Effects of different seasons on flight training?

jColeson
  • Effects of different seasons on flight training? jColeson

    What effect will the time of year a student starts their flight training have on the difficulty of their training?

    • What particular problems will each season cause a student pilot?
    • What advantages does each season have?
    • Are there any studies showing how the time of year effects the duration or success rate of training?

    Different latitudes will have different, or at least more extreme, effects so please note if an effect is only valid for a specific geographic area.

  • Pretty much the only thing that is going to change season to season is the weather. Depending on where you are, there may be more aircraft traffic around a particular time of year, but I can't answer that for sure.

    Obviously, the further from the equator, the more extreme the seasons. If you are close to the equator, it probably doesn't matter what time of year you start, since the weather is pretty much the same year-round.

    If you are not at the equator, you need to consider the pros and cons of each weather season. Additionally, at extremes from the equator (near the poles), summer and winter months have extremely long days and long nights, respectively, which can make night and day flying difficult.

    • In the winter, the aircraft has better performance (airplanes like colder weather). However:
      • You have to deal with ice and snow, which is especially dangerous to light airplanes, which are often not as prepared to deal with them. It is dangerous in some degree to all airplanes
      • You have to be careful of low temperatures when starting the airplane before you take off
    • In the summer, the aircraft has worse performance (they don't like hot weather).
      • Many small airplanes have poor airflow inside the cockpit, which means they can get rather hot (it is easier to run a heater inside a small cockpit than cool it)
      • You have to be more careful to avoid overheating the engine
      • Some places may form thunderstorms constantly
    • In the rainy season, which is often in the spring, you will have degraded performance. Even if it is not rainy, the air will likely be more humid, which decreases aircraft performance

    Depending on your latitude, other weather conditions may be more prevelant at a certain time of year (hurricanes/cyclones, high winds, tornados, sudden storms). This paper discusses wind differences based on season and latitude. In particular, page 7 of the document shows that summer months had slightly stronger winds at southern latitudes (southern hemisphere), and winter months had significantly stronger winds at northern latitudes. Some geographical areas may have changes in prevailing wind directions, which could also affect training depending on routes and runways too.

    TL;DR: It's mainly a weather concern, which can affect your comfort (temperature inside, possibly air turbulence), aircraft performance, as well as grounding weather. Additionally, the most obvious concern is also length of the day - summer months will have more daylight, a particular concern if you can only fly in VFR conditions/do not hold a night rating.

  • As SSumner says, the weather is your factor for season difficulty in flight training, and in large part these weather differences can be related to geographical location.

    In the North US in winter time you have ice threats, for flight training ice is a no-go situation (most trainers are not approved for ice nor do they have a/ice capabilities). For days with no ice, there is often an infinite plane of stratocumulus clouds that you need an IFR clearance to get above. This can still be a go situation for maneuvers but makes ground-based navigation impossible to practice. You also will typically encounter very strong winds as the weather clears behind mid-latitude cyclones.

    In the South during the winter you have sporadic freezing rain and icing events, but without the frequency of the North. Your big threat instead are the spring and summer thunderstorm season. On many days, if you respect the AIMs idea of tstorm avoidance, you might as well stay on the ground, because it just doesn't exist.

    In the Florida You will have thunderstorms like clockwork daily, all year long. You can fly before and after these storms and the sea breeze that drives these storms makes the timing and position fairly reliable to be avoided.

    In the desert southwest you are dealing with high density altitudes due to the elevation and the heat. This can make climb performance problematic but this can be remedied with a capable airplane. This region can also be problematic for instrument training because you'll never get to log any actual instrument time.

    In Texas north though Nebraska you can sometimes get intense low-level jets bringing moisture north out of the gulf. This can result in very strong winds at the surface and gusty conditions in lowest few thousand feet, and this can be problematic for training.

    In the lee of mountains with strong winds aloft (e.g. New Mexico north along the front range of the Rockies) you can experience turbulence, mountain waves and rotor clouds. These can predicted by the winds aloft and can be avoided but may present days when training is best not conducted.

