Wednesday, August 09, 2006

For all my California pilot friends

Just in case you ever come and fly in the Midwest, I thought you might want some clarification on what the AWOS was telling you. This picture represents "Sky Condition: Clear" on every AWOS in the area, plus the FSS folks.

I took this picture at about 3500 feet while maneuvering around clouds to maintain VFR on my way back into Greenwood. The opening you see under the clouds is a bit misleading, as this was essentially the hole that I was diving through as fast as I could get the Archer to drop. It doesn't really do justice to show you the cloud cover there really was.

I started my dash for this hole from 8500 feet. Fortunately I didn't have any passengers since I'm not sure they would have enjoyed the dive. The cloud tops (not really in this picture) were higher than that (I'd guess maybe 9500-10,000 feet) and I wasn't going to clear them at my current climb rate (a density altitude of 3000 feet on the ground didn't help).

Before this hole came into view, it looked like I was going to have to turn around to descend and then come back at under 3000 feet to stay clear of the clouds.

I'd have gotten better pictures, but maintaining VFR cloud clearance was more important than digging for the cell phone, so I didn't snap the photo until it was obvious I was coming through the bottom. Clear skies indeed.

Maybe by "Clear below One-Two Thousand" they mean "Some altitudes below 12,000 are clear, just not between 3000 and 10,000 feet where all the local aviation traffic is." Ha ha.

No comments: