Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Warming of the Sky

'Tis the season. We who fly in the Northeast look forward each year to the time, in the progression of the seasons, when the normal IFR altitudes - from 5,000 feet MSL to 9,000 feet MSL - are, on a more than occasional basis, above freezing.

The clip at left is the NAM forecast for 00Z20110319 (a.k.a. 8 PM Friday the 18th). The cold front is draped across southern Connecticut and, I expect, showers and clouds can be expected. A month ago, contemplating a Friday afternoon departure from KBDR, I'd have already been making AMTRAK reservations.
But here, at left, is the evidence of the changing season. Dare we hope, the advent of Spring? It shows the locations of the isotherms at about 9,000 feet MSL at 00Z - the same time as the clip above.

As I'll be departing a few hours before the depicted time, I conclude that I'll be able to get up to 8,000 feet (in the shmoo or not, I don't care), where ATC wants me for the routing west from KBDR to Sparta thence Allentown thence Lancaster and ultimately home. I anticipate a nice IFR departure from Connecticut and then progressively improving conditions as I make my way to the south toward the DC area. And, if I can get wheels up early enough, perhaps a landing at KVKX before the fall night.

The coming of Spring is an aviator's delight!

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