First flight in real conditions

Discussion in 'Cleared for the Approach' started by DesertNomad, Feb 10, 2018.

  1. DesertNomad

    DesertNomad Cleared for Takeoff

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    I have a Piper Dakota, ADS-B but no Stormscope or XM, S-TEC 30 with GPSS and Alt. Hold.

    Looking to fly KMDQ (Huntsville, AL) to KSGJ (St. Augustine, FL) on Monday. I've had my IR for a year but no actual other than about 30 seconds one flight. Forecast is for rain and/or showers over most of the area all week. I want to keep ceilings to 800 feet. My biggest concern is embedded T-Storms and possibly ice.

    I'm headed to Miami by next Saturday so could delay if needed. But driving is not an option since the reason for flying to Miami is to join a group and we're all flying to Guatemala.

    Thoughts, suggestions, advice?

    This is not my part of the country as I live in Northern Nevada.
     
  2. PaulS

    PaulS Final Approach

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    No advice, but sounds like a fun trip, enjoy.
     
  3. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Prog charts showing rain & heavy rain, TS thru Mon & Tue in Alabama and Georgia. Probably be low ceilings as well. Forecast but it's crappy here today in the BHM area.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2018
  4. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Seems like a capabible plane, I'd keep a eye on the temps and if you go make sure you keep your OAT in your scan, also remember it will indicate a little higher than the temp actually is.

    As far as XM or storm scope, not really that big of a deal, without onboard radar (like real radar) you don't want to be IMC around convective activity anyways.

    IMO, if you don't have onboard radar stay VMC where you can see and avoid those buildups.

    I'd also keep good track of the possible diversion airports along your route of flight.

    Based on the prog chart, and 4hrs straight or so of flight time, I'd plan on doing shorter hops, and if it were me with the chance of T storms, I'd probably prefer to stay low and avoid IMC

    I'd rather scud run and maybe land a some little airport, in a field, or some farmers road and wait out weather vs ending up IMC getting beat to heck with convective activity all around me, especially with only a small amount of IMC experience.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2018
  5. frfly172

    frfly172 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Get flight following,keep track of what the weather is actually doing,rather than what was forecast. have several alternates available,do t be afraid to ask flight service or ATC what the weather is at your destination,while in flight. If you have chance of thunder storms along your route ,reconsider flying,and wait out the weather. Have a safe flight.
     
  6. DesertNomad

    DesertNomad Cleared for Takeoff

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    Staying under it does not seem doable with low ceilings. Tops about 3500' right now. I could plan a stop in Macon, GA at KMCN. It it 3 hours KMDQ to KSGJ. Sunday seems to be at last 15 degrees warmer than Monday for the morning low.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2018
  7. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    @DesertNomad DON'T take this advice! Better to check Monday and if it's still bad delay a day or two.

    Scud running is ridiculous and reckless advice.
     
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  8. DesertNomad

    DesertNomad Cleared for Takeoff

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    Agreed. I plan to file IFR and climb above it. With tops at 3500', 7 or 9 K should be ok. Monday is looking better I think.
     
  9. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Just check the forecast. Are you flying from NV to HSV? Or departing from HSV to FL?
     
  10. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Gotta read the whole thing instead of getting zeroing in on one line and getting yourself triggered.

    Obviously not flying is the safest move, but staying below in VMC when around convective beats the heck out of going IMC, or trying to stay on top with a prayer, getting tossed around IMC with imbedded activity is waaay more dangerous and reckelsss than staying visual down low.

    Simply put, if he ends up in a corner with IMC and CBs,with no where good to land in his immediate vicinity, two options, one going lower and staying visual, or two going IMC, I'd rather buzz along at 500-1k AGL, presuming I had situational awareness and proper charts, vs bouncing all over the place and hopefully around and not through CBs, all with only 30 seconds of IMC under my belt.
     
  11. DesertNomad

    DesertNomad Cleared for Takeoff

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    I am already in HSV having flown here from Nevada this past week.
     
  12. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Gotcha. Should've left yesterday lol.
     
  13. Bill Watson

    Bill Watson Pattern Altitude

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    Capable plane, check. NEXRAD will give you what you need. Are you proficient with your GPSS AP? It will come in very handy but fumbling with it is worse than not having it in actual.

    I would file for the entire route but would plan several layover options. I wouldn’t scud run because of unfamiliarity with the area and given my experiences in that part of the country. Sometimes rain and mist can make a 1000’ ceiling feel like 0. Not Nevada.

