The power of wishful thinking
Every aviator knows the pain of stressing about weather before important aerial journeys. It’s become tradition for me to fly Jean to tennis regionals when her team wins their conference.
Fortunately, the playoffs occur in late spring and early fall when good flying weather generally dominates the Southwest.
Jean’s team was particularly strong this year, so with each successive win she’d more enthusiastically ask, “You will fly us to Albuquerque if we qualify, right?” Each time I assured her that nothing in my universe could possibly be more important. Accordingly she solicited fellow players to join us, collected their weights, briefed them on baggage limits, and arranged for driving teammates to accommodate overflow gear. When Jean’s team indeed made the cut, we began casually watching the weather.
You may be surprised to learn that hurricanes, or at least their remnants, occasionally visit sunny Arizona.
In the past month two of them, Marie and Norbert, had arrived from Mexico’s Pacific coast, dropping extensive precipitation including the largest daily rainfall ever recorded in normally bone-dry Phoenix. Following two such rare occurrences in one season, I never imagined we’d see more.
But a week before Jean’s regionals, Hurricane Odile steered our way from Baja California. Jean and I watched in disbelief as local meteorologist Lee Born projected the storm’s track northeastward through Arizona and New Mexico.
“This could be another major precipitation event,” he said, “with a high likelihood we’ll benefit by more rain.” Jean and I, however, saw only a disrupted tennis trip in the colorful weather blob projected to engulf the two states…
READ THIS MONTH’S ENTIRE FLYING CARPET COLUMN, “TENNIS TIME AGAIN.” (Allow a moment for the article to load.)
Top photo: Tennis teammates Jean, Jana, and Jenny at Albuquerque’s Double Eagle II Airport. Lower photo: “Old Acoma Pueblo ‘Sky City,’ near Grants, New Mexico. SEE MORE PHOTOS!
(This column first appeared in AOPA Flight Training magazine.)
©2014 Gregory N.Brown