I had a nice trip from gjt>saa>shr>saa>gjt on saturday, but on the last leg of the trip i ran into a situation that got me thinking.
I was VFR @ 16500 on top of an aproximate 4000’ thick layer
i could see on the xm that the coverage was solid until just short of grandjunction. I was alone with no luggage and only 40 gal fuel. As i got about half way across the undercast i noticed that the top had risen to my level. I was able to cruise climb LOP at about 400 feet per minute with a IAS of 120kts up to 17500 easily clear the rest of the undercast and finish my trip.
FYI (@17500 i saw a TAS of 175 and a GS 205 At about 10.5 g/h
OAT was -17C)
But After i had landed i got to wondering what i would have done had the tops been 17500 or 18500.
I feel there would have been four choices:
1.Go IFR through the layer and try to get below it.
This seems like a no go as there are 12k mountains in the area and i could not be sure how low the ceilings where.
2.Go IFR through the clouds.
My plane does not have tks and it was below freezing all the way to the ground.
simple and safe but it does leave me in saratoga wy for the night.
4.Go IFR and climb the extra 1000’ feet to clear the tops.
This seems very possible but it exceeds the service ceiling of the plane. Is there a safty reason for the 17500 limit or is it just that cirrus didn’t want to do the extra paper work. I understand the power situation aka your not going to FL25 in a NA but i was there and there was plenty of power to go up to FL20.
Its probably not a situation thats going to come up a lot for most people but for us mountain dwellers there are times when it does.
I’ll be interested to see what you all think. Has anyone gone higher i have to think some people have judging from how ready the plane was to do it.