Friday, October 30, 2009

Another video from fire pirates

Here is another fire pirates video that I found on youtube. Enjoy

Postscript (10;30 AM): Opps. Just realized that I accidently posted the same video twice. I have just corrected this post with the second of two fire pirates videos from you tube. The first fire pirates video may be found here.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Life at Paso Robles Air Attack Base (1993)

I found this video, shot at Paso Robles Air Attack Base (CA,) on youtube several weeks ago. Not only did I enjoy seeing some now retired air tankers in action (e.g. tanker 127, PB4Y2), but I enjoyed the glimpse into life at an air attack base. You will also see tankers being loaded with retardant, including a loading error, and a couple of retardant drops.

I asked one of my air tanker pilot friends to id the aircraft in the video (in order of appearance):

Aero Union tanker #03, P2V Neptune
Cessna O-2, CalFire Air Attack #340
PB4Y-2, Hawkins and Powers tanker #127 (Silver 4 engine)
P-3, Aero Union tanker #22
DC-4, Aero Union. tanker #15 (mixmaster clip)


National Fire Weather, red flag warnings in SE CA & SW AZ

With the fall Santa Anna wind season underway in southern California, and knowing that the area had been under red flag warnings in recent days, I was curious to find one national fire weather page where I could go and see fire weather watches and red flag warnings for the entire country. I found the National Fire Weather page, and have bookmarked it. In today's map (the map you see will be differ depending on that day's fire weather) there is a red flag warning for portions of southeastern California and southwestern Arizona:

FNUS55 KPSR 281153

453 AM MST WED OCT 28 2009



Loma Fire (CA) contained

I wrote about the Loma fire three days ago, here. According to CAL Fire, the fire is 100 percent contained.

Monday, October 26, 2009

aerial firefighting - views from the cockpit

Speaking of aerial wildland firefighting, enjoy this video. Some of the shots were taken from the cockpit.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Loma Fire

This is the Loma Fire, currently burning in near Santa Cruz, CA. 20% containment, 600 acres. Fire started about 3 AM this morning. See this report on Fox 35 for more information. You will see a tanker dropping retardant near the end of the video. CAL Fire has information on this fire at this site.

Friday, October 23, 2009

kudos to initial attackers

A few months ago I wrote this post that I called Reflections on S-2T's, SEAT's and Initial Attack. I was speaking to the important work that CAL Fire's S-2T's and SEAT's on National or State/local contracts do to aid ground crews in putting out fires during the first hours after the fire is reported (aka initial attack). I need to add that helicopters, both those with buckets and well as type II helicopters with fixed tanks play an important roll in fighting fires in the initial attack phase.

I have written about specific large fires including campaign fires such as the Station Fire, but have not written much about these two to ten acres fires. So, I have been on the lookout for video footage of a such a fire, one that was contained within the first two to three hours. Earlier this week, there was a 10 acre brush fire in San Marcos, CA just north of San Diego (of unknown origin) that seemed to have been "knocked out" in under two hours. Helicopters and CAL FIRE S-2T's added ground crews in these efforts. I found out about this fire here, following the supplied link to this video footage shot from a San Diego's CBS8 news helicopter.

The video is just over 16 minutes. You will see several water/foam drops from what appears to be a fixed-tank type II helicopter. I saw a shot of a CAL Fire S-2T, tanker 88 fly by but did not see the drop (although I could of missed something). There are also shots of ground crews and engines working the fire.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

upcoming posts

After posting the link to Bill Waldman's video yesterday, I had intended to continue along these same lines with articles on what makes for an effective retardant drop, and how winds factor in to the retardant drop. I am still doing some background research on these articles so I won't be able to start with this series tomorrow. I do hope to have this background research finished sometime early next week. 

In the meantime, stay tuned for tomorrow's article that I am calling Kudos to initial attackers.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

40 year veteran air tanker pilot speaks

Here is a great video from sponsored by wildland fire lessons learned center. The speaker on this video is Bill Waldman, a 40-year veteran air tanker pilot and recently retired from Aero Union where he was the chief pilot. During his long career he logged over 10,000 hours in flight time, making over 13,000 retardant drops. In this video, part of the lessons learned series of the wildland fire lessons learned center, he speaks about the lessons he learned during his career as a wildland firefighter whose tool is an aircraft. While speaking directly to other tanker pilots and crew, I believe that the lessons he learned are applicable to ground crews, other emergency services workers, as well as us civilians. I learned a lot from watching this video.

