Monthly Archives: January 2017

What Are Your Kids Doing This Summer?

If you have young people around your house, you probably know the number of summer jobs for kids continues to dwindle. The ones that do come along are often boring minimum wage positions too.

But what if your teenager was offered the chance to earn some money AND gather some valuable work experience … at well … an airport?

Here’s that big opportunity …Click here for details

 

Are You a Pilot or Even Just Interested?

The new year has brought us face to face with a number of great local events for pilots or folks thinking about learning to fly  … and even people who just find the idea of leaving the ground a fascinating idea. I forgot one other possibility … you’re the spouse or significant other of some poor soul addicted to things that fly.

The 99’s VFR/IFR Safety Seminar, Aviation Expo and Companion Flyers Course

First up is the 20th IFR/VFR Safety Seminar and Aviation Expo organized by the Chicago Chapter of the 99’s, the international organization of licensed women pilots. It happens Saturday January 28th at the Holiday Inn, 860 West Irving Park Road in Itasca. On-site registration begins at 8 am and sessions run until 3:30 pm. The event is broken down into interesting and practical talks aimed at both instrument rated pilots and those who are still dashing around in clear airspace beneath the clouds and away from poor weather. Best of all though, there’s a flying companion course for those people interested in learning more about what’s really happening in flight when they normally just sit patiently watching from the right seat. A dozen and a half different vendors will also be on hand who are all too happy to explain where their company fits into the aviation world.

Pre-registration is not needed and of course, the entire event is free of charge … although, I bet the local 99’s chapter folks would be grateful for any donation you might want to make on the 28th to help them fund great programs like this.

IMC Club Returns

The IMC Club returns to Chicago Executive Airport (PWK) beginning February 22 beginning at 6: 30 pm at the Ramada Plaza Hotel 1090 S. Milwaukee Ave (east side of the airport) in Wheeling. While the first meeting takes place at the Ramada, Club meeting locations will alternate between the hotel and Signature Flight Support. The IMC Club, now run by the EAA to promote the idea that instrument rated pilots are only at their best when they remain proficient. Each month, the IMC Club will meet to bring together instrument pilots and flight instructors for frank discussions to improve their understanding of how best to operate in the national airspace system though the myriad of IFR procedures that keep air traffic flowing smoothly, as well as how both new and old cockpit technologies support these efforts. The real benefit of the IMC Club sessions are those discussions that nearly everyone in the room seems to participate in. Pilots talk about some of the good and the bad IFR flights or issues they’ve personally experienced.

Starting next month, the Chicago Executive Pilots Association (CEPA) will begin serving as host organization for the IMC Club at PWK. More information about CEPA and the IMC Club is available from their website where you can also sign up for their monthly newsletter. Or of course, you could just bring yourself over to the Ramada where they should have the rest of the sessions figured out by Feb. 22.

The IMC Club is the brainchild of Radek Wyrzykowski, a master certified flight instructor-instrument and multiengine instructor who will be on hand for the Feb. 22nd meeting. He’ll be joined that night by air traffic control personnel from the Chicago TRACON to discuss proposed changes to MDW Charlie airspace, the ORD modernization program, local IFR and VFR routings and other interesting topics. In case you’re after a look-see at the IMC Club before next month’s local kickoff meeting, visit their online forum where you’ll be able to sample a bit of the chatter about people who fly in the clouds … or want to. For those of you who can’t live without Facebook, you’ll find the IMC Club has a page there too.

More information about the IMC Club as well as local CEPA events, they’re all listed in each month’s CEPA newsletter, so click and read. January 2017 CEPA Newsletter

If you find these events interesting, don’t keep them a secret … pass around our link. And don’t forget to visit chiexec.com and signup for our newsfeed to stay in touch with other events..

FAA Publishes Practical Guidance for TALPA Winter Safety Ops

imageResponding to questions about what all the changes to the braking reporting system means to pilots and airport operators, the FAA published Draft Change 1 to AC 150/5200-30D, Airport Field Condition Assessments and Winter Operations Safety. The updated AC guides airport operators, although much of the information will also interest pilots because their safety depends on their knowledge and understanding the new Takeoff and Landing Performance Assessment (TALPA) programs. The industry has only until this Friday, January 13 to comment on the changes however, so read on.

