Sunday, August 13, 2017

Frontal Passage


This cup is so wise

On August 12, we set out on a weekend trip to visit Kent and his family in Kalamazoo. I debated about the weather in the days leading up to the trip because of a weak low pressure system forecast to be in the vicinity of Toronto with an associated cold front extending south near the Niagara River. Although thunderstorms were forecast in western New York later in the day, all data indicated that the morning was clear for a safe journey to our former home.

We flew IFR both ways, mostly in visual conditions. The route was familiar and routine, all of the expected things happened, there were no surprises, and even the Guard frequency was free of any especially puerile behavior. What stood out from this flight was the transition through the front. We found ourselves among some benign, yet fantastic cloudscapes. Images tell the story better than words ever could.


Date Aircraft Route of Flight Time (hrs) Total (hrs)
12 Aug 2017 N21481 SDC (Sodus, NY) - AZO (Kalamazoo, MI) 4.0 1679.7

Over the eastern suburbs of Rochester, NY. The large strip mall at lower right is Pittsford Plaza.

Over Buffalo, NY

These build-ups became a thunderstorm over Buffalo about an hour later

Threading the needle

Lake Erie from over Ontario, Canada

Lake Erie was muddy from severe storms in the area the night before.

A canal emptying into Lake St Clair...almost to Michigan!

We were vectored directly over Detroit Metro to accommodate a commercial push

ForeFlight depicted commercial aircraft queued up in pairs to land on parallel runways at Detroit Metro.
The green glide ring shows that we were turned directly into the wind as we crossed over Metro.

The Jackson-Reynolds Airport (KJXN) got a new runway (7-25) and the former main runway, 6-24, was partly removed

Descending toward Kalamazoo

Duncan Aviation at AZO rolled out the red carpet for us!

Ground track from FlightAware showing vectors around Detroit and a few small deviations for build-ups near Buffalo.
That storm over Buffalo popped an hour after we passed through. We could see it building.

The Return

Date Aircraft Route of Flight Time (hrs) Total (hrs)
13 Aug 2017 N21481 AZO (Kalamazoo, MI)- SDC (Sodus, NY)  3.5 1683.2

Fenton, MI

Lake St Clair from 9,000'

Port Huron, MI

Niagara Falls

Lake Ontario outlet of the Welland Canal and St Catherine's Airport in Ontario, Canada

Shy Bear

Disheveled Bear

Ground track from FlightAware showing vectors around Detroit (again) and a weather deviation near Niagara Falls