Hit some "light" turbulence today - questions

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by CC268, Dec 2, 2017.

  1. CC268

    CC268 En-Route

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    I was flying with my dad today. Seemed like a nice day, but there was a cloud layer at 8000 or 10,000 feet I believe. Just a tiny bit of rain. Winds were calm on the ground. Took off and as I was climbing from about 3000 feet to 4500 feet it started getting a little rough. No big deal. As I approached Squaw Peak (just north of Phoenix SkyHarbor) it started getting a little nuts (in my mind - to most folks on here it was probably light turbulence ;)). At one point my stall warning horn went off for like a split second (I was climbing out at 85 mph). WTH? Anyways at this point I thought I was in a microburst or virga and living my last moments (I am being a little dramatic, but it was a little scary). I had a really tough time getting to 4500 as I kept hitting these 400-600 fpm downdrafts (and I needed 4500 for the Bravo transition). So I get up to 4500 and trying to maintain that altitude was tough. One minute I was hauling butt and in a large up draft, the next I was in a 600 fpm downdraft. Anyways...it was a bit of a wild ride and I was nervous as hell. So I told PHX Approach I wanted to head back to Deer Valley. Once I got closer to Deer Valley and below about 3000 feet it was smooth. My dad didn't mind it, apparently he can fly through a tornado and it's all fine and dandy. At one point he kind of chuckled and said "haha yea its pretty rough up here". Meanwhile I was wrestling the beast.

    So a few questions/comments for the elite pilots of PoA:

    1. Was I just being a wimp or is it a good thing I turned around?
    2. At what point is it time to turn around? How do you know if you are truly in dangerous conditions?
    3. How do you guys gauge if there are any potential microbursts in the area?
    4. The Cherokee 140 isn't exactly a stellar performer so I get a little worried when I start seeing big downdrafts that I really can't climb out of.

    Thanks. Hope I don't get a beat down on this one. I felt real defeated when I landed. Not a good feeling.
     
  2. SkyHog

    SkyHog Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Short answer: it’s time to turn around when you feel it is time to turn around.

    No reason to push it. Do what you’re comfortable with. Nothing more
     
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  3. Ryanb

    Ryanb En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Definitely don’t feel defeated. Sounds like you exercised good ADM.
     
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  4. CC268

    CC268 En-Route

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    Yea, but at what point do I push my self a little and say, "hey I gotta get used to flying in some serious turbulence?". How do I know if I really was in a "dangerous" position?
     
  5. CC268

    CC268 En-Route

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    If I flew with mtuomi we could fly through some hurricane force winds and extreme turb
     
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  6. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Wimp


    Hey you knew someone had to say it! But yeah you're a ****ing wimp. When your dad stops laughing and acts concerned then go back. You're welcome.
     
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  7. SkyHog

    SkyHog Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Same answer with a bit more - you were not in a dangerous position from a plane limitation perspective. But you hit a personal limit. You do it again, I bet you get more comfortable. Then again and then again. Eventually, you can push a bit further because your comfort envelope moved.
     
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  8. CC268

    CC268 En-Route

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    Yea makes sense
     
  9. CC268

    CC268 En-Route

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    Yea idk man it was pretty damn bumpy. I could have been in a microburst 4500 fpm downdraft bam done
     
  10. jspilot

    jspilot Cleared for Takeoff

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    Turbulence stinks! No other way to put it! In my experience( although I'm a flatlander) the higher you climb the smoother the air. So what you may learn is if you change altitudes you will probably be able to find smoother air( sometimes even 500 feet difference can be huge!)
     
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  11. rtk11

    rtk11 Line Up and Wait PoA Supporter

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    LOL!

    As PIC,you’re responsible for your and your passenger’s safety. If you weren’t comfortable, it was time to land. The plane probably would take it without issue, but you’re the “soft machine” guiding the plane.

    If turbulence is uncomfortable, try finding a CFI and fly over the mountains of northern AZ until you can find your “comfort zone” of what you are willing to tolerate, vs. what you won’t.

