Summer S/E IF Flying

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Hop Harrigan
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Summer S/E IF Flying

Unread post by Hop Harrigan » Tue Sep 12, 2017 11:38 am

OK, so summer is coming...better weather at the coast but thunderstorms on the highveld. So how does one handle an IF flight from the Cape Coast to Gauteng in an unpressurised single?
The options are FL F070 (probably not due to terrain clearance), F090 or F110 (max 2 hrs). So we're pretty much stuck with F090 with the option of requesting F110 for <2hrs.
Now the typical CB's over the FS and into Gauteng don't really play ball. They usually have bases around 7000' and tops too high to get over in an unpressurised single. So we are flying through the bases of these castles in the sky or weaving drunkedly around the buildups. My aerie is equipped with a Stormscope which helps to identify the no-go cloud bases and is reliable for avoiding the really big thunderstorms.
But is this the way to do it or does anyone have a better strategy?
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Re: Summer S/E IF Flying

Unread post by hlouw » Fri Sep 15, 2017 7:50 pm

Seems no one flies that low Hop. Also would like to know.
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Re: Summer S/E IF Flying

Unread post by Plettflyer » Sat Sep 16, 2017 6:04 pm

Plan for very early morning departures. Avoid the convective build-up.
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Re: Summer S/E IF Flying

Unread post by Hop Harrigan » Sat Sep 16, 2017 10:09 pm

Great advice!
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Re: Summer S/E IF Flying

Unread post by Iceberg » Mon Oct 02, 2017 3:07 pm

I've flown often from the coast inland IF and the other way too.

So the one thing is: fly in the morning as someone mentioned already.
I believe in the 2 rules regarding thunderstorms:
Rule 1.Fly in the morning.
Rule 2.Rule 1 does not always work. :wink:

Second option: See where the tops of the SC are. Then try to get above that. That means Fl110 or Fl120 for max 2 hours.
Then weave your way through the building CB's or penetrate if they are not that high yet. Mostly they won't hurt you. I often look at the ground shadow if visible - gives you an idea of how big it is. So if things get a bit rough you just grit your teeth and go through... :lol:
If anvils start to form - time for plan C...

Third option - plan C.
Fly IF to get away from the low SC at the coast and try to cross the escarpment. If you have a clear view of the ground and terrain below, and you know what the terrain looks like going forwards, ask for a descent to a VFR level below the bases. Then descend and continue VFR.
I did this once coming from Margate to FAWB. Past the escarpment I ducked down to level 085 - just below the bases. Just as well - there were storms and lots of lightning all around - with the help of my stormscope and the view out the window I could weave my way through the mess quite comfortably. On a normal summers day the bases are usually 8000ft and higher unless the rain is really widespread (upper air trough) - then it is probably best to wait till the next day and try again.

Lastly: have options to bail out along the way if needed - the more the better.
Safe summer flying to all.
The sky is not the limit....
ZS-MDK
Karl Eschberger

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