I flew freight for two years totally over 2000 hours. There was not one flight that was canceled for weather. If weather freaks you out, don't fly freight. On the other hand, if weather freaks you out, don't fly at all!
Let me put it this way - if it's legal weather, you're going to launch.
Now we all know legal doesn't necessarily mean safe, and what the most operators will expect from you is to launch and take a look. If you don't feel comfortable pressing on, you come back or divert - at least you tried, and that's it. No questions asked...
This is where you'll gain true PIC experience, and I'll tell you, it was the best and the most fun flying I've done in my career.
I am not minding my manners these days, for that I am sorry. It miffs me how someone who sweats wx would even consider a career in flying. I remember listening to you over the radio, on a dark lonely night, in the middle of the desert, near the London Bridge flying freight simply because it was a means to a better end. (Sorry about the run on sentence)
Please, don't get defensive, I was just trying to say low time pilots like Steve, and I haven't been exposed to the type of flying you (as a still moderatly low time pilot) have accumulated over the past 6+ years.
And since I instruct (and I apologize to you for that, sir) I am exposed to mostly people of my experience or lower, not a situation conducive to learning about flying freight.
So we post questions on this message board hoping to get some good insight by people have done it. Unfortunalty, I (probably Steve too) have to think twice about asking a question, and opening ourselves up to the assult of the slightly more expierced out there, who decide to critisize and belittle us for our honest quetions.
FG, how is a better way Steve and I could have gone about learning more about freight flying? Maybe a way that would have resulted in honest answers without the personal attacks?
And yea, I'll help out, you'll need 3 take offs and landings (can be touch and goes, as long as its not a tail wheel). They can be anytime, if you want to take her up at night they'll need to be 1 hour after sunset to 1 hour before sunrise and they all have to be full stops (even in a tricycle gear)
Here is a link to determine sunset time for you location.
Freight Dog is right fellas...I have been flying with a large freight operator for almost a year, and you will never see an off night because of weather. Companies will always look at the legal aspect of the weather and you must at least attempt a run at it. However, YOU are the PIC and may choose to cancel the flight, but, as you soon learn, most severe weather passes in due time and isn't always as bad as it looks on radar.
Take Florida this time of year for example. As pilots in training and CFI's, most of us look at the radar around 14:00 and don't even think twice about a long X-C. After a few weeks (maybe days, depending upon luck) you will learn that most weather is circumnavigable. Freight flying is a tough business. Anyone who operates here will tell you, myself included. But, just as with any other aspect of commercial aviation, you will have to deal with Wx. Whether its 500 pounds of checks and lab work, 500 or 5 passengers, that you haul...we all fly through the same garbage.
As for everyone jamming each other up on this board, you have to learn to take everything with a grain of salt. I actually find it humourous to read some of the replies... Don't be afraid to ask questions, but do expect to get some pretty harsh feedback from somebody. No matter what the post, someone is looking to slam you, so just expect it.
Real world freight flying and a little perspective
Yeah, I love all the chest thumping. It's hilarious.
First of all, no one would expect the FNG to go out at night and tackle the same weather that a guy with six years experience and 3500 hours can handle.
Not only that (and I've said this before) I used to take it pretty easy on my first day back to work after two weeks off. But I'll tell you what, after I was at work for a week I was out there doing the Dew, know what I mean?
Just 'cause I've got some time to kill I'll tell you a short story:
I started flying 135 in single engine planes VFR only, Class G airspace, wx mins 500 and two.
I'd occasionally have to navigate a mountain pass (in Alaska) with a full load, marginal wx on both ends, gusty winds, whiteout, blah, blah, blah...
When I first started, the more experienced guys told me to fly the passes low even when the weather is clear and a million because the passes look different when you go through them at 500 feet vs. 1000 feet.
So I'd simulate scud running when the weather was great. I'd pick my escape routes. I'd swing 180s to see how much room I needed, etc, etc, etc...
And then I'd set a personal minimum: I wouldn't tackle a certain pass lower than, say, 800 feet if the weather was crappy.
When you're flying a Navajo at night, IFR, over a mountain range it's the same thing. When the weather is good you take a lay of the land and check things out. You tell yourself: If I'm heavy and iced up and loose an engine which way would I turn? Or do I press on?
Here's a short CRM lesson: Psychologists have discovered that experienced pilots discern certain factors in a pattern in the same way that expert chess players can "see" certain moves in a pattern.
I hope I'm being clear enough.
What I'm trying to say is that with "experience" you'll be able to think a few "moves" ahead in the game. "Been there, done that" becomes more of a critical philosophy.
The Chinese call it Tao--"The Way."
To Buddhists it's Zen.
To me, it's called "payin' yer dues."
To the company it's a big pain the butt but it's the cost of doing business now get out there and FLY goddammit!!!!!
I’ve cancelled two flights in three years of freight hauling. Both times I didn't feel like flying through a huge pre-cold front line of storms. One A/C with radar and one without.
Flown through those type of lines before enough times to know that it wasn't fun and screw the company if they didn't like it. Nothing was ever said, at least to me, although my company mailbox had a picture of a vagina on it for a few days after the second time.
I've delayed a few waiting for mins or an alternate to come up but generally you should go take a look and if you don't like what you see... close your eyes.
If it's legal, you go. The only time I've ever completely cancelled the flight was one morning a couple months back when DEN was fogged in. 1000 RVR and stayed there for 3 hours, we were all running out of duty time, so the boss sent us home. Otherwise, you'll go and hold over the destination till the wx comes up, or take the stuff to an alternate, or go to your 2nd destination first and then try the first one, or fly 100 miles around the thunderstorm... You have to have the attitude of finding a safe and legal way to do it, rather than just giving up. Real life wx isn't usually as bad as they tell you in flight school, there are very, very few times when you have absolutely no options.
Caboclo is pretty much right. If it is legal you find some way to go or try different alternatives until something works. I have never cancelled but only delayed because severe weather changes alot over a few hours