This article is the first in a series called “Go or No Go?” We’ll present actual weather conditions for a planned trip. You study the forecast and tell us if you would fly the trip or stay on the ground–and why. Just write a comment below to post your answer.
The planned trip today is from the Clermont County Airport just outside Cincinnati, Ohio (home of Sporty’s Pilot Shop) to the Frederick Municipal Airport in Frederick, Maryland (home of AOPA). Your airplane for this solo flight is a 1999 Cessna 182. While it does not have a G1000 glass cockpit, it is well-equipped, with a GPS, multi-function display, autopilot and even a portable Garmin 696 with XM Weather. There is no deice equipment other than the heated pitot tube. Departure time is 1730Z.
Now for the weather. A low pressure system recently moved through Ohio:
But the radar for the trip shows that most of the precipitation is already through your destination:
METARs close to your departure report IFR conditions, but above minimums with decent visibility:
KCVG 211652Z 02011KT 6SM BR BKN007 OVC008 M04/M06 A3013 RMK AO2 SLP210 T10391056=
The TAF suggests that conditions will stay IFR, but generally improve:
TAF AMD KCVG 211626Z 2116/2218 03013KT 5SM BR OVC008 FM211900 06010KT P6SM OVC015 FM212100 07009KT P6SM OVC022 FM220000 09007KT P6SM BKN012 FM221300 13009KT P6SM BKN025=
The Current Icing Potential report shows that icing is certainly a consideration for today’s trip, especially over the mountains:
And temperatures are right around freezing at your best cruising altitudes (7000-9000):
FT 3000 6000 9000 12000 CVG 0620 3406-01 3216-02 3024-08
The area forecast says tops should be around 7000 in Ohio, but might extend up to FL180 in West Virginia and Maryland, so getting on top is probably not an option today. Fortunately, pilot reports (PIREPs) show only light turbulence and no icing below 10,000. The only icing PIREPs seem to cluster around 15,000 to 17,000 ft.
KFDK 211655Z AUTO 02007KT 7SM OVC008 M02/M02 A3001 RMK AO2= KFDK 211620Z AUTO 36007KT 5SM BR OVC008 M02/M02 A3001= KFDK 211600Z AUTO 36006KT 5SM BR OVC008 M02/M03 A3001=
The TAF for Washington Dulles shows an improving trend:
TAF KIAD 211730Z 2118/2224 35007KT 6SM BR BKN012 OVC045 FM212100 35007KT P6SM BKN015 OVC025 FM220300 01007KT P6SM SCT025 BKN035 FM221500 02006KT P6SM BKN015 BKN025=
So, do you make the trip? Or stay on the ground and fly another day? Why?
Coming from an aviation family, John grew up in the back of small airplanes and learned to fly as a teenager. Ever since, he has been hooked on anything with wings and regularly flies a Citabria, a Pilatus PC-12 and a Robinson R44 helicopter. He is an ATP and also holds ratings for multiengine, seaplanes, gliders, and helicopters. In addition to being Editor-in-Chief of Air Facts, John is a Vice President at Sporty’s Pilot Shop, responsible for new product development and marketing.