I started out at Sporty’s for their boy scout aviation education event. Sporty’s setup a great program for the boy scouts to earn an aviation badge. The scouts went through each of 6 stations lasting 20 minutes each and were taught about aerodynamics, aviation instrumentation, proper preflight procedures, helicopter flight characteristics, foam airplane building and how hot air balloons work.
The event wrapped up at 2pm, I was excited to get started on my long journey home. I fueled Estelle before the event so all I had to do was walk around and make sure no one bent anything, then I was on my way.
My ideal route would take me Southwest from Ohio through Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas and then along the Mexico boarder towards home. I started the day late so I knew I was not going to make it home but I was hoping to get 5 of the 15 hours of flying behind me. It didn’t work out that way….
Before I left Ohio I checked the weather and noticed there was a line of bad weather across my route just East of Cape Girardeau Missouri. I decided I would land at Cape Girardeau, fuel up and study the weather for a possible route through. I studied and watched, waited and looked again. The weather was almost acceptable. My minimums are not to put myself in a weather situation that I can’t back out of and unfortunately between me and my next pocket of clear there was cheeky weather that was producing poor visibility and low ceilings on both sides of the route. Taking this flight would risk the weather closing in and that could cause undesirable effects for me and my insurance company.
It was so hard to sit at an airport, under blue skies, longing for home and having to make the decision to stay the night even though there were hours of daylight left. I can see how people in this exact situation get themselves into trouble. It was clear blue skies at Cape Girardeau airport, it was clear blue skies just 150 miles to the West, if only I could make it through the line of weather I would be literally in the clear. My father taught me when I was learning to drive that it was not worth the 30 seconds you save to make a rash decision and cause an accident. I had to remind myself that it is not worth rushing to get home only to get myself in to trouble en route.