This came through today from the FAA and there is rain in the forecast so we better take a moment to review hydroplaning procedures.  If you’d like to recieve quick tips like this one from the FAA you can subscribe to their safety email list here.

Approach and Landing
Safety Tip
December 2010

Hydroplaning is a condition that can exist when an airplane is landed on a runway surface contaminated with standing water, slush, and/or wet snow. Hydroplaning can have serious adverse effects on ground controllability and braking efficiency and can render an airplane partially or totally uncontrollable anytime during the landing roll.

When confronted with the possibility of hydroplaning, it is best to land on a grooved runway (if available). Touchdown speed should be as slow as is consistent with safety. After the nosewheel is lowered to the runway, moderate braking should be applied. If you don’t notice deceleration and hydroplaning is suspected, the nose should be raised and use aerodynamic drag to slow to the point that the brakes do become effective.

Do you want to know more? The Airplane Flying Handbook and other FAA manuals are available here.

For the most part in a light general aviation aircraft braking effectiveness isn’t a major issue since we normally have significantly more runway than required.  If you suspect hydroplaning plan on using your brakes as little as possible and remember to fly the plane all the way to the tie downs with proper crosswind taxi techniques.   When flying in and out of Long Beach in stormy and windy conditions also remember that we are spoiled and can land and depart in 5 different directions, including  34L , 16R and 12.  All you have to do is ask our ATC friends and they will work it out.  For heavy rain runway 30/12 might be the best option since it is grooved.  Be safe out there, and don’t get too wet tying down the plane! ~CP~