As it got close to the time I'd planned for departure, the weather near Bridgeport was good. But things were happening in central Pennsylvania that needed watching. The Terminal Area Forecasts (TAF's) in effect for Allentown (KABE) and Lancaster (KLNS) contained some strong hints:
TAF KABE 171734Z 1718/1818 24005KT P6SM SCT050 BKN250 FM171900 22011KT P6SM SCT050 BKN250 TEMPO 1721/1724 5SM TSRA BKN035CB FM180000 29005KT P6SM SCT050 BKN100 TEMPO 1800/1803 5SM -SHRA OVC050 FM180400 33004KT P6SM SCT025 BKN050 FM180800 34005KT 5SM BR SCT020 OVC025 FM181400 01005KT P6SM BKN050 FM181600 02008KT P6SM BKN100= TAF KLNS 171726Z 1718/1818 26008KT P6SM SCT200 FM172000 23007KT P6SM VCTS BKN040CB FM180400 32005KT P6SM SCT040=From 21Z to 24Z, Allentown was forecasting periods of thundershower activity, while from 20Z through 04Z Lancaster was expecting thundershowers in the vicinity. The radar picture showed a fairly extensive area of precipitation and unsettled weather in central Pennsylvania, moving eastward fairly slowly.
N631S: Approach, Skylane 631 Sierra.
Approach: 31 Sierra, go ahead.
N631S: Could you please tell me what level of precip you're painting up ahead at FLOAT?
Approach: It looks like moderate precip at FLOAT...in fact, extensive moderate precip there and to the west.
N631S: 31 Sierra would like to request an early turn toward Lancaster to give that area of weather a wider berth.
Approach: 31 Sierra, I have your request. I'll need to work something out with Harrisburg.
N631S: That'd be great. Thanks.
N631S: Harrisburg, Skylane N631 Sierra, level 8,000 with a request.
Approach: Skylane 631 Sierra, Harrisburg Approach. Harrisburg altimeter 29.78; go ahead with your request.
N631S: What are the chances of an early turn toward Baltimore for 31 Sierra, to stay clear of the weather along Victor 39 between Lancaster and Reading?
Approach: 31 Sierra, if I can get you down to 6,000 I can give you an early turn toward Baltimore. Can you accept 6,000?
N631S: 6,000 would be no problem for 31 Sierra.
Approach: Skylane 31 Sierra, descend and maintain 6,000. You can expect direct Baltimore in about one-zero miles.
N631S: Skylane 631 Sierra is out of 8 for 6, and thanks!
And that's the story. Except...after passing Baltimore under the watchful care of Potomac Approach, N631S and I headed south to Nottingham (OTT) as we do nearly every Friday. I expected a vector after OTT to about a 240 heading and after a while a turn toward "home plate" at KVKX. But I got a pleasant surprise in the form of a clearance direct to the field from a point just north of OTT!
I must admit that I didn't recognize my benefactor's voice people do sound differently on different frequencies until I had KVKX in sight and cancelled IFR. That's when I heard, "Have a good evening, Frank..." and figured out that my final controller was my friend Sarah. So, if you read this, Sarah...thanks for the early turn toward home.