Saturday, February 2, 2019

Landing in a Snowstorm

This week I had a really unusual flight.  It started out as a simple VFR takeoff in clear blue skies.  I was bringing the plane home to Poughkeepsie from maintenance in Danbury.  Simple, short flight... Or so I thought...  This was me in the hanger just before takeoff:

But the weather forecast looked a little sketchy.  There was a squall line filled with snow and high winds west of Poughkeepsie.  My weather briefing led me to think I could easily land in advance of that squall line reaching the airport.

Wow... Was I ever wrong.  When I was ~ 15 miles out from Poughkeepsie, the tower controller told me conditions were deteriorating fast and the airport was going IFR.  From there, things continued to get harder and harder.

First, while on ~8 miles out on the RNAV GPS 24 approach to runway 24, I had to get a "popup IFR clearance" from NY approach.  Then, I had to declare a missed approach.  This was my first REAL missed approach because I could not see the runway when I reached minimums on the RNAV 24.

But the squall line was moving fast, and I thought I could just hold at the missed approach point and then try it again.  The second time worked ... But it was quite possibly the toughest landing I have ever done!   In fact, after I landed, I just stopped on the runway for a few minutes because I couldn't see the taxiways.  During the whole experience, I had cameras rolling ... So you can see and hear for yourself in the video below:

After reviewing the footage, I realized how important it is to always be ready to go missed and the practicing proper IFR procedures.  I didn't do this one perfectly... (You might see a couple of my mistakes in the video... including flying the missed by hand instead of autopilot).  But I sure learned on this flight!!

== T.J.==

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