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Hunting clouds in a small plane

Very often, a VFR pilot wakes up in the morning, looks at a gloomy sky and has to make the call whether to go on with a planned flight. This call is sometimes very difficult to make. Chasing clouds definitely requires some luck.

I woke up at 5.00 am because of the rain. Half asleep I couldn’t avoid thinking of the weather I would find two hours later and if I would manage to fly at all. However, the rain stopped quickly. I checked the meteo forecast for Frankfurt Egelsbach (which, unfortunately does not have a METAR anymore): 16.5 C, 91% humidity and weather improving over the day.

Now, you may or may not know that you can estimate the cloud height with a simple rule of thumb:

(local temperature – dew point) * 400m where the dew point is simply the local temperature multiplied by the humidity rate.

In this case, the result gave me the hope of having a very special flight with scattered clouds at low altitude. In airspace G, (the closest to the ground in uncontrolled space, more info here) you are required to simply keep clear of clouds but have no specific requirement for horizontal separation. However, please, always respect the Rules of the Air and don’t take risks. Entering a cloud in VFR is a top killer of pilots and very likely to disorient even most expert pilots.

I am going to remember the flight for a very long time. Dancing with the clouds, chasing and flying around them is a very special way to start your day. The contemplation of nature is what make flying very special for me (check this article too). So, after this very special dance I returned to the airfield very grateful for the breathtaking images I engraved in my mind.

But you are lucky, because I also caught them on tape!

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