When it comes to planning for a cross-country flight, private pilots have more platforms than ever to get immediate and up-to-date weather warnings and information. Prior to departure pilots have sites like Wxbrief, Fltplan, Garmin pilot, and of course a call to FSS, to name a few.
Most modern aircraft allow pilots to get WiFi. Wi-Fi has allowed for even more in-flight options for pilots to obtain weather reports from mobile apps like Jeppesen FliteDeck, ForeFlight, or Aeropointer.
With the abundance of platforms that private pilots can use to get critical weather information before their flight, getting caught in a storm or surprised by unanticipated weather should be an easily avoidable issue. Yet it continues to happen on a regular basis.
VFR into IMC is extremely dangerous and potentiality fatal. And recently, there has been an increase in education and awareness to help reduce these occurrences. So why do pilots continue to find themselves surprised and trapped by adverse weather conditions?
Research suggests the answer may be because of that exact abundance: with so many weather providers and weather-reporting products, it can be difficult for pilots to screen out non-essential data, focus on key facts, and expertly evaluate the risk.
Paired with an increase of severe and unpredictable weather patterns, it’s more important than ever for pilots to have a safe and thorough diversion plan for bad weather before taking flight. And in the case of dangerous weather, finding the closest diversion airport to you with available hangar space can be a lifesaver — for both you and your plane.
What is a Diversion Procedure?
A diversion procedure is an alternate or a “plan B” for when you need to change your destination while en-route in the event of unexpected and dangerous weather conditions, or if your plane is at risk of fuel exhaustion.
It’s important to have specific criteria for deciding when you need to divert, and to have the necessary training to quickly initiate a diversion when you need to. The idea is to establish in advance of your flight what you consider to be adequate weather conditions, your personal minimums, and then automatically cancel or divert if conditions fail to meet those minimum requirements.
It’s also critical to make an accurate estimate of the heading, ground speed, and fuel consumption to reach your alternate destination, as well as an approximate arrival time. And no diversion plan is complete without selecting a suitable alternate airport and route where you can store your plane until it’s safe to fly again. But finding the closest airport to you with hangar availability can sometimes be a challenge.
How to Find an Airport in the Event of a Diversion
The two most important factors in choosing an appropriate alternate airport for a diversion are:
- Most obviously, the new airport destination needs to be located where weather conditions are significantly better than your original destination, and
- It needs to be somewhere you can reach with your fuel reserve.
For most diversion procedures, you don’t have time or necessarily the availability to make numerous phone calls to make arrangements for your plane. You need to aviate, navigate, and communicate until you can make any other arrangements. In the digital era, the ability to have “information at your fingertips” makes the process of finding these arrangements easy.
Diversion procedures are typically performed spontaneously, so you won’t have a lot of time planning. Filing for or having an alternate airport is something you plan for as part of the original flight plan. A diversion happens when the original plan doesn’t culminate as planned.
Sometimes, the closest FBO and/or airport isn’t that close when you need to divert. Or in some cases, they may not have hangar availability for your plane. Although there may be tie-down options available, that leaves your plane susceptible to weather damage, theft, and vandalism.
In these cases, a private hangar may be the best option for you and your plane when you’re in a pinch and need to divert.
How Daily Hangar Helps Pilots Divert in a Pinch
With the prominence of Wi-Fi onboard many private planes, it makes sense for there to be a streamlined platform for private pilots and/or their flight desk operators to find a diversion destination quickly — without wasting time making multiple phone calls to find availability.
Daily Hangar allows pilots or their flight desk operators to find available hangars across the country and book them with a touch of a button. And your choices aren’t restricted to the closest FBO — our network of private hangar owners across the country means you have a whole buffet of choices for hangaring your plane, not just a limited menu of FBOs.
The ability to immediately book the closest available hangar is invaluable when an unexpected storm rolls in. But Daily Hangar is also a powerful tool for planning cross-country trips before you take flight.
Whether you’re flying for business or are taking the family across the country this summer, Daily Hangar allows you to customize your trip with a multitude of private hangar options. Ready to learn more about becoming part of the Daily Hangar community? Check out our FAQs for private pilots & hangar owners »