    I fly these conditions in the SE a lot in a similarly equipped AC. As James said, staying visual around convective clouds is the key. One can do that more often and easily than one may think. You can often snake your way around the buildups asking ATC for the necessary deviations, SOP in the SE US.

    Key issues to consider IMHO:
    Are you current and proficient? Current is by reg, proficient is about hours in past days, weeks and month, not necessarily under the hood.
    Can you be flexible? As in canceling an hour before planned departure or turning back once underway. Or waiting an extra day.

    I’m looking at a flight in the Carolinas on Tuesday or Wednesday. This is a slow moving system whose (non-Aviation) forecast movement and precipitation has already changed substantially. The aviation ceiling and viz forecast for your area on Monday looks like everything gets better from Monday AM on.

    If you decide to go be sure you have some alternatives you are willing and able to take. And even if you plan to only go with 800’ ceilings you need to be able to do an approach to minimums.

    If you decide not to go you should track the forecasts then the actual weather for your planned flight just to see how things would have worked out.

    Welcome to the SE US!


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
  14. DesertNomad

    DesertNomad Cleared for Takeoff

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    I have 300 hours in this plane, 20 of it in the last two weeks, plus 6 hood approaches in the last two weeks. Very proficient with AP as I use it every flight and have always filed IFR since I got my rating except for practice hood flights.
     
    Bill Watson likes this.
  15. wayne

    wayne Line Up and Wait

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    Keep watching, but I shouldn’t be too bad. Worst looks like southern Georgia in the current forecast. Temps are not low, so you should have plenty of altitude selection. Should be a good first long time in IMC.

    I say “should” as I’m here online instead of up flying in Atlanta for some instrument practice as visibility is reported as only 1/4 mi at my home field. :( It was forecasted at 400’ going to 900’, but is only 200’ and visibility is below minimums for the ILS. So, things change.
     
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  16. Hank S

    Hank S En-Route

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    Welcome to the South!

    Once you get to Florida, please let us all know what's easier to deal with: embedded CBs or wind through the Rockies? Just be aware that you're down here during the "easy" weather months, many more (and larger!) Systems and storms in the summer . . . . .
     
  17. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    If you start getting bumped around CBs, I wouldn't wager on that AP being able to stay on, going to need to hand fly it.
     
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  18. EricVKX

    EricVKX Pre-Flight

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    I was out this morning between VKX and RIC, definitely was a good day for some actual IMC and light rain. Ceilings down at Richmond were 600' and 3sm vis. Looks like the same large system. Looks like its a doable flight for you, maybe go poke around some today/tomorrow before you go on the trip.
     
  19. Bill Watson

    Bill Watson Pattern Altitude

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    Yes it did look like a perfect IFR day up that way. I had been planning a flight into KRIC today from the KRDU area. I was sorry things changed.




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  20. DesertNomad

    DesertNomad Cleared for Takeoff

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    Tomorrow (Sunday) looks best at the destination (KJAC or KSGJ), but Monday looks better here at KMDQ. KATL looks worse than any of those and about the same Sun/Mon. Pretty hard decision since I am used to "Clear Sky = OK, Clouds = No Fly" in Northern Nevada. There is always ice or T-Stoms in Nevada clouds.
     
  21. Bill Watson

    Bill Watson Pattern Altitude

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    The most exciting week of flying I’ve ever experienced was a sailplane race out of Minden back in the 90s. Completely different weather than anything in the east.


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  22. DesertNomad

    DesertNomad Cleared for Takeoff

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    Got out to KMDQ about 12:30 or so and got the car returned. I had called earlier to have them plug in the plane to take the chill off the engine. Loading up it was very cold... near freezing and 10-15kts of wind. I did pre-flight the pitot heat to make sure it got warm, and it was on for the takeoff and climb through the clouds.

    They have a funky "click four times and wait for a phone dial" system to get to Clearance Delivery. Right before we started preflight, a Meridian took off and called the bases about 1000 and tops about 2800 with no ice so we decided to go.

    I did a very careful runup and made triple sure everything was set including the AHRS horizon on both iPads delivered by the FS210. My wife is a student pilot so I don't really think of her as a passenger per se. I told her to keep a close eye on the AI and Altimeter. Just as the previous departure had, we broke out at 2800 into another layer and ATC put us at my requested 7000'. This was *right* at the top of the layer but I couldn't get 9K so we were in and out throughout the flight.

