I used ALL the technology on Sunday, 7/29


#1

Was an interesting cross country from Moline to Windham Ct on Sunday.

We were IFR @ 11000 [9490P] and took off @ 8.40CDT for home. Wx was good til we got to BKL. Clouds then started building. I did a few 10 degree diverts and then went to the storm scope and it showed lots of activity building @ SLT VOR and eastward.

Technology is big on my panel. We have a GNS530 with a GPSS autopilot function, an HSI along with a WX-500 storm scope and a S-Tec 60-2 autopilot with altitude preselect. Rounding out the technology is a GPS396 with XM weather. I used all of it, including the brain inside my head, and 35 years of being a weather buff and knowing some of the physics of the storms.

There was a stalled front from Cleveland across PA to Long Island. The XM WX showed lots of storms building from LHY into NY, to NYC across Long Island. I asked for and got 12000 eastbound to stay above the rapidly building cumulus. I visually saw the TSRA at SLT and the stormscope was showing stikes and cells out to 200nm in a line stretching from SLT-IPT-JFK-FRG. Another rain shower had popped up in western CT.

I looked at METARs from airports in western NY north of the PA line and saw clear skies, or sct5000 - which is normal summer inland wx. So I asked for diversion direct SFK and we flew through some moderate turbulence as we could not avoid some of the buildups. My biggest fear was that the cumulus would all sudden blossom around me - giving me no place to go. The line of clouds was about 50 nm wide and I was in the middle of it. This is where brains came in - I watched the clouds around me and they were going up at no more than 200-300fpm - I could out climb in my Comanche, so I figured if it got bad I could go up and head straight for the exit. I still had most blue sky around me and could do-si-do around the clouds.

We crashed through one especially turbulent cloud and then broke into an area with haze at about 10000, which had capped the building cumulus north of the frontal trace.

At this point, the storm scope was going crazy with rates as high as 38-45. There were storms every 2030nm along the line I indicated earlier, which was essentially my route home.

The nexrad displayed cells, there was a convective sigmet now in effect, and I could see and hear NYC bound jetliners holding at SLT above me. I later found out there was 2-3 hour delays into the NYCCT airports due to the TSRA - another reason for GA. We had no ATC delays.

I used the storm scope together with the nexrad, saw how nexrad was displaying radar cell movement, and looked at the chart and called ATC with a new routing request. After a couple minutes they got back to me cleared as filed. Another good reason to be able to go /G. My route took me north of most of the activity and then in between 2 essentially stationary cells over western CT and NE CT near Worcester, MA. I remained in the clear skies most of the time which helped with storm avoidance.

During the descent, there were several little pop-up storms here and there which ATC got us through with a little negotiation. At one point Bradley wanted to turn me directly into the storm and I asked them for a different heading - they told me their scope showed only level 2 - and I told them we were 20nm away from it in clear skies and getting constant light turbulence and there was no way I taking that heading.

BDL then gave a about ten degrees left and we split the difference between 2 storms. Ahead of us was another TSRA 16nm away from my destination airport and heading away from it at only 5knots. When I checked the weather when I was 50 and 35nm out it was wind calm. when I checked it 20 nm out it was 200@9 and then when I was 10 out it was up to 190@11G14.

I kept my speed up and landed to the south smoothly and the storm never got to the airfield.

All in all a safe arrival that used every bit of technology on the airplane for weather avoidance. The lesson to be learned is that without the storm scope and XM WX it would have been the blind leading the blind as to wx location and what was really happening. Flying blind, like people did for 99 years, seems pretty risky now.


#2

The NEXRAD uplink is wonderful. We had it in the Pilatus, along with METARS, TAFS, and textual AIRMETS and SIGMETS. We don’t have any of that in the Piaggio. :confused:
For all of it’s amazing avionics, all we have for weather avoidance is the onboard radar, ATC and other aircraft reports, and our own eyes.
We do have the added ability to be able to climb above 90% of the weather enroute though.


#3

Great post cfijames. I used to fly a Comanche - you must have the best panel in the fleet!

