Weekly tips, technique and training from IFR.

Features June 2015 Issue

Summer Patterns

Marine stratus layers lurk along the Oregon coast, looking for a way in, while Portland enjoys perfect flying weather. Note how the tendrils of the stratus layer follow any lower terrain inland, while the bulk of the layer is blocked by the coastal mountains.

Summer Patterns

Summer brings more cross-country flights, unfamiliar airports and varying weather. Understanding summer weather patterns can help you arrive safe and stress free.

For many pilots, summer means fly-ins, more flying and searches for the best $100 hamburger. It also marks the end of powerful jet streams and large, organized weather systems that cross the United States from one end to the other. By the time June rolls around, all that stuff shifts north and becomes a problem for our Canadian friends. But, that also gives them four months of mild summer temperatures, so donít feel too bad for them. So what exactly do we have in the United States? We can distill it down to three main features. First thereís the large Atlantic Bermuda high, covering the eastern half of the country. Second is the cool Pacific high, which maintains a tenacious foothold on the West Coast. Finally thereís the broad thermal low located between the Sierra Nevadas and Rocky Mountains, strongest by far over Arizona. Itís driven mostly by intense solar heating.

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