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Safety: Weather Cameras and Personal Minimums

Welcome to the Safety Section of the Flying Clubs Newsletter, Club Connector!

Each month we provide resources for flying club safety officers so that they can keep their clubs informed and safe.   We also include links to slides that we use for our own club meetings, so that you always have a topic for your club’s next safety meeting.  Along with the slides, we often provide links to relevant articles, videos, and other media that you may also find useful.

Before we get to this month’s Topic of the Month, I’d like to tell you about a new WINGS course that is available on faasafety.gov.  The course offers 10 modules on “Human Factors: The Final Frontier” and is well worth taking.

Log into faasafety.gov, go to activities-> courses-> all available courses and scroll to find these ALC codes—one per module:  ALC-730, 731, 732, 826, 827, 828, 829, 830.

Click here to view modules 1 and 2.  

Alright then, let’s get on with this month’s safety topic!

Topic of the Month Slides: Weather Cameras and Personal Minimums

In this month’s safety section, we will look at some best practices associated with establishing personal minimums and the periodic review and adjustment of those minimums with a flight instructor.  We will also learn about the availability of weather cameras and off-airport AWOS weather stations that help us “know all there is to know” about a flight.

Background: 

The General Aviation Joint Safety Committee (GAJSC) has studied a number of general aviation accidents that might not have occurred had the pilots been better informed about weather conditions along their route and had followed personal minimums as a way of assessing risk.  A significant number of those accidents occurred in sparsely populated mountainous areas where weather information was not (previously) available.  The FAA has recently funded the installation of weather observation cameras that cover areas where other information is in short supply, and we have a new website to add to our route briefings.

Learning Points:

  • In consultation with a flight instructor, pilots should develop a set of personal weather minimums and periodically review and revise them to reflect changing experience and proficiency.
  • General aviation accidents have resulted from loss of control and controlled flight into terrain while flying in areas where weather information was largely unavailable.
  • Near real time weather information, especially in mountainous areas is not commonly available, but camera views of those locations can greatly aid pilots in determining conditions for safe flight.
  • Pilots should be aware of the presence of weather cameras and a network of remotely located AWOS weather stations and be skilled at using them.

Other Safety Resources:

Here is a quick reminder of just some of the resources available to all pilots:

FAASTeam:

faasafety.gov:

The FAASTeam website is the portal to a vast array of courses, videos, links, and much more.  Remember that WINGS not only encompasses “knowledge” activities, but also flight activities.  Use the various search options to narrow done, to, say flight activities for a basic phase of WINGS and you’ll be able to find a syllabus and often a worksheet for each flight activity.

AOPA Air Safety Institute:

https://www.aopa.org/training-and-safety/air-safety-institute

AOPA’s own Air Safety Institute, which by the way, is funded by the AOPA Foundation just like the Flying Clubs Initiative, is packed with amazing content, including exceptional videos, podcasts, accident analysis, online courses, recorded webinars and more.  Completing these activities may also earn WINGS credits.  Of particular interest to flying club safety officers is the recently updated Safety to Go section.  There, you can download a selection of topics, each coming with PowerPoint slides and speaker’s notes!

WINGS for Clubs:

If you are interested in using the FAASTeam WINGS program with your flying club, feel free to contact Steve, who is a Lead Representative and WINGSPro, and uses the program in his club.  More on WINGS for Clubs can be found here in Flying Clubs Radio Episode 8 and the May 2020 Question of the Month.

Stephen Bateman

Flying Clubs Initiative
Steve leads the You Can Fly Flying Clubs Initiative, which helps start and grow flying clubs, nationwide. Steve is a CFI, an AOPA staff instructor, LSRM-A and FAASTeam lead representative. Contact Steve at [email protected]

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