Sunday, November 22, 2009

Impending Snow

We have about four hours worth of work to do and the weather forecast offers us a a little window in which to do it. We're west of Fort Nelson, near where the highway starts to enter the mountains just south of the Yukon border. There is clearly more snow visible on the ground than there was on the last flight, and there is a fine veil of altostratus cloud over our heads. Winds are strong but there is only a little turbulence

Within an hour the mid-level cloud layer is noticeably thicker and lower, and cloud continues to waft in as we fly. A large mass warm air--well not very warm, but warmer than the air mass that's over us now--is slowly travelling east. It abuts the cold bubble of air currently covering the Yukon, and northern BC and Alberta, and as it is warmer it rides up over the present air mass. Same old story: rising air expands; expansion causes cooling; and cooling causes the formation of liquid water droplets, otherwise known as clouds. The incoming warm air mass contains a lot of moisture because it formed over the Pacific Ocean, so there is the potential for a lot of cloud.

Over the course of our four hour flight the ceiling drops three or four thousand feet. The highest mountain peaks to the west have disappeared and we can see spots in the mountains where it's already snowing. The local weather forecast calls for three solid days of serious snow.

We return to the airport for landing and call one last time to refuel. We're scheduled to fly to our next job tomorrow, after the client is certain they no longer need our services here. Of course we're not yet certain where the next job will be, except that it has to be south and east of here. We asked to be released today, so we're not trapped by the incoming snowstorm, but the answer was no, they won't give up their airplane until they know they don't need it anymore. They will let us know that at 7 a.m. tomorrow. We let the hangar people know this, so they can stack our airplane near the front, and we give them instructions on sending the hangar space bill (almost as much as my hotel bill) plus a offer a forwarding address should the wing covers ever arrive. And then in walks someone with a package for us. Just in time. We put it in the airplane and then go back to the hotel to pack up for the move.


Anonymous said...

I enjoy reading your blogs. I hope your wing covers catch up with you soon.

Geekzilla said...

You said your airplane's hanger bill is almost as expensive as your hotel bill. I hope your poor airplane is getting free HBO, clean towels, and room/maid service - or at least some complementary coffee.

I'm just kidding, of course :o)

Cirrocumulus said...

You're exaggerating. It looks as if you'll get away tomorrow afternoon, customer permitting.
If this is the same aeroplane you did the carpet for, it's your slave for life.

Aviatrix said...

Cirrocumulus, see the entry on Time Delay. I'm never where you think I am.

And I think I managed to describe the wing covers arriving twice, in two separate posts. They did arrive and were the correct item.