Lesson 57 – Winter Is Here

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.

  • njord4 says:

    Hey Tom, how long were you guys in the snow showers before breaking out?

  • Tom says:

    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.

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