Decisions, decisions…

19 May

Last evening I received a phone call from my Uncle Harold in Illinois. He called to congratulate my on earning my private pilot’s certificate. He’s an old railroad man but he is also a pilot.

He called to chat for a bit about flying. He is in his 80’s. He quizzed me a bit on my flying, asking me about VFR minimums and weather. It was sort of a mini flight review. He used to be a CFI and was anxious to impart his wisdom for which I was happy to receive.

I asked him how he heard of me earning my PPL and he said he thought Aunt Dorothy told him.  Now Aunt Dorothy lives in Forsyth, MT about 500 nautical miles west of where I live in Central Minnesota. My mom’s family is spread out from Illinois, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Arizona, and a few other states but this summer there is a family reunion in June at my Aunt Dorothy’s. He ended his conversation with “We’re looking forward to seeing you at the reunion!”

The reunion in on a Saturday and I have been contemplating renting a plane and flying out for the reunion. There is an airport in Forsyth, MT. I checked and there are several other airports along the way. It would be a little over five hours of flying from home to Forsyth. It would be a true “cross-country” flight in my book.

While in flight training we had to plan a long-cross country flight. It did not take the kind of planning that would be required for a five-hour flight. I’m excited at the prospect of taking the flight if the weather permits.

One thing I know for sure from flying is that weather is unpredictable. So while I would love to fly to Montana if the weather isn’t good, I won’t. This means that I will have to be watching the weather for days in advance to look at the weather patterns and make a decision. If the weather is at all iffy that means hopping in the car and driving instead of flying. If I wait too long to decide then I won’t make it to the reunion.

It’s a common dilemma for pilots. Some make bad decisions and put themselves and others at risk because they have their heart set on flying and not driving or they don’t allow enough driving time to attend an event if the weather seems to turn.

Even if the weather looks good for my departure time and I decide to fly there is always the possibility of not making the reunion because of the weather changing in some part of my route. If the weather doesn’t look good all the way through to the destination and back at the time of my departure, I will have to cancel and miss the reunion.

Between now and the reunion I have to decide. What is more important, attending the reunion or flying? If it is attending the reunion then I had better plan on driving and allow enough time for it. If it is some flying time then I will choose to fly to Montana for the reunion but if the weather is not great then I will cancel my flying time and look for another flying adventure at another time.

I hope the stars align for some flying.


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21 responses to “Decisions, decisions…

  1. carldagostino

    May 19, 2011 at 8:21 am

    I did an airplane fiction post 11/6/10 you may enjoy. I do not mean to promote myself on your blog so delete my comment but this was only way I could tell you.

  2. flyinggma

    May 19, 2011 at 8:26 am

    I’d love to read your post this afternoon when I have some time Carl. Thank you for sharing, Jeanne

  3. harrisonjones

    May 19, 2011 at 9:49 am

    Sounds like a fun trip, Jeanne, and I’m glad you’re thinking ahead to set priorities for making the go/no go decision. You will make many more in your flying career.

    • flyinggma

      May 19, 2011 at 10:38 am

      It should be a fun trip if everything works out for it. Otherwise it will be a beautiful but long drive to see everyone.

  4. pearlsandprose

    May 19, 2011 at 11:18 am

    My dad flew his own plane and said the weather is everything. Is the reunion every year? If not, then I would want to drive to ensure I got there. Hope you get to fly!

    • flyinggma

      May 19, 2011 at 3:05 pm

      The reunion is only once every five years so it’s important to be there. I will be hopeful for the weather to cooperate but if not I will allow plenty of time to drive.

  5. writerwoman61

    May 19, 2011 at 12:17 pm

    I like to play it safe…for me, I would plan to drive to the reunion to make sure I got there. With my luck, if I planned to fly, there would be a freak snowstorm or something…


    • flyinggma

      May 19, 2011 at 3:06 pm

      I just heard yesterday that Colorado is bracing for about 18 inches of snow in the mountains this week. I haven’t checked to see if it actually happened.

  6. Thomas Stazyk

    May 19, 2011 at 4:01 pm

    Hope you can do it! Could you do it just on the homeward leg? Hitch a ride to the reunion and then fly home? That way if you got delayed along the way you wouldn’t miss the reunion but you’d still have the experience of doing the flight?

    • flyinggma

      May 19, 2011 at 4:48 pm

      It would be a great idea but I need to rent the plane at the airport where I did my flight training and it needs to be returned there so a one-way shot doesn’t work out well.

  7. Carol Ann Hoel

    May 19, 2011 at 4:15 pm

    Whether you drive or fly, enjoy the reunion, Jeanne. I hope, if you decide to fly, the weather will not let you down and spoil your day. Blessings…

    • flyinggma

      May 19, 2011 at 4:49 pm

      I hoping for clear blue skies for the trip. I love flying to new places. The reunion will be great whether I fly or drive. Always fun to hear the old stories and reconnect after so many years.

  8. nrhatch

    May 19, 2011 at 4:31 pm

    Thomas’s idea seems worth considering, Jeanne.

    Hope it works out that you can fly to the reunion. That would be a blast.

    • nrhatch

      May 19, 2011 at 4:31 pm

      Loved the photo!

      • flyinggma

        May 19, 2011 at 4:52 pm

        The photo is of an Osteospernum hybrid. It’s an annual and my favorite addition to this year’s flower bed. I love finding unique flowers and plants to add interest.

    • flyinggma

      May 19, 2011 at 4:50 pm

      Thomas had a great idea if it were possible to rent a plane out west and just fly it to Minnesota and not back to Montana.

  9. pattisj

    May 19, 2011 at 11:33 pm

    That is quite an interesting flower. However you manage to get there, I hope you have a safe & wonderful trip.

  10. klassikurvz

    May 20, 2011 at 8:16 am

    Congratulations. Follow your instincts. The flower is a beauty. I know you will enjoy yourself, driving or flying safely.

  11. flyinggma

    May 20, 2011 at 9:23 am

    Thanks. The flower is one of my favorites this year. We will definitely have fun at the reunion no matter our mode of transportation.

  12. dancingfreak

    May 22, 2011 at 9:56 am

    wow so cool!!!

    come on chill.. you know what u want…

  13. flyinggma

    May 22, 2011 at 5:33 pm

    I know that I would love the experience of flying to the reunion if I can do it safely 🙂 Only time and weather will tell.


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