A week or so ago, I recorded a video that goes along with a feature coming your way in the July issue of Flight Training. The topic is diverting. That is to say, the topic is about diverting to a different airport. If you get the digital edition, you’ll see me describe a long-ago diversion I made when I couldn’t find the airport. (True story.)
So we all know how art imitates life, or is it vice versa? Last week I pointed my Cherokee 140 west, intending to land in Arkansas. I was headed to Gaston’s fly-in resort (3M0) to research this beautiful fishing destination for another article, which you’ll read in the September issue. I wound up diverting more than once because of weather–thunderstorms, the bane of summertime flying.
I tend to plan routes so that I cross over airports. Sometimes it adds time to my flight–a half-hour at most. But it pays dividends in terms of peace of mind. Airports make good, easy-to-find checkpoints. They also serve as reminders to switch fuel tanks on the Cherokee (which I try to do when overflying an airport). This strategy proved particularly helpful on the way west, because I simply diverted to an airport already on my route. (Hello, Clark Regional in southern Indiana!)
Headed back to Maryland a few days later, I had such a great tailwind that I chose a more direct route, hoping to make some good time. And it worked–for a while. Then a line of storms marched toward me. (Hello, Morgantown Municipal in West Virginia!)
If I’d flown the airport-to-airport route, I’d have spared myself some sweaty palms trying to pick out a suitable place to hang out for a bit. So the next time I plan a long, long cross-country, I’m sticking to what works. Have you diverted? Tell us about it.