Sunday, October 09, 2005

Scud Running

Scud running is a term that describes flying beneath a low layer of clouds, sometimes in marginal weather and/or poor visibility. When I got my private pilot license, scud running was one activity that was outside of my comfort zone for flying by visual flight rules -- beyond my personal weather minimums. It just seems like a bad idea. My conservative minimums did keep me on the ground some days I wanted to fly. That's one reason I went for an instrument rating so I could fly through the clouds and avoid the risks associated with scud running.

This site shows in pictures the dangers of scud running in the mountains. Even in the flat areas of Ohio, scud running can be dangerous. Many months ago, Dianne and I saw a plane scud running on the south edge of Dayton -- probably going to Dayton-Wright brothers airport. It was an overcast day and the clouds were low. I was shocked to see a plane flying so low. The plane was very low in order to stay below the clouds, but they were flying in the vicinity of many towers that extended into the clouds. Last Friday in Ithaca, NY, a plane crashed on approach to the Thompkins County airport. The description here sounds like scud running. The picture shows the outcome. We were driving into Ithaca from Binghamton and it was raining fairly hard and there was a solid layer of clouds that must have been low. Not a good idea to fly visually in those conditions.

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