Waukegan got over 15 inches of snow on Friday. The snow storm was followed by a major temperature drop over the weekend. I got in a short lesson on Sunday but, it was sure cold! The thermometer in my car showed 18 degrees as I pulled into the parking lot. I was scheduled for my usual 2pm lesson and I was going to try to get in a local solo. The flight school was rearranging the schedule to keep the airplanes in the air as much as possible so they would stay warm. I ended up getting pushed back to 3pm. By then, it was 2600 ft overcast and there were some snow showers out to the west so, I couldn’t do the solo. We decided to do a dual session and go to Kenosha to review short and soft field landings.
Sandy helped with the preflight and we got airborne just a few minutes after three. I asked for a frequency change after I turned north and called Kenosha. The tower controller told us there would be a 20 minute delay for pattern work because they were working on the runways – getting rid of some ice I assume. We changed plans again and went out west to do some low level work. On the way there, Sandy called Flight Watch to get a weather update and give a PIREP for the snow showers we were seeing. Once we got west of Fox Lake, we were out of the snow. I hadn’t done ground reference maneuvers for months so; this actually was a productive lesson. I was rusty but, my turns around a point and rectangular patterns were within PTS limits, just barely. I’ll have to work on them when I am out solo.
When we headed back to UGN, we found out that it was getting very hazy closer to the lake. As we crossed the tollway, about 4 miles out, I told Sandy that I still didn’t have the airport in sight. She couldn’t see it either but, in another mile or so, we both saw it at about the same time. I did a couple so-so landings before we taxied back in. Taxiing on the ice covered ramp was another learning experience. I hope the last few days are not an indication of how this whole winter is going to go.
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Hey Tom, how long were you guys in the snow showers before breaking out?
Probably no more than 10 minutes. It was very light snow and we could see to the other side of the shower areas at all times.