One big source of stress around flying is indecision: if all things (people, weather, and equipment) are perfect, it’s an easy choice to fly; if something’s clearly awful (you have the flu, there’s freezing rain, the plane has a major mechanical problem), it’s an easy choice not to fly. If it’s somewhere in the middle, the stress starts — is it really worth letting yourself or other people down because of a forecast for a chance of X or Y that probably won’t happen?
To reduce that stress, I’ve long wanted to put together sets of personal weather minima. Here’s my first draft, for IFR flight in a Piper Cherokee.
Personal day IFR minima
- Destination forecast meets standard alternate minima for ceiling or visibility, or a nearby larger airport does.
- Freezing level forecast at least 2,000 feet above MEA.
- No worse than scattered CB forecast along route.
- No severe turbulence forecast along route (at my altitudes).
- Always within 60 minutes of a usable diversion airport.
Personal night IFR minima
- All day IFR minima.
- Freezing level forecast at least 4,000 feet above MOCA.
- No worse than isolated CB, TCU, or ACC forecast along route.
- Always within 45 minutes of a usable diversion airport.
- No CB or TCU forecast at destination.
I don’t want the minima to be so lengthy that I ignore them, so strict that I start making exceptions, or so lax that they don’t really help me make the fly/no-fly decision. I’m very interested in feedback from other pilots — please let me know what you think, good or bad.