One of the most beautiful times of the year in South Central Texas.
However, there is a consequence in the changing of the seasons that no pilot in this part of the country, or any part for that matter, appreciates.
As a CFI (Certified Flight Instructor), I start out almost every morning with a call to the weather briefer just to hear the dreaded words, “VFR [Visual Flight Rules] not recommended”. That small phrase in English means, don’t go flying. One can grow to loathe those words, and I know I have definitely had my fill.
Many people book in the morning to fly with me, usually the same people over and over, and the weather conditions are almost never adequate enough to go flying until noon or sometimes even later. This can become a hassle when trying to accommodate those that cannot work in the afternoons; thus, leaving the student and myself frustrated with the lack of progress.
The weather can sometimes be good enough to fly, but questionable for learning. The environment for learning is always at the forefront of my brain when considering the possibility of taking a student flying, so the student is efficient with his or her time and money. If I bring a student up in lower ceilings and visibility, will any positive learning take place? Leaning towards “no” in my own train of thought, I will decide to cancel a lesson due to weather with any cloud ceilings below 2,000ft and sometimes even higher. Meaning, I don’t fly before noon almost everyday this time of year.
What causes this crummy weather?
The battle of the air masses!!!
Air masses can have low or high pressure, be dry or moist, and can be cold or warm. Texas, this time of year, wants to bring back the trend of warm moist air from the Gulf of Mexico, while winter is fighting tooth and nail to keep its grasp on North America. In spite of that, Winter is now having to give way to Spring and this constant changing of the air masses can cause the weather to deteriorate.
This brings up an IMPORTANT point that I’ll end with:
The changing of the seasons means uncertain and constantly changing weather across the nation. If you are a pilot, I highly recommend that you CALL a weather briefer. Why call when there is all types of online briefing tools now available? Technology doesn’t say “VFR not recommended”!!!! An actual trained weather briefer is trying to keep you alive by saying the phase that many people have come to hate. I may hate the phase, though I appreciate being alive quite a lot.
Quick fact: A VFR only pilot has an average of 178 seconds to live when flying into instrument conditions or low marginal visual conditions.
Here is a video about that fact:
On that light note,
Stay safe and may y’all have only blue skies ahead.