Logbook Discussion #1
January 19, 2019
Author: Bianca Yang
I’m currently 11.6 hours into my flight training. I am working towards my single engine land private pilot’s license, which allows me to pilot single engine prop planes. There are more details than that, of course, but you can read about that yourself.
To be honest, I wasn’t convinced that this flying thing was cool until a couple of lessons ago. At some point, something clicked with me about the act of maneuvering a vehicle into a stable floating position in the air. Maybe it was the point when things sort of started to make sense. Maybe it was when I began to understand how to make the plane do certain things, like hold a certain altitude, or climb faster, climb slower, hold a certain speed. Regardless of when that transition happened, I’m now happily convinced that putting time into flying is worth it.
Here’s a photo of my logbook, so you can see what I’ve done so far and for how long I’ve done them.
I’ll discuss a few of the things I’ve begun to understand since beginning flight training:
This is an example of a current aviation weather report:
KCNO 190753Z AUTO 00000KT 4SM BR CLR 11/10 A3029 RMK AO2 SLP255 T01060100 401940100
KCNO – ICAO airport code. This one points to Chino Airport
190753Z – Time is reported in UTC. First two numbers refer to the date. Month is assumed, since these reports are persistent for only an hour, so this means Jan 19. 0753Z means 7:53AM UTC, which is 11:53PM PST.
AUTO – Automatically generated weather report.
00000KT – This is the wind report. First 3 numbers report direction of wind. Last two numbers report wind speed, with KT standing for knots. You will frequently hear this 0 wind report reported verbally as “calm”. A more exciting example of a wind report could be: 24010KT. An even more exciting weather report would be something like: 31015G27KT 280V350. That means wind from 310 degrees (0 deg is north, 90 east, magnetic heading), gusting from 15 - 27 kts. The wind direction is variable, between 280 and 350 degrees.
4SM – This is the visibility report. SM means statute miles, which are the miles you are familiar with.
BR – This means mist.
CLR – This is the cloud level report. Clouds are reported at hundreds of feet above ground level. CLR means no clouds below 12000 ft. A different example would be OVC002, which means overcast (OVC) clouds at 200 feet. Overcast means 8/8 of the sky is covered. Other abbreviations include FEW for 1-2/8 of the sky covered, SCT for 3-4/8, BKN for 5-7/8.
11/10 – This is temperature and dew point. Temperature at 11 Celsius, dew point at 10 Celsius. Yes, you will have to get used to doing Fahrenheit-Celsius conversions.
A3029 – This is the altimeter report. 3029 means 30.29 inches of mercury. The altimeter reports your height above mean sea level, so it’s important to keep it updated.
RMK – Remarks follow.
AO2 – Automated weather station with precipitation sensor.
SLP255 – Sea level pressure, in hectopascals. Normal sea level pressure is 1013.2hPa, so we get 1025.5hPa.
T01060100 – Temperature and dew point, to nearest 10th of a degree in Celsius. So we have temp at 10.6C and dew point at 10.0C.
401940100 – Then we have the 24 hour max and min temperature. We know it’s 24 hour because it begins with a 4. So temperature high at 19.4, min temp at 10.0.
That’s it for this METAR. METARs are updated every hour. There is much more to weather, but this should give you more than enough of a taste for how pilots look at what’s going on in the sky.
You can practice listening to weather at KEMT, El Monte Aiport, by dialing (626) 444-1107. Most weather reports from KEMT will be tame, since it is in sunny SoCal.
Next is the infamous checklist. I use an awesome checklist provided by my instructor, David Werntz. His checklist is under Resources on his website. This checklist has saved me countless times and is the guide I still rely on during pre-flight, run-up, and clean-up. We use checklists to help manage the complexity of the planes. Eventually this checklists and other supplementary ones will move into my head as mental routines. For now, go ahead and check out the one David has to get an idea for the procedures we pilots go through.
Details, details, details
Man, driving is trivial compared to flying. Rain, shine, snow, frost, etc, people pretty much just get into their cars, shift into gear, and then press gas. You don’t have to think about much else besides how to get from A to B, whether you have enough gas, and whether you brought all your stuff with you.
When you fly, you have to think about weather, itinerary, backup plans, weight and balance of plane, and fuel calculations. Of course, most of the time in training, these aren’t serious considerations. They really become issues when you’re planning a longer trip that isn’t just doing routine practice around your home airport or when you’re taking new people up. It’s overwhelming, at first, to think about all these things, but the process eventually becomes part of the joy of flying.
Flying is delightful. Once you get the hang of things, you will really begin to understand just how stable the plane is on its own. You will begin to understand how little you have to do once you’ve gotten off the ground and set to the right heading. You will understand what it’s like to really have a bird’s eye view of the world. I love flying now, because it’s just that much fun to be off the ground.
That’s just a small taster of what it’s like to be in flight training. Shoot me an email if you want more information.