Thursday, March 5, 2009

Flight Planning for Friday (IV)

As the flight gets closer, available weather guidance gets more specific. We can now begin to look at applicable TAF's. The Terminal Area Forecasts for major hub airports look 30 hours into the future. Here (obtained from the National Weather Service's Aviation Weather site) are the TAF's from this afternoon for Kennedy, Baltimore-Washington Int'l, and Dulles:

KJFK 052021Z 0520/0624 18010KT P6SM BKN250
FM060900 20012KT P6SM OVC120
FM061500 21015KT P6SM SCT020 OVC050

KBWI 051720Z 0518/0624 15006KT P6SM FEW250
FM060100 15004KT P6SM BKN150
FM061400 22010G18KT P6SM SCT030 BKN050

KIAD 051720Z 0518/0624 19005KT P6SM FEW250
FM060300 17005KT P6SM BKN150
FM061400 20010G18KT P6SM SCT030 BKN050

For departure, the KJFK TAF tells me to expect winds from 210 at 15 knots, good visibility, no significant weather, and scattered clouds at 2,000 feet with an overcast above at 5,000. That forecast is valid from 9 AM until the end of the TAF period, 7 PM or 00Z.

The TAF's for KBWI and KIAD indicate that for arrival the wind should be from about 210 degrees at 10 knots with gusts to 18. Again, good visibility and no significant weather. The clouds are forecast to be scattered at 3,000 feet with the same 5,000 foot overcast.

Rechecking the freezing level chart tells me that the freezing level is still forecast to be at least 8,000 feet above ground so even if I need to fly through clouds above the overcast I should have no concerns about ice. And when I arrive in the DC area conditions should be good for a visual approach and landing.

Tomorrow, I'll make a final assessment of the weather and file my IFR flight plan.

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