Greetings fellow pilots,
Walking outside at 6 in the morning to 95 degree heat tells me we're definitely in the "heat" of summer. I'm not quite as eager to run down to the airport and head up in the sky as in the cooler months. While I'm a big proponent of a complete preflight briefing and virtual walkthrough on the charts with weather in normal conditions, I spend extra time in the summer to ensure I've taken density altitude, storm predictions, shifting winds, and heat exhaustion into account. Flying in a greenhouse with no air conditioning takes a toll on the decision-making process. Between fighting sunburn from the focused sunlight, to the heat that knocks out most electronic tablets, it brings challenges to the cockpit that aren't typically covered in training.
The risks accompanying the challenges can certainly be mitigated effectively with some prior planning. Flying much earlier allows for a cooler flight and typically takes the afternoon storms out of the mix. Devising a shade of sorts for the tablet keeps it out of the direct sunlight. Sunscreen helps keep your arms from catching on fire. Making friends with somebody who flies an airplane with air conditioning solves several problems at the same time.
Despite all the downsides and challenges of summer flying, we still love to do it. Flying gives us that escape to cooler temps while airborne and takes us to cooler destinations. That's what keeps me coming back. After all, if it were easy, anybody could do it, right?