The Seven Principal Changes

1. Airports will not report a Wet runway when a Slippery When Wet NOTAM is in effect

As part of pavement maintenance, airports conduct a friction survey to make sure it meets minimum prescribed values for skid resistance. If the pavement meets or exceeds this minimum value, when its Wet, according to the Runway Condition Assessment Matrix, it gets a Runway Condition Code (RwyCC) of 5, which stands for Good braking action. (The Runway Condition Codes replaces Mu values and indicate braking action, which is based on the Runway Condition Matrix that is based on the type and depth of precipitation.)

If the pavement does not meet the minimum friction requirements, the entire runway is Slippery When Wet, and it starts with a Runway Condition Code of (RwyCC) of 3, which means the braking action is Medium. As Mother Nature makes additional wintery deposits on a Slippery When Wet runway, the airport must downgrade the entire runway with a RwyCC of a lower value, 2  or 1 (braking action is medium-to-poor or poor respectively).

2. Emphasizing the unacceptable aspects of reporting friction (Mu) values to pilots

Airports still use Mu friction values for some things, such as friction surveys after pavement maintenance and determining the effectiveness of “friction-enhancing treatments” (such as putting urea on ice or brooming the snow off a grooved runway), but the FAA says reporting Mu number to pilots “is no longer acceptable” because there has been “no consistent, useable correlation between Mu values” and braking action.

3. Describing when a Wet condition report is associated with other winter contaminants

Airports will report  the runway as “Wet” when water 1/8-inch (3 mm) or less “is the only condition present on the runway.” The same applies to taxiways, aprons, and holding bays. Airports will also report the surface as ‘Wet’ conditions when other winter contaminants, or chemicals applied, appear in any particular third of the runway.

4. Explaining how airports generates their runway surface condition reports

A single runway surface condition report, generated for each active runway, allows pilots to identify Mother Nature’s winter “contaminants” on each third of the runway and understand how each will most affect aircraft performance. The new AC says, “Reporting from both ends of the same runway may cause confusion to pilots by advertising two sets of Runway Condition Codes for the same surface. This redundancy also unnecessarily clutters the NOTAM system which also adversely affect pilots.”

image5. Details on special mitigation options

Airports must update runway condition reports any time there is a change in the runway surface, this includes the airport’s efforts to improve the runway conditions, which could lead to a higher RwyCC. The takeaway for pilots is that they should monitor an airport’s Field Condition (FICON) NOTAMs for updates and changes for the best information.

6. Clarifying Use of Conditions Not Monitored NOTAMs

When a small airport’s staff, weary of fighting Mother Nature, needs some sleep, they’ll issue a “Conditions Not Monitored” NOTAM, which includes the last field condition reported before going to bed. In this situation, airports should not use an Airport Unattended NOTAM as a substitute because it conveys inaccurate news about whether or not the airport staff, ATC, FBOs, and other airport services are available. When seeing “Airport Unattended” while planning a winter flight, prudence suggests a confirmation phone call to the destination’s FBO or airport operator.

7. Time is the difference between “Conditions Not Monitored” and “Surface Conditions Not Reported” NOTAMs

When the staff at a small airport is unable to report changes in the field conditions because they are getting some much needed sleep, they should issue a “Conditions Not Monitored” NOTAM with the expectation that after a short nap, they will return to work and resume reporting the airport field conditions. If, for some reason, the airport staff is unable to report airport conditions for 24 hours of more, the airport should issue a “Surface (SFC) Conditions Not Monitored” NOTAM that covers the entirety of their absence.

A caveat for pilots: If an airport has published in its Airport Master Record a set schedule when it will not monitor conditions, like weekends or National Holidays, it does not have to issue a “SFC Conditions Not Monitored” NOTAM. In other words, to avoid being caught unaware in winter, when flight planning to smaller airports, always check the destination’s Airport Master Record for the pertinent schedule.