Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Surface Patterns

Date Aircraft Route of Flight Time (hrs) Total (hrs)
03 Feb 2015 N21481 SDC (Sodus, NY) - local flight 1.4 1372.6

After a relatively mild winter to date, snow finally arrived in Rochester this week; a lot of it. In the throes of winter, despite cold and snow, all it takes is a little sunshine to inspire circulation of engine oil.

It was a utilitarian flight and I did not plan to take photographs, but I was struck by the patterns on the surface of Lake Ontario. Fortunately, the camera is always along for the ride. Luck favors the prepared!

The parallel streaks seen here are composed of chunks of ice floating on open water. At first, I thought this was a standing wave phenomenon, but waves of surface water crossed these parallel lines of ice at a forty-five degree angle. Perhaps it was an artifact of the wind, which was well aligned with the pattern below. No matter the cause, I had never seen anything like it before.

Though it was a beautiful day, it was not a good day for a pleasure cruise; too bumpy. Above a 5500' scattered layer, cloud forms hinted at the presence of higher altitude shear. But conditions provided a good opportunity to practice take-offs and landings in a gusty crosswind, practice that I needed.

With the engine oil run at temperature for a prolonged period of time, completion of a VOR check (I was a couple of weeks overdue), and some opportunity to polish my airmanship, I considered it a mission well accomplished.


  1. A nice get out and fly day! 08Romeo needs the same, breakfast run to get the oil pumping and I'm sure I need to do the VOR check. With a quick check on my calendar I see that I could also use a few approaches to reset the clock before the end of March.

    Very interesting pictures of the ice along the lake shore line. I'll have to take a look at the Delaware Bay and see if it gets a similar buildup.

    1. It was nice to get out. I could wish wish for smoother air, though. It was a "tighten your seatbelt" kind of day.

      Like I said, I've never seen such organized patterns on the lake before. I might speculate that they're the result of the high winds we were having leading up to this flight, but I don't really know.