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Spring flying tips

Spring is a picturesque season when viewed from an aeroplane and often brings the best flying conditions of the year. Here are our tips for flying in the spring.

Picturesque scenery in the spring
Picturesque scenery in the spring

1. Be mindful of skill-fade.

If the weather has been poor over the winter and you have flown little, or not at all, then it is likely that you will be rusty at the controls. Consider a check-out flight with an instructor. It is always money well spent and will boost your confidence. If you choose not to do so, consider flying by yourself before taking passengers to ensure you are up to scratch.

Be mindful of the aircraft's condition
Be mindful of the aircraft's condition

2. Be mindful of the aircraft’s condition.

It is not only the pilot that becomes rusty over the winter. Ensure that you thoroughly inspect the aircraft before flight. Check that all of the tyres are correctly inflated and in good condition. Remove both cowlings and thoroughly check the air intakes for blockages caused by animal and bird nests. Consider replacing the fuel if it has been in the aircraft for a long time.

3. Consider increased wildlife.

Whilst we’re talking about nests, it is a good reminder to point out that wildlife activity increases in the spring. Bear in mind that migratory birds may return in the spring. According to the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), around 90% of bird strikes occur within, or near to the aerodrome boundary.

4. Expect busy airspace.

If you’ve been flying over the winter, you may have gotten used to quiet skies. During the first few days of good weather in spring, you can expect lots of private pilots to be airborne. Those pilots may also be rusty and prone to errors. Keep a keen lookout, especially in the circuit and don’t be surprised if other pilots make mistakes by cutting you off or entering the runway whilst you're approaching!

Also consider that many pilots will be requesting zone transits so radio frequencies are likely to be busy. Ensure your radio calls are precise and bear in mind that you may not get a zone transit if the airspace is congested - ensure you have an alternate plan.

A busy airfield on the first good weather day of spring
A busy airfield on the first good weather day of spring

5. Bear in mind that weather changes can be rapid.

Check the forecast thoroughly and be prepared for any eventuality. The weather in spring can be very changeable and it can feel like you experience all of the seasons in one day. Remind yourself of your personal minimums and keep them fresh in your mind when flying cross-country.

Are you a student pilot? Whether you're learning to fly aeroplanes, helicopters or microlights - we'll get you through the written exams first time with confidence. Check out the video below to learn more.


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