Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Not going (part 2)

The next morning I get up shower and gather my things together. A quick detour to the local supermarket to stock up on food for the day and I’m on my way to the flight school.

I arrive at 9:30 am and set up in a corner of the classroom.  I kick the latest coop student off the computer and print out the vast quantities of weather and other assorted data I need.

Snag #2. The weather at CYYB is horrible. I’m looking out the windows here in Toronto at clear skies and reasonable winds. North Bay is under 4 SPECI’s in the last hour, freezing fog and visibility measured in 100’s of feet. The TAF is a little more optimistic and hopefully by the time I’d actually take off the ceilings should be at around 3000ft. I realise that my carefully planned altitude of 6500ft has gone out the window. A tricky choice in itself as my magnetic track is just on the cusp of even +500 rather than odd + 500ft altitude selection. I’m hyper aware that internet research has dug up at least one student who never got as far as the flying portion of the test because they unwittingly picked an altitude for their cross country that was above the ceilings at the time. I'm not sure if I should be planning this flight with the current ceilings  or pretend that the ceilings are sufficient for my originally planned altitude.

I text Bob. He is strangely quiet, the reason for this becomes apparent later. He forgot his cell phone that morning! I can't comment, my house keys are still sitting at work!

A quick cross check of the AGL vs ASL predicted cloud levels against the airport elevation tells me I can do this at 3000ft.


Now that I have the weather and the winds. I can do my proper fuel calculations.

Eek, the second leg is going to take 19.6 gallons even if I trim down my contingency to bare minimums!

I think this over and come to a decision.

I actually wouldn’t do this flight. For weather and fuel reasons.

Once I accept this I start to relax. I plug the remaining numbers in as a theoretical exercise but now I concentrate on building my “no-go” case.

I summarise the fuel burn numbers, I call flight services for a weather rundown and bullet point their summary.

Planning done. I force some food down my throat. Not entirely sure at this point if I’ve just hit the nail on the head with regard to this trip, or missed the point entirely.

2 hours to go.

It’s turning into a long day and I haven't even left the ground yet.

No comments:

Post a Comment