The snow is blowing across the runway at a great rate of speed today; I can see it from the passenger lounge. I bought a new toque to keep the worst of it off my head, but Winter is here and that sucks.
Good things about Winter and flying:
1. Aircraft performance increases in the cold air. We see 3,000 fpm climb on departure now instead of our normal 2,000 fpm, and that's pretty neat.
2. There is very little convective weather when it's cold, so that means a much smaller chance of thunderstorms, which are about the only thing in aviation that really terrifies me.
3. The Citation 550 cockpit is a bit of a greenhouse, but in Winter the sun can be shining and I still won't usually be sweating through my shirts.
4. The free hot chocolate at the FBO tastes better when it's cold outside.
Bad things about Winter and flying:
1. A lot more flying is done at night, due to the shorter hours of sunlight.
2. Icing on the ground. De-icing the airplane is incredibly expensive, so if we want to depart when there is sticky snow falling, we will have to pay roughly $2,400 to go to the central de-ice pad at Pearson and get de-ice spray applied.
3. Slippery runways aren't much fun at all. It's not so much a problem here, but at smaller airports it can be a real consideration whether or not it's safe to land.
4. Icing in the clouds is much more frequent. A nice thing about the jet is we can usually climb above the ice within a few minutes, but it's still not much fun while we are in it, nor is it fun having to shoot a full approach somewhere while accumulating big chunks of ice on the wings.
So there you have it. According to my very scientific study, Winter has no more minuses than plusses. But it's cold and that sucks.
Good thing I'm heading somewhere warm shortly. No, I don't mean Hell.