Flight Training - June 2021 - 24

PREFLIGHT WEATHER

BY IAN J. TWOMBLY

ABOVE THE FRAY
FLYING ABOVE AN UNDERCAST

SOMETIMES GOOD VFR CAN BE A TRAP.

Most of what we're taught in training
is stripped down to its basics so the
information can be easily conveyed. Overloading an airplane is bad. Using the full
runway every time is good. The weather
forecast for the lesson is good. Flying with
less than full fuel is bad. Yet, like most
things in life, reality exists in gray zones.
Nowhere is this truer than weather,
which is seldom perfect or terrible.
For this scenario you are flying a
Cessna 172 from Arnold Palmer Regional
Airport in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, to
Northeast Philadelphia to give a speech to
a group of high school kids. It's 7 a.m. on a
fall day, and the weather in Latrobe is one
of those unusual perfectly excellent days,

with clear skies, no wind, and unlimited
visibility. However, just east of the city,
and up until about 30 miles west of Philadelphia, METARs are showing visibilities
of between a quarter mile and a half-mile,
and ceilings of 200 feet or less. The destination is showing 5 miles visibility and
scattered clouds at 1,200 feet.
The speech is scheduled for 11:30 a.m.
According to the forecast, the fog along
the route should start lifting at around 9
a.m., and the entire route is scheduled to
be clear by 10:30 a.m. Do you:
Drive. If you leave now and get
favorable traffic, you can most likely make
the speech. It will be a tight timeline, and
there could be fog along the Pennsylvania
Turnpike that might slow you down.

Launch now. The departure and
destination have decent weather, and the
forecast shows both improving.
Delay to see what happens. The
destination is marginal VFR, there are
no emergency landing options along the
route, and forecasts can be wrong. You
have time to wait, and waiting will give
you a chance to verify if the conditions are
improving as forecast.
Call to cancel. Your options are
limited, and you've boxed yourself into
a corner by agreeing to do the speech
by waiting until the morning to launch,
knowing fall fog is a normal occurrence
after a clear night in the Northeast.
ian.twombly@aopa.org

DO IT NOW

I'LL DELAY

BY IAN J. TWOMBLY

BY KOLLIN STAGNITO

THIS IS A DIFFICULT CALL because the weather appears
easily flyable, and driving isn't a great option. You made a
commitment, and have a strong desire to fulfill it. Assuming
there are good VFR options even farther to the east I would
launch now. The risk is that conditions don't improve or get
even worse at the destination. But if things remain clear to the
east you might be able to land and still make it with a rental
car. That said, a similar thing happened to me and I ended up
missing the commitment because not only did the destination
not improve, my alternate didn't enable me to drive there.
That was a difficult phone call to make, but still better than
scud running and taking my chances.

24  FLIGHT TRAINING JUNE 2021

I'M GOING TO DELAY A BIT AND CONFIRM the fog is dissipating as

expected. It's a one-hour, 45-minute flight in the 172, so I could depart as
late as 8:45 a.m. and still make it to Northeast Philly with an hour to spare.
My concern is not so much the weather in Philadelphia, but rather flying over
mountainous terrain with no place to land if anything goes wrong with the
airplane-or me-since every airport along the route is currently below IFR
minimums. Why leave now when delaying 90 minutes likely offers broken
to scattered clouds along the entire route, trending toward clear skies? If
the weather remains lousy all morning, I'm going to call and reschedule my
speech for another day. I knew when I decided to fly my own airplane that a
timely flight to make the speech would be weather dependent; I would also
have told that to the event organizer.



Flight Training - June 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Flight Training - June 2021

Contents
Flight Training - June 2021 - Intro
Flight Training - June 2021 - Cover1
Flight Training - June 2021 - Cover2
Flight Training - June 2021 - Contents
Flight Training - June 2021 - 2
Flight Training - June 2021 - 3
Flight Training - June 2021 - 4
Flight Training - June 2021 - 5
Flight Training - June 2021 - 6
Flight Training - June 2021 - 7
Flight Training - June 2021 - 8
Flight Training - June 2021 - 9
Flight Training - June 2021 - 10
Flight Training - June 2021 - 11
Flight Training - June 2021 - 12
Flight Training - June 2021 - 13
Flight Training - June 2021 - 14
Flight Training - June 2021 - 15
Flight Training - June 2021 - 16
Flight Training - June 2021 - 17
Flight Training - June 2021 - 18
Flight Training - June 2021 - 19
Flight Training - June 2021 - 20
Flight Training - June 2021 - 21
Flight Training - June 2021 - 22
Flight Training - June 2021 - 23
Flight Training - June 2021 - 24
Flight Training - June 2021 - 25
Flight Training - June 2021 - 26
Flight Training - June 2021 - 27
Flight Training - June 2021 - 28
Flight Training - June 2021 - 29
Flight Training - June 2021 - 30
Flight Training - June 2021 - 31
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Flight Training - June 2021 - 36
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Flight Training - June 2021 - 40
Flight Training - June 2021 - 41
Flight Training - June 2021 - 42
Flight Training - June 2021 - 43
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Flight Training - June 2021 - 55
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Flight Training - June 2021 - Cover3
Flight Training - June 2021 - Cover4
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