Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Prince Nymph

Sectional Chart
Our annual fishing get-together in Montana is traditionally on the first Fall weekend with snow, so I was afraid when we moved it to late August. Would it really snow that early? But I confidently reserved the Archer and did some flight planning. Flight planning for this trip is silly, not because I have done it many times but because the high terrain means that there is really only one route: I-15 to US Highway 20 to US Highway 287.

Flight Planning Gone WildEven sillier was the the AOPA Internet Flight Planner, which proposed a 2001 NM odyssey that went well into British Columbia.

Not so silly was the long term forecast. The same high terrain that makes the flight planning easy rules out any kind of IFR flight in something like an Archer. Ennis, where I was headed, has no instrument approach, and the MEA on the airway overhead is 15,000' MSL, clearly out of reach. Dillon might be an acceptable choice; the MEA there is "only" 12,000, which is within reach but leaves you no options.


So I drove. Call me chicken, but I had to had to had to be back at school on Monday, and the probability of a successful VFR flight was way too low.

Sunday saw lots of thunderstorms with hail and high winds. There was a short window when I could have made it from Dillon but that would have been at a price; the headwind was so strong that my car's gas mileage was decreased by about 10%. To the east I could see the Madison Valley, where Ennis is: the valley was blocked by thunderstorms all evening. I would have been stuck.

My reward? I caught more fish than anyone else.

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At September 1, 2010 at 5:20 AM , Blogger Frank Van Haste said...

Dear Doc:

And they will say, "He chose wisely."


Frank, who is watching Hurricane Earl and thinking about AMTRAK.

At September 1, 2010 at 11:56 AM , Blogger On a Wing and a Whim said...

Ain't gonna call you chicken. I'm going to call you wise.

Weather and terrain are bigger, stronger, tougher, and less apt to be merciful than we are - better to work with them than to expect to successfully make them move to your wants.

At September 1, 2010 at 12:10 PM , Blogger Dr.ATP said...

Thanks for the comments.

I used to be an air ambulance pilot, and I've made the kind of flight that I cancelled many times. The difference was that I was flying a King Air, not an Archer.

I have seen pilots get into big trouble when moving to less-capable aircraft, and the FAA says that the big problem with LSAs is the pilots who have already flown something bigger, not with new pilots who start in an LSA.

The lesson is very old: avoid complacency! Just because you did something once doesn't mean that you can do it again.


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