Would You Go? IFR Cross Country Into Low Ceilings And Scattered Storms

As an instrument-rated pilot, you’re set to navigate your Cessna 182 from KPGV in Greenville, NC to W31 in Lunenburg County, VA. Due to an approaching storm system and low cloud cover at your destination, filing an IFR flight plan is imperative.

Given the looming storm near Greenville, your departure is time-sensitive to navigate through a gap in the weather before facing light to moderate rain en route to Lunenburg. Evading the rain band and scattered storms spanning 150 miles in each direction is not feasible. However, beyond the rain, there’s a sizable 100-mile precipitation-free corridor to the North. Despite W31 indicating LIFR conditions presently, you have the option to divert to KRIC in Richmond, VA if necessary.

Covering a short 35-minute, 93-mile journey, ForeFlight suggests an IFR routing to avoid adverse weather conditions.

Weather reports along the route are as follows:

The main challenge lies in the weather at W31, where overcast skies persist at a mere 400 feet. With only RNAV circling approaches available, neither allows descent below cloud cover currently. Additionally, W31 features a single runway (02/20), measuring 3,000 feet in length and 50 feet in width.

The RNAV (GPS)-A approach, aligned with Runway 02, appears to be the most viable option, though breaking through the clouds to establish visual contact with the runway remains uncertain.

According to IFR alternate requirements, given W31’s current conditions and the absence of a TAF, filing an alternate is necessary. KRIC, located just 50 miles northeast, offers multiple ILS approaches, ensuring a reliable alternative.

Considering your proficiency and currency in instrument flying, along with the absence of immediate convective activity or heavy rainfall along your route, you’re equipped to handle the impending weather challenges. Although your aircraft is equipped with XM satellite radar, acknowledging its delayed data transmission of up to 15 minutes is crucial.

Ultimately, your decision to proceed hinges on a comprehensive assessment of current and forecasted conditions, balancing your confidence in instrument proficiency with the evolving weather dynamics.

To ensure safety, a thorough evaluation of available information, adherence to personal minimums, and readiness to adapt plans based on real-time conditions are essential.

Would you proceed with the flight?

If not, what additional information would you require to make an informed decision?

Feel free to email your decision and rationale to: scenarios@boldmethod.com.

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