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Weathering the storms

June 19, 2010

Some time during my childhood I was told that the way to remember how to spell “weather” (as opposed to whether) was to remember that “WEAther” determines what you “WEAr.”  And this little tidbit has served me well over the years….and you know what?  Weather does play a big role in determining what I wear!

However…..as a pilot….one cannot take such a nonchalant view of weather.  While fashion is always important (….I mean seriously, I’ve posted FIVE times about our outfits!) weather can be a tricky and must not be taken lightly.  Consider the previous post where I explained that Heather was stuck in Gainesville, FL due to thunderstorms.  You think they’re bad when you’re on the ground?….well just imagine encountering them in the air!

Now I am no weather expert, and I rely on briefings by those who are much more qualified to interpret and explain what the forecasts are telling us.  Heather, being in ATC, has a more in-depth understanding and will apply that experience throughout the race.  But….we are fortunate to have two other tools at our disposal:

XM Weather, and Uncle Bruce.

XM Weather is a radar service that allows us to see where storms are – and how severe they are – from the cockpit of the airplane.  Just like your local news channel shows you the Doppler 3000 weather view, we have it in living color on our Garmin 396 GPS.  This will allow us to see and avoid moderate to severe storms, and help us plan the route ahead.  Light green to dark green shows increasingly heavier rain, yellow to red even more intensity and with it, the likelihood of rough air.  Lightning strikes also show on the XM weather so we can have a good idea of what kind of wallop a storm is packing.  This is a VERY GOOD tool to have on board.

Uncle Bruce is not allowed on board!  Sorry, but this is a girls only race.  And besides that….we have a lot of “stuff” with us already and no room in weight and balance for another team member.  So from the comfort of his home office in New Hampshire, Bruce will be following Team Warrior Women as we travel along.  Leg by leg we’ll consult with him on best flight levels for the maximum tailwind vs. time to climb and so forth.  Ultimately, Heather and I will be making the decisions based upon what we’re experiencing in real-time, but having Uncle Bruce running what-if scenarios will help us cut-to-the-chase quickly.

Thanks Uncle Bruce, for being an honorary member of team Warrior Women!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Nancy Kyle permalink
    June 19, 2010 7:47 pm

    You go girls! Love the Rockin’ Robin song. Who is the poet? Good luck, fly safe and FAST!!

    • June 20, 2010 9:01 am

      Hi Nancy. That would be me…the poet, that is. Inherited the ability from my Mom. Glad you liked the song and thanks for the support. (I caught up with Alison C. just last night!) Sandi

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