As a private pilot there is a extensive list of rules when it comes to weather restrictions. Those of which mainly consist of the oh so prevelant cloud clearence requirements. The freedom of flight for a private pilot is usually barred by the weather conditions on a day to day basis. I have currently found this to be true with the weather conditions at my airport. With cloudy days all week and rain on a day to day occruance, it makes flying at my leasure a tough task.
When you are “grounded” is a great time however, to brush up on perhaps hangar flying, watching those king school videos, or cleaning out the hangar. Just remember that although you may not be able to fly the airplane, there is always stuff to be done on the ground to make you a more profeciant pilot in the air.
Hangar flying is a great activity to do while sitting around waiting for those clouds to raise! Hangar flying can range from actually sitting in the airplane going over flows and imagining you are flying, to just reviewing your study material or going over checklists of that new airplane you want to get checked out in. I personally have been going over the general checklists for the Cessna 150 because I am going to be getting checked out in it soon, so I can fly our clubs C150. It is a quite simple and an easy machine to take care of. I have been so used to the complex start up procedures of the Cessna 172SP that when I start the 150 I almost wonder if I miss things, but I just need to adjust to the simplicity of older aircraft!
When you have extended the hangar flying and King school videos as long as you can without getting a headache, I recommend cleaning the hangar or finding some pilots to talk “pilot talk” with. From previous experience with working for a flight school, I have learned quickly that keeping a hangar clean is vital to making it an inviting place for pilots to come and spend their money to fly your aircraft. Although sometimes cleaning the airplane or hangar isn’t the most fun thing, there is a sense of worth when breaking a sweat at the airport (Not while in the cockpit). When it comes to finding some hangar chat to be apart of, I guess it just depends on your airport. Personally, general aviation is a weakness at my airport. The most traffic is by coorprate jets flying in and out and you rarely see “lovers of flight” type people landing. Although I may not get many opprutunities to talk about airplanes with locals, that in no means your home airport isn’t flourishing with pilots that love to talk talk talk about anything aviation.
I can tell you from my small 4 years in aviation that the number one thing YOU as an up and coming pilot needs to do is: Put yourself out there, don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone, and have the desire to learn from meeting new pilots from all different aspects of aviation. To have an open mind is to allow yourself to flourish as a well rounded and later accomplished pilot. So I challenge you this week. Get up, Get out, and go meet a new pilot. Start a new flying friendship, you just never know what it may lead too. The saying in aviaiton is “Its not always what you know, but who you know.” So take a chance and who knows maybe it will get you a ride in an airplane or some free flight time!
Aside from taking the five minutes to read this small exert into the mind of a frustrated “grounded” pilot, I hope you will turn off your computer, grab your keys and go out to the airport to put some of these suggestions to the test. Just remember, there will always be a nice day to fly just be patient and let the weather (no matter how tempting) ride itself out!
Until Next Time,