Sunday, July 11, 2010

Just a Little Weather

After leaving KBDR Friday evening, N631S and I were westbound, about 40 minutes out, skimming the tops at 8,000 feet.

We were approaching Sparta (SAX) and the turn to the south toward Solberg (SBJ). But I just didn't like the look of the anvil-topped cloud off to the left (photo left, above). I did not want to go there.

So, I asked New York Approach if I could continue on present heading (about 270) for 4 or 5 miles and then turn south. I got: "Approved as requested; advise when you can accept direct Solberg." Nice.

After clearing the buildup to the west, I contacted approach and asked, "Can N631S have present position, direct Broadway, direct LANNA?" I saw no reason to back-track to the east toward SBJ and more weather. Broadway (BWZ) was on-course and clear according to the XM Weather display on the Garmin GPS 396. There was some action down around LANNA but I figured I would deal with that once I switched to Allentown Approach. Well, New York Approach was way ahead of me.

I got: "Skylane 31 Sierra, you don't wanna go to LANNA. There's a big cell right there. Cleared direct Broadway for now; depart Broadway on a 240 heading. Expect direct East Texas in a few miles.

Before reaching the Broadway (BWZ) VOR, I got "31 Sierra, cleared direct East Texas", and a couple of minutes later, "31 Sierra, contact Allentown Approach on 124.45."

This track, as seen in the screen shot above, put the active cell near LANNA well to the south.
After contacting Allentown Approach, I was cleared "direct FLOAT" and enjoyed a smooth ride in and out of the cloud bases at 8,000 feet for the next 25 minutes.

After reaching FLOAT and turning southwest toward Lancaster, N631S and I were essentially out of the weather. The rest of the flight down to KVKX was a nice ride in VMC weather.
Notice the frontal weather approaching from the west! On arrival at KVKX it was still about 70 nm away and approaching slowly. It would give the DC area a good soaking during the succeeding 24 hours. But, not a factor on this flight. I'd been watching that front and its speed of advance for a day or so and was comfortable with it.

Here, at left, the full track of the flight courtesy of the nice folks at FlightAware.com.

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