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I Will Never Understand Wind



 
 
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  #1  
Old May 4th 05, 10:17 PM
Jay Honeck
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Default I Will Never Understand Wind

Today, for the first time in weeks, dawned clear, cool, and calm. After a
VERY early spring (with temps in the 80s for over a week), we have
experienced extremely high winds and record COLD temps. In fact, we broke
the record here on both Sunday and Monday... (Take THAT all you "global
warming" pessimists!)

When we got to the hangar, the air was as still as death. The wind sock
hung limp as a rag, and AWOS was reporting winds variable at nuthin'...
Flight service mentioned nothing about turbulence (for a change) -- so we
taxied out to Rwy 25 in anticipation of a smooth ride to Clinton, IA...

Initially after departure all was smooth -- but by 1500 feet we were getting
bounced pretty good. By 3000, we were inside a popcorn popper. Mary
climbed to 7500 feet before we penetrated the haze layer, and popped out
into the clear, smooth air on top. It was a VERY uncomfortable ride until
then -- and, of course, she had to descend back down through it to land.

On the return flight a couple of hours later, it was even worse. Now we
had heating of the day, with the sun on the dark, freshly plowed fields --
and the ride was wild, indeed. However, again it was smoother down LOW --
which was bizarre -- than it was in the middle altitudes.

I suppose after all the unsettled weather we've had the atmosphere is still
stirred up -- but no one standing on the ground would EVER have guessed what
was brewing and burbling just a few thousand feet overhead. By all
appearances, it was the perfect day to fly -- yet it was the most
uncomfortable flight we've had in a good long time.
--
Jay Honeck
Iowa City, IA
Pathfinder N56993
www.AlexisParkInn.com
"Your Aviation Destination"


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  #2  
Old May 4th 05, 10:41 PM
Paul kgyy
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I've had this happen around Chicago, and conclude that in many cases
it's wind shear. Lake Michigan often establishes a mini-high over the
lake, with wind flowing from the northeast over Chicago. The
prevailing upper winds are some sort of westerly, and there's often a
layer around 2500 ft where the 2 layers mix which can be surprisingly
rough - smooth above, not too bad below.

  #3  
Old May 4th 05, 11:02 PM
John Galban
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Default


Jay Honeck wrote:

I suppose after all the unsettled weather we've had the atmosphere is

still
stirred up -- but no one standing on the ground would EVER have

guessed what
was brewing and burbling just a few thousand feet overhead. By all


appearances, it was the perfect day to fly -- yet it was the most
uncomfortable flight we've had in a good long time.


A clearly defined haze layer can often signal the boundary between
two airmasses. Turbulence is often (but not always) a possibility in
this shear zone. Did you happen to check winds aloft and PIREPS?
Usually, when it's dead calm on the ground and windy upstairs, you know
you're going to be in for a bumpy ride.

One of the bumpiest approaches I ever made was through one of these
shear zones. Ground wind was reported by the tower to be 10 kts from
the east. On a 2 mile final, my GPS was telling me I had 40 kts from
the north at 1,500 ft. AGL. That last 1,500 ft. was a hell of a wild
ride, but when I touched down, the wind was blowing lightly from the
east. Just as advertised.

John Galban=====N4BQ (PA28-180)

  #4  
Old May 4th 05, 11:13 PM
Stefan
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Default

Jay Honeck wrote:

experienced extremely high winds and record COLD temps. In fact, we broke

....
Initially after departure all was smooth -- but by 1500 feet we were getting
bounced pretty good. By 3000, we were inside a popcorn popper. Mary


A cold air mass and a strong heating sun gives you the best thermals.
That's why spring is the best season for soaring. Go to your nearest
glider school and buy a cross country flight or two, and you'll
understand this a lot better. Danger is, though, that you'll get hooked
and sell your engine.

Stefan
  #5  
Old May 4th 05, 11:38 PM
Peter Duniho
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Default

"Jay Honeck" wrote in message
news:[email protected]_s72...
[...]
I suppose after all the unsettled weather we've had the atmosphere is
still stirred up -- but no one standing on the ground would EVER have
guessed what was brewing and burbling just a few thousand feet overhead.


"No one"? That's obviously false.

In fact, the conditions you describe sound like there was a reasonably
decent temperature inversion, creating nice, calm stable air near the
ground. Of course, any movement of the air above that inversion is going to
create shear and the turbulence that goes along with that.

When you got your weather forecast, did you look at the winds aloft
forecast? Did you compare the temperatures on the surface with those at the
various altitudes in the winds aloft forecast? What were the wind speed,
direction, and temperatures in the winds aloft forecast?

