Saturday, May 07, 2016

Not Flying - Know Weather Or Not To Go

I was all set for my long solo cross country, route all planned, checkpoints set, time and fuel burn calculated.

Last night's TAFs (terminal area forecasts), online weather, and the call to Flight Services for an outlook briefing unfortunately said otherwise.

Forecast was for turbulence and a line of thunderstorms staring while I would be in the return leg of my one hour and forty-five minute flight with conditions deteriorating into a ball of seriously dangerous suck and fail.

Such a forecast means the flight is to Nopeville in Nopeistan.

I didn't even have to wait for the briefer to say the magic words "VFR flight not recommended". I told the briefer that conditions as forecast were way beyond what I could do, and she agreed with my assessment and we both agreed there were lots of other days for flying.

Flying even near a thunderstorm in a small plane is beyond both Nope and Heck Nope on the official Nope Scale. A thunderstorm on route is right up to Family-Blog-Word Nope.

The TAF was even forecasting thunderstorms and I got to see the code CB in real life for the first time - CB stands for "Come Back here you idiot, don't even think about flying in this!" Amazing what they can fit in two little letters right? Actually, it stands for cumulonimbus clouds, the presence of which equates to the same thing.

Confirmed this morning with it hitting even earlier, right on my route and then closing in on my home airport to preclude any safe landing so that's such a definite scratch. Instructor texted and confirmed it's a no-go.

If you fly you really should always start your flight with a call to a weather briefer. Not only are they knowledgeable and very helpful people, but having full knowledge of weather conditions on your flight is a legal requirement and a call to the weather briefer provides recorded proof that you did in fact do so.

Disappointing, but in conditions like that it's so much better to be down here wishing you were up there than the other way around.


juvat said...

You're a wise man, Aaron! Flying in or even near a T-Storm is solidly in the not fun column.

Murphy's Law said...

In regards to weather, there are two kinds of pilots. There are those who respect the weather because they've been taught to and because they have common sense, and then there are those who have learned the hard way and actually survived.

Be the first kind or I'll kick your ass. Seriously.

Aaron said...

juvat: Thanks, figured I didn't need the excitement of such a trip at all.

ML: Yep, I'd much rather use common sense, know the environment, and learn from other's mistakes rather than getting myself stuck in a very bad and avoidable situation.