This is not the first time we have touched on the subject of our over-reliance on technical gadgets and smart phones. I am in the middle of wiggling my way through the annual CTS online training classes for my FAR 135 charter pilot currency and I am more or less surprised that the subject of distractions in the cockpit increasingly keeps popping up among the questions. It is nice to have all that technology available as long as it doesn’t keep you from looking out the cockpit window (I know, I know, unless you’re IFR).
Yet in Chuck’s case demonstrated here today one must wonder if he simply forgot to look out of the window, or if he used his app to his advantage to get out of washing the planes. Maybe he simply didn’t refresh his weather report since it said what he wanted it to say in the morning?
What do you guys think?
So, there I was on this little survey job flying a Long Ranger all over the Western States. The job ran long due to constant weather issues (since their corporate department decided the spring would be a good idea to go surveying in the Pacific Northwest with delicate equipment that won’t work in the rain) and everybody was under pressure to get the job done. We were stuck once again with several bands of snow moving in and the weather blocking a mountain pass we had to climb over to get to the next location. You can see the snow would be coming in bands on the weather charts and the briefer at the flight service station confirmed my suspicions as well. But after already several days of waiting the customer somehow started to feel that I wouldnt want to go fly for some reason. It was weird to me because I just love being stuck in a hotel away from home and not fly (insert sarcasm font).
So, every time the weather cleared for just a second and the sun started to come through the phone rang and they said they wanted to try to fly. I told them there will be more snow coming but got tired of them implying I just dont want to go. So after a few days I said nothing changed but lets try it since I wasn’t doing anything else all day anyways. It cleared up, we packed up, drove to the airport, pushed the aircraft out of the hangar got ready to take off, and promptly got snowed on. The equipment they had wouldnt work in the snow, so it was a no-go. So at this point we secured everything again, pushed the aircraft back in the hangar, and went back to the hotel. We must have done this 3 times that day until they caught on to the fact that when the pilot says today is not a good day, it means its not a good day and not I rather sit alone in my hotel room than go fly. And some time shortly after telling this story to Stefan this strip was conceived …
The weather is an almost inexhaustible subject for conversation. What it’s like today, what it was like yesterday, how it’s supposed to be tomorrow, how we wish it would be like, how it was around this time last year, how those clowns at the weather forecast never get it right, etc.
And only in the rarest occasions do we talk about it in a positive light. Either it’s too cold, too hot, too dry, too wet, too windy, etc. But boy, if you think that normal people can complain about the weather, try talking to a farmer! My grandfather-in-law was a farmer, and because we don’t really have that many subjects in common, my first question to him is always what he thinks about the weather. I can hardly remember a time when he wouldn’t find something to bemoan, because even if the weather is good for one crop, it might be bad for another.
Anyway, I understand that the weather is something very important, if your livelihood depends on it. I guess pilots also have a much closer relation to the weather than regular folks!
By the time you read this, Mike and I have already been skiing a week, hopefully with lots of snow! Right now, as I’m typing this in advance, the weather forecast doesn’t look too bad, not a lot of sun, but at least enough snow. But we ski in almost any type of weather anyway. It’s an outdoor sport, after all! Except when it’s raining, that’s the only type of weather that makes us pack our stuff and leave the mountain.
It seems people have been dancing rather erratically recently here where I live. Last week we had sunshine and 20°C so you could even sunbathe outside. The last couple of days it was snowing again, with the occasional intermezzo of sunshine. But then, it’s April, so what would you expect.
By the way, does this “April weather” phenomenon exist in other places of the world too, or is this only a European thing? Come to think of it, does it even exist in other parts of Europe too, or is it just some Austrian thing?
Spring is around the corner and we always have similar discussions around this time at my dayjob as well. Sometimes I get out of washing aircraft by pulling rank but not often.
Hearing about Sun ‘n Fun, which seemed to have neither fun nor sun was heartbreaking though. If you had your aircraft smashed, write me an email with N-number and I’ll send you a free Chicken Wings book as consolation.
Thank goodness for instrument flight! That way you don’t really have to clean your windshields anymore…