It's rained 24 days so far this month (March), an all-time record for this area, and more's on the way. That's not as irritating as the more than forty days in a row that it rained on me once when I lived in London, but the constant drizzle and (sometimes) heavy rain's played havoc with my flying schedules, and I've had to cancel several planned IFR flights in the past two weeks. The latest cancellation being Sunday's long-planned trip in one of the club's G1000 172's down to San Luis Obispo (KSBP) and back for lunch and IFR practice under the hood with Boyan B., my usual flight-share partner, as safety pilot (and flying his leg VFR).
It's not that we probably couldn't get there and back fairly safely VFR, it's that we couldn't do it IFR: the icing levels are well below the MEA, and although the ceilings are fairly high, there's cloud everywhere now and forecast for tomorrow at and below the relatively high MEAs needed to get to San Luis. And I'm not pleased with the idea of always looking over our shoulders worrying about the latest approaching cold front. Yes, I'd normally be fine with leaving the damn plane at Salinas or King City or somewhere like that and renting a car or taking a train to get back (and picking it up the next day), but that quite likely scenario (given this week's unstable weather) just doesn't appeal to me at the moment. All I really want to do is file and fly, dammit.
Southern California is a better bet for the "file and fly" scenario. Between TEC clearances and the warmer weather, our IMC is pretty much always flyable.
Also, the fact that SoCal's tops are rarely very high...usually marine layer stuff. The vast majority of the time, IFR in SoCal means you fly an instrument departure, pop up top in a few minutes, cruise in the clear, and do an instrument approach.
The sorta IMC that NorCal's having lately, you're not always on top even at FL250...so icing levels are always a concern. Plus turbulence and general nastiness. I've did several trips with multiple Oakland and San Jose turns last month, and it was consistently miserable flying.
NorCal (well, 'round here. at least) isn't usually much worse for file-and-fly than SoCal really, at least for the six month dry season. And even at this rainy time of year it's unusual to have more than ten or fifteen days of rain, most of it fairly innocuous. Not this year. Humph.
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