The most important thing that I took from watching this video, and I have watched a couple of times by now, is the importance of safety. That is, Mr. Waldman offers this advice to firefighting aircraft pilots (young and old):

What we do is a job, it is not an emergency. Don't risk your life and die over a tree. That is primary. Do a job, do it safely, and go home at night.

Plan on spending about 15 minutes to watch the video.

If the above link doesn't work, go to and look for a video called "I am a wildland firefighter - aircraft is my tool. I'd like to thank Bill Gabbert who posted about this same video here. You might want to check out Bill's article to see the comments a couple of air tanker pilots made to Bill's article.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Engine failures with happy endings

You will recall from my first post in the density altitude series that low air density -- which equals high density altitude -- affects engine performance. Engine failure in any plane can lead to disaster. In ideal conditions, engine failure in a multi-engine plane does not have to end in a crash. But in a tanker carrying a load of retardant, engine failure often means dumping retardant in order to avoid a crash. Most air bases used by tankers have a designated area where retardant can be safely dumped without harm to people, property, or the environment. But in an emergency situation, the pilot is not always able to reach the designated dump area.

Air density can affect how much time the pilot has to dump the retardant in the event of engine failure. My friend G (air tanker pilot) has this story:

I lost an engine in a P-2 on take-off out of Missoula on a fairly cool day, about 78 degrees.  It was almost a non-event.  I feathered the bad engine and continued to climb out to a spot where I could jettison the load without endangering anybody on the ground.  On a hot day, it would have been an entirely different story.

Engine failures can require quick action and a measure of luck irregardless of air density. Here are some more stories from G:

1. I saw a DC-4DC-6 lose an engine right at rotation, about six inches above the runway. The DC-4 DC-6 is not overpowered and that guy had to pitch the load in a heartbeat.  His retardant tank couldn't have been more than three inches off the runway and he just painted the Kalispel, MT airport runway all the way down.  That shut down the airport for two hours, but the crew lived to tell about it.  That crew was Canadian and I made sure he got the safety award that month for averting an airplane crash with quick thinking.

2. I lost an engine at Chico, CA in a P-2 right when I got the nose wheel off the ground and I knew we couldn't fly out of there.  I had to decide and act in about a second and a half, so I shut it down and did a panic stop, using every inch of available runway and a little more.  But, we were alive.

3. I lost an engine in the PB4Y2 out of Jeffco, CO and I had to find a spot to pitch the load pretty quickly.  Fortunately, there was a big field behind some houses right off the end of the runway and it went there.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Density altitude and helicopters (part 3 of 3)

Density altitude affects all aircraft equally, the higher the density altitude, the lower the performance of fixed and rotor-winged aircraft. In helicopters a higher density altitude will, among other things, translate to

(1) a lower hovering ceiling at a given gross weight, and

(2) the higher the density altitude the more power is needed for a vertical take-off and under certain weight and density altitude conditions, there may not be enough power for a vertical take-off. if that is the case, the helo pilot may need to do what is sometimes known as a running take-off.

For more information on the affects of density altitude on helicopters see this article

Friday, October 16, 2009

Density altitude defined, effect on airtanker performance (part 2 of 3)

Low density air means high density altitude. An air tanker pilot friend, G, explains:

High density altitude is called that because the low density air found in hot air mimics the air found at HIGH altitudes. At HIGH altitudes and HIGH temperatures, there is not only less air for an engine to "breathe", but there is less air for the wings to ride on as well.

High density altitude is also known as performance altitude. High density altitude caused by high temperatures and high humidity can occur at lower elevations but is more of a problem at airports at higher elevations such as those in California and the southwest. If you are based at an airport at 3,000 feet above sea level and the air temperature is hot (e.g. 95 degrees) your performance altitude is going to be higher. The higher the density altitude the longer runway you will need to take off at a given gross weight. This can be computed and G explains how this works:

The entire exercise of computing density altitude is used to predict aircraft performance on hot days or in high places or both. All the airplane manufactures publish charts that help you determine how much runway you'll need at a particular gross weight and a particular altitude.  You add up the weights, figure the density altitude, (which tells you the altitude your airplane will act like its flying at), go to the performance charts and you find that at 8800 ft and full gross weight, your airplane needs, say, 6500 feet of runway to get airborne.  If the airport you are parked at only has 4000 feet of runway, you're hosed.  You either get rid of some weight, or wait until evening when the air cools.

