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Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Youngest solo pilot around the world stuck in Japan because of weather conditions

Jack Wiegand continues to be in Sapporo, Japan due to bad weather conditions Wednesday June 19th. He is now expected to take the 11 hour / 1,800 nautical mile flight from Sapporo to Adak Island, Alaska Thursday (20th June) and Anchorage mainland Alaska, Friday (21st June) all things being equal!  This is off course subject to weather conditions and flight permission on going. 

Jack has to get over to Kushiro Airport on the east end of Hokkaido Island first - his jumping off point from Japan. But Kushiro had very poor weather, low ceilings, fog, drizzle at present. Essentially this is the launch for Adak in the Aleutian Islands. Aleutian weather is barely predictable at any time to allow for this his support team work with weather forecasts that look ahead seven days.
Jack Wiegand flying high soon (photo www.fresnobee.com)

The big issue has been the development and movement of a low pressure system just offshore from Hokkaido and moving nearly in the exact direction of Jack's flight. Precipitation, low visibilities, and high clouds with icing make for a no-no go.  Icing sticks to the airframe, propeller, and anything else sticking out of the aircraft. It then gets heavy, and it changes the airfoil of the wing so that one loses lift. Jack has an anti-icing system on board but reports over the years from veterans of the north globe say that icing in the Aleutians forms and sticks worse than maybe anywhere on the globe. So the plan was to avoid getting into those conditions. 

His support team look at the weather forecasts throughout the week, day by day, probably even hourly to make sure his decision continues to be a good one. And just in case the weather improves in spite of the forecasts Jack would be ready to launch. 

Source Harold Gallagher Jack's flight instructor and sometime weather forecaster!

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