Related questions and answers
  • What effect will the time of year a student starts their flight training have on the difficulty of their training? What particular problems will each season cause a student pilot? What advantages does each season have? Are there any studies showing how the time of year effects the duration or success rate of training? Different latitudes will have different, or at least more extreme, effects so please note if an effect is only valid for a specific geographic area.

  • When I took delivery of a new Cessna 182T last year, I did a test flight for certification purposes. During the test flight we had to perform a power off stall but that didn't go as planned... this to happen? (My guess is it is CG related) And most importantly: If I would have continued this "mushing" flight, would it be possible to have entered a flat spin or a simple "drop out of the sky.... This "mushing" went on for what seemed ages before I eventually applied power and pushed the nose down to gain airspeed again. We tried it again after that and the same thing happened. I had an instructor

  • In a full motion Level C or D simulator like those used by the airlines and for jet type ratings: How should a pilot log the simulator time in their logbook? I.e. Can you log: Total Time Instrument Time Time in Type Cross Country Time Night Time Landings (including night landings) Dual given/received Anything else?

  • In the last year, I have had to undergo bypass surgery. I am fully recovered now (and past the mandatory 6-month waiting period), but have just been apprised by my AME that my 3rd class medical deferral is likely to take a month or two for the FAA to process. I am also in a partnership, and our insurance requires annual recurring training. Normally, all four of us (partners) take the recurring training at the same time, and get a discounted rate as a result. As fate would have it, this year's recurring training will fall into the time I am waiting to hear back from the FAA. Since the flight

  • I realise that this question is very broad, but I intend it as an example to illustrate the actual costs incurred by a typical long-haul commercial flight. For this purpose of this question, I would assume the following: A380 or (modern) B747 in typical 3-class configuration Full occupancy 12 hours flight time (or more) Here are the cost position I can think of right now: Fuel Aircraft... fees Administrative cost (managing/issuing tickets, etc.) What am I missing? What would be the absolute (and relative) cost budget for each of these? Bonus question: in airline operations

  • I'm a student pursuing a US Private Pilot License, and recently scheduled my checkride. I've been training in a 1981 Piper Warrior (PA-28-161), but if its annual goes sour I may have to take my club's 1980 Piper Archer (PA-28-181). I have well over §61.109's 40 hours in the Warrior alone, and only ~10 hours in the Archer. I have a separate club checkout and CFI solo endorsement for each... specifically for [II.A.2.] Total time in this make/model and/or approved FFS or FTD (Hrs.) Furthermore, according to the IACRA FAQ ("I'm a Designated Examiner. I noticed a mistake when reviewing the IACRA

  • What, if any, requirements are there to maintain a private pilot certificate? For example: Do I have to renew my certificate after a period of time? E.g. annually, 5 years, 10 years Do I have to receive a minimum number of continued training hours? Do I have to fly a minimum number of hours? For instance, say I had enough money/time to go out and start the process of getting a private pilot... the certificate from expiring, or (c) that I would have to commit to a certain number of hours (instructed or solo) per year to keep the certificate.

  • Generally speaking, What programming language is used in aviation for (ATC Radio, Radar, ILS, Auto-pilot and on-board avionics)? Is there a standard enforced by ICAO? Does every plane manufacturer use the programming language they like as long as it's reliable and it goes through testing? I remember watching a documentary on YouTube last year about aviation and it said something about the EU, after WWII, started making standards for aviation systems inside Europe. I will link the video if I can find it

  • What are the minimum requirements for obtaining a privates pilot certificate if a pilot already has a sport pilot certificate? The requirements for a private pilot certificate don't changes because you already have a sport pilot license. However by successfully obtaining a sport pilots certificate, you should have already completed some of the private pilot requirements. How much of your sport pilot training counts towards your private pilots license? How much of the training will have to be re-done? Does it depend on the type of your flight instructor's certificate?

  • Here are a few thoughts: 'Real' accidents happen much too seldom to be of any real measure, and they would have to be compensated for the number of passenger kilometers as well to be objective. Large airlines may have be involved in more accidents, but they have more aircraft. Many airlines low down on the reports had accidents many years ago. Avherald and the like may be good sources but emphasize that they don't report on all accidents. Different jurisdictions have different reporting requirements. What is a fair and unbiased method of measuring airline safety?

Data information