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Anyone know a good way to find out what the tops are for the smoke/haze layers? Contemplating a trip from Portland to Santa Barbara and tying to decide if I should just fly high and go direct (14-16k) or fly along the coast. Following the coast seems like it would add 30-45 min to the trip. Last year it seemed the smoke from the Sana Rosa fires went almost up to 10k and I just changed the oil and cleaned the air filter so not excited about doing it again.

 

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1 hour ago, ilovecornfields said:

Anyone know a good way to find out what the tops are for the smoke/haze layers? Contemplating a trip from Portland to Santa Barbara and tying to decide if I should just fly high and go direct (14-16k) or fly along the coast. Following the coast seems like it would add 30-45 min to the trip. Last year it seemed the smoke from the Sana Rosa fires went almost up to 10k and I just changed the oil and cleaned the air filter so not excited about doing it again.

 

Smoke in that area is about 8 to 13 thousand feet. some days are better than others. when I flew north over medford, the smoke was around 8k ft.

coming back a week later, it was 13500. Coast adds about 5 to 10 minutes, and most of the time, there is a marine layer about 3 to 500 feet above the coastal airports.

If it were me, I'd fly direct at 15 to 17000 ft direct.

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6 hours ago, Mooneymite said:

Smoke tops depends on the day and location. 

FB09CBA2-20DA-42CD-85FE-9DBB1C2A32E7.jpeg

That was my question. I don’t usually see any PIREPS. Flight Circus usually doesn’t give accurate numbers. Just trying to find out if there’s a better way than just getting in the air and taking a look. Would take forever to get up to 17k in the Ovation with this heat wave.

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The smoke height will be defined by the mixing layer.  Go to NOAA's website and get the location you are interested in.  Here is the one for Santa Barbara: https://forecast.weather.gov/MapClick.php?lat=34.4194&lon=-119.699#.W2nnfNJKhEY

Near the bottom of the page on the right you will find the Hourly Weather Forecast graphs.  At the top of that page is a section for Fire Weather, so select the Mixing Height and hit submit.  At the bottom of the graphs you will find the forecast mixing height for the day/time you are interested in.  You will need to pick multiple locations to get a picture for your route.

Here's a more applicable one for Reno: https://forecast.weather.gov/MapClick.php?lat=38.8935&lon=-119.9963#.W2npbdJKhEY

Edited by skydvrboy
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Looking at the temperature profile one can roughly determine the location of the inversion layer. In the Central valley of CA it is around 8,000 ft or a bit higher. It should be clear above the inversion layer. The other day I was flying from Castle to Livermore and the temps at 5,000 ft was 27C, just a few degrees cooler than the surface temps. Horizontal visibility was non-existent. 

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Everyday is different but last year about this time of the year I flew from Idaho Falls to Portland area and encountered IMC conditions along a good portion of my route at 110  due to smoke.  Otherwise it would have been VFR.

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I’m going to try to basically go direct at 16.5k. We’ll see how that works out. Probably more of a headwind than going along the coast, but lots more available landing sites as well. 

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47 minutes ago, ilovecornfields said:

I’m going to try to basically go direct at 16.5k. We’ll see how that works out. Probably more of a headwind than going along the coast, but lots more available landing sites as well. 

I just flew with @xcrmckenna over to John Day from Corvallis.  I couldn't find any forecast information or PIREPs about smoke tops either, but we smoke blown up all the way to 12k and higher.  I will sadly admit that I failed to submit a PIREP about the smoke... :huh:

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In response to my own question the tops were between 11k’ and FL180. Seemed like there were two layers at times, one around 8’ and another higher one. I went at  15k and was mostly clear. Here’s part of mt shasta

 

62D7CACB-DE8E-40BA-BC56-6CD155F49AA5.jpeg

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I saw this a couple of days ago. I was at 9000 between the smoke layers.1966589566_2018-08-1413_27_43.thumb.jpg.c50fc9d69c33c049db8f39e3bbad9b0e.jpg

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1 hour ago, milotron said:

I saw this a couple of days ago. I was at 9000 between the smoke layers.

Interesting.    I took this yesterday morning in South Dakota on my way home.   I was at 10500 feet.

20180816_085955.jpg

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