PILOT PERSPECTIVE: Chopper 5 preps for bad weather - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

PILOT PERSPECTIVE: Chopper 5 preps for bad weather

(WMC-TV) - Tuesday was a great day for flying. Wednesday -- not so much. Thursday... flying is not an option, so far.

Upon arrival at the airport Wednesday, I went through the normal routine of conducting the preflight inspection, checking maintenance records, and getting a weather briefing.

We knew that hazardous weather was expected. So, I knew that I would need to monitor the updates closely throughout the shift. We managed to fly to DeSoto Central High School for a student with a gun call before the weather started coming in.

After orbiting the high school for over an hour, providing live shots for the 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. broadcast, the plan was to stop at Olive Branch Airport for some fuel before going on our next assignment.

The next assignment was to find roadway maintenance vehicles spreading salt on Interstate 40.

As we departed Olive Branch on course for the Arlington area, it was clear that we wouldn't be able to bring that dimension to the developing weather story. From our location just north of Olive Branch Airport, we could see heavy rain and reduced visibility moving in from the west of Memphis International. Since Memphis International is our home base, it's kind of important that we're safely on the ground before hazardous weather moves in. Otherwise, we risk being stranded at an outlying airport.

My chopper partner, Jessica, advised the desk that we would be aborting our mission to Arlington due to weather and that we'd be returning to the hangar. I pointed Chopper 5 toward Memphis International and applied what is called "Maximum Continuous Power" or "MCP". Our MCP power setting allowed us to travel at just over 100 MPH and got us safely on the ground with some time to spare before the main body of the storm arrived.

I've learned that unlike Phoenix, Memphis weather can change quickly and needs to be monitored on a continuous basis. I'm interested to see what conditions are for the rest of the week.

Hopefully, we'll be able to get some clear skies and bring more great video to all of you Action News 5 viewers.

Copyright 2013 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.

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