The common foe of all pilots: bad weather. Stroll into a flying club on a foggy Saturday and you will find a squadron of pilots aimlessly wondering in circles. Even if there was a blizzard of “The Day After Tomorrow Standards” you would find pilots sat in the members club waiting for it to clear.
Commonly uttered phrases are “The TAF says it will clear up soon.”; “Oh, I can just make out the blue sky.”; “The sun will burn it off soon.” and “Well, it was lovely yesterday.”.
My short flying career has been plagued by painful weather delays; I had to wait for three painful weeks before I could fly after my first solo.
My least favourite experience was spending the day down at the airfield and getting airborne once. I spent the morning waiting with my Dad and instructor but we had to call it a day by 11am as the fog was too thick. I had an aerobatics experience planned for later in the day. The weather didn’t look too promising but the guy taking me up seemed hopeful. We walked out to the plane: a Slingsby Firefly and got ready to head off. We peered up through the Firefly’s canopy we could just make out the blue sky.
As the engine roared to life aviators and ground crew around the airfield were awoken from their slumbers. They ran to windows and doors to get a look at the madmen who were trying to aviate.
As we taxied down the runway the blue streaks in the sky swiftly disappeared but suddenly we couldn’t see where we had just taxied from. As soon as we got to the end of the runway it was clear we were going to be turning back. Once again foiled by the weather.