February 2, 2010
I have been flying now for nearly six years. One thing that has been consistent throughout that time frame is my inability log significant flying time in the winter. Although, I had hoped things would be different this year, alas I have not flown in several months as we work through the one of the cloudiest winters in Chicago's history. According to Tom Skilling we had 27 sunless days between December 1, 2009 and January 31, 2010 making this the third cloudiest winter since records have been kept in over 116 years.
With fewer clear days it makes it difficult for us pilots who rent the aircraft we fly. With fewer days of sunlight in the winter the competition gets fierce when a sunny day finally shows up on the five-day forecast which often makes it difficult to find a plane to fly in the winter.
Curiosity drove me to look through the logbook to determine how much less I fly in the winter compared to other seasons. I factored out the four summer months in 2004 when I logged most of my hours to earn my license as to not skew the data too heavily. Even with the omission of the training hours I discovered that only 10% of my flight time has been logged in the winter. The number was even worse, just 6.5%, if I included the 47.5 hours flown in the summer of 2004 to earn my license. This is a frustrating fact for any pilot who knows that flying consistently is directly tied to safety.
On the bright side, although Punksatony Phil may think we have six more weeks of winter, based on looking at my flying history I only have about four more weeks of Winter. Come March I tend to end my flying hibernation as I typically begin to make up for lost time and fly much more consistently from March through May making the Spring the season I log the most hours.
Fall nudges out summer for the number two season, which is no surprise as it is by far my favorite season to fly. It is hard to beat viewing the changes in the fall colors from above?
Thanks for all those who have reached out to ask where I have been. As I start to get airborne more regularly I am sure I will post more frequently as well.