Early in flight training, pilots learn that airports we go to have a 3 character FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) identifier. My home airport is EMT and pilots soon go to POC. The terminal chart (TAC), sectional chart, chart supplement, or your favorite app or airport information web site will all show this identifier
You might think… Great! I can use that FAA identifier in all my apps, tools, and web sites. Students quickly realize that’s not true. The US government’s own aviationweather.gov site will give you a “No METAR found for EMT” error, but works if you enter KEMT. So, great, I just have to use that second identifier. Not so fast! You quickly realize that not all airports have that second identifier. Take as an example the Big Bear City Airport, with the identifier of L35:
Wherever you fly, you’ll likely find there’s local weather knowledge that’s important to pilots that may be unknown to pilots from other areas. In the Los Angeles basin, Santa Ana winds and the marine layer (aka June Gloom) are two biggies.
Santa Ana winds are dry strong offshore winds that effect Southern California mostly in the Fall and Winter, but can happen any time of the year. As a perfect example, we’re here in the beginning of May 2013 and getting a classic (and dangerous) Santa Ana wind event. Continue reading →
One week ago today, I took some friends (both named David) on a flight to check out the wildflowers in Southern California. Later that day, I posted a few pictures on my WingsByWerntz Facebook page of what has been termed a “superbloom” of California Poppies (the state flower – Eschscholzia californica) near Lake Elsinore. One week later, Facebook tells me those pictures have reached over 2 million people!
It’s been a strange experience to see pictures I took get thousands of likes, comments, and shares. I’m a professional pilot, but an amateur photographer. I’ve even had people email copies of the pictures to me without knowing I was the one who took them!
I’m proud to announce that I’ve been recognized as an AOPA Distinguished Flight Instructor for 2018, one of only 8 in the state of California. Distinguished Flight Instructor is a title given to high scoring flight instructors from the Aircraft Owner and Pilots Association (AOPA) 2018 Flight Training Experience Survey. AOPA’s Flight Training Experience Awards were created to highlight the best flight training the industry has to offer. Continue reading →
General aviation (small airplanes) made a splash in the news recently, especially in LA, with the emergency landing of a Cessna 172 on a street in Huntington Beach, CA. The news was accompanied with dashcam and security video, as well as cellphone pictures of an airplane stopped in the middle of a street surrounded by surprised drivers, cyclists and pedestrians. The web and news outlets filled with titles like “Student Pilot Makes Miraculous Emergency Landing”.
As an instructor, I find nothing “miraculous” about this. The pilot showed good skill, along with some luck. Continue reading →
I’m proud to announce that I’ve been recognized as an AOPA Distinguished Flight Instructor for 2017, one of only 8 in the state of California. Distinguished Flight Instructor is a title given to high scoring flight instructors from the Aircraft Owner and Pilots Association (AOPA) 2017 Flight Training Experience Survey. AOPA’s Flight Training Experience Awards were created to highlight the best flight training the industry has to offer. “This year’s group of schools and CFIs were especially close as we analyzed the results of the 2017 Flight Training Experience Survey,” said Chris Moser, director of AOPA’s Flight Training Initiative. “It gives me great confidence to both hear about some incredible flight training providers and to see how much their customers truly value them.” The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) is the world’s large aviation association. Continue reading →
Please do me (and yourself) a favor. If you’re not familiar with the “impossible turn”, read on, and get with a good instructor before your next flight (while I hope this article is useful, it’s no substitute for instruction). It’s imperative that you understand the dangers of the impossible turn. An experienced pilot died yesterday in a crash at my home airport (EMT). From initial reports, it appears he had an engine failure soon after takeoff and attempted the impossible turn from a low altitude. Continue reading →
The current requirements for private pilot training (14 CFR 61.109) dictate a long cross country flight “…of 150 nautical miles total distance, with full-stop landings at three points, and one segment of the flight consisting of a straight-line distance of more than 50 nautical miles between the takeoff and landing locations”.
Santa Barbara is one of my favorite nearby flight destinations. In an airplane like a 172, it’s about a 1 hour flight each way from EMT and you have the option of a 15 minute walk to a seaside restaurant once you arrive. Santa Barbara is a Class C airport – they have some airline service and a lot of private jet traffic, but don’t let that keep you from giving it a try. Continue reading →