December 2009 Issue

Top Five Reasons To Cancel An IFR Flight

Just because you have the instrument rating doesn’t mean you’ll never have to cancel a flight.

An overly long list of chores guaranteed a couple of things for flying from my home in Wichita, Kan., to Atlantic City, N.J., some years ago. First, the entire trip would be flown IMC and with instrument departures and arrivals at all three airports involved. Second, the timing of my departure meant not only was the first leg assured to be IMC and with ILS conditions, it was going to be mostly at night—with a night ILS. The questions running around in my head prompted me to undertake a higher-than-usual degree of preparation, starting by making a serious personal risk analysis. The questions didn’t need 100-percent affirmative answers, but getting a negative response on more than one merited a longer look at the elements of the flight, in search of a way to turn one of the "no" responses into a "yes." Three "no" responses would warrant a new decision on going, starting with "not going now."

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