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Allegiant flight from SFB to SGF lands at CHA

And no, I'm not an Allegiant fan per say but they have been taking a beating lately with questionable "emergency" landings on various flights. This one left Sanford, Florida this morning headed for Springfield, Missouri but enroute around Memphis turned back East and landed at Chattanooga, Tennessee. But this diversion was not because of aircraft problems -- quite the contrary -- the problems were with Springfield where they were socked in with fog. I can attest to that as I live… ( More...

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Loral Thomas 7
WSMV even reporting on this diversion is a perfect example of the media's poor attempt to try to make a story. Wonder if the airline had been one of the major 3, instead of being Allegiant, if this "story" would have been reported at all. It's really a non-story -- plane diverts to alternate because of poor weather conditions at original destination. Plane stays on ground until weather clears at destination, is refueled and off it goes. Diversions happen but why did this one make print? Could it be because it was Allegiant?
I agree. The media looks for anything they can to put a story together. Typically, an Allegiant flight diverting is going to be a story, just not this time. If it were, the news could perch a crew at BGR for the 2-3 times a week flights divert for fuel before continuing on to JFK from over the pond.
MultiComm 1
I'm curious to know what the TAF was for the flight before original departure. I know anything can happen with weather predictions but it would at least explain if they departed "hoping" it would clear up or justifiably blind due to the prevailing conditions and an incorrect forecast.
spatr 4
As an Ex-Allegiant pilot, you won't find anyone more critical of their practices, but there are a multitude of reasons for a divert like this. The forecast could be wrong (common), the CA could be high mins, the flight could've been dispatched under an FAR 3585 exemption, or the Captain didn't want to get too far away from his divert point and have a fuel issue.
MultiComm 2
Looks like the TAF was updated prior to their approximate departure time 8:37EST/1337Z to include a TEMPO. The TAF was valid :27 minutes prior to wheels up so they wouldn't have known until checking conditions airborne.

TAF KSGF 151120Z 1512/1612 VRB04KT 3SM BR SCT002
FM151500 16005KT 5SM BR SCT250
FM151700 22009KT P6SM SCT250
FM152000 28010KT P6SM FEW040 FM160100 23004KT P6SM BKN100
FM160400 17008KT P6SM OVC100

TAF AMD KSGF 151320Z 1513/1612 VRB04KT 3SM BR SCT002
TEMPO 1513/1515 1SM BR BKN002
FM151500 16005KT 5SM BR SCT250
FM151700 22009KT P6SM SCT250
FM152000 28010KT P6SM FEW040
FM160100 23004KT P6SM BKN100
FM160400 17008KT P6SM OVC100

METARS prior to departure (1357Z) would have put up a yellow flag for me but I still would have pressed on since it is within CAT I minimums

SPECI KSGF 151306Z 16010KT 4SM BR SCT002 M01/M02 A2984 RMK AO2 T10111022=
SPECI KSGF 151311Z 15010KT 2 1/2SM BR BKN002 M01/M02 A2984 RMK AO2 T10111022=
SPECI KSGF 151322Z 16007KT 1 1/2SM BR BKN002 M01/M02 A2984 RMK AO2 T10111022=
SPECI KSGF 151342Z 17008KT 1/2SM FZFG OVC002 M01/M02 A2985 RMK AO2 T10111022=

This is likely the one where the decision was made
Conditions didn't inprove for almost an hour.

SPECI KSGF 151402Z 17008KT 1/4SM FZFG VV002 M01/M02 A2986 RMK AO2 T10111017=
METAR KSGF 151452Z 15006KT 1/4SM FG VV002 00/M01 A2987=

METAR issued at 1452Z (0952 EST) while inflight, the diversion began at around 1000 EST (1500Z)

Mon 10:00:06 EST 34.6820 -88.6711 321° Northwest 414 476 34,000
Mon 10:01:07 EST 34.8058 -88.6533 7° North 451 519 33,300
Mon 10:02:09 EST 34.8950 -88.5036 54° Northeast 481 554 32,100

By the time they landed and refueled the weather cleared and they departed again around 1645Z

SPECI KSGF 151628Z 15005KT 7SM SCT004 OVC080 02/01 A2986 RMK AO2 T00220006=

Standard ILS for Runway 2 is the only option (down to 200 AGL and 1/2 mile), so No CATII approaches. I can't speak for their approved alternates or the weather in the surrounding areas but they do have a couple cities closer to SGF rather than CHA (considering the weather all around TENN at the time) however there is no way I can speculate on this.

I don't doubt they made the best decision with the information they had. I certainly don't claim to have a better solution considering I was not in the cockpit...just had a little free time on my hand today to play armchair pilot, plus I don't mind evaluating what I can to learn from this decision.

Bravo to them for breaking the chain.
jim macke 3
Six other flights were diverted from SGF that morning. No media coverage for those.
Why is this news, take a look at NYC arrivals the last 24hrs....quite a few "abrupt landings" elsewhere...and I too would wonder what the weather looked like prior to departure from Sanford...
Charles Peele 3
Allegiant Business plan: Cheap retired MD-80's, even though they are fuel guzzlers, initial cost of air frames allows for cheap seats. Scary!!!
Don't forget the "gently" used A320s from Europe.
mike SUT 2
Hope no one was hurt in that "abrupt turn towards Chattanooga". "abrupt turns" can be almost as dangerous as "hitting an air pocket". :-)
Seems strange, the plane fueled up and took back off about an hour after it landed in KCHA....accordingly to flightaware, fog cleared pretty quick. May be more to this story....
spatr 2
Doubt it, Murphys Law says the minute you divert the weather comes up above mins.
Loral Thomas 2
Been there - done that. But in Allegiant's defense, fog here in the Ozarks can be really tricky. Fog to the ground here and 2 miles away, clear. I'm 30 miles from SGF and we didn't clear up til 9:45. Think since CHA is an Allegiant station, friendlier people there to serve plus fuel price probably better.
Which is typically why we carry a bit of hold fuel..loiter above for a bit, things don't improve, hold fuel burns off, you divert. I have a wild idea of what may have happened, but doesn't matter...
James Simms 1
Had an Allegiant flight land @ BHM enroute from Clearwater, FL to Omaha, NE diverted last Firday
matt jensen 1
Couldn't land in MEM? What no landing rights?
spatr 1
I believe CHA is an Allegiant station. Sometimes it's easier and faster to divert to an online station

MultiComm 1
Yes, CHA is a station for them as is MEM and BLV (Bellville, Ill) however I don't know the weather at those at the time. There were considerable storms in TN during the whole process.
matt jensen 1
Rather than a closer field?
Charles Peele 1
I see fuel issue mentioned by a former pilot. Not surprised. "Frugality" in fueling goes with "cheap" MD-80's......
Loral Thomas 1
Frugality doesn't go with cheap -- it increases profit unless . . .
MultiComm 1
Three entries for this flight.


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