Why is there a dollar sign in the METAR

No, it’s not an error.

KMEM 230853Z AUTO 18014G18KT 10SM CLR 16/M02 A3008 RMK AO2 SLP117 T01561022 TSNO $

The ‘$’ means the weather stations needs maintenance. Can you trust the METAR when it’s like this? Not necessarily. It is likely that some of sensors that record the measurements are not functioning properly, while the others are working correctly.

Resolving things privately

It may seem like doing everything out in public would show that the issue is resolved or that what the final verdict is would exonerate your conscious.

Everything can be done via private message. Ghost inquires, controller feedback, pilot feedback, other feedback, etc. Going one on one will make it more direct and easier to share thoughts on the situation.

No one cares if you were in the right just that the right outcome was reached.

AMA with Angle of Attack

Yesterday, we had an AMA “Ask Me Anything” with Chris Palmer, Angle of Attack, where the members in our Workshop got a chance to ask him questions.

Chris Palmer is the host of the Angle of Attack YouTube channel, and isn’t your average flight instructor. Chris is on a mission to make better pilots. Whether it’s in the cockpit, on the ground, or on YouTube, Chris’s passion is to give new pilots the skills they need to fly safely and have fun. Here are all of the questions and answers.


What is the hardest part of running a large social media network alongside the ground school?

I think the hardest part is just making sure I maintain a personal connection with as many people as possible. I really like to respond to every message, and also offer valuable advice where applicable. I’m only one person! It can be a big job sometimes.

Is that a Cirrus in your profile picture?

It is! I helped Cirrus do the online video training for the Vision Jet Program.

Where did you get the habit of going “CleEeAaaAAar!!”? Gets me every time.

I honestly just got bored of doing the same old “clear prop” that no one cares about, and started it with a student one day. This was around the time Josh Flowers came in town, and now it’s an international revolution.

What are the benefits of online ground school versus a classroom based one?

I think the biggest benefit is it’s always there. And, it’s go at your own pace. There are many pilots that just learn recreationally, and have families, jobs and other things that make their schedules sporadic. That anywhere, anytime access is helpful for a lot of people.

For someone that’s new to making aviation related content on YouTube or anywhere, what’s a tip you would have for that person to grow a following?

My advice would be to perfect the craft first, especially that of story telling. Anyone can throw up cameras and show them flying, but I always think it’s the story surrounding the flying that is the most compelling and important.

What’s your most memorable flight?

This is one of my most memorable flights.

What’s one of the scariest experiences you’ve had while flight training, either while you were training or instructing?

This wasn’t in flight training, but it sure taught me a lot. Video

What’s some advice you have for student pilots right now who might not be able to go out and get to flight training as much as they’d like? I know in one of your latest videos you said the world will recover and life will return to normal, but anything else?

Actually just did a podcast on that subject today.

In short, this is a HUGE opportunity to get a lot of stuff done at home. I would NOT pass it up!

What’s your favorite part of flight training/instructing?

It’s so, so, so cool to see people achieve their dreams. They go from knowing nothing when they walk in the door, and then to see the smile on their face after a checkride is just the absolute best. I get to do a lot of amazing flying, I even support my family by doing it, but nothing compares to seeing that in action.

I’ve started to look into doing my flight instructor rating in the next few months, do you have any advice for someone looking into it/just starting their flight instructor rating?

I still remember vividly each checkride I’ve done with my students, and also their first solos. It’s just really special and cool to see all that take place. I wouldn’t place many others above that.

What is your most memorable moment as a flight instructor?

Here is a student I met at AirVenture when I was volunteering. She ended up coming to Alaska and getting her commercial. This was after she passed her checkride!

That night we all took a flight, at almost midnight, up near Denali, the largest and tallest mountain in North America. It was absolutely magical. Those walls of rock you see on either side of the glacier are about 5K to 6K feet tall.

Do you have a favourite aviation novel that you would recommend?

Stick and Rudder. Absolutely.

What’s the hardest part of being a CFI?

For me it’s all about giving value to the student. I always have a personal struggle where I strive and hope to give them more, but always feel a bit unsatisfied with what they’ve received. For them to get where they need to go, that learning knowledge transfer needs to happen. And it’s up to me to make sure it does happen.

What’s one trait/quality you wish all your students had?

Study super hard at home, come to our lessons with good, deep questions for our ground sessions. The self discipline and passion is really refreshing. I’m not super interested in helping people that won’t help themselves. I invest a lot of myself, way outside what I get paid, so it’s important that I see that happen. You lean in, I’ll lean in.

What’s your dream meal?

We just ‘fled’ California because of the virus. I’m REALLY missing In-N-Out Burger!

What is the one location you’d like to fly but haven’t got the chance yet or can’t?

Africa seems like an amazing place to fly. Europe as well, like over the beaches of Normandy or something. I think there are just so many amazing places in the world, I’d love to see them all from the air.

Have you ever flown within the U.K before, and if not do you have plans to?

I don’t have any current, active plans, but I’d love to. I have ancestry in Scotland and have visited a few times. That’s way up there on my list of places to fly!

What is your favourite Single Engine Piston Aircraft?

I have about 600 hours of Bonanza time. Freakin’ amazing airplane. They’re IFR monsters. So, so good.

Am I right in saying have good useful load and short field performance as well?

Yes, they can do short field. Gotta know what you’re doing, though. The video I shared earlier is an example of what not to do… and I had even done that the FAA way.

On my introductory flights, I have this habit of referencing instruments. One of my instructors said to rely on visual cues more. How should I get into that?

Do an entire lesson (from takeoff to shutdown) with the flight instruments covered up (keep the engine instruments uncovered, and even use the RPM settings as a reference). Doing that in the pattern for several hours will A. give you some of the best landings and B. start to break you of some of those bad habits.

