This year, at the end of January, the air is cold. Today the wind was up a bit, around 18 knots, sort of out of the north. It was pretty much runway alignment, so takeoff was not challenging. There was no ice in the air at the altitude I was flying, but the aircraft was buffeted a bit by the wind as it turned from north, to west, south and back again.
Looking north, I saw a lot of water with a lot of ice into the distance. At around 6,300 feet, the outside air temperature was just a bit above 0 degrees F.
So why fly on a cold and windy day? The answer is clear, flying for many a pilot is not much different than a church service and the opportunity to see the terrain into the distance is reassuring, even inspiring.
The last Friday I flew the short journey from Klamath Falls to Siskiyou County Airport. It was an ideal day for flying. There was not much traffic in the sky. The air was cool, which improved lift. There was very little vertical movement, so I didn’t bounce around much. Normally, I use VFR-flight-following. Air traffic control provides a transponder code so they can track the aircraft on radar. If another aircraft approaches, they will advise.
On Friday, no one was in the area. I asked Seattle Center if I could go off frequency, do a touch and go at Big Siskiyou and return to the frequency. They said it was OK, so I retained my code and did not have to return to the system . As I was flying, I looked over Hamaker Mountain and saw Chase Mountain and Mount McLoughlin lining up. The visual was impressive because the mountains appeared to be floating among the ground fog, mist, and smoke.
I pulled my camera out and took a shot. After landing and putting the Piper Warrior away, I checked the pictures and thought the shot above was particularly interesting.
Flying is not inexpensive, but pound-for-pound, it provides more exhiliration than other efforts. Normally, when I am driving home, I have a smile on my older face.