Turning Tail

It’s a common cliché that the PPL is a “licence to learn” and plenty of my recent flights since passing have been a string of “first times”.  First flight in own aircraft, first passenger, first different type and so on.

Today’s, less than glorious, effort was the “first turning tail and scuttling home from the weather.”

Perhaps it was overly optimistic from the start but the forecasts promised “isolated” showers, and a cloudbase that was not all that special but in theory ought to be manageable.  After all I was ‘only’ toddling a few miles west to drop off the aeroplane to the engineer, for its annual.

Marginal weather and a reason to be somewhere else.  The fact that this was the recipe for too many accidents was not lost on me and I promised myself that 1500′ was the absolute limit and if I couldn’t get that then I was coming back.

I couldn’t though resist the urge to take off and see what whether the flight was remotely achievable.

I was airborne maybe ten minutes before I realised it wasn’t.  Along the coast I was at 1000′ with the cloudbase a few hundred feet above me.  Inland and further west it looked level with or lower than me.

I was surprised how great the temptation was, even in the gloom, to break my resolution and settle for flying a bit lower.  Or a bit lower or a bit lower.


“Okay,” I said out loud to any listening weather gods.  “You’ve beaten me.  I’m going home.”

I landed feeling mildly abashed, and joined the small crowd in the café drinking coffee.

Probably wiser heads would have decided still on the ground that the weather was no go — next time I’ll stick with the coffee.

The following day, I needed no convincing to hang around until the weather finally improved mid afternoon.  The flight was pleasantly uneventful!

One thought on “Turning Tail

  1. David

    That’s exactly how I often feel. I’ve probably cancelled or truncated more flights than I’ve seen to originally planned conclusion, both before and after getting an IMCR. (In fact, I think one of the things the IMCR gives you is an even more acute appreciation of the weather and its effects.)

    In my view, and that of others to whom I’ve spoken, caution is much the best policy.

    I agree with you about the temptations to ‘give it a go’, but those old aviation sayings about being down here are entirely true.


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