    Oh BTW, I will agree... turbulence stinks. I don’t tolerate it too well. My CFI told me about flying along with turbulence where it felt like, “the hand of God was flinging the plane around by the empennage.” But he kept on flying. I would have landed that plane so fast...
     
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  12. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Microburst! Ooh the story gets better and better! WIMP!

    In all seriousness, what others have said, if you're a scary cat, which you are, I mean uncomfortable and unsure if you should continue, turn back, find an out. I've been at your stage of experience and had similar feelings, so we all go through it. Eventually, as has been mentioned, your "tolerance" level will increase and you'll be flying right thru thunderstorms, hurricanes, typhoons, bring it on.

    This may be sincere advice or not. Only my hairdresser knows for sure.
     
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  13. AKBill

    AKBill Cleared for Takeoff

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    1. You are the PIC, do what you fell is the right thing and are comfortable with
    2. Turn around when you don't like what you see is happening.
    3. What's forecast is not always accurate, changing altitudes can sometimes help.
    4. My Beech Sport is about the same type of performer the 140 is. Flying in the mountains in Alaska, we get a lot of vertical movement in the air mass. Sometimes I look for an updraft against the mountain sides to help me gain altitude quicker. Sorta fun when you find a strong updraft. Always have an out...
     
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  14. Cykoguy

    Cykoguy Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Someone ****ed in mscard's cheerios...
     
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  15. jordane93

    jordane93 Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Whatever you’re comfortable with. If I was by myself, I probably would have continued. If I was with a first time passenger I’d probably turn back and call it a day.
     
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  16. CC268

    CC268 En-Route

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    Yea...there is just that fine line of...pushing yourself a little bit and gaining the experience and comfort and then never really pushing yourself and always turning back. It is a hard line to find sometimes.
     
  17. mtuomi

    mtuomi En-Route

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    Extreme turbulence by definition is where parts start falling off the plane. Never been in that :)

    It's all about your comfort level as others have mentioned, but I'd recommend going up on a very bumpy day with someone who's comfort level is much higher than yours, that way you'll get to experience it without being in the hot seat yourself.
     
  18. Walboy

    Walboy Line Up and Wait

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    I wasn't out flying today, but judging by the amount of gunk in the air, I suspect you hit wind sheer at the top of an inversion layer. A quick look at the winds aloft doesn't seem to indicate strong winds or anything. Did you pay attention to the temps?
     
  19. CC268

    CC268 En-Route

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    Roger that
     
  20. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Nah he knows I'm joking. Or am I.
     
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  21. CC268

    CC268 En-Route

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    I looked at the winds aloft and there wasn't anything abnormal at the time. I wasn't paying attention to the temps though. I was worried I might be flying into a microburst or something haaa
     
  22. Half Fast

    Half Fast Cleared for Takeoff

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    I'm a brand new SP, so this advice is backed by all of 3.5 hours of post-checkride experience. Take it for what little it's worth.

    Years ago, when I learned to cave dive, my instructor emphasized over and over this mantra: "Any diver can call off any dive at any time for any reason." That idea has been sacrosanct with cave divers for many years. A diver may call a dive because he isn't happy with his gear, water conditions, the phase of the moon, or just because he has a bad feeling. His dive buddies don't argue, try to persuade, or even question his decision.

    I carry that attitude into flying. If there's anything I don't like about a flight, I'll cancel. Trust the feeling in your gut. Even if you can continue, your nervousness may effect your judgement, perceptions, focus, and decisions.

    You're the PIC. If you don't like something, land. Your authority is absolute, and you must make whatever you judge to be the best decision.

    Yep, I'm a wimp. But only wimps die of natural causes.
     
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  23. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    yeh we knew that :D
     
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  24. Twin_Flyer

    Twin_Flyer Cleared for Takeoff

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    Amen!!!
     
  25. steingar

    steingar Touchdown! Greaser!

