Have I mentioned recently…

…how glad I am that I have an instrument rating.

Flew home from Barnes airport (Springfield, MA) today. The plane was a bugger to start again, but we got it going. Entered a cloud layer about 2,000 feet off the ground, and was on top of an extremely flat layer at 4,500. We were up at 8,000 feet, but the layer below was so flat it was hard to tell how far above it you were or how fast you were going.

Just as on the way up, we could see the ground between Utica and Syracuse – this time there was a very distinct line between solid clouds below us, and then scattered clouds below us – it’s cool when you can actually see the front like that. Before we got to Syracuse the clouds filled in below us again. First it was a solid layer just a hundred or so feet below us, and then it dropped down and became more broken.

Rochester ATIS was reporting a 1300 foot ceiling and ILS 22 was in use. We were offered the ILS 28 with a side-step to 25, which would mean going straight in without any vectoring. We were on the localizer 30 miles out, and just followed it on in. We were in the clouds and rain for the last 20 minutes or so, and broke out at just about 1200 MSL, which barely gave me time to see and line up for runway 25 – I was just about to tell the tower that I was going to land on 28 before I spotted it.

If I didn’t have that instrument rating, I would have had to drive. And that would have sucked.

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