The plan for tomorrow, as usual on a Friday, is to depart Bridgeport (KBDR) late in the afternoon for the flight down to the DC area (KVKX). I expect that my clearance will take N631S and I west to the Sparta VOR (SAX) then south to Solberg (SBJ), west again to the Allentown, PA area, south across Reading, Lancaster and Baltimore, MD, then on into my destination. The first question is, "What's the big picture look like?"
The latest Terminal Area Forecast (TAF) for KBDR (at 00Z Friday, 8 PM EDT, from the AviationWeather.gov site's TAF page) indicates that the rain will stop about 1 PM tomorrow afternoon and the ceiling will be broken at 2,000 feet not so bad! Here's the TAF:
KBDR 132342Z 1400/1424 06007KT 2SM BR OVC007 TEMPO 1400/1402 1SM -DZ BR OVC006 FM140400 10007KT 3SM -RA BR OVC003 TEMPO 1409/1412 1SM BR FM141400 14010KT 5SM -RA BR BKN008 OVC012 FM141700 15012KT P6SM BKN020 FM142200 20011KT P6SM SCT030 BKN100Model Analysis & Guidance site), also valid for 00Z, shows the RH for the 850 millibar level of the atmosphere (or, about 5,000 feet). Most of my expected route is covered by the lighter green, indicating RH of 70% to 90%. In that range, I can probably expect nice, juicy clouds. (An RH above 90% says that rain is very likely.) I'll be starting out at 8,000 feet and then probably descending to 6,000 somewhere in Pennsylvania, so it's a good bet that I'll get to log a significant bit of actual instrument time.
The really important question is whether icing is a hazard. Given the expected RH data, it's pretty clear that if the Outside Air Temperature (OAT) aloft is below freezing then airframe icing is a real possibility. Let's look at the forecast.
FlightPlan.com, the average headwind component for the flight will be 18 knots and the expected time en route is 2 hours + 24 minutes a rather tedious trip!
As for arrival conditions, the TAF for nearby Washington National Airport (KDCA) is suggesting that from 20Z (6 PM) there will be showers in the vicinity with generally good visibility and scattered clouds at 1,500 feet under a broken ceiling at 5,000.
KDCA 132335Z 1400/1424 12008KT P6SM VCSH BKN030CB FM140600 18005KT 5SM BR BKN008 OVC015 FM141300 22007KT P6SM VCSH BKN015CB FM141800 26010G18KT P6SM SCT015 BKN050 FM142000 27012G24KT P6SM VCSH SCT015 BKN050If one of those "showers in the vicinity" (VCSH) chooses to park right over the airfield, then the RNAV Rwy 6 approach may be necessary but there's nothing to suggest any real difficulty getting in. The forecast wind (for KDCA, 12 knots out of the west, gusting to 24 knots) looks a bit energetic, but the field at KVKX is nestled in a valley and the winds there are rarely as strong as forecast at nearby airports.
So, to summarize:
- A departure into fairly low, possibly showery conditions;
- Some near-freezing OATs possible in northwestern New Jersey at 8,000 feet;
- Steady, fairly strong headwinds throughout;
- Reasonably good arrival conditions, with a possible shower and perhaps gusty winds.