Summer Flying

Philip Greenspun's Homepage : Philip Greenspun's Homepage Discussion Forums : Aviation : One Thread
Notify me of new responses

I am a student with 30 hours about to do my first solo cross country. My training is being
done in a 2006 DA40 we purchased last month. My home base is Austin, TX, and the hot
weather is upon us early (98 degrees yesterday). Also, we have had morning temps and dew
point temps very close to each other so non-imc mornings have few and far between. If one
absolutely has no choice to fly when it's hot and bumpy, what advice can you give to help
ease the nerves and anxiety caused by the uncomfortable environment? What do you do
differently, if anything, in terms of preparation when you know you are going to face hot
weather? Thanks, Scott

-- Scott Zodin, May 21, 2008


Traveling by small airplane in the summer is painful enough. In a DA40, you sweat until you've climbed to whatever altitude yields 60 degrees F outside air temperature (70 degrees in a Cessna). Training in a small airplane on a summer afternoon is beyond painful. You're stuck at low altitudes where it is ridiculously hot and bumpy. I think it would be best to schedule early mornings and just cancel if it is IMC. Do the rest of your dual training so that you are lifting off right at sunset.

So... if you have to do a solo cross-country... ice packs to put around your neck, plan for as high an altitude as you can (and remember that if there are fair weather cumulus clouds the air will be smooth above them), and remember that if your attitude and power are reasonable the airplane will take care of itself. Don't worry too much about indicated airspeed.

-- Philip Greenspun, May 22, 2008

To the question below... You're asking an engineer about clothing that is supposed to be cool? I've never heard of any vest that is cool nor any music newer than Stravinsky.

-- Philip Greenspun, May 23, 2008

Philip: Do you know anything about the "cool vest?"

-- Scott Zodin, May 22, 2008

This is what I was referring to: Texas summers in a green house with no air conditioning will make a man desperate :)!

-- Scott Zodin, May 28, 2008

scott- i live in southern california where the summer months are pretty warm. i just bought a new turbo 182. it wasn't my first choice but the combination of (i) the turbo to get over high mountains (on virtually every flight), combined with (ii) the high wing/sun shade which goes a long way toward keeping things cool, led me to conclude that this was my best choice of airplane. my first solo cross country flight (last year) was over mountainous terrain to blythe, CA in a piper archer w/no AC. temperature on the ground in blythe was 116 degrees. uncomfortable flight to say the least!! as i have built hours (around 175 total now), i have become significantly more comfortable bouncing along in turbulence. i've learned to just slow the airplane down and let mother nature do her thing. i hope your long CC went well, and good luck to you with your flying. the stress level goes down and enjoyment factor goes up significantly after 100 hours or so!! best, -steve h.

-- Steve Horowitz, June 5, 2008

Is this something that might help?

-- Mike Zaharis, June 6, 2008


I have read in the Diamond Aviators Forum that people have found the Artic Air to leak water. Since some avionics are located in the rear area of the plane, water sloshing around is less than desirable. I have bought stick on Rosen visors for all the windows, and climb as high as practical to beat the heat. Training is going well. All requirements met. Check ride in the next few weeks.

-- Scott Zodin, July 4, 2008