Richmond, Virginia to Honolulu, Hawaii

We’re off again, this time, we’re doing a little air travel! As anyone who has seen this before may know, instead of a road trip forecast (as there are no roads to Hawaii) we will instead do a flight forecast. I took the top result from Richmond to Honolulu when searching on Kayak.com. As a result, we will be forecasting for a 403 flight from Richmond to Charlotte, followed by a flight to Portland Oregon. We will be in Portland overnight, taking off at 7am Tuesday morning. Shall we fly the friendly skies?

Flight One: RIC-CLT
Richmond
There has been a sharp trough along the east coast that hasn’t been doing a lot for precipitation, but has been producing a few bumps for travelers. Fortunately, this trough will be kicking off shore by the time we set forth for Charlotte, and the short flight will be at an altitude much lower than where the threat for significant turbulence will be. This should be a pretty decent trip.

Flight 2: CLT-PDX
Obviously, this will be a much longer flight, taking a total of nearly 6 hours to cross the country. It will not be as gracious with the smooth air. Don’t be surprised to feel bumps soon after we cross the Mississippi, as a developing cold front will be touching off some convection, the root cause of what can be the worst turbulence. A surface low developing in the northern Plains will mean we will need to maintain some altitude to avoid the worst of the turbulence. It won’t get much better over the mountains, which are always a little rough, but showers and storms will be developing through the Great Basin as well, within a deep upper level trough. Don’t be surprised if the Captain leaves the “fasten seat belt” sign on for most of the flight to Portland. Landing may be delayed by showers and some low clouds.

Flight 3: PDX-HNL
The jet dynamics of the north Pacific will conspire to slow us down. We will initially need to get above the cloud deck along the Oregon coast, but we won’t want to climb too quickly, as there is a very strong jet stream pointed right at the coast on Tuesday morning. This will make for very rough skies and very slow travel speed. We will stay low, for comfort, though that will mean slower air speed as well, because of various centrifugal affects. After about 2 hours in the air, though, we will be able to climb into a ridge of high pressure that will keep us calm and speeding right along across the rest of the Pacific. Our arrival, just before noon in Hawaii, will be before afternoon showers come sweeping over the northern side of the interior mountains.
Honolulu