Did you look at the pressure charts? Both for the surface as well as for
higher altitudes (850mb for example)? What sort of pressure gradient
existed? This can give you additional information to elaborate on the winds
aloft forecast, or even to correct errors in it (depending on how recent the
winds aloft forecast is versus the pressure charts).

It may well be true that you will never understand wind, and it's certainly
true that understanding wind is a non-trivial exercise. But to claim that
no one could have predicted the conditions you experience, well...that seems
just a bit silly to me.

As far as the lack of a specific mention of turbulence in the weather
briefing, remember that an airmet for turbulence is given only for moderate
or above. Pilots (and especially passengers) of light aircraft consistently
overestimate the intensity of turbulence, and it's entirely possible that
the turbulence you experienced was not great enough to justify an airmet.

Pete


  #6  
Old May 5th 05, 01:19 AM
Mike Rapoport
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Default

The wind can do strange things. I have an airdata computer that gives a
constant display on winds aloft. Once I was flying into 130kt heawind out
of the East at FL290 with moderate turbulence. I asked for and recieved a
descent to FL250 and the wind was 35kts out of the West. I would have
thought it impossible. I have seen similiar shifts a few times but never
165kts of shear over 4,000'

Mike
MU-2


"Jay Honeck" wrote in message
news:[email protected]_s72...
Today, for the first time in weeks, dawned clear, cool, and calm. After
a VERY early spring (with temps in the 80s for over a week), we have
experienced extremely high winds and record COLD temps. In fact, we broke
the record here on both Sunday and Monday... (Take THAT all you "global
warming" pessimists!)

When we got to the hangar, the air was as still as death. The wind sock
hung limp as a rag, and AWOS was reporting winds variable at nuthin'...
Flight service mentioned nothing about turbulence (for a change) -- so we
taxied out to Rwy 25 in anticipation of a smooth ride to Clinton, IA...

Initially after departure all was smooth -- but by 1500 feet we were
getting bounced pretty good. By 3000, we were inside a popcorn popper.
Mary climbed to 7500 feet before we penetrated the haze layer, and popped
out into the clear, smooth air on top. It was a VERY uncomfortable ride
until then -- and, of course, she had to descend back down through it to
land.

On the return flight a couple of hours later, it was even worse. Now we
had heating of the day, with the sun on the dark, freshly plowed fields --
and the ride was wild, indeed. However, again it was smoother down LOW --
which was bizarre -- than it was in the middle altitudes.

I suppose after all the unsettled weather we've had the atmosphere is
still stirred up -- but no one standing on the ground would EVER have
guessed what was brewing and burbling just a few thousand feet overhead.
By all appearances, it was the perfect day to fly -- yet it was the most
uncomfortable flight we've had in a good long time.
--
Jay Honeck
Iowa City, IA
Pathfinder N56993
www.AlexisParkInn.com
"Your Aviation Destination"



  #7  
Old May 5th 05, 02:20 AM
tony roberts
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Default

Once I was flying into 130kt heawind out
of the East at FL290 with moderate turbulence.


If I was flying into 130 kt headwind I'd reach my departure point before
I reached my arrival point

Tony

Tony Roberts
PP-ASEL
VFR OTT
Night
Cessna 172H C-GICE
  #8  
Old May 5th 05, 02:21 AM
john smith
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WOW!
Don't you guys even use the Winds page on the ADDS?
Pick a day and time and step up and down the altitudes.
It will tell you everything you want to know.
Do the same thing with the temperatures at different altitudes.
It's even color coded. Use the streamline display option.
  #9  
Old May 5th 05, 03:47 AM
Peter R.
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Default

tony roberts wrote:

If I was flying into 130 kt headwind I'd reach my departure point before
I reached my arrival point


Haha!

--
Peter













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  #10  
Old May 5th 05, 05:43 AM
Jay Honeck
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Posts: n/a
Default

WOW!
Don't you guys even use the Winds page on the ADDS?
Pick a day and time and step up and down the altitudes.
It will tell you everything you want to know.
Do the same thing with the temperatures at different altitudes.
It's even color coded. Use the streamline display option.


I do occasionally, but today was so picture-perfect (from the ground) that
it never even dawned on me to look.

As I mentioned to Mary, while we were getting tossed around: It's a good
thing we can't see wind and turbulence (the way we can see rapids in a
river) -- because if we could, humans would never have attempted flight.
--
Jay Honeck
Iowa City, IA
Pathfinder N56993
www.AlexisParkInn.com
"Your Aviation Destination"


 




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