January 5th, 2010

airplane outside

will not freeze to death for a pilot's license. there.

So I chatted with another student pilot today who's just as torqued off about the weather as I am. He an I are at about the same place, and a few months ago we were joking about having a race to checkride. He also tried to get a plane up over break but failed. Apparently our de-frosting solution that we spray on airplane wings when there's frost on them only works down to 15-20 degrees... beyond that, it just FREEZES, adding to the problem instead of helping. He described how he discovered all this in a heart-wrenching account after I told him about preflighting a plane in the cold just to get grounded for crosswinds. We could have jointly worked on some kind of country song. But back to freezing... airplanes most definitely cannot fly with anything frozen on the wings. Even a little frost can affect the lift in a bad way. And if wings get icy (more than slightly frosty), the only thing we can do is get a friend, push the plane into the hangar, wait for some melting to start. It takes FOREVER. And you still have to spend significant time outside in the cold getting fueled up and walking around the airport and these other horrible things.

So we mutually agreed that January is total crap and it's break time. Maybe not every January... but certainly this one. I looked up some climate stats and in Wichita, Kansas the average high temp this time of year is 40°. This matches up with my experience... it's never freezing for lots of days in a row. That's why we don't have snow-covered winters. It does snow, but the snow usually makes way for slush pretty quickly, leaving Kansas winters are more of a mud season than anything.

Well I'd sell important things for a 40° high... this week we're lucky to hit 20. Thursday I think the high should be seven. Screw it, I'm not flying! I'm not spending an hour preheating an engine just to have something canceled for winds, and now that I talked to others who agree, I'm not feeling bad about it. I don't care if I'm am 3-4 flights from being a pilot... in February, maybe the world will thaw, and I'll still be just as close.

Have I mentioned that I HATE the cold weather? Marc was out with his friends today playing disc golf. He drives around with the windows down. We're like different species.

I started up an e-mail to my flight instructor but decided not to send it, because he's never terribly interested in my head. It said something like, "It's cold and I'm in a bad mood, I'm taking a break." I have learned that other instructors are not like that, some will completely enable my overthinking, discussing and slicing possibilities when, say, examining a week of weather forecasts and deciding what would be the best lesson or solo day.

Again, it's a lot like track. I had track coaches who were both ways. The head boys coach at my high school could go on FOREVER if you asked him something like, "Can I do four events Saturday or will that be too busy?" He'd talk for thirty minutes and then the conclusion would be, "Okay well all that considered I suppose it's up to you!"

As you can probably imagine, I loved that guy.

Nope... stay tuned for progress, friends, it'll be a while before I blog about a real flight. Here's to cheap months and warm fingers.