July 2008 Issue

Taking Off Into Inclement Weather

Think before taking off into approaching bad weather. Waiting a few minutes can make all the difference.

Way back in the bad old days when I had just a few hundred hours of flight time, I recall how I would get quite obnoxious during my preflight preparations. (Of course, some say I still am, regardless of when I might be flying next, but thatís only because I know what they donít.) The challenge of herding all the cats necessary for a safe departure sometimes made for brusque conversation with me. Get over it. These days, Iím more laid back before departing, at least outwardly. Iím still running through a mental checklist, though, and trying to make sure everything gets done in a logical order. Iíve also come to grips with what was driving my concerns: a misplaced belief that filing for, say, a noon departure meant advancing the throttle no later than 11:59. No exceptions. So, I readily understand how anxious some pilots can get when preparing to depart. Add in various external challenges from business and personal lives, passengers who need to be at the destination by a certain time and the peer pressure of other airplanes coming and going seemingly without problems, and the physical and mental effort of actually flying an airplane can seem like a vacation.

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