Saturday, June 11, 2005

Breakfast Run

Today's mission was a little breakfast at one of the local airplane restaurants. A short little jaunt from the home base to a nearby Class D airport. (Sidenote: The Base Closing Commission included the Air National Guard squadron at this airport on its hit list. Could this be the prelude to closing the tower, then decommissioning the ILS? Inquiring minds want to know.)

The weather here has been awful lately. 90+ degrees, with dewpoints above 70. For those of you that can't figure that out, picture tropical rain forest, only without the lush tress and vegetation. Hot, sticky, yucky. Visibility was still good, at 7 miles, and the clouds were scattered to broken at 7000 or better.

I filed an IFR flight plan anyway, just in case the weather went to pot on the way over. It's only about a half hour flight, but my experience is that the weather can be much worse at this airport when it's still pretty benign at the home base.

Anyway, flew the ILS 32, although I had the airport from the second that they turned me on to the FAF. The landing wasn't too bad, either. I was carrying 3 pax, so the CG was noticably different. Still well within the W&B envelope, mind you.

After scarfing on the #1 special, we headed back. Tower asked me for an immediate left turn over the top of the airport to clear traffic that was inbound on the ILS on the other runway. Happy to oblige.

I switch to departure to get flight following. The visibility has reduced somewhat, but it's still VFR legal. That is, right until I flew smack dab into the cloud.

I swear, I didn't even see it coming. One minute everthing was fine, the next minute -- POOF -- where'd the horizon go? I quickly turned out of the cloud, then called departure and got a pop-up clearance to the neighboring airport that has an approach. (Our home base is VFR only.)

Pretty uneventful after that. Flew on the gauges for a couple of minutes, then emerged into VFR weather for the rest of the flight. A nice near-greaser of a landing, then tuck the plane away for the day.

All in all, it was a good experience. Just because you've only been on the ground for a little bit, you might want to go ahead and get that weather briefing -- even if it's only an abbreviated briefing. Also, it was much easier to get a pop-up IFR clearance when I was already on VFR traffic advisories. I think it's fair to say that I now have a new-found respect for the lurking danger of inadvertent VFR into IMC. Which is a great reason to keep one's instrument ticket current.

1 comment:

Sandy said...

I'm curious what you ordered for breakfast on the run. I'm a marketing consultant convincing the B&B client to add "breakfast on the run" for busy executives or eager-to-get-going tourists.