November 23, 2007

Thanksgiving Snow Squalls

So, its been 2 months since my last logged flight... It has been hard to find time and coordinate the weather... I know, just making excuses.

Today is the day after Thanksgiving and while all the shoppers were racing for the "Black Friday" deals, I had it in my mind to go flying. After bringing up the Christmas decorations for the wife / daughter to sort through, I headed out.

I wasn't sure what to do today. The winds were calm, and sky clear (at least I thought). I didn't want to just go up and do turns/stalls/etc... So, I decided to go to Lansing - AKA "Capital City" (all together now, YAY!). I know, not that exciting... but at least it would give me some practice with cross country planning and work in controlled airspace.

As I departed D95, I keyed up the GPS direct to KLAN. Its only about 60 nautical miles, but I had a good head wind (about 17-20knots) which I would take advantage of on the return leg.

On the way, I crossed through Flints airspace (KFNT). I snapped a picture as I was flying over:

As I continued west, a few clouds were rolling in at about 4,000 feet (which was the forecast on departure). I didn't think much of it and just stayed below.

As I got closer to Lansing, I started seeing some "White Walls". I asked the controller if they had heard of any weather issues popping up. She said all was clear with just scattered clouds at 3,000. I continued inbound and had the field in sight at my 2 O'clock.. about 15 miles out.

To the southwest, there was what appeared to be a moderate snow squall... and to the northwest, a similar picture. I decided to just do a quick stop and turn back around to avoid any approaching weather.

Here I am on final approach to 28L (I just love big open runways!):

I made a baby soft touchdown and taxied right back for departure. On the taxi back, I saw some big guys hanging around... waiting to ship your overnight no doubt :)

I was cleared for takeoff on 28L and did an immediate "about face" on the climb out. I snapped this shot looking south at the field:

I was then presented with an obstacle... I told the controller I wanted 5,500 on the return, but as I climbed, I noticed that there was a pack of snow clouds in my way. I requested and was granted a higher altitude. I leveled off at 7,500 and just cleared the "bridge" you see pictured below:

After that, I dipped back down through a hole about 2,000 feet in diameter and was clear of clouds.

It ended up being a fun little adventure.

Until next time...