It would have been nice to celebrate January 1st by going flying but the weather wasn’t cooperating. Winds up here in the mountains often squash even the best plans and January 1st was no exception.

A weak cold front was moving through the area and kicked up the winds to the 25-30 knot range – not something I wanted to brave just to say I flew on the first day of the year. Instead I stayed warm and watched a few football games.

My flying year started on the second with a main fuel tank top-off and a 40-minutes flight around the local area. When I got back into the pattern the winds had shifted northerly so I got to try out Runway 32. There were two F-5s waiting to take off and a Bonanza right behind me on downwind so I exited the runway as soon as I could for them. It was late afternoon so I put the plane away and planned to fly again the next day.

I arrived at the airport about 10 am on the 3rd and plugged in the engine pre-heater. I was heading to the airport terminal to sit in the warmth and look over what Foreflight had to say for the day when I came across a couple of familiar faces walking on the ramp.

They were parents of a current High School senior (we’ll call him ‘J’) I had gotten to know while I was in the Carson City EAA chapter. He had received an EAA scholarship for flight training and yesterday was the day he was scheduled to conduct his first solo.

He has been taking his training at the ‘other’ airport (KRNO) so he and his instructor flew over to Stead for the pattern work. I had my handheld radio with me so we head his call at 7 miles south. On their second dual landing they exited the runway and the instructor got out. J then took off again and make 3 really nice full-stop landings. We drove out onto the ramp and stood watching with his parents. He did a great job. Well, there were a couple of radio calls where the mic was activated before the brain had figured out what it was going to say – but that is par for the course at this point. Easily speaking on the radio comes with experience.

After the solo experience I decided to just change the engine oil instead of going flying. Oil change time was coming up soon and I wanted to get it done before the weather turned cold – we’re bound to get a real winter pretty soon.

Last night another front came through – 75 mph wind gusts were recorded on the local highway. Another is due to come through tomorrow. So flying will have to wait until next week. We’re again forecast to have temperatures in the mid-40s to 50s so winter is still hiding out there somewhere.