Remember instruments in VFR are for REFERENCE only. The BIGGEST instrument you have is out there, the horizon, the sky, and ground.

An instructor from Canada told me, that the correct procedure for executing a climb is APT and not PAT, in order not to surpass Vno/Vne, would you disagree or agree, as I’m sorta sat on the fence about this?

I’m careful not to get too opinionated or granular about how I teach. There are many different opinions on certain things, and very few things are “wrong”. That said, I heard that as the APARTMENT (APT) is upstairs, and you PAT the dog (that’s sitting below you). I thought that was a great way to remember.

I teach APT when leveling off in cruise from a climb. To initiate a climb, PAT makes more sense to me. But I can see how in certain planes that could exceed Vne. Not really sure how, though, because if you’re doing it right it’s almost all simultaneous.

Trim always comes last. Don’t fly with trim. But you’ll see the pro pilots roll the trim they know they need without thinking about it. It’s good for your first hours to think of it that way, but it’ll become really natural. You’ll do APT or PAT instinctually when you need it.

What got you into aviation?

Always had a thing for flying things. Really enjoyed WWII documentaries, flight simulators, and building WWII models. Even had a love for science in practical ways, like physics. It all fit together when they were pushing us high school students to choose a career. I found out I could become a pilot without going into the military. The light bulb went off, and I never looked back.

Follow up question. Did you ever think it would lead you into this, creating YouTube videos, online ground school, podcasts, etc.?

Not at all. YouTube wasn’t even around then. But I’ve tried to connect all my other talents with aviation as well. That’s good advice for everyone!


Make sure to checkout Angle of Attack on Instagram and Youtube. And if you need Online Ground School or Checkride ACE (checkride prep), check out angleofattack.com.

If you’d like to join in discussions such as this with like-minded people like yourself and experts in the field, to learn and improve, I’d encourage you to sign up for our Workshop. Upcoming guests

Is there a maximum possible size for an airplane

Here is an excerpt from an answer on aviation.stackexchange.com to the question of what is the maximum possible size for an airplane. I’d paraphrase but the answer was too good.

“An airplane flies because of the lift coefficient L=1/2pv2ACL, with v the airspeed, which is a combination of the speed of the plane and the wind speed, p approximetly equal to 1kg m to the -3 at a theoretical mimimum of 5 km height (remember that most planes reach 10km, but I took this a little more extreme to show an upper limit), A the area, and CL an coefficent with a typical value less than 2, that might change with technological innovation.

So the only factors we can influence are v and A. However, if we increase A, the mass m increases faster than the area A because there is more material needed to avoid the plane form breaking under the huge forces. Increasing A quadratically gives more than a quadratically in m, and hence in the needed L.

If we increase v, we need more fuel. The amount of fuel per distance unit increases linearily in v, because it increases quadratically per unit of time in v. Hence L increases quadratically where m only increases linearily. This means that we might do something with increasing v. That means that airplanes have to go faster before liftoff, which will need drastically longer takeoff lanes. Note that we can’t keep increasing v because we can’t lose control.

In summary, things we can improve are v, the speed, CL, with technological innovations and p by lowering flying height. However, it is not practical.”

Reference: aviation.stackexchange.com

Being consistent pays off

1 year ago I started posting to this blog, with no following.

We, and I say we because we have had a writing team, posted 360+ notes. Since the creation of the blog we’ve went from 0 to 8,400 users, 23,200 page views, and over 170 newsletter subscribers, all in one year.

This was feasible because we were consistent. We post once a day, daily. Very simple process. The posts are created and then queued up to be sent out to our blog which is then sent to our email subscribers and social media.

By being consistently amazing day in and day out this shows quality, quality attracts people and makes them want to share what you do. Which then snowballs and eventually you’ll gain credibility, people will look to you.

Being consistently amazing will allow you to advance in whatever you are doing, so try that, and report back in a year or so.

How controllers control aircraft on a STAR

As time progresses, STAR arrival procedures may become more common during normal hours and events on the expert server? so education will be key to the success of the controlling team.

ATC will organize arriving traffic in three dimensions. They’re managing altitude, lateral path, and airspeed to keep traffic separated. Arrivals help with all three. The pilots will simply follow the STAR.

In the last event featuring STARs, “resume own navigation” was used to allow the aircraft to follow the arrival procedure on their own once they joined the STAR.

Once the aircraft received “resume own navigation” they then would follow the STAR and the controller would deviate off if necessary.

This procedure may evolve and change over time so continue to watch, read and listen.

What is a SID and a STAR

A Standard Instrument Departure Route (SID) is a standard ATS route identified in an instrument departure procedure by which aircraft should proceed from take-off phase to the en-route phase.

A Standard Arrival Route (STAR) is a standard ATS route identified in an approach procedure by which aircraft should proceed from the en-route phase to an initial approach fix.

Reference: EUROCONTROL EATM Glossary of Terms

Magnetic versus True heading

Magnetic heading is your direction relative to magnetic north, read from your magnetic compass. True heading is your direction relative to true north, or the geographic north pole. The difference is due to the magnetic north pole and geographic north pole being hundreds of miles apart.

The Earth rotates about its geographic axis; maps and charts are drawn using meridians of longitude that pass through the geographic poles. Directions measured from the geographic poles are called true directions.

The magnetic North Pole to which the magnetic compass points is not collocated with the geographic North Pole. Directions measured from the magnetic poles are called magnetic directions.

All ATC instructions are sent using the magnetic heading.

References: Chapter 8 of the Pilots Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge

Set your team’s goal

“The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The leader adjusts the sails.” – John Maxwell

Do not wait for others to start the change or work towards a goal, lead the team to the goal you set. That goes in any team, whether that be as a pilot or controller.