Thursday, December 22, 2011

Dreary Flight Home


After perfect weather on the way up the east coast, I had the entirely opposite experience on the way home from NYC.  My typical online weather briefing on Flightaware and Aviation Weather showed solid IMC along the entire route and there was icing forecast above 13k FT.  In addition, I called Flight Service to get the PIREPs.  Unfortunately, there were multiple reports of icing @13k FT, 17k FT, and FL230.  Between the Pireps and the TBM icing accident in NJ this week, I was a bit concerned.  But I decided it would be safe if I stayed below the freezing level.  So I filed @ 10k FT and verified that the TKS fluid was full.  
When I was ready for departure @ Morristown, the airport had a 400 FT overcast layer and light rain!  Needless to say, it was not very pleasant pre-flight.  
When I took off, I followed the Morristown 6 departure procedure, and was in the clouds within minutes.  During the entire flight, there was only one brief time that I was not "in the soup".  As luck would have it, these few minutes between cloud layers had a neat surprise in store for me.

I was level @ 5000 FT when New York Departure called out a traffic alert to me as follows:

"Cirrus 6TJ, traffic @ your 8 o'clock is a United 737 climbing out of four thousand for one-seven thousand ; caution wake turbulence"

Yikes! For the first time ever I got to see an airliner "up close and personal" from above!!

Obviously, that didn't last long.  He passed me like I was standing still.  But I did get a gr8  view of his climbout!

A few minutes later I was back in the clouds (level @10k FT) and didn't see the ground again until I was near my destination.  

After more than an hour bumping along in light to moderate turbulence, I started checking out my intended destination,  which was Duplin County, NC, and realized it was not looking good.  The map, which you can see below, looked OK, but the ATIS was below minimums and I knew I needed a plan B...

So I called Washington Center and requested an  IFR divert to Kinston, which had slightly better weather.  The FBO @ Kinston is nowhere near as hospitable as Duplin County.  However, the ATIS showed 800 Ft ceilings, which was a comfortable 300+ FT above minimums.  With only light rain and 300 FT above mins, this was easily within my comfort zone.  You can see the landing below:

4 comments:

  1. Nice job! How well does your plane handle the turbulence? Have a Happy New Year! I hope to fly a friend down to SPG soon for breakfast or lunch. Maybe we could meet up! Thanks for continuing to post your adventures.

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  2. @ Geoff: Turbulence just stinks in every plane ;-) Hopefully we can meet up in 2012!... Cheers

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  3. TJ...Another great post....you doing the CPPP in KLAL? We are signed up and looking forward to it.

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  4. @Ron: thanks... I am skipping the Lakeland CPPP ... Going to the vegas R9 Symposium this month instead. I do plan to attend the next Atlanta CPPP.

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