Wind Shear, Wind Shear

by Patrick on January 5, 2011

This is what I am used to hearing over the intercom when flying in conditions like this.  We landed in Liberia, Costa Rica, MRLB to clear out-bound customs and proceed to Panama, MPMG.  We flew 23nm from Tamarindo a surf town on the coast to get here.  The winds on the ground were approximately 7 kts out of the East the winds at 100’ were over 30kts.  This creates an enormous amount of wind-shear.  Pilots keep an eye on this by monitoring the difference between their groundspeed and true airspeed whenever this differential becomes to great we know there is imminent danger. The airspeed can decay to a point were the airplane can not fly if the wind direction shifts and if this happens close to the ground, well it doesn’t work out so well.

The mountainous terrain in Costa Rica creates a lot of mechanical turbulence in the air close to the ground and the narrow distance between the Pacific and the Caribbean drives high-winds.  The high humidity and instability that is common with tropical air also contributes to the equation.  I spoke with a local who said that December through February are the worse for winds.  It is the transition period from the rainy season to the dry season and there are a lot of cold fronts pushing South from North America that are no longer cold but bring strong winds.  Needless to say I have thoroughly enjoyed Costa Rica but I am looking forward to flying in area with less wind.  Stay tuned for a video of a cool landing in Costa Rica!

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Lee Mattix January 5, 2011 at 6:47 pm

Sounds like you are getting adequate adventure.


Larry Larrabure January 5, 2011 at 8:21 pm

Hey guys saw you in Tamarindo airport that day, Want to see how did the filming with the air camera went.
I just landed in my 182 (orange TI ABE) when you took off, did a slow flight over the runway and a landing and was being filmed by the air camera.
Landing in Pavas that day was nasty, turbulent 20kts from 50 degrees in runway 09.
I dont enjoy those conditionds myself either.

Wish we could have met, I would have told you about some cool strips in CR.
Enjoy your trip.


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