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Avoiding those Thunderstorms


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post-6-096447600 1282052733_thumb.jpg Ever wonder what extreme precip looks like from the air? That would be the reds and pinks on your XM radar. Here is a picture taken on my way back from Corning yesterday while over Tucson.



Luckly these were isolated and easy to spot or I would not have been anywhere in the area at all. I allowed plenty of room from the one pictured, it was creating havoc on the ground. Once it hit the Marana area, winds exceeded 75mph and damaged some aircraft tied out on the ramp.


So some points to remember when dealing with thunderstorms:


1. Dont get near them. Avoid by at least 20 miles if possible.

2. Even when you are far enough away from them, prepare yourself, your cockpit and your plane for encountering turbulance. This includes slowing to manuevering speed or less (98KIAS in most CT's). Tighten your lap belt across your hips followed by the shoulder straps. If you tighten the shoulder straps first the lap belt will be pulled up some and not as helpful in holding you down. Secure any items that could come loose, including your Spot tracker that may be hanging out on the instrument panel, or the bottle of water laying in front of the seat. Tuck those things in the storage areas.

3. If you do get caught in some extreme turbulance dont try to maintain an altitude, instead just try to maintain an upright attitude and speeds below 98kts using power.

4. Dont ever try to land or takeoff while a T-Storm is approaching the area, gust fronts and microbursts in advance of the rain can give very little warning unless you live in a dusty environment like AZ.

5. Although the XM weather is a great tool for situational awarness, it can lag behind a little and should not be used to try and navigate amongst cells, rather it should be used well in advance to determine areas to avoid and for deciding if an alternate is required.

6. Always leave yourself an out, or more than one out if able!



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