Sunday, January 7, 2018

Polar Bear Flying

Date Aircraft Route of Flight Time (hrs) Total (hrs)
07 Jan 2017 N21481 SDC (Sodus, NY) - local flight 1.8 1748.9

I hate winter flying.

Frustrations abound as one gray day fades into the next with snow, low clouds, or some other adverse weather condition preventing safe flight. An instrument rating is useless in light singles when the clouds are full of ice.

Run-up on the parallel taxiway at the Williamson-Sodus Airport

Taxiing requires care in a low wing aircraft with a 35 foot wingspan. Sometimes, the snowbanks along the taxiway are too close or too high for clear passage.

A Williamson Flying Club student in N9855W takes runway 10 for departure

However, even the most underpowered single engine airplane becomes a rocket ship in the dense, oxygen-rich winter air.

Looking east over the ice shelf along the Lake Ontario shoreline

The world is transformed into a fantastic realm of crisp, clean alabaster.

Middle Falls, Letchworth State Park

Amazingly, even dynamic forces of nature are nearly halted in the cold.

Middle Falls, Letchworth State Park

Despite the cold outside, polar bear flying is much toastier than polar bear swimming! The Warrior's cabin stays comfortably warm, even with the window open for taking pictures.

Middle Falls, Letchworth State Park

Returning to the hangar at the Williamson-Sodus Airport
At the end of a refreshing flight over gleaming winter terrain, there is no need to clean insects from the airframe, a definite improvement over the summer months.

I love winter flying.


  1. Beautiful shots of the falls, thanks for sharing. I didn't even turn on the heaters last night, even though I would have loved to get in the air. To darn cold, 19° windchill feels like 5° on the ground. There will be warmer days.

    1. There will be, Gary, and it's always nice to see the days becoming noticeably longer. For me, as long as we're in double digits, I'm OK. Single digits make the experience a little more unpleasant and, if there's wind at those temperatures, forget it. Otherwise, I like that it's different from the rest of the year. It starts getting old around the end of February, though.