Richard Collins has famously said there’s really no such thing as a single go/no go decision. Rather, weather flying can be seen as a series of “continue flying or land short” decisions. Tonight is a perfect example. After a long weekend with friends in Hilton Head, SC (HXD), you’re headed home to suburban Atlanta (RYY).
Ah, the holidays. A fun time for relaxing with family, right? Maybe, but first you have to get to grandmother’s house for the big turkey dinner. And by looking out the window, it’s clear that the weather stinks. Are you flying your Baron or staying home?
A long time client in Leavenworth, Kansas, has invited you to a meeting to show your newest product. The key decision-makers are only available from 11 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. You scheduled a flight in your Cessna Turbo 182RG, equipped with a Stormscope, XM weather and S-TEC 55 autopilot.
After a productive day of meetings in Savannah, GA, (KSAV) your plan is to return home to New Orleans, LA (KNEW) tonight in time for dinner with your family. Here’s the weather picture that greets you as you sit down at the FBO computer in Savannah. Read the details, then tell us if you’re making the trip or spending the night.
After a relaxing week of vacation in the Out Islands of the Bahamas, it’s now time to head home. The good news is your Cirrus SR22 is a capable machine, and you should be landing in Ft. Pierce to clear customs about an hour and a half after takeoff. The bad news is your secluded beachfront villa is totally disconnected from the outside world.
You’re headed to Minneapolis today to pick up your daughter from college and bring her home to Milwaukee for a family wedding. Since winter is starting to recede, it looks like a good chance to dust off your 1978 Cessna 172 and make the 2 1/2 hour flight. Read the weather briefing, then decide if you’re making the trip or not.
Your friend got you tickets to the Super Bowl to see your beloved Baltimore Ravens play. To make an adventure out of it, you’ve decided to fly your 1995 A36 Bonanza to New Orleans for the game. But will you be able to make it?
Talk about “get-home-itis.” Your trip today is the final leg of a marathon freight dog run, with over 1 billion legs in the logbook so far. The flight has gone flawlessly, but you’re dead tired and would really like to get home to the Mrs. (Claus, that is). But just because you’re the big red man doesn’t mean you can skip the weather briefing, so you take one last glance at your iPad before takeoff.
It’s the week of Thanksgiving, and your mission today is critical for staying married: you’ll be flying with your wife from your home outside San Francisco to visit the in-laws in Seattle for turkey day. Your flight is scheduled to depart in an hour. Read the weather briefing here, then decide if you’re flying or driving.
Today’s flight is a quick one, from the Atlantic coast of Florida (West Palm Beach, PBI) to the Gulf Coast (Tampa, TPA). The weather doesn’t look too bad as you drive to the airport around noon, but the afternoon is yet to come. In Florida, you’ve learned to expect the unexpected, as conditions change quickly. Read the weather report below, then decide if you’re going or not going.
The weather isn’t pretty today, but that’s why you get paid the big bucks as a charter pilot. Your job tonight is to fly from Rockland, ME (KRKD) to Providence, RI (KPVD) to get those packages where they need to be. It’s time for a weather briefing, then you decide if you would fly the flight or cancel.
The flight today is from your home in Knoxville, Tennessee (KTYS) to Kiawah Island in South Carolina (KJZI), which should take just over 2 hours. Your 1980 Cessna is well-maintained, with a fancy new Garmin GTN 750 WAAS GPS and XM Weather on board. It looks like you’ll need that XM Weather–and maybe your instrument rating–for the trip today.
All pilots can be divided into two groups: those for whom the thought of flying into Wittman Regional Airport during AirVenture excites and challenges them and those who think you’re nuts to be in the air within 50 nm of Oshkosh that week. Which are you?
This Go or No Go is a little different. The scenario I’ll present is an actual flight I had planned, and I was faced with a tough decision. I’ll show the weather conditions that were forecast and my plan, then I’ll let you decide if you would have flown the trip. Later, I’ll share whether I decided go or no go.
Manchester, NH (MHT) to Pittsburgh, PA (AGC) is the goal today so you can deliver your Piper Lance to the avionics shop for a new panel. The trip has been on the calendar for weeks and you’re excited to see a glass panel go in your airplane, but Mother Nature isn’t going to make it easy on you.
A weekend flying trip is on the calendar today, as you’re scheduled to attend a family reunion in Springfield, MO. Your flight will depart from Olive Branch Airport (OLV), just outside of Memphis, TN and arrive at the Springfield Branson Airport (SGF). Your proposed departure time is 1630Z. It’s time to make the go/no go call.
Business calls today, and you need to get from your home base in Santa Barbara, California (KSBA) to San Francisco (KSFO) for an important meeting. There’s a bit of fog on the coast of California, but you are instrument-rated and current. Do you make the trip?
Your planned flight today is from Cleveland’s Burke Lakefront Airport (KBKL) to the Claremont Municipal (KCNH) in New Hampshire. Since you do not have an instrument rating, the flight will be VFR, but your Cirrus SR-20 is well-equipped. Vacation awaits–will low clouds cancel your getaway?
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.