Certain things just are not covered in books especially when it comes to flight planning.
I am hoping on Saturday to go up to KOWB and return on Sunday. The huge difference between last week and this upcoming weekend will be the temperatures if the forecast trues out.
Obviously you can’t (according to the books) accreate ice unless you are in visible moisture laden conditions (AKA clouds). The problem with my flight GPS direct due to MOA considerations the highest I can go is 7000 going up and 6000 coming back which this time of the year usually puts me in the action of clouds. Getting above the action may not be possible for airspace considerations unless I cancel IFR (not an option in my planning process). Going down to 4000 (or even 3000) puts me below radar coverage for parts of my flight. My experiences with clouds this time of the year usually find the clouds about 2 to 3 thousand feet thick right at my planned altitudes.
My only experience with icing is trace rime and I was in and out of the “wisps” of a stratiform cloud deck (on top) and I was surprised how **little **visible moisture it took to create the trace rime. Simple fix was to ask ATC 500 feet higher which was promptly approved.
The question is what if it’s partly cloudy? What are other peoples experience if the temperature is below freezing and there are pretty significant breaks in the clouds. Obviously one shoe doesn’t fit all, but is there a reasonable cloud cover percentage that would make it a no go vs a go decision. 50 percent cloud coverage or higher, would that be a no go for anybody? Common sense to see if there is only 20 percent coverage, it’s a go, but not so clear when you have more coverage then scattered.
I realize can check PIREPS naturally if there are any just before launch, but I also assume (we all know what that means) that it would be prudent to assume that partly cloudy conditions could cause ice build up. I also realize in the clear, that if I did get any type of ice, the clearing areas may allow for sublimination. Anybody have any experiences with freezing temps and partly cloudy conditions? Would love to hear the decision making process for those that have flown in these type of meteorlogical conditions.