Copy                                                                     (780) 778 6600

August 2017

Hello once again from everyone at Rotorworks. We hope your all enjoying your summer. As many of you know summer on the Prairies means thunderstorms. We've certainly had a few this year already, in this months newsletter we are going to have a little recap on them and we're going to see what our instructors have been up to over the last month but before we do any of that we'd like to say congratulations to Barrie for passing his private pilots flight test.
Well done Barrie. Enjoy your flying and be sure to stop by when your passing through Whitecourt.
Always dreamed of flying? We're now taking applications for September! 

Not sure it's for you? Book a 45 minute Discovery Flight with us. You get to fly the whole time, meet the instructors and check out the school. 

Email us at or call 780 778 6600
Application Form


Thunderstorms have never been much of a friend to anyone in aviation. One quick storm passing overhead can cause tens of thousands of dollars of damage to your machine.

Anyone that has been around aviation for a few years has been part of the mad rush to get aircraft indoors while deafening cracks of thunder rumble directly overhead. It's not much fun but at least you can sleep soundly in bed knowing your machine is indoors. There is nothing worse than spending the night in your hotel room while on a job with nowhere to leave the helicopter but outside in the bush asking Thor to move that storm just a little more East. Hopefully you planned ahead and remembered those hail covers.

There is plenty of reading out there if your looking for a recap on how they are formed  (if you still no where it is have a look at your From the Ground Up text book). We want to talk about some of the signs a storm is approaching and a few of the tools we use to keep an eye on approaching storms.
Lets start with the obvious. Clouds! Although not all will form from day time heating that's certainly where most storms in the Prairies start. Those nice looking puffy cumulus clouds that start to form around the middle of day. Often that might be all that happens and you can carry on enjoying the view from above but keep an eye on that vertical development. If they continue to grow into towering cumulus that could be an early sign that conditions are good for a storm. 

As the build up continues the clouds will become darker as the sunlight cannot penetrate as far through the much larger cumulonimbus (CB) cloud. A sure sign a storm is brewing is the classic anvil shape of the cumulonimbus cloud. Although depending on your location to the cloud, it's formation, or other cloud in the area you may not see it.
Mammatus formation on the bottom of a cumulonimbus cloud
Your altimeter can also be used as a good indicator of bad weather. There is a lot of rising air associated with thunderstorms. If your landing at the same location repeatedly and you notice each time that your altimeter is reading a higher altitude then the pressure is dropping. Increasing winds, darkening clouds, precipitation and mammatus clouds (pictured above) are a few other signs you can use.
So you've decided there is a storm on the way. How can you tell if it's coming your way? The radar from Environment Canada is a fantastic tool that covers most of Canada (click on the image on the left to go to the radar page on Nav Canada). Use the scale on the right to see the height of the cloud (echo top radar). As a general rule the higher the cloud the more severe the storm will be.
So there you have it. A few things to keep an eye out for over the summer. The echo top radar is very helpful as well as the precipitation rate radar and satellite imagery available through the Nav Canada website. If you see a few signs heading towards you get your machine inside is able or at least get some hail covers on just in case,
Whats New
Sean has been doing a little charter work with Ridge Rotors out in Tumbler Ridge.
Refresher                  Special Use Airspace

As per CARS 604.04 4 (1) "The procedures for the operation of aircraft in Class F Special Use Restricted airspace and Class F Special Use Advisory airspace are those specified in the Designated Airspace Handbook." Click the button below to get a PDF version of the Designated Airspace Handbook.
Designated Airspace Handbook
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