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Ah, Aviation Tradition continues

As I told one of my students the other day, “there are old pilots, and bold pilots, but no old, bold pilots.” Nothing could be closer to the truth on days with rapidly developing showers and thunderstorms. Twice in the last three days I have walked out to the airplane, done my last-minute check of the radar data on my phone, and walked back inside with my student…only to hear thunder and see lightning strikes a few minutes later. In neither case was the storm there when we started the briefing for the flight, which takes 15 minutes to 30 minutes for the average pre-solo student. I view these opportunities as chances to teach decision making and emphasize the need to manage risk. The lessons in this case—weather is something you need to understand and appreciate and that it is ever changing at its own pace. Don’t mess with rapidly growing cumulus clouds with significant vertical development because they can be thunder-boomers in the making! Even if the storm is miles away, its energy can mess up your day with unpredictable and gusty winds and other hazards like lightning. Caution is warranted here.

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