Wednesday, March 31, 2010

How Do I Get a Full Day?!--March 30, 2010

Woke up at 8:00 A.M.  I immediately called TRACON to schedule today's long flight.

"Cleveland Approach."

"Yeah, I have been doing some aerial survey with you guys...just lookin' to get back into the Class B airspace today."

"Sir, are you aware we are IFR"?

"Uhhhhhhhhh..."  And with that, I went over to my window and opened up the curtains.  UNBELIEVABLE.  The clouds were at 100 feet, and I could barely see across the parking lot.  "Yeah, um, go ahead and scratch that.  I'll be callin' you later."

I couldn't believe it.  The forecast had called for clear skies ALL DAY.  We have a huge high-pressure system covering almost all of the country!  I had woke up with the mentality of flying 8 hours today!  And here I get...nothing.


So I waited in the hotel room.  I canceled my ride to the airport.  And I checked the weather probably more often than I care to admit.  We were the only place in the country that had the fog not lifting.  It was unbelievable!  9:00 A.M.  Still fog.  10:00 A.M.  Fog.  11:00 A.M.  Fog.  Noon.  Fog.  I just couldn't believe what I was seeing.





I talked to Jennifer back in Illinois, and she was already anticipating a beautiful spring day!  Around 70 degrees!  Yeah, I thought I was going to, too!

I walked over to McDonald's for lunch.  I could see a bit of blue...the skies were now broken.  But it still had a long way to go.  But I went ahead and scheduled the shuttle for 2:00 P.M.  Sure enough, the clouds were still around.  I coordinated with TRACON again, sent over my map, and decided to give it a shot.

I flew to a few plans, but they were a no-go due to clouds.  So I headed north to what seemed to be more clear.  Wrong.  Kind of.  Here it was 2:45 in the afternoon, and I saw a HUGE blanket of clouds literally covering the entire Lake Erie and the land just south of it.  It was beautiful!!!  You will often see this in mornings or in valleys, but here it was in the afternoon, and these folks hadn't even seen the light of (what should have been a great spring!) day!!!


I had to abandon one flight plan, and I was just on the cusp of the clouds for another one.  But I gradually moved south and was able to avoid the rest of 'em.  I finished a ton of work today, so that was good.  I had an exciting time when one jet came within a mile or two at my 9:00 o'clock without being called out (at my altitude), while I was watching another one descend towards me at my 2:00 not called out, either.  Right after that happened, the controller asked what in the world I was doing.  He was obviously flabbergasted at what had just transpired, and so I had to call out my turns for him.  It's funny, though...I had been up for a couple of hours at that point!!!  And I had told him exactly where I would be on the map IN FRONT OF HIM!!!  Oh well.  Controllers get behind, too.

I did have a good chuckle up there, though.  The Cleveland Burke Lakefront Airport on Lake Erie was below the fog deck.  And so you would have these airplanes still 20-30 miles out getting the weather and hearing "1/4 visibility and 100 feet overcast."  They would ask the controller who would then verify that that is what he also had on his screen.  I wanted to confirm it on the radio, too, but it wasn't my position.  Anyway, the aircraft that were attempting at Burke simply could not.  They would shoot the ILS down to minimums but then had to go missed.  It was 3 for 3 at one point.  Well, a King Air was coming in, and he realized he was basically not going to make it in.  So he needed another airport to land at.  This is how it went down.

"Approach, King Air XYZ, uh, we're showing 100 feet and 1/4 mile on our screen here."


"Um, yeah, we are going to have to go to an alternate.  Could you call our people to see where they want to go"?

"As in use a telephone?  Sir, I control airplanes, I don't NOT make phone calls."

"King Air XYZ, Roger."

ha!  I was dying.  The controller was very candid...and the pilot knew that it was his lack of planning that had led to this situation (the field had been IFR since AT LEAST sunrise, and it was now the middle of the afternoon).  I was laughing, wondering where that guy ever ended up.  Oh flight planning.

The remaining part of the day was a bit bumpy, as I was just at the inversion/cloud layer.  But I pushed through and flew all the way to 5:30.  I headed back and called it a day.  3.0 hours on the Hobbs today.  And a good amount of work done.  Although I started way late, I was thrilled to death.  It's about time I got some work done here!!!

The rest of the night was fairly enjoyable.  First, on the drive back from the airport, I got a call from a potential roommate.  I had my dad show him the house, and everything is looking good.  I just might have someone now!  That would be sweet!  If he's not crazy!  Time will tell!  Then I had supper with one of the FBO girls, and we rented a movie.  But it took me way later than I wanted it to.  I finally got dropped off at the hotel at midnight!  And I miiiiiiiiiiiiight be out of here tomorrow.  The forecast is lookin' great (oh boy), and if I can fly a full day, I very well may be moving on to Iowa.  It's goin' to be a looooooooong day, and I wish I was going to bed earlier!!!

I'll pack in the morning and see if I can't move on out.

All in all, a dismal start but a great finish today.  C'mon, tomorrow.  I'm ready for change.

Finally went to bed at 12:35.  Alarm is set for 8:00 A.M.  Way too close.

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