LEARN TO FLY: Mr Fog Patches

Alan Gray is currently learning to fly at Kemble with Freedom Aviation. He has written another blog post following his successful blog debut in August.

Alan Gray at KembleIs it because I was born in Glasgow and raised on the shores of the Firth of Clyde that I am so obsessed by the weather? The west of Scotland frequently experiences four seasons in a day, even in summer! Despite the fact that we all live in the South of England now, I can’t finish a phone call to either son without being asked for a full weather report if I fail to mention rain or wind in the conversation. However, it still came a bit of a surprise just how much the weather matters before we take to the air, especially in VMC (visual meteorological conditions for the uninitiated and would-be fliers).

It was good for me, as a student, that from the outset I was expected to deal with as much of the pre-flight business as possible. That includes weather forecasts and weather reports from other aerodromes. Consequently, I never set off for a lesson without having a comprehensive look at all the available online weather information. This resulted in a meaningful conversation around the ups and downs of taking to the skies with my flying instructor, John Warman.

Of course there’s more to weather than flight planning. Student pilots need to take exams, one of which is meteorology. There’s quite a lot to this subject and it’s one of the meatier ones. But students, or would-be students, need not be put off by exams because learning to fly, like learning to do anything, is a shared challenge. The student has the challenge of learning and the school has the challenge of teaching, but success is in the interests of both parties. Freedom Aviation recognises this and provides excellent ground school teaching conducted by well-qualified and able instructors who reinforce and expand the students’ learning. It’s thanks to Freedom Aviation Ground School, run by instructor Bob McPhee, that student pilots avoid making heavy weather of meteorology and usually sail (should it not be fly?) through the exams with considerable success.

And finally, who is Mr Fog Patches? I knew him well but sadly, only in my mind. He was a product of my childhood imagination when following those Scottish weather forecasts, which were frequently punctuated by early mist or fog patches.

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