What this means for air tanker pilots is that tankers working wildfires, e.g. in California or the southwest, may be forced to carry lower loads of retardant in order to compensate for higher density altitudes.

In my final article on density altitude, posting this Sunday, I will write a short piece on how density altitude affects helicopters.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Density Altitude defined (part 1 of 3)

One of the reasons that airplanes fly is because of lift. Lift is created by air molecules (oxygen) flowing over the wings. More air molecules (high density air) means more air molecules flowing over the wings and greater lift. Conversely, fewer air molecules or lower density air means less lift because fewer air molecules are flowing over the wing.

Three factors, either singly or in combination, contribute to low density air: (1) higher altitude, (2) higher temperatures because air expands when it is heated, and (3) higher relative humidity because more water molecules mean fewer air molecules.

Low density air affects engine performance. One of my pilot friends, whom I will call T, explains:

Simply put, the lower the air density, the lower the oxygen level.

For carbureted engines, such as an automobile, less oxygen means less horsepower.  The higher you go in altitude, the air density lowers.

Example:  Suppose you were on a straight highway that went from sea level to 12,000 feet above sea level.  It doesn't matter how long it takes to get to the top, but we'll say 100 miles.  Simple math tells us that the road will rise 120 feet per mile.  As we travel along, we're getting higher in altitude and the oxygen is getting thinner as we go.  After awhile, the car isn't running too well.
1.  As there is less oxygen to burn at higher altitudes, the engine can't burn fuel as well as it could at the bottom.
2.  As air density decreases, so does available horsepower.
In newer vehicles, the computer module can adjust the fuel mixture a little bit, but not like aircraft.  In an aircraft, the pilot can adjust the fuel mixture the entire range from full rich, to a lean idle cut-off.  This is a necessity due to air density.

Coming up on Oct. 16: density altitude and air tanker performance

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

NJ Forest Fire Service Staff at 76%

Before I begin writing about density altitude tomorrow, I want to take the opportunity to write about the staffing situation at the New Jersey Forest Fire Service. As I understand it, there are 21 vacant positions out of 89 positions allocated to the NJ Forest Fire Service for a staffing rate of 76 percent. This scares me. I don't want to let our wet summer and September lull me into a false sense of security.

So far we have been lucky this year, if you check the numbers on the NJ Forest Fire Service website, you will see that from Jan. 1, 2009 through Oct. 5, 2009 there were 683 wildland fires statewide burning a total of 1,076 acres. Their goal is to keep wildland fires under 2,000 acres. Perhaps we will make it. What happens if we have another major conflagration such as the 15,500 acre Warren Grove Fire (May 2007) that burned in an area of the Pine Barrens known as the East Pine Plains. From what I understand, the East Pine Plains consists of one of the more volatile vegetative types. I also understand that it took about twenty days to bring this fire under control.

I took the above photo in March 2009, not far from Warren Grove, NJ (where the fire started) on county rte. 579. While you can see new post fire growth in this picture, I choose this photo because you get some idea of the extent of the fire

What would happen today if another fire the size of Warren Grove occurred? It could happen. If there were other wildland fires burning at the same time, would we have enough personnel? What happens if we enter into a dry period here in New Jersey as we did in the mid-nineties when there was one year when the pine barrens burned in central Jersey to be followed by a wildfire along the Kittatiny Ridge in northern NJ. To see some videos of the Warren Grove Fire, Section B-10 of the NJ Forest Fire Service was a page on youtube, it may be found here.

Please, take a few moments and go here to read a very good and detailed update about critical issues facing the NJ Forest Fire Service. I have only very briefly touched on these issues here, and I urge you -- especially NJ residents -- to read this report. And if this is happening to us here in NJ, perhaps it is happening to you as well.

To my friends in the NJ Forest Fire Service, I write this for you. Stay safe and thank-you for all you do!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Firefighting Art

I have finished writing about temporary flight restrictions and fire traffic areas, at least for now. I have to say that I have a learned a lot while writing that series. I have increased respect for the pilots and crew, ground crews on the bases, as well as all those of you working behind the scenes to keep firefighting aircraft and crew safe, including but not limited to Ben Hinkle is growing. Thank-you.

