Fog

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October 2005- It is the mildest of weather conditions facing pilots, and yet it can be the most deadly. It creeps in on “little cat’s feet” but can make even the most expensive airliner or business jet go someplace else rather than face it. Like an in-law, it comes sometimes when it isn’t predicted and seems to never leave—at least, not on your schedule.

Fog doesn’t sound like much of a problem until you are flying above it, are running low on fuel and hoping it will go away before you hear silence instead of your engine. I have dealt with all kinds of fog with all kinds of aircraft all over the world.

The most frustrating thing for me and possibly for you is the fact that you can often see right up through the stuff and still don’t have the visibility to be legal or safe. Most low visibility instrument takeoffs I’ve done with the airline resulted in us being in the clear above the fog well before our landing gear was up and in the wells. So… what is the danger of going ahead and taking off when you know you’ll be on top or at least think you will?

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