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Home » Paul Hesse

Newsletter: Fall 2006

By Paul Hesse (September 2006)

We have now moved into the Fall season here in the south. With the passing of hot, humid air with explosive thunderstorms our new focus in flying will be colder temps (frost / ice) and shorter days / longer nights.

With those two changes alone, are you prepared for early nightfall? Are you dressing warmer in the event of a forced landing? Are you night time current/proficient? Are you planning for earlier temp/dew pt. spreads falling much quicker? Are you preflighting and looking for frost on the aircraft? All these questions must be answered to be successful for the next few months of flight. I recently flew at night with a person who needed much more work for night time proficiency. Approaches / landings were made without cockpit lighting or landings lights temporarily failed. Can you land at night with a total electrical failure? Do you have more than one flashlight in hand if one fails? To attain ATC help do you know the local frequencies to call? Are your charts readable/current? Markings on a chart in red become invisible. If you need reading glasses, are you caring them with you? Cockpits at night are for the most part very dark places. Do you carry a handheld if you go down off field at night? Have you filed a flight plan? I have told people over the years they are not allowed to rent or fly at night because they failed to do their part in preparation for this time of the year. Remember search and rescue will not even begin to look for you for at least +3 hours in the event an ELT signal is received.

Be prepared for the worst scenario and your then never going to be then placed in a position to have not(s) in your possession. Flying at night or Fall / Winter is just beautiful if currency and proficiency are equal. Harvest moons are spectacular at night with those clear, cold nights. Happy Halloween and Happy Holidays to all.

As always, be safe and be proficient.