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    It’s time to turn back when the pilot says it’s time to turn back. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
     
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  26. cowman

    cowman En-Route

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    Turbulence is always a little disconcerting if you're not used to it. Those strong up/downdrafts I always found especially worrying. You may know intellectually that outside of t-storms and hurricanes you're probably never going to encounter weather strong enough to break the plane or force you down but still it's movement you can't control or see.
     
  27. bobmrg

    bobmrg En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Good decision making. Always listen to your gut. However....

    You gauge the probability of microbursts (or any other convective activity) by going to www.aviationweather.gov/gfa and checking out forecasts and sigmets before you even drive to the airport. Be aware of the winds aloft and how their path is affected by terrain features....downwind of a hill/mesa/mountain will always be bumpy if there is much wind.

    You don't panic when you get a stall warning. First, the warning comes in advance of an actual stall, so there is a cushion there. Second, so what? Spend some time getting comfortable with stalls and stall recovery. I despair of pilots who obsess about them. "Living my last moments..."? Give me a break.

    Bob
     
  28. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Bob he did say this too though:

    and living my last moments (I am being a little dramatic, but it was a little scary).

    Besides, he admitted he was a wimp. :)
     
  29. asicer

    asicer Pattern Altitude

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    Microburst? Since microbursts aren't very big and don't last very long, couldn't you just have turned around and held somewhere else for 15 minutes? I'm guessing you'd probably be dealing with a lot more than just a bumpy diminished climb rate in a PA28-140 if it were really a microburst. As Bob said, any orographic winds in the area? Did you check the winds aloft forecast for wind vector changes? Was there a frontal passage in the area?
     
  30. Clark1961

    Clark1961 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    First off, I agree with all the comments that said you did the right thing by turning around when you decided that you’d had enough. The flight ended safely and that is always a goal.

    Some of your uncertainty about the cause of the turbulence and likely outcomes indicates to me that you could fill in some holes in your weather knowledge. Some formal mountain flying ground school might help in this area. It’ll also help you know what to do in downdrafts when you need to escape. That knowledge alone will help you be more comfortable in the conditions you encountered.

    Overall good job operating within the limits of your aircraft and completing the flight safely.
     
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  31. SkyDog58

    SkyDog58 Final Approach

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    By all the answers, it seems like quite a few folks feel they fit in the elite pilot category.

    :D
     
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  32. N659HB

    N659HB Pattern Altitude

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    I think you handled it well. It just takes time to expand the envelope of what you are comfortable with. I second the idea of going up with an instructor on a turbulent day. My tolerance has improved over the past year, and on most flights the thermals under summer clouds don't bother me, but sometimes I just don't want to ride the roller coaster and call it a day. I try to fly early or later in the day when I have pax, when the air is usually smoother. My youngest son is the only one not bothered by the bumps.
     
  33. Clark1961

    Clark1961 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    We are all above average.
     
  34. Half Fast

    Half Fast Cleared for Takeoff

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    Which says something about PoA's standards. "Elite" means 5 posts, right? No requirement for any Likes.
     
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  35. N659HB

    N659HB Pattern Altitude

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    Well, we are pilots, after all!
     
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  36. CC268

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    I am very good about checking weather and as stated I checked winds aloft and there was no red flags there. Although I am certainly not an expert in weather and I am trying to become better and more familiar with it. I am very comfortable with stalls. I took an entire aerobatic course to get comfortable. Including an hour in a Pitts S2C. You can read about it in the aerobatic section if your interested. I never said I was concerned about the stall warning, just that it was a little surprising considering I was climbing out at 85-90 mph.
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2017
  37. CC268

    CC268 En-Route

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    In all honesty I am fairly comfortable in turbulence and I have faced my fair share of turbulent days, but this was above what I had seen before which is why I was concerned. But yea each time I face it I will build experience
     
  38. Half Fast

    Half Fast Cleared for Takeoff

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    Pilots of Lake Woebegon?
     
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  39. Cluemeister

    Cluemeister Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Was there an Airmet Tango for the area? (apologies if you've already mentioned there was)
     
  40. SkyDog58

    SkyDog58 Final Approach

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    Or is it woe be gone?