Private Flying LAA/BMAA/BGA/BPA The sheer pleasure of flight.

Would you fly?

Old 6th Feb 2017, 12:28
  #1 (permalink)  
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Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Colchester, Essex
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Would you fly?

So, tomorrow, I'm planning to take a short XC flight of around 35 minutes. I'll have to route around Stansted, but other than that, the airspace is fairly clear. I'll be leaving as soon as possible (around 07:15), and so far, the weather forecast is this, cloudy 45% and precipitation 2%, getting better throughout the day. Returning at 4, and the weather looking much better.

My question is, would you do it? It's Earls Colne to Leicester, outbound 07:15, inbound 15:45. From what I can see, I reckon it'll be fine, but obviously won't know for sure until the day.

Many thanks
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Old 6th Feb 2017, 12:40
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Obviously you won't be able to tell for certain until the morning, but based on the highlighted bit from the current Stansted TAF I wouldn't have much confidence for a departure that early:

EGSS 061055Z 0612/0718 22003KT 4600 HZ FEW030 BECMG 0612/0615 16010KT 9999 NSW TEMPO 0615/0621 8000 BECMG 0621/0624 7000 -RA BKN009 TEMPO 0622/0701 4500 RADZ BKN004 BECMG 0701/0704 1200 -RADZ BR BKN003 PROB40 TEMPO 0701/0710 DZ TEMPO 0702/0713 0300 FG OVC000 BECMG 0711/0714 27005KT 3000 BR BKN012 BECMG 0714/0717 6000 NSW FEW012 PROB30 0717/0718 0300 FG BKN001
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Old 6th Feb 2017, 12:57
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Join Date: Aug 1998
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Your forecast information is far too vague. As highlighted you should, as a minimum,look at all the TAFs for airports in the area you are planning to fly through. And keep checking them at regular intervals through the evening and then, most importantly, in the morning.
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Old 6th Feb 2017, 13:31
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Join Date: Sep 2011
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For GA flying, 24 hours in advance I tend to use the forecast to either say, definitely dont go, or it may be OK, so keep planning.

Then on the day itself I can make a reasonably informed decision. Very early starts are difficult though because you may find not enough METARS are available to tell you if things are actually doing what the forecast says.

Sounds like you're planning a flight for a business meeting? Tempting to fly. But maybe not such a great idea because it introduces pressures and constraints that you could do without. Once flew with a very experienced ATPL holder to a meeting, and we spent the whole time looking out the widow at the worsening weather, not giving the meeting our full attention. Needless to say we didnt get the sale.
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Old 6th Feb 2017, 13:49
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Join Date: Jan 2008
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Back in my student pilot days, while I was marking time waiting to be old enough to take my flight test, I had only my solo cross country to complete. I recall asking my instructor on several different days if the weather was good enough to fly my cross country. His reply was always, "I don't think so", so I just flew circuits or in the practice area instead.

Next time, I asked my instructor if the weather was good enough, and he said "I don't think so". As I turned away to contemplate more circuits, another instructor whispered to me "check the weather yourself!". I did, and is was perfectly fine for the intended flight. (This was decades before the information age, when checking weather actually required effort)

Not wanting to affront my instructor, I none the less, returned to him, and said "I just checked the weather, and it seems fine for my flight". He cheerfully replied, "Great, have a great flight then!".

I learned to listen to advice, but to gather my own information, and make my own decision.

The flying school routes for cross country flights were carefully planned to be in well covered weather reporting areas. There are, and are still large areas in Canada where weather information is sparse, and really good decision making is required.
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Old 6th Feb 2017, 13:53
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Obviously you won't be able to tell for certain until the morning, but based on the highlighted bit from the current Stansted TAF I wouldn't have much confidence for a departure that early:

EGSS 061055Z 0612/0718 22003KT 4600 HZ FEW030 BECMG 0612/0615 16010KT 9999 NSW TEMPO 0615/0621 8000 BECMG 0621/0624 7000 -RA BKN009 TEMPO 0622/0701 4500 RADZ BKN004 BECMG 0701/0704 1200 -RADZ BR BKN003 PROB40 TEMPO 0701/0710 DZ TEMPO 0702/0713 0300 FG OVC000 BECMG 0711/0714 27005KT 3000 BR BKN012 BECMG 0714/0717 6000 NSW FEW012 PROB30 0717/0718 0300 FG BKN001
Very valid point. I do have a back up plan should it come to it, so will be up early enough to drive should I require it, which will also allow time to assess the weather etc

All you need now is some who says yeh weathers great go for it. what will you do?
I would still use my own judgement, but I always like to get other's opinions on things before I contemplate something.

