January 2017: Waiting

Jan 31, 2017
Captain's Log Starship 1XE, Day 15 in the month of January in the Earth Calendar Year of 2017.

Recently, it was snowing and snowing, and snowing and I was waiting. And waiting, in a small stark room on a computer looking at weather, the route and contemplating my next flight. The scene reminded me of an old WWII movie as the young pilots filed into the briefing room to get the latest weather and their mission, and then settled down to a long wait in a local pub as storms blew through the area grounding the squadron.

Maybe I should join that fighter squadron in the pub. Instead I go skiing, as we are fortunate enough to have a world class ski area in our backyard. If it snows we ski, and if the weather clears we fly. A rolling stone gathering no moss. The bottom line is that our January weather in the Central Rockies has given us a snowpack well above normal. While the moisture has been substantial, so have the temperatures. Constantly hovering around and above the freezing level it is a perfect Global Weirding scenario. Disconcerting to have 40 degree temperatures almost daily in a ski resort town. Our billowing snow storms might be bad for flying but they are good for the snowpack. On the rare occasions this month when the ceilings lifted, we were off for a short flight mission over the Utah desert, or over our local White River National Forest.
Flight planning with Rip
Fortunately, the downtime of epic winters syncs with that time of year when we are constantly in touch with our partners, strategizing what issues we will be addressing for the year and how we can deal with the coming onslaught and challenges to our public lands. We are starting to schedule our flying season to maximize our cost effectiveness as we fly from region to region, bringing our aerial educational tours into the mix of tools utilized by our conservation campaigns. It is imperative that our conservation community step up to the plate at all levels, and there is an urgent need to educate our public, our press, and most of all our elected officials on threats to our environment. EcoFlight is ready and able, and busy fielding flight requests for the oncoming year. At no other time in the history of EcoFlight has concern for the state of our wild lands been greater - and the need for action so vital.

So not only do we sit and await a break in the weather, but we take this time to express our gratefulness to you, our hundreds of supporters, that understand the value of our Environmental AirForce. We are gearing up for what might well prove to be one of the most challenging flying seasons ever, or at least since I have been doing Conservation Flying, and that is over 30 years. The election has changed the political landscape dramatically, and it is our intent and our promise to do whatever it takes to protect and defend the health and sustainability of our environmental landscape.

Bruce Gordon