Three Miles in Smoke and Haze

The top of that mountain is just about three miles from the front of my hangar--and this iPhone picture is making the visibility look better than it appears to the naked eye. Such is how we'll start out our Oshkosh trip if the smoke persists until morning. There's a big wildfire over the Sierra near Yosemite, and the smoke is settling over on the Nevada side. No winds, so it just chokes the valleys.

It was worse early this morning, but luckily, we're in a spot out in the middle of nowhere with VFR rules "One mile and clear of clouds." Here's hoping it is at least that good for departure tomorrow. One pilot left our airpark this morning headed east and reported smoke well into Utah!

Flying fifteen hundred miles across this vast country, over the Rockies and over the plains, I expect to deal with weather in July--and truthfully, I guess that smoke and haze is better than thunderstorms--but I expect we'll dodge a few of those as well.

Wherever you're coming from, if you're on the way to the Big Show, be smart, leave yourself an out, and remember--AirVenture lasts a whole week, so if you're a day late, you'll just miss out on one night of carousing.  Fly smart!

I'll write you from Oshkosh next

Paul Dye

Paul Dye, Kitplanes® Editor in Chief, retired as a Lead Flight Director for NASA’s Human Space Flight program, with 40 years of aerospace experience on everything from Cubs to the space shuttle. An avid homebuilder, he began flying and working on airplanes as a teen, and has experience with a wide range of construction techniques and materials. He flies an RV-8 and a Subsonex jet that he built, an RV-3 that he built with his pilot wife, as well as a Dream Tundra they completed. Currently, they are building a Xenos motorglider. A commercially licensed pilot, he has logged over 5000 hours in many different types of aircraft and is an A&P, EAA Tech Counselor, and Flight Advisor, as well as a member of the Homebuilder’s Council. He consults and collaborates in aerospace operations and flight-testing projects across the country.

3 Replies to “Three Miles in Smoke and Haze”

  1. I flew to Oshkosh from the Seattle area, crossing the Rockies through Mullan Pass. Most of Montana seemed to be on fire with smoke from the fires seemingly blending into the thin cirrus clouds above. Visibility was bad enough that I took a longer route to avoid the fires on the way home. My return trip crossed the mountains in southern Wyoming and on through Salt Lake city before following the valley through Boise to the Cascade Mountains near home. Thunderstorms and fires required multiple route changes in flight, so it was good to have electronic flight planning software to facilitate changes "on the fly". All in all it was quite an adventure.

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