It’s that time of year again in North America: Summer is upon us and there’s nothing we can do about it without a passport, even if we wanted to. The good news is we no longer have to deal with freezing precipitation, cold, low clouds hugging a runway for warmth or preheating our engines. More good news is that the number of reasons to hop in an airplane and go somewhere will grow. Options will include small fly-ins and pancake breakfasts to the large, name-brand events, and everything in between. There is other stuff going on with the change of seasons, which may or may not be good.
One seasonal consideration is for those of us parking airplanes outside. Bird’s nests are one of the more frustrating challenges we may face, but there’s also—depending on where the airplane is based—chances for driving rain, searing heat and the occasional thunderstorm to push things around. With that heat also comes humidity, both of which combine to rob your flivvers of the crisp, healthy performance we enjoyed just a couple of months ago. The first time you wonder why you’re climbing so slowly on should serve as a stark reminder. (Meanwhile, don’t forget to think about runway performance—see the article beginning on page 24 for some reasons why.)
Better weather goes hand-in-hand with more people flying, and summertime is when the aforementioned fly-in events of all sizes are held throughout the U.S. They generate heavier traffic than you may be accustomed, and not everyone is on the same page. A lot of airplanes likely will want to use the same runway you’re aiming for (page 16), so keep your head on a swivel and pay attention to the radio’s description of what’s in the traffic pattern, even at your home plate.
Finally, pay attention to Airmets, Sigmets and Convective Sigmets during your pre-flight briefings, which always should include Pireps (page 22). This is where you’ll get the details on the weather that only summertime can offer. That’ll enhance your situational awareness (page 20). Enjoy!