,This is the time we have all been waiting months for. We have left winter behind and are full speed ahead towards spring! As glorious as our visions of flying are for the upcoming months, it is not all sunshine and rainbows. With spring comes a series of things to consider to make sure that we enjoy our time in the sun.
Weather: The old saying “April showers brings May flowers” is actually kind of true but it’s not just showers we’ll see this time of year. Spring is a hybrid between winter and summer. We can experience some of the extremes weather found in both seasons. Icing conditions can still be found in the clouds and we will also see our first glimpses of convective activity. The increased moisture content in the ground, combined with cool overnight temperatures can lead to some awe inspiring fog
Wildlife: You may start to see more wildlife in and around airports. Coyote, fox, turkeys, deer…all are raising their young this time of year and will be out and about in search of food. Turkey vultures are also cruising the skies this time of year surveilling for their next meal. While they may only weigh 3 lbs on average, these large birds with 6-foot wingspans are not something you want to tangle with in the air…and they don’t have transponders. They usually fly at roughly 500 feet but have been spotted much higher so keep your eyes peeled and remember…climb away from birds. Their instinct is to dive away from trouble…if they have enough time.
Higher traffic: The problem with everyone waiting for spring is…everyone starts flying in the spring. You can expect higher volumes of traffic passing through the area headed out towards the Cape and Islands. As a matter of fact, Nantucket is the second busiest airport in Massachusetts, bested only by Boston Logan. In the Newport you can expect to see lots of helicopter activity as well as skydiving operations.
Temporary Flight Restrictions: It’s not just pilots that have been waiting for the good weather to show up. Large outdoor events will be making a huge comeback this year and we can expect to see a variety of TFRs pop up. Every home game hosted by the Boston Red Sox will be protected by a TFR; the Boston Marathon will have a TFR, some large concerts will have a TFR. In past years we have experienced VIP TFRs out on Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. While checking for TFRs is always important, there is an increased chance of seeing a TFR during the warmer seasons.
Nothing in this list is a show-stopper. As pilots, we are constantly managing the risks and concerns that come with ever flight. Being aware of these makes you a more conscientious, thoughtful pilot. With proper preflight planning, situational awareness and vigilance, flying in the springtime can be nothing short of glorious.