I have to take a what I hope is brief time-out before moving on to density altitude. I hope to begin posting on density altitude either on Wednesday or Thursday of this week. In the meantime, I found this video on youtube by Patrick Karnahan. Patrick worked for the U.S. Forest Service, including one summer as a lookout. He is also a painter, having painted for the USFS and a songwriter.  To read a little more about Patrick, go to this link on youtube and click on more info in the box on the upper right corner. Patrick also has a website that may be found here. I like Patrick's art for his depiction of both ground crews and aerial support.


Friday, October 09, 2009

Fire Traffic Areas explained

The graphic above shows what is known as a Fire Traffic Area (FTA). It differs from temporary flight restrictions in that an FTA is not a part of the National Airspace System. However, it does serve a vital function in keeping fire fighting aircraft safe as they do their business. 

The fire traffic area was designed and implemented after the 2001 mid-air collision of tankers 92 and 87 near Ukiah CA in order to provide a safe working environment for aircraft working a fire. A typical fire traffic area is five nautical mile (nm) radius from the fire. Different types of aircraft working a fire are assigned altitudes based on their functions at the time. Aircraft are expected to maintain the altitude separations expressed in this graphic. The two most important aspects of the fire traffic area are communications and discipline.

The air tactical group supervisor (ATGS) circles with right turns at approximately 2,500 feet above ground level. What does the ATGS do? The 2009 Interagency Aerial Supervision Guide (NFES 2544, p. 3) provides an answer:
The ATGS manages incident airspace and controls incident air traffic. The ATGS is an airborne firefighter who coordinates, assigns, and evaluates the use of aerial resources in support of incident objectives. The ATGS is the link between ground personnel and incident aircraft. The ATGS must collaborate with ground personnel to develop and implement tactical and logistical missions on an incident. The ATGS must also work with dispatch staff to coordinate the ordering, assignment, and release of incident aircraft in accordance with the needs of fire management and incident command personnel.

Before tankers enter the fire traffic area they orbit at the initial contact ring at 12 nautical miles. Here the pilot communicates, and only after getting clearance does the tanker enter the fire traffic area. If the pilot is unable to establish communications, they hold at the 7 nautical mile NOCOM ring, with left turns, until they are established.

Ok, looking at the bottom of the FTA in the graphic, the helicopters are maneuvering at approximately 500 feet above ground level. The tanker maneuvering altitude where they circle to line up and prepare for the actual drop is at 1,000 ft AGL. Five hundred above, at 1,500 ft AGL, is the altitude at which tankers enter the FTA, maintaining a left turn orbit until it is their turn to enter the tanker maneuvering altitude.

More information on fire traffic areas may be found in this power point presentation. If you look at this power point presentation, you will see that for larger fires temporary flight restrictions (TFRs) may have bigger dimensions than the FTA. In situations such as these, initial points (IP's) will be used on transition routes into and away from the fire. As I understand the tanker pilot will make radio contact at the IP which is usually an easy to identify landmark such as a lake or a bridge.

One of my air tanker pilot friends sums up fire traffic areas this way:
The FTA works great, and is one of the best innovations I have witnessed in aerial fire fighting.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Requesting TFRs, part 2 of 2

 Tyler: Can you give me an idea of the factors that might determine when it is necessary to have a TFR over a fire?

  • Numbers of aircraft
  • Military airspace
  • MTR (military training routes)
  • Local air traffic
  • Navigation aids
  • High probability of aircraft transiting the area etc…
  • Regrettably most IC’s will order a TFR on any fire; I don’t believe this to be a good idea. We impact the National Airspace System to the point where in any given year we have been 40 percent of all the TFR’s in the nation. Quite an impact. Here are some numbers (as of 10/1/09 at 3 PM EDT):
| Year  | Fire | Other  | Total | Percent Fire  |
| 2009  | 433  |  3549  | 3982  |     10.9%     |
| 2008  | 631  |  3367  | 3998  |     15.8%     |
| 2007  | 865  |  2440  | 3305  |     26.2%     |
| 2006  | 929  |  2797  | 3726  |     24.9%     |
| 2005  | 493  |  2048  | 2541  |     19.4%     |
| 2004  | 500  |  2031  | 2531  |     19.8%     |
| 2003  | 781  |  1372  | 2153  |     36.3%     |
| 2002  | 927  |  1508  | 2435  |     38.1%     |

Tyler: Navigational aids (naivaids) may mean lots of air traffic flying to the navaid. I understand that military aircrafts travel at very high speeds, so they need areas in which to maneuver. Fires might be located near a large airport. Can you elaborate a little on these types of situations.

