…But that’s not what ships are for. So wrote John Shedd noting that in the pursuit of commerce, business or transport occasionally a vessel was lost. To go out on the wide waters, or to take to the sky, inherently involves some level of risk. And the flip side is that we all too often see the aftermath of a poor choice
A flying friend asked if was it prudent to tackle a strong cold front on the trip back from Sun N’ Fun. (Air Safety e-Journal April 14, 2008) The easy answer, often heard around airports is “ Walked away from it didn’t we?” That poor rationalization can be used to justify any poor judgment that had a successful outcome, whether it is a bad landing where the aircraft is still usable, to a low altitude buzz job.
My thought process: We had functional datalink, which allowed a roughly 5-minute update of the weather – not good for close quarters tactical maneuvers but adequate for general avoidance. There were several fairly open areas in the line where we went through. Farther north, it was solid – no way Jose.
Having flown around many thunderstorms and always having a plan B has proven to be a good strategy for me. Unfortunately, you can’t learn thunderstorm flying by reading books, taking online courses or reading blogs. It is learned by careful observation with mentor pilots and by flying around
There’s a Catch 22 in weather decision-making. The more you need or want to go, the greater chance you’ll make an over-aggressive choice. Postpone or cancel. When the trip is not urgent then it’s time to fly.