Private Pilot License – 4 Critical Facts You Must Know Before Flight Training

March 15, 2010

When an individual focuses on becoming a pilot their desire becomes the main emphasis and sort of forgetting all that is going to be involved in attaining the goal of becoming a private pilot. There is much to be learned before one can achieve success in this field. Many factors must be considered prior to soaring into the wild blue yonder.
One very important aspect of flying is weather conditions. Perhaps in the past, you never gave much of a thought about how the weather was going to be but once you become a pilot that is a major consideration you will have to make prior to every plane trip you venture out on.
First, you will have to learn about the various air masses and fronts that occur. These are dependant on their location and there are the tropical and polar air masses. In addition, you must learn that when reference to air mass over water it is called maritime and then over land its known as continental. Finally, it will be categorized as warm or cold. The path that the air mass follows dictates what it will become. It stands to reason a mass over water is going to pick up more moisture. Along a masses journey it will meet up with some of the different types. To separate these variations there is what is called a front. In respect to flying, a cold front produces better flying conditions. For the most part, it will be clean, heavy, and stable and smooth which creates good clear visibility to make optimum flying conditions. As the fronts move quickly, they can turn quickly into violent thunderstorms.
Everybody when it comes to terms of weather enjoys hearing about a warm front moving in. For the pilot it means they are more spread out and if they are slow moving, particularly they will bring precipitation and poor visibility. A most annoying condition is when the front becomes stationery. This means it has virtually come to a spot. The outcome of this is a mist producing poor visibility for the pilot. In most cases though the weather will be non-violent and creating no turbulence.
Every pilot must give strict attention to air pressure. The more favorable flying conditions take place in the cooler temperatures where one finds cumulus clouds. Attempts should always be made to fly in the cooler segments of air pressure.
A pilot must always remain keenly aware of potential weather problems. This includes winds, turbulence, reduced ceiling, poor visibility, and icing up. Although we have amazing weather forecasting capabilities we are still a long way from being perfect. For example, the weatherman cannot predict the location of severe turbulence, and icing. It is not possible yet to predict thunderstorms before they occur, or the presence of fog. An accurate estimate of these conditions taking place can be made up to 24 hours of the event, but not really beyond that.
The wise pilot should be aware that the current clear weather forecast is only reliable for the next 24-hour period. A poor weather prediction will cover a time span of about 3-4 hours. Finally, when it comes down to predictions of ceiling and visibility the information can only be relied on for the first 2-3 hours.