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Would You Go? Ceilings Are 1900' With 6SM Visibility And Light Rain

Making go/no-go decisions isn't always easy, especially when it comes to marginal weather. Take a look at this scenario, make your decision, and tell us what you'd do by emailing us at

Let's get started!


The Flight Scenario

You're an instrument-rated private pilot, but not instrument current, and you need to fly from Tulsa (KTUL) to Clinton (KCCA) for a meeting. Your plane is in good condition and certified for IFR. It's midday, and conditions to the West are VFR, but become progressively more marginal (MVFR) along your route to Clinton.

You've flown the route a few times before. The small hills of the Upper Buffalo Wilderness provide your only terrain consideration, rising to a maximum of approximately 1000' AGL. Two thin bands of light rain showers cross your route (they're slowly moving West to East) and there's no way to check the conditions beneath. There's no convective activity and no risk of icing.


Red dots indicate IFR conditions, blue dots indicate MVFR conditions, and green dots indicate VFR conditions.

Diverting to the north isn't possible due to widespread IFR conditions around Bentonville. Flying to the south means flying into heavier rain showers. The TAF at Tulsa remains VFR, but there's no TAF at or near Clinton. Here's the current weather...

KTUL METAR (Departure): KTUL 111953Z 3508KT 310V020 10SM FEW020 OVC200 23/15 A3002 RMK AO2 SLP240 T00001089

KFYV METAR (Enroute Mid-Point): KFYV 111953Z 3507KT 6SM OVC019 20/17 A2997 RMK AO2 SLP229 T10501056

KCCA METAR (Destination): KCCA 112015Z AUTO 29013KT 10SM OVC019 19/18 A2994 RMK AO2


Your Legal Requirements

Visual Meteorological Conditions (VMC) are determined by time of day, altitude, and airspace. Your route will be flown during the middle of the day. Depending on how high you want to fly, you'll either be flying in Class G or Class E airspace for the majority of the flight. These are your daytime VFR weather minimums:

  • Class G (Below 1,200' AGL): 1SM of Visibility, Clear of Clouds.
  • Class E (Under 10,000' MSL): 3SM of Visibility + 500' Below, 1,000' Above, and 2,000' Horizontally Clear of Clouds.

The weather stations along your route indicate that current conditions exceed legal requirements.


You're instrument rated and your plane is equipped to fly in instrument conditions, but the trip must be completed under VFR because you're not instrument current.

There's no great way to analyze the conditions below the two bands of light rain along your route. There's also an area of rising terrain midway through the route, but the hills only rise about a thousand feet.

You've always considered yourself a safe, cautious pilot, and you know you have the instrument skills to stay safe if conditions begin to drop. Because you've flown the route before, you're familiar with the terrain and airports nearby. You don't think this flight will result in "scud running," because ceilings are still relatively high. The flight has you stumped because the weather exceeds legal requirements, but you won't be able to fly as high as you'd like.

What Would You Do?

There's a lot to take into account here, and there's no "correct" answer.

Would you go? Tell us your decision by sending us an email to or leave your comment below to tell us what your go/no-go decision is, and why.

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