This is the time of year here in Utah and many places across the country we see convective activity. From afternoon thunderstorms, hot days and high humidity; we as pilots must be more vigilant about turbulence, down drafts, up drafts, side drafts (j/k), micro bursts, etc. You get the picture. Basically what could seem to be a calm pleasant flight can pose risks to small and large aircraft in the form of wind shear.
Wind shear is typically associated with micro bursts and is especially dangerous in the vicinity of the airport where aircraft are departing and landing. There are a few things we can look for as pilots that could warn us to micro bursts and wind shear:
- Heavy precipitation
- Rain showers
- Blowing dust or swirls of dust
- Temp/dew point spread between 30 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit
- Moderate to greater turbulence
A go around should be executed or appropriate recovery procedures for your aircraft if you notice the following:
- +/- 15knots IAS
- +/- 5 degree pitch attitude
- +/- 500 fpm VSI
- Unusual throttle position for an extended period of time (approach)
- +/- 1 dot glideslope displacement (approach)
The best defense against wind shear and micro bursts is to avoid it. Learn to recognize the signs so you may fly clear of any danger. Remember that it could take up to 30 minutes for some micro bursts to dissipate, but better to circle or fly to your alternative than make the next NTSB report.
Intermountain Flight Services 801-560-7872