Friday, June 7, 2013

DSWT Day 3 - Change in Plans

After Bryce my plan was to fly up to Spanish Fork airport near Provo, Utah on Monday to visit my friend Alan. He was the one that inspired me to visit Bryce Canyon with his frequent trips to that airport and beautiful picture of his plan parked in front of the Bryce Canyon hanger. Before I went on the tour of the canyon I texted him to check the weather on his end and send me his estimate of likelihood of making it up there. He said maybe but suggested I should get some rest.

After I did the canyon tour I came back to my hotel and reviewed the prog charts. Not only would I have to get up to Spanish Fork Monday, I'd have to fly back down to Sedona the following day, Tuesday. So I had to consider not only the TAFs and Area Forecasts but the progs became even more important. What is the big weather picture what would it be in two days time? When I reviewed the progs I saw a cold front sliding north to south across Utah and then parking itself for at least 48 hours in central Utah, becoming an occluded front. There didn't seem to be major weather associated with it, but I wasn't sure flying through that front would be pleasant (turbulence could be bad crossing a front for instance).

After my experience the prior two days I wanted to do the best I could to ensure a pleasant flight for myself. I also was very tired. I'd done just short of 7 hours of solo cross country flying in the previous two days and I was beat. The idea of flying directly to Sedona and parking myself there for an extra day to recharge was becoming more and more attractive. Finally I made my mind and told my good friend I wouldn't be coming up to see him. He agreed with my decision, especially with the decision to rest.

Once the decision was made I knew it was the right one. I'll never know what the weather would have been like or if there really was turbulence in that front, but my gut, instincts, whatever you want to call it, said it was a good thing to do directly to Sedona and take care of myself.  Such is the nature of single pilot flying in small airplanes, it is important to take care of the pilot too!

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