The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

New Jersey weather sucks

I passed my solo cross-country check ride on 18 July 1999. In theory, I could have flown my two required solo cross-country flights the next weekend, and finished up the other required flights and my FAA check ride the following two weekends.

I finished the private pilot certificate requirements on 17 October 1999 but I couldn't take my check ride for weeks because of the friggin' weather. (In fact, my first attempt got scrubbed for weather.)

My flight school had certain minimum standards for weather. It required winds less than 22 km/h for solo flights, and in addition, for local solo flights:

  • ceilings must be 3,000 ft (950 m) or higher, and
  • visibility must be 5 mi (8 km) or better.

For cross-country solo flights:

  • ceilings must be 5,000 ft (1500 m) or higher,
  • visibility must be 7 mi (11 km) or better, and
  • the flight must leave the ground by 09:00, even if the weather will obviously improve later.

And for any flight with an instructor:

  • ceilings must be 2,000 ft (650 m) or higher, and
  • visibility must be 3 mi (5 km) or better.

So this shows why I have cancelled so many flights this summer. A  green  box means the weather met the requirement. A  yellow  box means the weather met the requirement for local, but not cross-country, flight. A  red  box means the weather officially sucked.

Mo Tu We Th Fr   Sat Sun
July 1999
19 20 21 22 23   24 25
26 27 28 29 30   31  
August 1999 1
2 3 4 5 6   7 8
9 10 11 12 13   14 15
16 17 18 19 20   21 22
23 24 25 26 27   28 29
30 31 September 1999
  1 2 3   4 5
6 7 8 9 10   11 12
13 14 15 16 17   18 19
20 21 22 23 24   25 26
27 28 29 30  
October 1999 1   2 3
4 5 6 7 8   9 10
11 12 13 14 15   16 17
18 19 20 21 22   23 24
25 26 27 28 29   30 31
November 1999
1 2 3 4 5   6 7
8 9 10 11 12   13 14
15 16 17 18 19   20 21
22 23 24 25 26   27 28
29 30 December 1999
  1 2 3   4 5
6 7 8 9 10   11 12

This table shows exactly how the weather sucked at 09:00--the solo cross-country dispatch time--on the days when I could otherwise have flown since my cross-country check ride. (The weather shown is the weather for Essex County Airport).

Date Ceiling Visibility Winds Did I fly?
Sat. July 24 unlimited 4 mi (haze) 4 kts Cancelled
Sun. July 25 unlimited 6 mi (haze) 4 kts Local solo
Sat. July 31 1500 ft 1.5 mi (mist) calm Cancelled
Sun. Aug. 1 unlimited 6 mi (haze) 3 kts Local solo
Sat. Aug. 7 unlimited 10 mi 7 kts Cross-country solo
Sun. Aug. 8 unlimited 3 mi (haze) 7 kts Cancelled
Sat. Aug. 14 2200 ft 1 mi (rain) calm Cancelled
Sun. Aug. 15 1300 ft 5 mi (mist) 5 kts Local dual
Sat. Aug. 21 1400 ft 3 mi (rain) 5 kts Cancelled
Sun. Aug. 22 2300 ft 10 mi 3 kts Cancelled
Sat. Aug. 28 unlimited 2 mi (haze) 3 kts Cancelled
Sun. Aug. 29 unlimited 3 mi (haze) 5 kts Cancelled
Sat. Sep. 4 unlimited 6 mi (haze) 7 kts Local dual
Sun. Sep. 5 1,800 ft 7 mi 8 kts Cancelled
Sat. Sep. 11 unlimited 10 mi calm Local dual
Sun. Sep. 12 unlimited 20 mi calm Local solo
Sat. Sep. 18 unlimited 10 mi 5 kts Nope; out of town
Sun. Sep. 19 unlimited 10 mi calm Nope; out of town
Sat. Sep. 25 10,000 ft 2 1/2 mi calm Local solo (11 am)
Sun. Sep. 26 unlimited 10 mi 2 kts Nope; out of town
Sat. Oct. 2 unlimited 7 mi 3 kts Nope; see note (*)
Sun. Oct. 3 unlimited 10 mi calm Local solo (3 pm)
Sat. Oct. 9 5000 ft 8 mi 6 kts Nope
Sun. Oct. 10 6500 ft 1/2 mi calm Nope
Sat. Oct. 16 2200 ft 6 mi calm Nope
Sun. Oct. 17 0 (fog) 1/4 mi calm Final phase check (11:00)
Sat. Oct. 23 unlimited 7 mi 5 kts Nope
Sun. Oct. 24 unlimited unlimited 4 kts Local dual
Sat. Oct. 30 400 ft 1 1/2 mi calm Cancelled
Sun. Oct. 31 700 ft 3 mi 4 kts Cancelled
Sat. Nov. 6 unlimited 10 mi 12-17 kts Cancelled (13:00)
Sun. Nov. 7 unlimited 10 mi 13-20 kts Cancelled
Sat. Nov. 13 3600 ft 10 mi 5 kts Local solo
Sun. Nov. 14 700 ft 3 mi calm Nope
Sat. Nov. 20 8000 ft 7 mi calm Local dual **
Sun. Nov. 21 9500 ft 1.75 mi calm Nope
Sat. Nov. 27 unlimited 10 mi 6 kts Examiner on vacation***
Sun. Nov. 28 unlimited 10 mi 4 kts Examiner on vacation
Sat. Dec. 4 unlimited 10 mi 6 kts Examiner on vacation
Sun. Dec. 5 unlimited 2.25 mi calm Cancelled

* An accident at 7:51 local time at the departure end of Rwy 22 forced the airport to close for most of October 2. The NTSB preliminary report strongly suggests pilot error caused the crash which injured five people, three seriously.

** That's the 9 am weather. By 3 pm, the scheduled start of my FAA practical test, the weather sucked. I postponed the flight portion of the practical test, and instead went up with an instructor to practice difficult crosswind landings.

*** Notice, will you, that until the 27th the weather completely sucked. The examiner went on vacation the morning of the 27th, and returned December 7th. Notice the weather in New York while he vacationed in Florida. Figures.