Sunday, March 27, 2011

A Belated Happy Birthday

In the previous post, I ought to have noted that the flight I was describing occurred on an auspicious anniversary. Exactly 34 years earlier, on 18 March 1977, Cessna production test pilot Jim Ballard took off from Wichita's Mid-Continent Airport for a 1.3 hour flight in a brand new 182. It was N631S's maiden flight.

For an airplane of a certain age, I think 31 Sierra is holding up rather well!

The weather forecast for tomorrow morning looks good for a flight from KVKX up to KBDR in Connecticut, departing about 12Z. The Terminal Area Forecasts look like this:

KDCA 271723Z 2718/2818 35008KT P6SM FEW050 BKN080 
     FM272100 32007KT P6SM SCT060 
     FM280000 VRB04KT P6SM SCT060 SCT250 
     FM280600 35008KT P6SM SCT150 BKN250 
     FM281600 32008G15KT P6SM SCT150
KBDR 271722Z 2718/2818 30012G18KT P6SM FEW250 
     FM272300 31009KT P6SM FEW250 
     FM281200 32012G18KT P6SM FEW250 
     FM281700 32014G22KT P6SM FEW250
The high clouds will make low temperatures aloft irrelevant and the gusty breezes at KBDR won't be too far off the centerline of Runway 29. FltPlan.com is telling me to expect 1 hour + 54 minutes en route.

...and from the "nobody-asked-me-but..." department: You have to wonder what it is that the non-flying public thinks control towers are for! After last week's admittedly unfortunate "sleepy controller" incident at KDCA, many of the press reports seemed amazed that two commercial flights were able somehow to land without "help" from the tower. And today's Detroit News published an article under this breathless headline: Some Michigan airports leave towers unmanned overnight. Amazing!


Toriafly said...

Don't get me started on the media freaking out about uncontrolled towers! Gee whiz!

Chris said...

Frank - long time/first time. I think as long as the public sees flying as equal parts magic, pixie dust and sheer luck, events like the DCA tower thing are going to be handled poorly. I'm only a few years removed from my checkride, so maybe I am better able to remember learning about uncontrolled fields and thinking it was voodoo. I certainly wish the reporting wasn't so breathless, and follow up pieces did a better job of educating, but I'm just not that surprised this stuff gets a rise out of folks.

Frank Van Haste said...


Thanks for reading/commenting!

I guess what I wrote in the post was a little snarky, but the kerfuffle does show (again!) how poorly the public (and the media that serve it) grasp the realities of aviation. We all have a role as "de-mystifiers" to play whenever we get the chance.

Best regards,