Section I: Equipment and Environment
Part II, Introduction: The Weather
Descriptions of northern weather go all the way from "It's the worst in the world!" to "It's not so bad." I find myself more inclined towards the latter view, at least away from the cities and coastal areas, for the following reasons:
It is basically dry in the interior of Alaska and Northern Canada, and precipitation is light.
During the winter, in cold dry air, icing during instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) is rarely a problem.
During both summer and winter, cloud levels are usually fairly easy to top even without turbocharged engines (see illustration 20).
Thunderstorms are mere babies -- though still to be treated with respect -- compared to the ones further south.
Except around a few of the larger cities, smog is unknown.
With generally cold temperatures and low elevations, airplane performance is at its best.
Naturally, there are problems with deep cold, fast moving fronts, high winds, changeable weather patterns, and vast areas without comprehensive weather reports. This is all counterbalanced -- once you know the ropes -- with the lack of towers, cables, traffic, and pollution, which are endemic down south.
What it finally gets down to is that a little more individual thought, responsibility, and technical knowledge is required in the North; in return it is basically a more peaceful and satisfying environment for flight.
[Please Note: The next Chapter, Chapter 4: Winter, is unavailable on the web. The online edition continues with Chapter 5: Spring.]