x-c to aiy

triple7

Well-Known Member
So my buddy and i filed ifr to aiy(atlantic city-bader field) yesterday. clouds were reported 5-7000 broken, but winds were hellacious out of the west--50k at 6000. we filed for 3000 east bound to stay out of any ice. as soon as we contacted departure out of manassas(hef) they had us (heading 320) makea left turn to 090. then they sent us on a left downwind (for 19r) at dulles for spacing. once we hit midfield at dulles we watched an airfrance heavy come in and land on the 1L. if that wasnt cool enough atc advised of traffic 12:00 and 12 miles-767 heavy. she cliimbed us to 4000 and we watched as the 767 passed 1000 ft below and about 1/2 mile off our left wing opposite direction. we were pumped. then we were told in intercept v-214 to bal. we had no gps so we were really testing our instrument skills. we navigated to bal and as we approached we had a c-130 pass 1 mile off our left wing and then climbing left turn behind us. again, awesome. we got a great view of baltimore harbor, and a southwest 737 departure from bwi. we flew direct smyrna and then direct acy/aiy. landed on rwy29. anyone who has flown that approach knows you are supposed to fly a right pattern for noise abatement. we were approaching on a left base so we took it out over the ocean, then came in on top of balleys casino--literally 100 ft high. windshear of about 10-15 knots on final in the arrow and the bay came up fast. she will drop when she loses power like a rock. full power and restablizied. saved the landing. greased it with wind 300 at 23. now my question. we were returnning at night after losing all our money and were at 4000 about 100 ft below a broken layer. atc kept ammending our clearance. then told us to climb to 6000. i knew there were several broken layers starting at 4000, and oat was 28 at 4000. we refused the clearance and he said "you cant climb because of clouds.?" in a rather condescending voice. well apparently that was the wrong answer because he vectored us all the way(th elong way) around bwi...dropped us to 3000 and apparently 3000 was the right altitude to hit major turbulence. bounced around the whol way home. we were vectored down the old vfr corridor back manassas. landed and was glad to be home. my question is, do you think is those layers were broken i would have had to worry much about hte ice. i dont have alot of experiecne with ice, and wasnt sure so i declined the climb. there was a chance we would have broken out on top. should i have climbed and then if we were in the clouds advised atc? 3000 ft put us at a warmer temp--about 33/34. anyone have experience wiht this situation. sorry so longwinded, but i wanted to share. and oh yeah, aiy is great about getting you gas and a taxi waiting but dont ask to use the restrooms. filthiest fbo ive ever been to.... EVER!
 

Cheechako

Well-Known Member
I think you did the right thing. The controllers may have been a bit perturbed about your refusing to go higher, but it would have been a lot worse if you had been in the clouds picking up ice with jet traffic below!

Sounds like a fun trip!
 

triple7

Well-Known Member
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AIY is a great airport, but you do get A LOT of windshear there.

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yeah, aiy was a great location to get to the strip, but the facilities left a lot to be desired......i guess im just spoiled wiht the nice stuff we have in manassas.
 

SteveC

Really?
Staff member
[ QUOTE ]
now my question. we were returnning at night after losing all our money and were at 4000 about 100 ft below a broken layer. atc kept ammending our clearance. then told us to climb to 6000. i knew there were several broken layers starting at 4000, and oat was 28 at 4000. we refused the clearance and he said "you cant climb because of clouds.?" in a rather condescending voice. well apparently that was the wrong answer because he vectored us all the way(th elong way) around bwi...dropped us to 3000 and apparently 3000 was the right altitude to hit major turbulence. bounced around the whol way home. we were vectored down the old vfr corridor back manassas. landed and was glad to be home. my question is, do you think is those layers were broken i would have had to worry much about hte ice. i dont have alot of experiecne with ice, and wasnt sure so i declined the climb. there was a chance we would have broken out on top. should i have climbed and then if we were in the clouds advised atc? 3000 ft put us at a warmer temp--about 33/34.

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That's probably a tough question for anyone else to answer for you.

There are a lot of factors that come into play with a decision like that if it's me in the left seat. I would be thinking back to the pre-flight weather briefing: where were the fronts, highs and lows located and what are they doing to the weather right now; are there any Airmets for ice; have there been any pireps of ice; if so, how much ice and at what altitudes and what types of planes have been reporting it; what did the ADDS site for experimental ice prediction show; what are the forecast bases and tops. Also, can you pick up any information from the pilots currently in the area? Have there been any reports of ice on the frequency? Does the controller have time to solicit any pireps in your area/altitude?

Under different circumstances, say if you had someone with considerable ice experience along with you, it might have been O.K. to try the climb - but *only* if you know you have a quick way out of trouble (i.e. descend to lower, warmer air, or if you know where the tops or layers are from pireps, etc) if you need it. Don't get yourself stuck in a bad position with no way out (for example, you're icing up fast, losing performace and can't climb, temps at the surface are still below freezing, and the bases are low - not the kind of experience anyone wants to get).

It sounds like you made the right decision based on what you've told us so far. Better to err on the side of caution, in my opinion. The other factors I've outlined above may be things that you think about the next time you're flying into a potential *situation*. The best plan of attack is to try to think through as many possibilities as you can before-hand, and have a preplanned strategy, then modify your plans to fit the actual situation that you encounter along the way.

Another thought just crossed my mind. As you gain experience, especially in the airspace you are becoming familiar with, you should pay attention to how ATC routes people in different situations. Eventually you'll start to see patterns of how low & slow IFR's are handled compared to VFR, compared to the jet traffic, and how they all fit together depending upon which runways are being used at major airports and their arrival routes. Once you learn some of the tricks you can find ways to negotiate with ATC to both of your benefits. Sometimes an altitude change can get you vetors directly overhead the major airport, or some flexibility in routing will get the altitude you want to avoid turbulence or ice.... There's usually lots of options, it's just a matter of (diplomatically) figuring out what works best.
 
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