Ben: We have excellent communication with the Military and dispatch should and will deconflict the mtr (military training route), i.e. tell them what we have and they will most often work with us. TFR's are issued up and around Navaids, but take an airport like Denver and you have a large fire (as we did) on the arrival gate and the FAA and ATC fought the TFR. The column was so large a lot of the airliners did not appreciate going thru it though, so we ended up getting it.

Tyler: In an "ideal situation", will dispatch call the ATC at a nearby airport, for example a fire near Boise, to give them a heads up that a fire TFR is being requested?

Ben: Boise ID, Missoula MT , Grand Junction CO and other airports that are used to fire pick that up right away as allot of the fire aircraft orginate from them. Towers in the area would get the notam and notify pilots either via ATIS if it is their vicinity.

I'd like to thank Ben for taking the time for our e-mail correspondence, and making this two-part article possible. Thank-you Ben. I will be writing about fire traffic areas in my next couple of posts.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Requesting Fire TFRs part 1 of 2

Wildland fires are of different size, in easily accessible terrain, near residences, and very remote and difficult to access terrain. Some fires can be contained during the initial attack phase with or without air support. Other fires go beyond initial attack to extended attack. What determines if a temporary flight restriction (TFR) will be requested?

A friend who flys S-2's for CAL Fire told me that TFRs may "not be needed for initial attack but when the ATGS (Air Tactical Group Supervisor) feels it's going to become a big fire, he might send a request through the local CAL fire dispatch to the FAA for a TFR and ask local airports to include this information in the Automated Terminal Information System (ATIS)."

The ATIS is an automated continuous message broadcast by larger airports communicating what is known as "noncontrol" information such as ceiling and visibility, wind, runways in use, altimeter setting, etc.

This e-mail correspondence with my friend from CAL Fire left me wanting to learn more about fire TFRs. Among other things, I was left with the question of exactly how the process of requesting fire TFRs works (e.g. fires on USFS or BLM lands), and what some of the problems are. Wanting to learn more about the process of requesting fire TFRs, I reached out to Ben Hinkle of the BLM aviation office. We have exchanged several e-mails, and I have learned a lot from him.

Tyler: what process is the process of requesting a TFR once someone in charge of a wildland fire decides to request a TFR. He said:

Ben: "The incident commander (IC) will place an order through Dispatch for the TFR. As an ATGS may or may not be on scene, or any other aircraft for that matter. The ATGS also recommends TFR’s as well as the dimensions. Dispatch depending on their local and protocol will request a TFR through the NOTAM entry system (NES). Dispatch offices have various levels that feed up in their bureaucracy. There is a form that would be used to request whoever in their food chain will enter the request into the NES." [The NES is a password protected internet based system used by authorized persons to request the NOTAM.]

Tyler: Having read NOTAMs online, I know that longitudes and latitudes are needed when a TFR is requested. In the case of a circular TFR, only one point will be needed. If the TFR is a polygon, four points will be needed. Who supplies these points, someone on the fire or the dispatcher?

Ben: "Most every engine and fire fighter carries a GPS these days. Most likely they will know. Also aircraft will back it up. Dispatch would then plot it using various means to come up with the shape of the TFR. Lat Longs for TFR's must be in minutes seconds vs minutes tenths as faa charts are in minutes seconds. Aircraft contracts require GPS to be in minutes tenths (DOI and USFS). Just another monkey in the peanuts!"

Tyler : How long it takes from the time a TFR is requested to the time it is established:

Ben "We REQUEST a notam and it may or may not be issued. TFR’s are Flight Data Center NOTAMS (FDC) and are regulations that are the law when issued. Quite impressive when you think something like one of our TFR’s as a regulation can be issued with an hour. Depending on the protocol in the region the TFR was requested this may take only an hour or 24 hours."