    About 30 miles out they dropped me to 4K thick in the soup and stayed there till the ILS for 06. They gave us an easy intercept far enough out to be very comfortable. I had my wife looking for a solid view of the runway (not fading in and out). I think we firmly broke out at 900 to 1000 and it was an easy landing from there with light wind.

    Definitely much warmer here than in Huntsville.

    Thank you all for the words of caution and encouragement. I logged 1.0 of actual today.
     
    Dave Theisen, arkvet, simtech and 4 others like this.
  23. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Congrats on a well planned flight. Glad it was successful for you. Great you got some IMC time also.
     
  24. Ronnie Godfrey

    Ronnie Godfrey Pre-Flight

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    That's awesome! Congratulations on a successful flight.
     
  25. azure

    azure Final Approach

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    Congratulations on the successful flight! :thumbsup:

    That "click 4 times and wait for a dial tone" sounds like an old-style GCO. I had no idea there were any of those still in operation. I used one during IFR training sometime around 2009, somewhere in mid-Michigan. I think it was even on my long IFR XC. Have not seen one since.
     
  26. Bill Watson

    Bill Watson Pattern Altitude

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    That sounds satisfying! Perfect conditions for getting your certificate wet. Congrats!

    I’m never able to get those GCO thingies to work. I always end up on a cell phone.


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  27. DesertNomad

    DesertNomad Cleared for Takeoff

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    I'd never seen a GCO. An older guy at the FBO had to explain it.
     
  28. SbestCFII

    SbestCFII Line Up and Wait

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    Check your convective sigmets, the forcast tops on the area forecast chart and try to stay on top. ADS-B will give you the big picture and ATC is a huge resource, especially approach control facilities (they have better radar than Center). In either case, stay at least 20 miles away from anything RED. With regards to ice, use your winds aloft forecast for your route, check the forecast temps and stay below the freezing level and confirm forecast temps with your OAT (unless your clear on top and it's not an issue). You certainly have a capable plane for the flight.
     
  29. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    He already completed the flight.
     
  30. azure

    azure Final Approach

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    I will never forget sitting as a pax in a friend's airplane while she tried to connect to the GCO at KPHN to get a clearance from Selfridge Approach. This was before I was even a student pilot. That thing was just impossible! It would start to connect and then drop us completely. I think she tried for about 20 minutes, and then gave up and departed VFR (conditions were MVFR, so not the safest decision, but we weren't going to get anywhere with that GCO). Since that was the only way to talk to ATC on the ground, and I believe some form of ground-based radio communication with ATC or FSS is a prerequisite for an airport having controlled airspace to the surface, I have no idea how KPHN stayed as a Class E. I haven't been there for so many years that I don't know what the arrangement is now... if there even is one. But I'm pretty sure the GCO there is long defunct.

    Anyway with that memory clawing at me, I didn't have very good feelings going in about the GCO we encountered on my long IFR XC (pretty sure it was that flight). To my surprise though it actually worked fairly smoothly. But I'll still take a true RCO any day over a GCO.
     
  31. DesertNomad

    DesertNomad Cleared for Takeoff

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    They said my other option was to go up to 500' and call Huntsville Approach. It was MVFR and bordering on IFR - no thanks.
     
  32. Chip Sylverne

    Chip Sylverne En-Route

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    Fear is the poison of our lives.
    No cell service? Get a void time from National clearance 888-766-8267. Been a while since I've had to use it, but better than launching mvfr.
     
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  33. DesertNomad

    DesertNomad Cleared for Takeoff

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    I had no cell service but my wife did. We keep two different carriers for this very reason.
     
  34. Indiana_Pilot

    Indiana_Pilot Line Up and Wait

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    I want to fly to Guatemala!!
     
  35. DesertNomad

    DesertNomad Cleared for Takeoff

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    My wife took this picture as we were turning final to runway 02 at Guatemala City (MGGT). It has a fairly steep downhill section.

    [​IMG]
     
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  36. Sundancer

    Sundancer Pattern Altitude

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    Good to have a right-seater; even a student pilot not under the stress of doing the actual flying, can help keep an eye out. Single pilot hard IFR without an AP is hard work, and the dang things will often let you down when it's mega bumpy.

    I have NEXRAD, but I will/will go low when IFR, to stay out of convective. If lower ain't possible, I call it a day.