Saved from cancelled flight by WSI WX!
This will be short, but, I'm catching up on the website and these pics
I kept from a flight in early September that I was very happy
with. Without Foreflight and WSI being so "agreeable" I don't
know how I would have made it.
It was a flight to Springfield, IL where I didn't want to have to do
the 7+ hour drive, but rather wanted to fly the 2 hour flight, so I
could attend a meeting. That night, I went to sleep paranoid that
the weather would be awful. And with a 7-hour drive, cancelling
the flight and driving would mean getting up REAL early, because the
meeting started at 8:15 I think. I didn't want that...and it was
a MONDAY A.M. meeting...can you imagine anything stinking that
much!?! Well, I got up at 3am and never got back to sleep. The
forcast was awful, the radar picture was awful, and I didn't know how
it would work. I figured maybe I could skirt around the storm, but in
doing the flight plan, that would turn the 2 hour flight into a 4 hour
flight. No way to do it.
As my departure time approached, and I was sleepless, I got up and kept
reading all the WX info I could. It was VERY hard to get a good
picture from any web site. But, I could see that what was once a
large single mass had split into 2 separate areas of storm.
Rather than filing direct, I finally decided to just get out of bed and
drive to the airport.
On the way to the airport the ceiling was ragged but scattered by
me. I didn't file IFR because I wasn't about to fly IFR into a
thunderstorm in the dark of the morning. I instead filed VFR,
picking a mid-way waypoint that would line me up to split the
storm...and decided not to talk to anyone (ATC that is) until I was up
high and knew how the real wx was. I ended up being able to climb
perfectly VFR to 7500' and all was well. It was then tha the
beauty happened....my foreflight picture totally agreed with my WSI
in-flight picture...I could easily see the split storm cells.
And, I was VFR, and knowing that I've always been able to trust in
WSI's green's and yellows, I felt much better. Ahead I could see
that I may have to fly through some clouds at my altitude, so I called
ATC and picked up an IFR clearance, and got at IFR altitudes. Now
I was set. I continued the flight, and ended up being perfectly
VFR for all of the trip, with view of the ground the whole way.
The gap between the storm cells looked big on the screen, but in
reality, as I flew through the middle, they weren't all that far off
the wings on either side. They were perfectly visible, and I was
in smooth, bump free air, well away from them. But they weren't
100 miles away...they were close enough to see easily.
At any rate, I made it through and all went well, and was at the
meeting right after it started, even with all the mulling around
looking at the WX.
The return flight is the flight where you see cloud pics. It was a HOT
day, and I took off and saw towering CB's in front of me, with narrow
gaps between them. I hated the haze below, so started a climb,
eventually having to ask for circle turns to gain altitude to try to
get high enough to be where the gaps were. They were maybe 10K -
15k' high. After I shot through a gap (shown in the pics) I
emerged out the other side in 5 minutes and was in clear skies all the
way home. If I'd have known they were that close (to clear
skies), I'd have just flown under (with bases at 3000agl) and then
climbed afterwards. Oh well.
On the way home though, I departed 15 minutes before meeting end, to
beat approaching WX. Again, WSI told me it was a go, and sure
enough, as I approached home, the storms were by MSP. When I
landed and parked the plane, it started to turn grey real soon.
By the time I was driving home, I looked behind me to see a cell that
developed, dumping intense rain on the airport. Had it been there
before me, I could have easily gone to alternates, but I beat it
easily. Then later that night, our whole area got blasted by
heavy storms. With WSI/Foreflight/and an RV-10 though, I was able
to make a plan that got me to and from the meeting in good time, and
nice and safe!