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The Winter Blues

I always find it difficult to keep motivated (and current) in the winter. We’ve been quite lucky with the weather so far in November, but it’s already starting to get cold and the mud is only just around the corner.

Every year is the same, I intend to keep flying, using the time to build my repertoire so that I hit the following season on form. I get to about the end of November and then I have a number of consecutive weekends where the weather means I can’t go flying and I start to think I could make better use of my time in the quiet season and I plan non-flying activity. This is a strange territory for me…I don’t usually manage much of that (much to the frustration of my ever patient and extremely lovely non-flying friends).

One of the issues the mud presents for me is that I wear cycling shoes with cleats in the Cap. This is great for aerobatics as it keeps your feet firmly on the pedals – and this can be really helpful in certain circumstances! However, the shoes I have (and the answer is probably to acquire a new pair of shoes!) mean that I have to take them off before I stand on the wing and risk doing damage to the aeroplane. The downside of this in the winter is that if I’m flying on my own…I’m re-fueling the aircraft in my socks and running from where I have parked (in the mud!) to the hangar to retrieve my shoes. This is far from ideal and, now that winter is coming, I will investigate alternative solutions for the shoe situation!

At the moment I’m in the phase where I am intending to keep flying throughout the winter and I’m certainly motivated to do so. And with thanks to Total for their support this year, it is more possible than before. I’ve set some winter goals, and am looking for interesting opportunities that are a little different. I’ve been lucky enough to fly a few interesting aircraft (particularly the Me108 – how lucky am I!) and get in some aerobatics so far but if I’m entirely honest with you, I just know that the cold and the mud and the poor weather is still at risk of meaning that this year is just like any other. So I’m sure I can’t be the only one and I’m interested in other suggestions for how other people keep motivated during the winter period? And for all you lucky souls who live in countries with better weather…you don’t know how lucky you are!

So - how do you keep yourself current and enthusiastic after many weekends of poor weather, numb fingers and toes and cleaning the mud off your aircraft? All ideas gratefully received!

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