May 14

We’re ready to move east but don’t see a safe path to Oxford, Connecticut. The nor’easter remains a factor with icing above 5,000 feet. But we see a good condition to Columbus, Ohio, a city three-hours flying time from Oxford. Ironically, pilot Bill Mnich recently relocated to the Columbus area so he is going home. The joke at the breakfast table was “Bill, what are you and Louise serving for dinner?” If we stay the night (in a hotel, not Bill’s new house), it will allow Bill to show the aircraft to family and friends. There’s usually some good in an unscheduled stop.

We’re humbled by the resourcefulness and daring of DC-3 pilots of yesteryear. This morning our three pilots caucused in a warm room watching, on a color screen, a projection of conditions through the end of our planned flight with warnings of potential hazards en route. Before we departed the hotel for the airport, we learned the visibility, ceiling, temperature, tops of the clouds, and unusual conditions at virtually every mile of the planned flight path, thanks primarily to continuous weather reporting, satellites and GPS. When C-47s flew the Blue Spruce route in WWII, pilots interpolated weather between sparse reporting stations and consulted somewhat subjective forecasts. Often, the flight was a calculated risk resulting in a turn-around or landing at the airport nearest the point where weather became unacceptable. Fate was the hunter.

Our modern weather products predict Oxford will be sunny on Wednesday with no unusual conditions along the way.

John Sessions