Three questions: did the stormscope agree with the XM weather on the 396 or did they give you different information? If they disagreed, would you use the stormscope info or the 396? How much did the time lag on the satellite weather change what you could see out the window vs. what showed on the 396?


#4
  1. there were a few times there were electrical discharges showing on the scope long before [10 min] before there was rain painted on the nexrad. But - i’ll get the occasional discharge on a clear day once in a while. On this occasion, however, the mark 1 eyeball would paint a towering cumulus in the rough location of the indicated lightning - I would believe there was lightning in the cloud even if there was nothing on the nexrad - it takes a while for the rain to be received and uplinked. Thats why you do not use the uplink Wx as tactical avoidance.

  2. in THIS circumstance, and given what I saw out the window, and the forecast and the convective sigmet [and no doubt the moderate and severe turbulence in the cloud if I’d gone there] I trusted the storm scope.

  3. As I said - time lag was 10-15 min. Pretty much in agreement with the information from XM Weather Services.

When storms are forming - you need to pay attention since the storm scope will paint the lightning from the updrafts and downdrafts before the radar will register the rainfall since many radars are designed to not paint the virga, which is what a building TSRA is since there is no rain out of the cloud yet.


#5

This was unusual trip = headwinds BOTH ways.

There are maybe 5-7 days a year where at 11000 all the way from Moline [west of ORD] to the NY/PA border near Scranton you get headwinds all the way. Thats 700nm of winds from the east over the center of the continent.

That is AMAZING.


#6

Credit where credit is due, belongs to erisajd.

Now that it’s been a few months, how do you like the Comanche versus the Viking? Are you still going down to Beaufort?


#7

I will always have a soft spot for 78E. The 260C does the mission perfectly and in comfort. The cabin is 48" wide while the Vik was 42. Huge cargo area and rear removable bucket seat make me and 2 guys, golf bags and luggage for a week an easy event with full fuel.

My perfect airplane would be this Comanche 260C turbo’d. I really could have used the altitude ability to get to 15 or 17k and get out of the headwind.

But then, I’d only gain about 15kts in TAS and fuel burn would go from 11.5 to 15 or 16 - which means I never would have made it nonstop the 831 miles. Everything in aviation is a trade off.

We’ll be in Beaufort Aug 14-28. . . . if you come through give me a holler - comanchepilot at comcast dot net a day or two b4 so I can be available. . .


#8

WARNING!! For a tall, skinny spud the boy can eat!

But, he’s been known to perform chores around the homestead for grilled Johnsonville brats… :wink:


#9

well JHEM - us folks down home in Beaufort go for low country boil or crab cakes at Barbara Jeans a couple miles from 73J -

i’m sure cfijames been dere a time or three . . .

I’ll just make sure we meet for a meal the day he’s flying - will keep the liquor bill down . . …


#10

I watched the lightshow approach LI Sound and the north shore as we drove from Islip back to home Sunday afternoon.

Upon arrival we found that our immediate neighborhood had been pummeled by a severe storm resulting in more than 100 trees down, numerous damaged homes and widespread power outages.

courierpostonline.com/apps/p … 10370/1006

and

courierpostonline.com/apps/p … /707300350


#11

Crab boil and cakes! Make him go Dutch!!! :laughing:

He could pick crabs before he could walk.


#12

Or get GAMI injectors and run lean of peak at 12-13 GPH. That’s what they do with the same engine on a turbo Trinidad.


#13

GAMI’s are not that important for a Lycoming . . .

my engines runs just fine lean of peak, but I’m not going faster. So, even if I had a turbo for the 260, if I’m LOP I’m only going 150 ktas anyway with a turbo - so whats the point?

150kts TAS LOP with a turbo and 12gph or non-turbo and 11.5gph and 150ktas?


#14

In a turbo Trinidad, with the same engine as a 260C, you see 167 kt TAS (say at 2350 X 28" mp) and burning 11.5 gph operating LOP EGT. Admittedly the airframes are different, but I don’t think they are 17 kts. different.


#15

I’m slow but also at 200 under gross most departures.

I gotta have a gear dragging or something . . .

after 36 years it needs rigging too -

but since she’s getting painted next year, thats when that will happen . . .