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Thursday, January 15, 2015

Budgets and Flying IMC

Today's post was shared by CAAA and comes from

Sunday was a great flight to go see Mom.
The second of two troughs of low pressure was making its way through Southern California bringing steady rain, low overcast, mist, low visibility, no icing threat below 9,000 feet, no forecast turbulence - all the makings for a great Instrument Meteorological Conditions instrument flight.
In Southern California, IMC flight is a rarity, so I relish every chance I can get to go do "actual" instrument flight. Not the fake stuff where you have a safety pilot or an instructor, but the real deal where you really can't see, and really must pay attention, and really must be "on your game" because the consequences of failure are catastrophic.
In congested air space, such as Southern California with a couple of Class Bravo sectors, numerous Class Charlie zones and untold Class Delta spaces, the Federal Aviation Administration has established Terminal En-route Clearances. These are basically pre-approved instrument flight plans. All a pilot need do is call up Air Traffic Control on the ground to get a clearance - no filing of plans an hour before take off - and the route is well established and published.
The TEC system is custom made for missions such as mine: getting down south to see Mom on a day when the weather keeps most pilots on the ground.
And so off I went, into the wild grey yonder!
It was an impeccably precise flight. Everything was perfect: my on course tracking, altitude assignments, standard rate turns, engine...
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