The great state of Minnesota is known for its weather – most notably the snow, but also for the fact that state residents experience the four seasons in all their glory. Brisk autumn days ablaze with red and orange leaves turn to the coldest winter months with ice and snow that can pile up (and up and up). Vibrant green springs with telltale showers turn to glorious summer, filled with bright sunshiny days without a cloud in the sky. But the changing seasons means that students who are training to become pilots in Minnesota need to be prepared for anything Mother Nature might be brewing up. Here are five weather related facts for student pilots in Minnesota.
The State Experiences Weather Extremes
Minnesota is cold. There’s no doubt about that. But for as much attention as the coldest months that bring below-zero wind chills and piles of snow, summer months can be sweltering and humid. Check out this statistic for 2019: in the Twin Cities, the difference between the coldest wind chill and warmest heat index has been 170°.
Pilots who live in the land of 10,000 lakes may experience it all – from sub-zero air that can affect aircraft engines and will require deicing before takeoff to extremely hot and moist air than can negatively impact aircraft efficiency and performance.
Snow is (Almost) Year Round
Minnesota is known for its snowy winters, but snow can fall almost any time of the year here. In fact, the only month that it hasn’t snowed in the state is July! While summertime snow amounts are generally trace and tend to happen in the far northern parts of the state, it’s important for pilots to know that snow can happen even when you might least expect it. In fact, the earliest recorded snow is August 31, 1949, and the latest recorded snow was June 4, 1935.
Make sure you’re prepared for snow and ice – even as you plan a summer flight. See this checklist for what you need to know about flying in snow.
Increasing Rains and the Amount of Rain Per Storm
Rain showers and storms are common in the state, but the amount of precipitation has been increasing over time. In fact, average precipitation has been rising since 1970 by about a third of an inch per year every decade. Not only is it raining more often in Minnesota, but the amount of “mega-rains,” which dump at least 6 inches of rain, are more common, which climate scientists point to as a result of climate change. These heavy rains can present major challenges to pilots preparing to fly. Not only do heavy rains impact visibility in the air, but torrential rains can cause flooding on the runway which can impact taking off and landing. For pilots preparing to fly with a storm in the forecast, be sure to keep an ear to the radio to stay up-to-date on forecasts and how rain might impact your flight.
Tornado Season Runs From Early Spring to Fall
The state has had a number of memorable tornado events in its history – both in terms of scope and damage. What’s more is the tornado season is long, with an average of 28 tornadoes per year. In fact, the only months that haven’t experienced a tornado touch down in Minnesota are December, January and February. Pilots in the Midwest should understand that tornadoes are a very real threat. During the three-quarters of the year when tornadoes are recorded, pilots should pay close attention to weather patterns and the forecast. Pilot trainees will learn about navigating severe weather during the course of their education, but every pilot should make learning about weather information and meteorology a priority throughout their career.
Navigating weather can be a challenge for any pilot – new or experienced, commercial or private. Students who are interested in getting their pilot training in Minnesota have an opportunity to learn from pilots and instructors who have seen some of the most extreme weather conditions the state has to offer.
Weather can’t stop you from achieving new heights
Get in touch with Inflight Pilot Training to reach your goal of becoming a certified pilot!
Inflight is a leading pilot training company serving Minneapolis/St. Paul and the surrounding areas. With a reputable training program and deep roster of highly skilled, certified flight instructors, we help those who’ve dreamed of flying reach their goal of becoming a pilot. Our promise is to provide you with a better flight training experience than anyone else. If you’re searching for premier flight training in the west metro, choose convenience, choose professionalism – choose Inflight and take-off in an exciting new hobby or career.
For additional information on Inflight training programs, contact us today or call (952) 698-3000.