeing
777 line check airman. He has been an active flight
instructor since 1972.


http://FLIGHTTRAINING.AOPA.ORG

Flight Training - November 2014

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

Contents
Flight Training - November 2014 - Cover1
Flight Training - November 2014 - Cover2
Flight Training - November 2014 - Contents
Flight Training - November 2014 - 2
Flight Training - November 2014 - 3
Flight Training - November 2014 - 4
Flight Training - November 2014 - 5
Flight Training - November 2014 - 6
Flight Training - November 2014 - 7
Flight Training - November 2014 - 8
Flight Training - November 2014 - 9
Flight Training - November 2014 - 10
Flight Training - November 2014 - 11
Flight Training - November 2014 - 12
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Flight Training - November 2014 - 14
Flight Training - November 2014 - 15
Flight Training - November 2014 - 16
Flight Training - November 2014 - 17
Flight Training - November 2014 - 18
Flight Training - November 2014 - 19
Flight Training - November 2014 - 20
Flight Training - November 2014 - 21
Flight Training - November 2014 - 22
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Flight Training - November 2014 - 26
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Flight Training - November 2014 - Cover3
Flight Training - November 2014 - Cover4
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