Click to return to the Home Page

Inventory Steve's Blog About Steve Air B&B West Virginia E-Mail Steve Home

Previous Files
Planning Routine Flight
Rain on the Roof
Most Recent

Planning a Routine Flight

Tuesday March 29, 2005

Last Wednesday I flew the Mooney from Charleston up to West Virginia. I had some chores at home to accomplish before flying on up to the Northeast to visit my Connecticut daughter for Easter.

The trip up from Charleston was through brilliant blue skies and smooth air. As usual Dude snoozed in the back seat, only stirring to swap ends, glancing out the window as he did, as if to confirm that we were on course.

As we arrived over the mountains of southern West Virginia, a cloud layer slid under us to hide the rugged landscape. Nearing Buckhannon I tuned in the ASOS for Upshur Regional Airport and found the airport advertising a 400-foot overcast and a mile and a half visibility. A quick check of Clarksburg showed better weather there, so we continued the twenty or so miles north and took the visual approach there. On the descent through the cloud layer, clear ice swept back over the windshield, making me glad the layer was a thin one. Underneath the clouds, night had fallen and the transition from day to night was startlingly quick.

On Thursday there was heavy rain throughout the day as I worked in my home office. Clouds crowded the mountaintops with temperatures hanging in the mid 40's and I wondered about the flight north tomorrow.

Friday dawned with no change in the weather and I called Flight Service for an early briefing. Bad news. Freezing levels were forecast to be lower than the minimum enroute altitude across the mountains, so another plan was in order. A check of airports along my planned route revealed that a VFR flight to stay out of the icing might be possible, but I wasn't convinced it was the smart thing to do. I was undecided. Should I go to the airport to be ready to go if the weather changed for the better? Once I loaded the truck to start, but changed my mind after a few minutes of watching the scudding, broken layers of clouds overhead, obviously much lower than I would be while crossing the mountains. The air felt like there was ice in it, and even SMELLED like there was ice in it, if you know what I mean.

I unloaded the truck. Perhaps I would drive the miserable ten hours to Connecticut. Another hour of dithering and I called Flight Service again. Ha! Now there were pilot reports, and the icing level predictions had been revised upwards, enough for me to stay out of the freezer at the MEA. I filled IFR for six thousand feet, even though it was the wrong altitude for the direction, with a note in remarks that I wanted six thousand to stay below the freezing level. The truck was repacked and I headed for the airport.

I've noticed that many times the flights that cause me to worry the most in advance, are the flights that end up being the most routine. Almost all of the minutes that I've spent absolutely terrified in an airplane came unpredicted and unplanned for, while most of the flights that I've dreaded have been good ones after all. The Friday flight was one of these, routine in the extreme, but planning it was exhausting, and arriving in Danbury I felt as If I had flown much farther than I really had.

Steve Weaver Aircraft Sales - Route 3 Box 696 - Phillipi, West Virginia - Phone 304-457-4523 - Fax 304-457-4799 A picturesque bed and breakfast located on the Tygart River in the scenic hills of West Virginia.

Copyright © 1997 - 2007 Steve Weaver Aircraft Sales. Specifications are based upon owner's representations, and subject to buyer's verification. Aircraft are subject to prior sale or removal from market.