March is the windiest month

My primary instructor told me this when I was getting ready to solo in March and kept ending up with days where the winds were gusting over 20 knots. Is it really true? A quick googling does confirm that the general rule is true for the northeast US with some geographic exceptions. March is a time when the sun is present for more of the day yet there are still very strong temperature gradients between northern and southern air masses which ultimately results in higher pressure gradients and strong winds.

I had hoped to do some solo landing practice after work today but the winds have been brutal. Yesterday peak wind gusts were in the 30-40 knot range. They winds were lower today and were forecast to diminish towards this evening so I figured I’d try and get in some evening practice landings. Other than the winds the weather has been severe clear all day today. I checked the METAR before heading up and it was 15 knots straight down the runway. I headed up to the airport only to change my mind about the flight after hearing the new ATIS and seeing the windsock. The new ATIS reported 15 gusting 24 knots with a low level wind shear warning.

None of these would be huge obstacles in the 172 I learned to fly in, but I have a lot more experience with that airplane. Right now I want to be flying in conditions where if I balloon a bit on landing I know whether it was my control inputs or just a wind gust. The reaction is the same but since I am trying to practice landings I want to know whether I am nailing them or making it worse. I think I could even be comfortable making a landing in these conditions now, I just don’t find them good for practice.

In about 10-15 hours and a hundred landings or so I will be actively searching out days like today for practice. One of the biggest frustrations of training in an airplane is that the only way to change the weather conditions is to wait. Some days you want a nice calm day. Some days you want the challenge of a gusty crosswind or low ceilings. Hopefully soon a calm evening or weekend will present itself.