Airwork—There Would Be No Butterflies

Having decided I couldn’t go direct (along the airway) I opted to skirt the storm to the north by going to RKA VOR and then direct. Photos By Tom Benenson

As I headed for RKA it became obvious that the storm would beat me to the VOR.
From the XM Weather Nexrad and the animation on the Garmin 496, it appeared a turn to the southeast would let the storm move northeast and give me a clear path.
**The controller suggested I fly direct to DNY (Delancy) VOR and then amended the clearance to Direct HNK (Hancock) direct DNY, which really didn't mean a change in heading. For the moment, according to the 496, the course looked reasonable?
**While heading toward DNY, the XM display on the GMX 200 showed lightning strikes at the VOR. A course of about 095 looked better since the storm was moving to the northeast. The controller told me to turn to the northeast. I looked at the?
The controller said, "Let's do it this way. You're cleared direct Columbia County. Deviate as necessary. Have a safe flight!" As I penetrated the narrow storm line there was heavy rain and moderate turbulence.
**The map of my flight on showed the changes I made as the flight progressed in response to the changing situation. Flight planning -- and risk assessment -- doesn't end at takeoff, but continues throughout a flight.
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