Windsock in a strong wind.This time of year the weather up here in the mountains is a bit “unsettled.” Fronts move through pretty fast and usually bring with them strong winds.

As I write this the AWOS at my home field (KRTS) is indicating winds 30 degrees off the runway heading at 29 G 49 knots.  That close to the runway heading you could probably make a successful take-off and possible get lucky with a landing between the gusts. It would not be a very fun flight.  The real problem would be getting to and from the runway – best accomplished with a heavy tow vehicle…

I had a problem like that once while ferrying an Aeronca Champ to Northern California. I stopped for gas at an airport that had it’s runway aligned with the wind and pretty much levitated down to the runway at the midfield turnoff. But that was it – I couldn’t get the plane to turn off the runway. Using power to help with rudder authority only resulted in the tail raising and the plane starting to lift off. I ended up shutting down the engine, getting out of the plane and draping my body across the upwind wing strut hoping that someone in the FBO would see me and come out to help wing-walk the plane to a tie-down spot. Luckily that is what happened. Three guys came out and we nursed the plane to a set of tie-down chains. I was very lucky – it was an uncontrolled airport and the Champ didn’t have a radio so one of those guys just happened to look out the window.

The temperatures are pretty nice today, about 60 Deg F, but along with the wind we have flood watches due to predicted heavy rain this afternoon(and 1-3 feet of snow above 7000 MSL). The high temperature tomorrow is supposed to be 30 degrees. Guess that makes it a cold front coming through – meeting up with a warm jetstream passing overhead coming straight from Hawaii.

Needless to say, there hasn’t been much flying going on lately. I have been talking with an instructor in the area who works as an independent contractor with a flying service in town. He and a partner are installing an AATD at the flying service facility and are looking for an additional instructor or two.  I may take them up on that and do some simulator instructing. They say the system should be operational after the first of the year. We’ll see….