Ian Twombly

It found the strikes

July 18, 2008 by Ian J. Twombly, Associate Editor

XM datalink weather is really cool. You only have to look at the amount of Garmin 496s that have been sold to realize that. And the subscription isn’t cheap, which further confirms its value to pilots. But I think there’s an even better on board weather tool, and chances are you’ve already heard of it.

The Stormscope is my new friend. Yesterday AOPA Photographer Chris Rose, another adventurous staffer, andĀ I flew the Association’s Bonanza to Penn Yan, New York, to shoot some photos for an upcoming issue of the magazine. There was a warm front in central New York that was pushing some significant storms through central Pennsylvania. In fact, HarrisburgĀ tracon (a fantastic, helpful facility) said they were painting the precip as extreme. The Bonanza has a Garmin GMX200 with XM weather that includes datalink lightning. It was nice seeing the rain and lightning hits, but my new friend really carried us through.

It has me wondering why we think datalink info is so much better. Yes, it offers METARS, TAFS, and other great stuff, but there is no replacement for a display of real-time electrical discharge. Combine the eyes, the Stormscope, ATC, and datalink, and you have one potent package of weather awareness.

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