Monday, September 27, 2010

Not a Day for Flying

Last night when I toddled off to bed, I expected to be flying this morning. Really. The 00Z TAF for Bridgeport was calling for 4 miles visibility with a 900 foot overcast and wind favoring the ILS runway. But when I awoke this morning things had changed. This was the TAF on offer for KBDR at the time:

TAF KBDR 270522Z 2706/2806 06012G18KT P6SM VCSH OVC012
         FM270700 07012G18KT 5SM -DZ BR VCSH OVC008
         TEMPO 2709/2712 3SM -DZ OVC005 
         FM271200 09012KT 2SM -RA BR OVC005 
         FM271900 10010KT 1SM -RA BR OVC004=

So now we were looking at deteriorating conditions with a trend toward 500 foot ceilings and 1 to 3 mile visibility. A look at the NEXRAD radar seemed to indicate that large patches of heavier precipitation were headed toward Connecticut and could well be arriving about the same time that N631S and I would.

To complicate matters further, the conditions down in the DC area were poor. The METAR at Andrews AFB said:

SPECI KADW 271024Z AUTO 09004KT 9SM DZ OVC003 18/18 A2990
           RMK AO2 DZE0957B1024 SLP124=

And the TAF for Andrews was no more encouraging:

TAF KADW 2709/2809 05009KT 3200 -RA BR OVC003 QNH2983INS
         TEMPO 2712/2718 OVC005
         BECMG 2717/2718 15010G15KT 4800 RA BR OVC008 QNH2979INS
         BECMG 2723/2724 16009KT 4800 -RA BR OVC008 QNH2971INS
         T24/2720Z T15/2710Z LIMITED METWATCH 2709 TIL 2710=

We're looking at 300 foot ceilings and an expectation of falling visibility. Of course, I could take off, but there'd be no getting back into the departure airport, KVKX, if anything went wrong.

The low ceiling and visibility conditions were widespread, as well. There wasn't even a really good alternate.

Personal minima came into play here. I'll take off knowing that I might find 400-and-2 at the other end of the trip if I have a gold-plated alternate. That luxury was not available today. So, I opted to make the trip by train. As the wise man said, better to be on the ground wishing you were flying, than the other way around.

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