Monday, 16 August 2010

High is good

I've noticed that the way I fly seems to be changing. There was time when I hardly ever ventured above 2,000' - an excursion to anything above 4,000 was unusual and anything above that was very rare indeed.

Then, because I had to on a few occasions I started flying higher. Now, when flying any distance, I find myself climbing higher. Coming back from France last week was a good example - cloud base was broken at about 3,500 with the tops at about 6,000 (or so I thought). I'd checked out the winds aloft, and although I wouldn't be picking up a great tailwind, the increase in TAS would more than compensate for the headwind component.

When it came to climbing, the tops turned out to be higher than my estimated 6k, and I had to climb to FL95 to be comfortably in the clear. The advantage of FL95 is that oxygen isn't required; on the day in question the air was silky smooth, the vast majority of the traffic was thousands of feet below and VHF reception was fantastic meaning that I could find out about D036's activity before even leaving the coast of France. Of course, that altitude also gives a few more options on the crossing between Cherbourg's MP and SAM.

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