Tyler: I had some correspondence with a friend who is a former air tanker pilot. He was telling me that that "sometimes the location of the fire in a high density air traffic area may dictate that a TFR be requested, even if the fire is small and will probably be put out." Can you comment on this?

Ben: "Well it may dictate that we try to establish it, but the FAA has refused to issue TFR’s in such areas in the past. FAR 91.137 A 2 says the ATC (air traffic controller) can route an aircraft through a fire TFR. We request the TFR and the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) will issue it or not."

He sent me a copy of FAR (Federal Aviation Regulation) 91.137 A 2

Any of these conditions can allow a non particpating aircraft to fly thru a
fire TFR.
  • Aircraft is participating in relief activities under the direction of the official in charge of on-scene emergency response activities
  • Operating under ATC approved IFR (instrument flight rules) flight plan
  • Carrying law enforcement officials
  • Accredited media under a flight plan approved by the FSS (flight service station) or ATC facility specified in the NOTAM, and at an altitude above those being utilized by relief aircraft, unless authorized by disaster officials; or…
  • Operations directly to/from airport within the TFR, 
  • or as required to maintain VFR due to weather or terrain,
  • and with the approval of the specified FSS or ATC facility,
  • and the operation does not hamper or endanger relief efforts,
  • and the operation is not to observe the incident!
Stay tuned for part 2 on October 7.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Map of fire TFR: from the Station Fire

The National Interagency Airspace Information website has a very good website where you can search for information on all TFRs by state, type (fire, laser, nuclear, presidential, and stadium). The also have links for recent, and pending TFRs as well as canceled TFRs. In addition, there is an interactive map where you can plot TFRs with options for different kinds of maps.

A note on laser TFRs (bounded by skinny bright purple circles on charts available through airspace.nifc), laser light shows require TFRs because they interfere with a pilots vision. Not good for anyone, especially someone piloting an aircraft. To the best of my knowledge there are no laser light TFRs shown on the above image. The purple lines and shapes of various widths on the above image are not laser light TFRs, but depict different kinds of airspace.

When you search for TFRs, for example by state, you are presented with a screen showing the actual NOTAM text for each TFR in that state with options to print that portion of the sectional (aeronautical chart) with the TFR plotted on the map. You can also search by type and see only the fire TFRs.

The image above shows the TFR for the Station Fire that I printed about three weeks ago. Actually, I was able to print the map to a pdf file and then used a graphics conversion program to save it is a jpeg file for posting here. The green circles on the map are stadium/sports TFRs. The area within the red polygon was the Station Fire TFR. As I mentioned in my last post, aeronautical charts take some getting used go and I am only beginning to get use to them myself. But they do mean something to pilots.

Here is a copy of the actual NOTAM, note that the number of NOTAM (9/7722) matches the number on the image (9/7792):

NOTAM : 9/7792


In the interest of full disclosure, I should say that I got the text of the NOTAM from the FAA website very shortly after the NOTAM expired. I showed this text and the above image to a couple of my airtanker pilot friends who said that while they would have preferred to look at the actual aeronautical chart to be certain, that the text seems to be very close to the mapped NOTAM.

Fly clear of wildfires

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Intro to airspace

A couple of months ago, I went out and purchased aeronautical charts from one of my local general aviation airports and have been spending time learning how to read these charts. I have been aided by my air tanker pilot friends along with some resources on the internet that I was referred to. While it is getting easier for me to read charts and have a very basic understanding of the complexities of air space, I am not exactly in a position where I feel comfortable trying to write this up for you.

Rather, there are a few of documents that I will refer you to. If you can only read one, read the first one on the list, Airspace for Everyone.

1. Airspace for Everyone. This brochure is from the the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association's Air Safety Foundation. It is written for pilots and might be a little technical for some, but it contains good information with pictures and it isn't too long. There is a good section on NOTAMs and temporary flight restrictions towards the end of the document.

2. VFR aeronautical chart introduction. This document is a short introduction to aeronautical charts, I have used this in combination with the next item on the list as I have learned to read aeronautical charts.

3. Airspace flash cards. This is another document from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association's Air Safety Foundation. This was link was sent to me by one of my airtanker pilot friends and I use it all the time. I sit down with my aeronautical charts and these flashcards and the charts begin to make a little more sense.