Iffy Weather Between Livermore and Columbia [The Flying Gourmet]

Jim Jellison - The Flying Gourmet


Columbia, CA
With the drought in California, the last couple of years had great winter flying weather with hardly a weather front to content with. I got spoiled and sort of expected that anytime I found myself with a couple of extra dollars I could just schedule an aircraft. Well, welcome El Niño, and some careful planning needs to be made before heading off into the wild blue yonder.

Just last week I scheduled a Piper Arrow (low wing, 200 horse power, retractable landing gear, and constant speed propeller) for a local flight. I invited a friend of mine to accompany me, but that morning I found the weather to be a bit iffy. Now it’s easy to make a go/no go decision if the weather is flat out IFR (Instrument Flight Rules – visibility less than 3 miles and ceiling less than 1,000 feet) or it is a perfectly clear day with mild wind. It’s the in between weather that is a head scratcher. You might be able to depart the airport but many destinations are weathered in and the big question is, will you be able to get back? Based upon the latest weather report and my local weather experience, I decided to go.

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