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Visibility

One consequence of flight school was learning the pilot’s two measures of weather: ceiling and visibility. Ceiling is the lowest level above which there are too many clouds to dodge. Visibility is the distance you can see through whatever atmospheric haze is present.

In Korea, you could accurately simulate a day’s visibility as a function of randint(0, 8), expressed in nautical miles. 2 is the minimum to fly a low-risk mission; 3 is required to be comfortable; 7 or more is considered unlimited visibility. That’s not really true, though: even on a day when the weather shop’s reporting unlimited vis, you can tell that visual acuity fades sharply toward the horizon. Unlimited visibility in Korea really just means that you can usually distinguish the horizon, as opposed to the region where the ground fades into the sky.

I never really thought about it, because Korea does get occasional days where visibility is truly unlimited. They are rare and perfect days of intense beauty. Since coming back to New England, though, I’ve had almost three weeks so far of such days uninterrupted.

The weather here is a treasure. It’d be a pity to leave it unremarked.

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