Minnesota weather is moody; it’s just a fact of life. One day the tar is sizzling, the next is a deluge of rain. And let’s not even get started on the snow in May!
As interesting as the weather makes it to live here, it does make a pilot’s life a little more difficult. More so than in other, more temperate states, helicopter flight schools and helicopter flight training programs here must teach their pupils how to navigate all kinds of unexpected weather.
Minnesota Helicopters, a Blaine helicopter flight school and provider of charter flights, shares some weather-related rules of thumb we use in our flight programs to keep novice and experienced pilots alike safe.
Flying in a Thunderstorm
Almost all helicopter pilots will deal with an unexpected thunderstorm at some point in their flying careers; therefore, many helicopters are designed to keep pilots and passengers safe in such conditions. However, that doesn’t mean you should be careless! Keep the following in mind about flight and thunderstorms:
● Lightning can strike outside of thunderclouds. This means pilots must be hyper-aware of weather patterns and their influencing factors, such as atmospheric pressure. Steer well around pockets of storms!
● Lighting isn’t the only hazard. Storms also can mean strong winds and hail—both of which can throw the helicopter off-course or otherwise damage the aircraft.
● Don’t be afraid to call off a flight. You won’t look cowardly if you refuse to fly in bad weather; you’ll look wise. The best, most experienced pilots aren’t shy of telling their passengers that it’s unsafe to fly. Knowing your limits as a pilot is the best way to keep your riders safe, and also to build your confidence.
Flying in Snow
Even though the average snowstorm won’t have lighting, there are still quite a few dangers the responsible pilot will keep in mind and quite a few precautions he or she will take to mitigate them.
● Check for ice on the rotor blades. Ice can unbalance your helicopter, making it difficult to fly control.
● The cold itself can be a danger. A cold engine and the partially frozen fluids within can mean your equipment might not function the way it should. This can create control problems.
● Don’t use salt on the landing bases. This can shoot back up into the engine as you land, resulting in corrosion.
Keep yourself safe with the best helicopter flight school around
The best way to protect both yourself and your passengers during flight is a combination of good education and confidence in your skillset, both of which Minnesota Helicopters is adept at providing. We offer both general helicopter rides and training! To schedule your recreational or business helicopter tour today, or to begin your flight training, contact us at 763-784-HELI (4354).