Long IFR to NY

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Long IFR to NY

Postby kswim94 » Wed Oct 21, 2009 11:16 pm

Had a nice and educational flight a couple of weeks ago. It started when my wife wanted to travel to upstate NY to help her grandmother prepare to move. Living in central Ohio I considered the options - she can drive 12-14 hours, take a human mailing tube, or I can take this one year old instrument rating and fly her, come back home, and pick her up again later in the week. Easy decision.

Being a longer cross country, I invited my dad, an instrument and commercial rated pilot, to copilot with us. We spent much of the days leading to our trip watching the weather and planning our route. That morning, I called 1800-wxbrief for a final weather brief and filed our flight. It was clear that we would exercise our IFR tickets, but be within personal limits. Of note was a sigmet for icing that, though not involving our route, was close enough for the briefer to advise me.

So off we went. Left the airport, got our clearance, and blasted through the clouds to level off about 500-1000 feet above the overcast. Beautiful! My wife couldn't resist the temptation to take a number of pictures. Eventually, as we left Ohio and entered Pennsylvania, the clouds became more scattered to broken, but started to raise to our altitude. We were in and out of IMC. But, no bother, minimal turbulence ... still having fun.

About 2 hours into the flight I began to notice our TAS was about 130kts, where, before, we were at 135kts. I added a little more power and continued to fly the airplane. Not long thereafter, I extended my scan to look out the window and notice that the raindrops on the leading edge of the wing weren't moving. In fact, those weren't raindrops ... that was ice!

In disbelief, I looked at the OAT ... still registering 6 degrees C. I pointed out my discovery to my dad, in denial, hoping he'd say "Naw, that ain't ice!" He agreed and we called Cleveland Center and requested a descent from 7000 to 5000 feet. "76W descent to 5000 and standby so can file a pirep," they replied. Within 500 feet we were under the clouds and the ice broke apart and slid to the back and eventually flicked off our wings.

The rest of the flight was uneventful. We enjoyed looking at the hills of upstate NY as the leaves were turning colors. Glen Falls (KGFL) has a wonderful airport with the friendliest folks around. Great airport restaurant, too.

So many lessons here
1. Despite all our technology and internet technology - I still get more from a personal weather briefing. His little tidbit on that sigmet to our north made my discovery less surprising.
2. You learn attitude flying involves cross-check, interpret and control ... that drop in TAS was a clue that shouldn't have been so quickly dismissed
3. Above all else, fly the airplane. I could see the temptation to see ice, as light as it may be, cause panic.
4. Honor your personal minimums. With time, they will get lower for me. But had I not felt perfectly comfortable with the conditions en route, adding an extra stressor may have resulted in additional panic.
5. This pilot's certificate is an awesome gift. My wife isn't crazy about flying for the sake of flying. But if it gets us from point A to some exciting point B, she's the first in line. Awesome!

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Re: Long IFR to NY

Postby PilotBillFromTexas » Thu Oct 22, 2009 12:37 am

Awesome post! Can you post some of the pictures?

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Re: Long IFR to NY

Postby kswim94 » Sun Oct 25, 2009 11:55 am

Took a little bit for me to find them, but here are some photos:
IFR to NY 1.jpg
About 20 minutes into the flight and level at 7000 feet
IFR to NY 1.jpg (9.63 KiB) Viewed 2832 times
IFR to NY 2.jpg
Clouds change from overcast to broken as we leave Ohio
IFR to NY 2.jpg (17.68 KiB) Viewed 2830 times
IFR to NY 3.jpg
Back in the muck over Pennylvania
IFR to NY 3.jpg (10.96 KiB) Viewed 2829 times

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Re: Long IFR to NY

Postby kswim94 » Sun Oct 25, 2009 11:58 am

Two more photos as we conclude the flight
IFR to NY 4.jpg
Below the soup and enjoying the scenery
IFR to NY 4.jpg (31.97 KiB) Viewed 2823 times
IFR to NY 5.jpg
Looking out at the hills of New York as the leaves start to change
IFR to NY 5.jpg (16.47 KiB) Viewed 2823 times

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Re: Long IFR to NY

Postby jackhodgson » Thu Nov 05, 2009 10:33 am

Good story. Valuable lessons.

-- Jack

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Re: Long IFR to NY

Postby PropFan » Fri Nov 06, 2009 11:45 am

Thank you for this post. I am in the middle of my instrument ground instruction, but the closest I've come to flying in IMC is my 3 hours under the hood during private pilot training. Always appreciate first person accounts of flying in the real stuff.

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