Thank you all
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Old 6th Feb 2017, 13:53
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Join Date: Feb 2017
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You do not state your experience and qualifications. That would be a good start.
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Old 6th Feb 2017, 14:25
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Relatively low hour ppl
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Old 6th Feb 2017, 14:30
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Join Date: Aug 2003
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You should always take the view that you need to stretch your flight envelope.

You shouldn't wait for the perfect day - there are too few of those. BUT as a low-time PPL be aware of your limitations and watch for changes in the weather.

As a low-time PPL you should beware of pushing the envelope too far, but I agree, you need to be comfortable in making your own decisions and having a lot of alternative options. Whenever possible try to avoid being left with only one option
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Old 6th Feb 2017, 14:42
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  1. It is February and not very stable weather condition, so I doubt fog will be gone as early as 7z,
  2. you should not put yourself under pressure, especially not as a low time ppl,
  3. you definitely won't know until tomorrow morning given the weather systems situation,
  4. you may have to sit until 10 or 11 before sky is clear enough,
  5. do you have some instrument rating and a capable machine?,
  6. ask yourself seriously: will you be able to sit in the aircraft, ready to take off for maybe an hour or two or three, only to push it back in the hangar and take the car?,
  7. ask yourself: what will you do when weather get worse and you have to leave the plane at the other airfield and take something else for the ride back home, are you able to do that?,
  8. maybe the most important question: what is the purpose of you asking this question here? Your local friends would be far better advisors compared to us, as they know the area much better than we do and they know you. Did they already say No?

You declared yourself "relatively low hour PPL".
You have trouble making this decision.
How good you are to make another decision in flight, i.e. when weather deteriorates unexpected?

I tend to advice, do not go.
Wait for better circumstances to further learn.
Try such weather and to challenge your decision uncertainty for a local flight first.
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Old 6th Feb 2017, 14:48
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Join Date: Jul 2003
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I'd be mainly considering plan 'B', unless the METAR/TAF looks much better in the morning.

It's sometimes good to stretch yourself, but not when you really need to get somewhere.......that can lead to bad decision making.
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Old 6th Feb 2017, 14:55
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Join Date: Dec 1999
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Be very careful how you ask this sort of thing, given the STN TAF it looks fairly unlikely you willl go, but if it was better some might might be saying yes, for example I might say yes, but I have 20,000+ hrs and an IR so not relevant to your experience and possibly the aircraft you are flying. The forecast that you used in your origional post is also inadequate, it gives no indication of cloudbase or visibility as can be seen in the TAF, and these are far more important than if your aircraft will get wet or not!
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Old 6th Feb 2017, 15:10
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Check Form to request gramet aero for EGSS_EGNX ... does not look feasible that early.
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Old 6th Feb 2017, 17:21
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Just a short reply from a retired airline pilot. Always have a Plan B, C and D, and don't hesitate to use them. (D could be: take the car) As one of my wise co-pilots used to say: "There'll be other days chief"
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Old 6th Feb 2017, 17:53
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If I was authorising your flight with my Instructor hat on you would not be going.....
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Old 6th Feb 2017, 18:15
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Decided not to go, having checked the latest forecast, and will be taking the Skoda machine instead. It's a shame, but there's no way I'm jeopardising the safety of myself and others just for a flight, as you say, there'll be other days.
Thanks
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Old 6th Feb 2017, 20:01
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Join Date: Jan 2007
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Time to spare - go by air, maybe.
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Old 6th Feb 2017, 20:45
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Join Date: Sep 2015
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I've always thought it silly to make the decision too early, forecasts are often wrong, this morning was supposed to be 300m vis & broken at 300ft until 12 before "becoming 10km vis & SCT 3500" yet today turned out to be very pleasant from about 9am where I am. Always err on the side of caution, but you could always re-assess early morning.

If you don't like it - drive there rather than to the airfield! :-)
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Old 6th Feb 2017, 20:51
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Join Date: Aug 2009
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Decided not to go, having checked the latest forecast, and will be taking the Skoda machine instead. It's a shame, but there's no way I'm jeopardising the safety of myself and others just for a flight, as you say, there'll be other days.
Congratulations on making a sensible command decision.
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Old 6th Feb 2017, 21:00
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Join Date: Aug 2005
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Check Form to request gramet aero for EGSS_EGNX ... does not look feasible that early.
Another Ogimet fan I guess. That site is the business, I love it
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