Considering the recent run of weather we’ve had in Ireland, I thought it might be a good topic to mention. One of the key issues I had considered when deciding where to undertake my training was the whole question around the role the weather would play while training in Ireland. Before I committed to anything I learnt as much as I possibly could from many pilots both current and retired as well as many others involved in some way in aviation, basically anyone that would give me the time of day. There was a comment made by a few of those I talked to, whereby they suggested that if I trained in Ireland, the weather would adversely affect my training.
Since starting however, I do not see this to be the case. Quite the opposite actually, I now consider the changeable weather to serve as an advantage to be gained in my training in Ireland. In my fight time logged so far, I have made a number of flights in what you would not exactly describe as a “blue sky” day. In fact I am now well practiced in landings carried out in windy, gusting conditions, cloudy days and days where intervals of sunshine are interrupted by heavy downpours of rain. In my experience, not only do these conditions build upon your feel for flying the aircraft but it trains you to be ever vigilant on the potentially changeable weather conditions.
This, I think, is the principle advantage to be gained from flying in non-perfect weather, it is setting up your training and your way of thinking to serve you throughout your entire career. As a pilot you can be traveling to different countries, different climates and different continents. The weather is ever changing, dynamic and never an exact science. Sure blue sky days are great but pilots need to study weather charts, meteorological information and forecasts to make sound judgement calls on a daily basis. And this is what I have myself been doing since beginning my training developing meteorological knowledge, using all information available to assess the conditions and planning ahead. I can imagine that training somewhere that has near perfect conditions all year round, there is the potential to become complacent and take the weather for granted.
Yes, it is Ireland, of course some days flying is out of the question. Luckily these days tend to be few and far between. And In my opinion the experience gained when you fly, far outweighs the days when you don’t.The head of training at AFTA is a Boeing 757 training Captain and he told me that he much prefers to train newly qualified pilots who trained at a flight school in Ireland or England as their handling skills,airspace awareness,radiotelephony and weather interpretation are invariably superior to pilots trained in fair weather locations like Spain or Florida.