Monday, 10 March 2014

Easy decision.

As I mentioned Bob is away this weekend and had arranged for someone else to sign me out. He’d wrote his usual epic essay in my PTR outlining what I was authorised to do and arranged for one of the other instructors to brief me beforehand.

Bob had all the bases covered, except the damn weather of course. Now this is a problem, the weather has been so variable lately sometimes with the METAR/TAF not exactly telling the entire story either. Take last lesson for example, the winds were decidedly on the marginal side, not just strength but direction as well. Last lesson I elected not to go solo, but if faced with the same choice again I’d probably give it a go. Bob was quite complementary about my crosswind landing.

From Bob’s point of view though, the unknown weather is slightly problematic. He’s not around to look out the window and oversee my decision. He has to trust my judgement and another instructors.
The day before I got a text confirming the time and a gentle reminder of all the sources of information available to me in order to make a decision.

Turns out I didn’t really need any of them. I set the alarm, woke up and looked out of the window. Mist was cutting visibility down to the next building on the block. Hmm, not a great start. Without bothering to get out of bed, I reach for my phone. METAR looks crap, ditto for the TAF.

RTH makes an enquiring grunt from somewhere in the midst of the duvet. “Buttonville is reporting ceilings at 1200ft” I say.

“What’s the prediction for when you take off?” asks RTH

“800” I reply gloomily.

So that is an easy decision. No point even phoning flight services. The only decision I have to make now is when to call the flight school. I want to give the other instructor plenty of notice but don’t want to call too early and risk no one being there to pick up.

Eventually I call two hours before my flight. I speak to dispatch, “Hey J, it’s WMAP. I’ve got a flight at 10, I’m cancelling due to weather.”

We have a brief chat to confirm who needs to be informed (not Bob this time!) and he assures me he’ll make the arrangements.

Immediately I feel vindicated, J’s our resident weather expert. He’s also a lot less conservative than me. If he isn’t batting an eyelid that I’m cancelling then I’ve made the right choice. This is also confirmed by the fact that I don’t see a single light aircraft take off that morning.

I like weather decisions that can be made from the comfort of your bed! 

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