Jan. 18, 12 p.m.: What is it about the area near San Marcos, Texas that makes it so flight-friendly?
The San Marcos area, in south central Texas, equidistant from Austin and San Antonio, boasts more than 300 near-ideal flying days annually, defined as the number of days in which the flight ceiling exceeds 3,000 feet with unlimited visibility.
All flight students know that flying is weather-dependent, and few places in the country can boast of the weather commonly seen in San Marcos. High temperatures average a robust 63 degrees in December and January, eliminating any possibility of snow and ice. Summertime highs often exceed 90 degrees but even then monthly precipitation averages less than 2 inches. Indeed, humidity is significantly less than in Texas' coastal cities and the absence of a true "rainy season" makes for a year-round "flying season."
The ever-present south Texas wind can present issues, but flight instructors prefer that to dead calm. Some wind enables instructors to grade students on changing stimuli as they learn. Vaughn's eight students have faced windy conditions in their two-plus weeks in Texas and for the most part come out ahead.
"The weather here is wonderful, especially for flying," said Vaughn's Jaen Villalvir.