When I headed over to the airport at about 20Z, I knew that there was an active Sigmet covering most of eastern Pennsylvania and a good chunk of western New Jersey. I wasn't thrilled with the notion of flying the "usual route", that takes me west from KBDR to Sparta (SAX) then south to Solberg (SBJ) then west again into Allentown Approach's airspace. Lots of convective activity was forecast for that region.
On arrival at KBDR I paused in the flight planning room for another look at the radar depiction. Pennsylvania continued to look bad. Over New Jersey there were two strands of weather (I hesitate to call them "lines" - they weren't that organized), one just over the south-bound airway, one fairly far inland. It looked like I could "thread the needle" if I could get the New Jersey routing.
I went out into the slight drizzle and pre-flighted N631S, then raised Bridgeport Clearance Delivery on the handheld radio. The conversation went something like this:
Me: Bridgeport Clearance, Skylane 631 Sierra requesting a change to proposed IFR routing to VKX.
KBDR: Skylane 31 Sierra, say request.
Me: 31 Sierra is unable the routing via SAX due to extensive convective weather over eastern Pennsylvania airways. Request routing that starts with vectors Deer Park then Victor 1 then whatever they want at the south end.
KBDR: 31 Sierra, they're really busy down there right now. If you can give me the full route clearance you want I'll see if I can get it for you.
Me (ready for this): Skylane 31 Sierra requests vectors Deer Park, Victor 1, ENO, Victor 379, OTT direct.
KVKX: 31 Siera, that's Deer Park, Victor 1, ENO, Victor 379, OTT direct?
Me: Bridgeport Clearance, read back correct. (I always wanted to say that!)
The controller was advising other aircraft to expect a significant delay prior to release, so I anticipated a bit of a wait, but in less than five minutes I was given exactly the clearance I'd requested! My comment to the KBDR controller: "Wow! They swallowed the whole thing!"
Bridgeport advised that New York Approach was still "looking at" my clearance and I'd better expect some changes en route. Fine...just get me out of Dodge and over New Jersey. And sure enough, while taxiing, I got a change (which I paused to copy): "after DPK, Victor 16 to DIXIE, Victor 1 to ATR, Victor 308, BILIT, DCA, direct." Not likely to work in the long run but OK for now.
With the modified clearance copied I reported in at taxiway Kilo, ready for takeoff, and was promptly cleared and rolling. N631S and I climbed into the schmoo at about 500 feet and New York approach soon had us radar identified and turned to a 180 heading, vectors for Deer Park. Leveling off at 4,000, I could see that we were just under the tops.
This proved to be the last bit of weather to influence the flight. The rest of the trip across New Jersey and the Delmarva peninsula was routine.
Looking back at it, the flight was a good example of an important principal in dealing with Air Traffic Control: "Ask for what you need." As busy as they were, New York Approach accommodated my need for a routing with less convective weather; and the controllers at McGuire and Atlantic City were quick to approve deviations that kept N631S and I away from trouble.
Courtesy of FlightAware.com, the entire route is depicted below.