“Well, I guess the flying season’s over,” said a pilot recently, looking at yet another day of rain. I had to think about that awhile. Certainly, after months of blue skies herein the Northwest, even though week of rain, snow, and ice in the clouds seem discouraging, I think that we just move into a different sort of flying season.

First, consider that with cooler temps, density altitudes are lower. Airplanes like that: shorter takeoffs, steeper climbs, air that seems more solid.  Second, VFR days seem more precious. I find myself watching the weather and looking forward to a break in the clouds, eagerly anticipating a day to go up.  Third, it’s easier to maintain night currency when it’s dark by 5PM instead of having to wait until 10.

There are other good reasons to take every opportunity to fly and they involve our airplanes. Airplanes like to fly. The Continental and Lycoming reps will say that the best thing you can do for the longevity of your engine is make sure it operates at full power for at least an hour each week. Oil circulates, lubricates, and the high operating temps burn off any moisture condensed by sitting in a cold hangar or created by combustion. A short ground run won’t do it. How do we run at full power for an hour? Well, those pancake breakfasts and $100 hamburgers aren’t going to eat themselves…

DART update: The Washington Airborne Disaster Response Team is forming and you can be a part. We are creating a list of GA pilots willing to be of assistance in the case of a regional disaster. Small aircraft are an agile, quickly dispatchable resource that could service localities isolated by fires, landslides, earthquakes, volcanoes, etc. that might occur here in our region.

We’re coordinating with the Oregon Pilots Association which is doing the same thing. We anticipate transporting essential personnel (doctors, nurses, bridge engineers) and essential supplies (food, medicine).If you are willing to be listed and consider a request for help please send mean email at george.steed@gmail.com subject line: Washington DART. I’ll send a form to be filled out. We may never be called but it’s always better to be prepared.

Finally, I recently attended the Washington State Community Airport Managers Association conference. I was amazed and impressed by the amount of preparation, effort, and hard work that goes into protecting, repairing, maintaining, and operating these amazing airports that we often take for granted. The next time you fly somewhere, if you’re in the terminal, FBO, or line shack, find the airport manager and thank them for the work they do providing these wonderful pieces of infrastructure.