Would You Make This Flight?


As part of a couple of blogs I’ll be doing on safety topics this week, here’s a chance to test your judgment. It’s a winter night in the mountains around Lake Tahoe and you need to get back to your homebase in Oakland, California, a flight of about 160 nautical miles.

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The weather is variable overcast from 3400 feet broken, 10,000 feet overcast to 11,000 feet broken. The freezing level is at 6000 feet and the highest terrain on the route is about 11,000 feet. There are no AIRMETS or SIGMETS and icing isn’t in the forecast.You’ll be departing after sunset.The judgment question is this: Would you make the flight in a piston single at night? How about during the day? How about a piston twin? If the single had a BRS system like the Cirrus, would that influence your decision?There’s not a right or wrong answer here, just opinions. What’s yours?