Saturday, 29 June 2013

Hot hot hot

Location: Phoenix Goodyear airport, Arizona
Temperature: 118°F (48°C)
UV factor: 11 out of 10
Last rained: 83 days ago

Today's weather forecast. Jealous? Don't be!
We have finally arrived in Arizona's Sun Valley, a strange land of desert, rock, cactus, poisonous animals and searing heat for our 'fair weather' flight training. I'm not sure you could reasonably describe 48°C as fair weather, and the forecast for the weekend is even higher.

Imagine the rush of hot, dry air that hits you in the face when you open your oven, but continuously. If you stay in the shade and keep still it is actually quite bearable, but because it is so dry you don't realise how much sweat you are generating and how quickly you are dehydrating.

When flying a small aeroplane staying in the shade is not an option, and they do not have any air conditioning either. Dehydration or heat stroke obviously would very serious consequences, so the many warnings about staying hydrated are appropriately dire. And a forced landing out in the desert hardly bears thinking about...

It's not just the pilots that suffer, hot air is less dense and is bad for aircraft performance. Here, take-off is not allowed above 45°C, the aircraft manufacturer's performance data simply doesn't go that far. Hence flying starts at dawn, when in the relatively mild thirties and it can all be over by 11am.

The facilities at the training centre are a pleasant surprise, and we are feeling very welcome and quite spoiled. The staff have been fantastic, good old American customer service in action.

Our rooms are large and well maintained, we have access to two pools, BBQs, floodlit tennis courts, a small gym and our class has even been loaned three large cars. The canteen, open from 5am, is excellent and everything except the aircraft is air conditioned.

Training has started with a week of ground school; orientation lectures, the issuing of piles of literature and charts, safety talks and lots more bureaucracy. This is likely to last until the end of next week due to 4 July holiday, so fingers crossed we will be flying by next weekend.

This Saturday will see our informal welcome party hosted by the classes above us, and is shaping up to be a huge party. There will, no doubt, be some sort of enforced humiliation / initiation ceremony awaiting us. It's all part of the fun... bring it on! I will let you know what happens — if suitable for public consumption — and also take some pictures of the airport and the area for next time.

Stay cool... if you can.

1 comment:

  1. Wow Jez 13 species of rattlesnake and 50 deg heat...sounds like rambling is an extreme sport out there.


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