Flying Through Thunderstorms

I didn't know how dangerous the situation was. The air had been smooth but was starting to get bumpy. We had been in solid clouds since before Clovis, New Mexico. Center handed me off to Lubbock Approach Control who had given me vectors to intercept the localizer for the ILS approach. Then they cleared me for the approach.

Their last vector pointed me at that most primitive of all navaids, the non-directional radio beacon colocated with the outer marker called the 'outer compass locator.'  The ADF guided me to the outer marker. When the blue light on the instrument panel started blinking morse code for M and my headset did the same, I turned 'procedure turn outbound.' Since my intercept angle was almost 45 degrees, I thought that a teardrop entry to the localizer and glide slope would be much easier.

Lubbock Approach immediately blasted through with a very emotional, "Twin Cessna two four tango, what are you doing?"

"Two four tango, procedure turn outbound."

"Negative, two four tango. You're flying into a severe cell. Turn left heading..."

In that short time the turbulence had increased dramatically. I didn't have to be told twice to make the turn and perhaps use a little more angle of bank than I ordinarily would have.

Ah! The curse of embedded thunderstorms. I didn't have weather radar and ATC hadn't predicted thunderstorms nor did they advise me of them until I was about to become a statistic.

Talking to pilots who had more heavy weather flying than I then had, I was given some sage advice that I would like to pass on to you. Click here for your copy of Flying Through Thunderstorms. It's worth reading.

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