Saturday, March 17, 2012

Now for Some Real IFR! (cont'd)

This will be an update on the flight that was anticipated in yesterday's post. Yes, I did manage to get N631S wet...and no, not so very wet after all.

This was the METAR on offer for our departure from KBDR:

 
KBDR 161952Z 09005KT 10SM OVC005 07/04 A3013 ...
Wind out of the east at five knots, good visibility and a low overcast. We took off from Runway 6 and entered the base of the cloud layer at 500 feet, as advertised, then emerged from the tops at 2,400 feet into bright sunshine. And that was the last cloud we saw for quite some time.

Looking ahead an hour and a half later, from somewhere near Lancaster, the on-board NEXRAD display showed showers in the vicinity of our destination, KVKX. I watched them for a while and they just weren't moving. Low level winds were very light and there was nothing to motivate those showers to 'move along.' But there didn't appear to be any reason for concern. The METARs from Washington National (KDCA) and Andrews AFB (KADW) showed light winds and good visibility. I thought I might even get away with a visual approach at KVKX:
 
KDCA 162252Z 00000KT 5SM BR BKN100 BKN200 14/12 A3015 RMK AO2 RAE10 SLP209 P0000 T01440122

KADW 161955Z AUTO 08003KT 9SM -RA OVC028 14/11 A3015 RMK AO2 RAB1918DZE1918 CLDS LWR SLP212 P0000 T01410113 $
The patch of showers never did depart the area and the view out the right-side window as I flew south from Baltimore to the Nottingham VOR (OTT) did not give me a warm feeling about the visual approach. So I asked Potomac Approach for vectors for the RNAV Rwy 6 instrument approach which they cheerfully provided. N631S and I flew through some light rain on final but when we landed the runway was dry.

Would I have been able to complete a visual approach without any problem? In all likelihood, yes. Was asking for the RNAV approach the conservative thing to do? You bet!



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