Thursday, October 14, 2010

Marginal Weather

The weather remains less than encouraging. At this writing (0030Z) it is raining zealously here in Connecticut and the forecasts are marginal at best. To begin with there are these Terminal Area Forecasts (TAF's) for Bridgeport and Washington National:
KBDR 142352Z 1500/1524 04010KT 2SM +RA BR BKN015 OVC025 
     FM150400 34010KT 5SM -RA BKN015 OVC040 
     FM150800 32013G20KT P6SM SCT015 BKN040 
     FM151500 30018G28KT P6SM BKN040 
     FM151800 29020G33KT P6SM BKN040
KDCA 142329Z 1500/1524 33009KT P6SM FEW080 SCT250 
     FM150600 27010G18KT P6SM SCT060 
     FM151300 28010G20KT P6SM SCT060 
     FM151600 30015G25KT P6SM BKN060 
     FM152200 29010KT P6SM SCT250
For a 21Z departure, the southern end of the trip would be fine but the departure presents issues. The surface winds will be sporty, 20 knots gusting to 33 from the northwest, but that's not the problem. The problem is the 4,000 foot ceiling considered in light of the anticipated freezing level. Here's the latest on that:

At left, the forecast temperatures at the 800mb level at 00Z tomorrow (about 6,000 feet MSL). As noted in the previous post, the 8,000 foot routing over eastern Pennsylvania just isn't going to work. In fact, unless actual conditions are better than the current forecast, 6,000 feet over JFK is also not likely to work. What I really need is 4,000 feet over JFK and I rather doubt that New York Approach will be happy to give me that.

So here's Plan A: File for 6,000 over JFK thence Victor 16 down through New Jersey, and if the 18Z weather says that is unwise, refile for 4,000 and see how ATC feels about that. Plan B would be to depart VFR and fly to New Jersey via the Hudson River Skyline Route at about 2,500 feet, proceeding to Toms River (KMJX); land there and file IFR at 4,000 feet from there to KVKX.

And, I guess, Plan C is AmTrak.


Dave Starr said...

This is getting close to real time blogging. I didn't think to 'tune in' via flight aware until just minutes before you landed .. looks like the freezing level turned out to be higher than 6,000 feet after all.

I'm out of touch with aviation electronics and even general consumer electronics in the US after all these years ... do you routinely have Internet access in flight, or is that coming, in an affordable manner, any time soon?

Frank Van Haste said...

Hi, Dave!

It was an interesting flight. The freezing level at the northern end was just below 6,000 feet. It worked out. I'll post about it in a couple of days.

Do not have net access in flight, nor do I think that will be routinely available any time soon. XM weather, provided via satellite, meets all of my needs.

Thanks for dropping in,