Saturday, May 01, 2010

How To Not Fly in the Mountains

Next morning at breakfast time there are still strong winds. The forecast calls for severe turbulence until noon, and moderate is being reported right now by B737s in Edmonton, plus there's bad weather on the ground at Revelstoke. Golden looks okay. The highest mountain range is between here and Golden, which is only a 45 minute flight, so we plan to make that hop as soon as the turbulence subsides out of the danger zone, and then we'll be right there with one less granite barrier separating us from our destination when the weather clears there.

Out at the airplane, the ramp is a skating rink. We're glad to be parked on the grass, because it makes it easy to walk around the airplane without slipping and falling on the ice. We weren't expecting it to be this cold. We spend the morning cleaning the plane, but it still doesn't look that great because we don't have a power washer and we're getting our hot water one bucket at a time from the terminal. While we are working, we discover that contrary to the forecast, Golden has now gone IFR, so we mooch some power to plug in and tent the engines for another night. The wind makes tenting a two person job, as the covers balloon like parachutes, the usually tightly-fitting fabric still pulling up away from the airplane still finding a way to flap once they are fastened down. Our electricity providers say they get in at seven a.m. tomorrow, so we'll be able to recover our cord (shut under their airside door) for an early departure tomorrow morning. We'll make the trip tomorrow in one shot and save some flight time.

As soon as I make a decision like that I should stop checking the weather, but of course I don't. It starts looking better in the afternoon, and I champ at an imaginary bit, thinking "C'mon c'mon lets go!" Really I have no information on the the weather in the mountains, just at three valley stations along the route. There are also TCUs across the mountains. It's snowing and raining at the destination anyway, and we'll be there early tomorrow, especially considering the time change as we cross the Rockies.

2 comments:

amulbunny said...

It's been blowing a gale now for about a week down here. Winds at 20mph gusting to 30-35. The desert passes were closed at night for ice. Sunny Southern CA yes, but windy and cold.

I hope you finally made it to your destination safely.

gmc said...

re: "As soon as I make a decision like that I should stop checking the weather, but of course I don't."

Ha! Yes - me too. Maybe I need more zen meditation or something to quiet my inner compulsive.

I've been waiting for a stretch of nice weather in the interiour and through the Fraser canyon to the coast. I'm not yet familiar with this country and I'd like to actually enjoy the trip. "Moderate turbulence in southerly flows," ... showers... snow in the higher passes... Doesn't sound like fun.

Waiting, waiting ... gotta go check the webcams again ...