Rock you like a Hurricane

I decided today would be a good day to head out of Martha’s Vineyard.  Hurricane Earl (currently a CAT 2 storm) was churning his way up the East Coast of the US through North Carolina’s Outer Banks.  The leading cloud cover ahead of the eye had already made its way up into New England.  The latest update from the National Weather Service was that Hurricane Earl would reach Cape Cod and the Islands on Saturday.  It was time to leave the peaceful island of Martha’s Vineyard.  I do hope to return again soon.

Approaching position and hold for runway 6 at KMVY

I checked out a Learjet 45 (FSX default aircraft) for the trip and plotted a course direct for Hurricane Earl (crossing safely above of course) for the warm beaches of Ft. Lauderdale and KFLL.  I wanted to check out the FSDT scenery I just purchased for that airport anyway.   Like I said, the leading wrap-around clouds had already made their way up into New England.  I was given clearance to depart runway 6 by the KMVY tower. The take-off and climb-out were uneventful.  Active Sky X does a very nice job depicting accurate wx conditions.  We made a turn to the east and began our flight down the coast.

Turning to the east. Leaving Martha’s Vineyard

There were certainly periods where the cloud cover (forward reaching bands from the hurricane) would completely disappear along the route.  As we passed along the New Jersey Coastline the cloud cover was open enough to make out the coastline areas.  But within minutes we had caught up with more bands.  We were getting closer and closer each and every minute.

Heavy clouds already starting to move up the New England Coastline Clearing just along the New Jersey Coastline. But for how long?

My flight path took us directly over the eye of Hurricane Earl.  The lightning below put on a nice show and while I’ve never been directly over the eye of a hurricane, Active Sky X depicts it from what I’ve seen on radar and even specifically what I saw on radar for this particular storm.  Of course the storm is not as defined since the satellite images are taken from much, much higher.  But you get the point.

The leading edge of Hurricane Earl

Crossing the eye of Hurricane Earl

Broken cloud layers just south of Earl’s position

Directly south of the eye was solid cloud cover.  As we traveled south from the eye the ride became a little bumpy for a few minutes and then everything was calm again.  Once we reached the coastline area of South Carolina all visible traces of Earl were gone.  The skies remained mostly clear the rest of the flight down to Ft. Lauderdale.  However, on approach things did begin to cloud up again and yes it was raining in what I thought would be a sunny and warm Ft. Lauderdale. 

Turning on final approach to runway 9L KFLL

Must keep my pace up as I’m being followed

Nice flow of vehicle traffic on the highway below.

I love the rain effect being kicked off the rear tires. We have arrived at KFLL

The fine print.  I certainly do not mean to take the impact of Hurricane Earl lightly.  My thoughts and prayers are with all those living along his path.  While I’m sure all commercial aviation steers clear (way clear) of these types of storms, the purpose of this flight and my blogging about it was to really test the accuracy of Active Sky X.  By all accounts I can testify that this software add-on for Microsoft Flight Simulator X is worth the cost.

Like all the flights I’ve flown, this one was a lot of fun.  I look forward to the next time I can get back in the cockpit and take to the skies. 

Until next time,

J


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