Deciding To Fly or Not to Fly

Friday lunchtime my wife needs to be here in San Diego to take me to a minor surgical procedure and then back home to Brawley. Rather than have two cars in town this seems like a perfect reason to use the privilege of being a pilot: I’ll go out Thursday night and pick her up.

I read about people flying to Oshkosh this week, or from here to Texas and the idea of trying to predict the weather on such a long trip boggles my mind. So here I am working out possibilities for the flight from MYF to BWC and I am already struggling.

  • The mid-afternoon and desert cumulus are here, last two days there has been towering cumulus at 6000 feet a couple of miles north of the route I would take. I get nervous around cumulus.
  • I can probably avoid them by leaving at 7 or 8pm but that means we wouldn’t get back to San Diego until 10pm or so, and that’s discounting dinner.
  • The forecast for the next two days is for “isolated thunderstorms” in the desert in the afternoons. 99 times out of 100 they are edging their bets and there will be none but the bulk of the route has no reporting stations
  • Finally, the runway lights are NOTAM’d out of service at BWC until further notice. I’ve landed no lights at MYF before and it was ok, never taken off with no lights. It’s probably no big deal but if the desert winds are up that all adds to the mix, and potential for trouble.

So it looks like I’ve already decided it’s a no-go though that won’t be decided until Thursday for sure; we’ll work out an alternate plan tomorrow. I tend to be over-cautious and perhaps all of you reading are shaking your heads wondering what is stopping me. A few long distance cross-countries will help me out but until then I will stay on the side of caution.