Flying in Braille

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Joined: Aug 10th, 2018, 5:33 am

Flying in Braille

Post by spillkiki »

For pilots, conditions in the sky right now are "very intense," says Kathleen Poynton, pilot and owner of Full Moon Air Services Ltd. in Vernon.

The smoke might be bad for allergies, but it's also proven to be a challenge for many pilots.

"The smoke puts you into a position where you are flying in braille a little bit more than the visual rules," said Shawn Sanders, a Vernon pilot.

"If you are flying visually, you're still supposed to keep the terrain and other things in sight and use that as your primary reference but as you see when we were up at 10, 11 or 12,000 feet, that reference doesn't really exist clearly.

"Essentially we were using some of the instruments as a cross-reference for the terrain."

Pilots across the province are flying back and forth battling wildfires, and the heavy smoke makes that journey a lot more difficult.

Sanders has fought B.C. wildfires via helicopter and he says it's not as glamorous as it may appear.

"When you are actioning the fires (the smoke) certainly adds some challenge to it."

Thankfully, the technology most planes have nowadays significantly helps the pilots, Sanders says.

With the heavy smoke, pilots have to be even more cautious of their surroundings in the sky.

"You have to be very aware of other traffic because they can just come out of the smoke," Poynton said. "You put on lots of lights and try to make your aircraft very visible."

Not only does the smoke hinder the functionality of planes but the hot temperatures isn't beneficial either.

"The heat, as far as the engine management goes, we have to climb out at a higher airspeed and a lower nose attitude to get more engine cooling," Poynton said, adding the planes are cooled by the air.

"Try to avoid prolonged climbs because it heats the engine up."

Vernon residents can expect to see increased air traffic. Many BC Wildfire helicopters are landing at the Vernon Airport to refuel.

BC Wildfire Service personnel continue to work hard battling hundreds of wildfires across the province, in excruciating hot temperatures. ... in-braille

Okay I understand that there are pilots who need to be out there flying visually fighting the fires, but why is Kathleen Poynton, a flight instructor who should be teaching her students good airmanship and good decision making, still flying when the conditions are barely VFR, the aircraft performance is decreased by the heat, and there's a lot more traffic than usual fighting the fires. If the conditions are that bad there's no way it's sensible for visual training flights to be out there.
Last edited by ferri on Aug 10th, 2018, 10:08 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Link to article added.
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Re: Flying in Braille

Post by OKkayak »

Where in the article does it say she was in a training flight with a VFR pilot?

Even with reduced visibility, as long as the conditions are VFR, it’s a good experience to go out in reduced visibility conditions and enhance your airmanship skills. Deciding if it’s too smoky to take off. Preparing to divert to an alternate airport if necessary. Using lights at cruise. Monitoring radio frequencies. Keep an extra vigilant eye out for terrain or traffic. Flying around active fire zones and understanding the correct procedures. These are all excellent scenarios that make a good pilot even better. Many student pilots go on commercially and these experiences can be extremely beneficial and these are experiences that build good airmanship.

As for the hot weather comments. Highly exaggerated. While hot and high conditions do factor in in aircraft performance, its not like aircraft are taking off and fall out of the sky. When you check the weather for your preflight, you learn how the temperature and density altitude affect your performance and plan your flight accordingly, take off speeds, climb out time and route, etc. Actually going out and experiencing it first hand is vital in any pilot training so you can understand performance differences between -10 degrees and dry air vs 35 degrees and humid.

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