Growing up in Australia I did not care much about the weather. Unless you lived in Canberra, Melbourne or Hobart the weather was lovely most of the time.
When I moved to Finland in my early 20’s I noticed something strange – everyone talked about the weather but it wasn’t driven by a need to small-talk but rather a genuine interest.
Almost 2 decades on I have learnt the hard truth that in Finland, everything is determined by weather – hobbies, if your car will start, the likelihood of you slipping over on your arse just to name a few.
But that is not enough fall it love.
Getting my Pilots License
As part of my mid-life crisis which hit me in my 30’s, I decided to get my Private Pilot’s License (PPL). The flying part was easy but getting through the 9 PPL Theory subjects was really hard work.
One of the Subjects was Meteorology and it just so turns out that there was actually some logic to how the weather worked. I started to find it fascinating that based on rules of thumb I could quite accurately predict conditions in the air.
My seeing Jesus moment though came not long after I got my pilots license. While I was flying bad weather moved in and I found myself lost in cloud and freaking out. I have never been so scared – sitting there with a paper map is pretty useless when you can’t see the ground. Fortunately I managed to get some help from Air Traffic Control who vectored me back to safety but that fear hasn’t left me.
A new Zealous for Weather
I was determined to not get caught out again. I took a new interest in getting to know the beast, reading and watching everything I could on the subject. As I studied and flew more, and talked to more experienced pilots my skills increased and I started to understand what conditions to avoid and what my personal limitations were.
At the same time I also started getting my hands on weather data and doing all sorts of cool analysis using the data skills I had developed at work. I was hooked.
What’s next for me
I always tell my kids to face their fears. For me it is learning to fly safely in cloud. As time permits I am planning to start my Pilot Instrument Rating. It is a costly and time consuming endeavor but one I hope to master.
I will also continue with the data analysis and try to publish some interesting articles on the blog. Photography of cool weather phenomena could also be cool but I might need to move to the tropics for that.