January 2008 Issue

Flying On-Top of The CloudsTips

Getting and staying on top offers advantages, especially when IFR. But watch for weather changes that will shut out a visual descent.

I love clouds; I always have, even as a child. When I learned to fly, I came to understand what they could tell me—as well as what they could do to me. Then, as I earned the thin suit of armor we call an instrument rating, I could not only look upon clouds from my new perspective, I could get up close and personal with them. Soon, I learned getting above them offered the best of many worlds, including greater visibility, better weather, a smoother ride and more advance notice of challenging weather ahead. But I also learned getting and staying on top of a cloud deck can put you someplace you’d rather not be, even with an instrument rating.

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