What is That Yellow Ball in the Sky?

Yesterday we experienced what has been this winters rarest of weather events – a sunny day. Not only did the sun shine but, for what seems like the first time in months, it happened on a weekend. Most remarkable of all, I had an airplane reserved for a couple hours on this sunny day. Yes, it’s true, I flew for the first time since December 6th. Georgia and I thought about going to lunch at the CAVU Cafe at Janesville but, ended up just doing a little winter sightseeing.

The Skyhawk I had booked was in an unheated hanger and, I had trouble getting it started. With some help from CFI Sandy, we finally got it running though. I decided I didn’t want to shut it down at Janesville and leave it out in the cold while we went in for lunch. Instead, we got a birds eye view of the snowmobilers on the Chain-O-Lakes, the skiers on Wilmot Mountain and the ice fisherman on Lake Geneva.

Back at Waukegan, I stayed it the pattern for a couple extra landings to maintain my currency to carry passengers. I must say that, even after a two and a half month layoff, they were very good. I had been worried that I would be too rusty and would scare Georgia with a firm one or tw0. On the first one, she said she wasn’t even sure when we touched the ground. The second one was also a greaser but, on number three I felt just a slight bump. Not a hard landing by any means, just not feather light.

Looking at the long range forecast back on Thursday, it seemed that Sunday might be the better day of the weekend. I almost changed from Saturday to today but, I decided to wait and see. It is a good thing I didn’t change. The forecast for today is for sleet, rain, freezing rain and snow. In other words, back to more normal weather.

I finally got back in the air and accomplished what I wanted to, which was to knock off the rust and get in three landings. Georgia and I are leaving for a Caribbean cruise the end of the month. Hopefully, spring will be close by the time we get back. It has been a tough winter for Chicagoland pilots.

  • chris says:

    What sort of temperature are you talking about?

    Even in the middle of winter here (Australia) if a plane is left out overnight it will still start up easily.

  • Tom says:


    It wasn’t as cold as other nights we have seen lately. About 24 F (-4 C). It had been quit a bit colder overnight though. The oil was very thick when I checked it. I think the battery just wasn’t up to turning it over fast enough until it loosened up a little. It probably would have started OK if I had shut it down at JVL but, it wasn’t important that we go there so I didn’t have a good reason to take the chance.


  • Gary says:


    Had that same high pressure system keeping the mid-atlantic area in blue skies also. Good to see you got some left seat time. After a few days I get that “I need a flying fix” attitude, Mary has learned to deal with it 🙂

    Mary and I went north to visit KMGJ – Montgomery, NY and Orange County Choppers (OCC) 3.1 in the log and a fun day!

    Good deal on the cruise! I hope you and your Bride enjoy the warm weather!

  • Zach says:

    Sweet! Glad to hear you got to fly…I’m waiting to read the post that says…”I bought a plane today.”
    😎 – z

  • Georgia says:

    Ha Ha, Zach!

    signed, Mrs. Tom

  • Tom says:


    Glad to hear you and Mary got in the air too. I enjoyed your blog post about the flight.


    There is no airplane in our immediate future. Maybe someday…


  • Nice post, I liked it. I hope you had a happy vacation in Caribbean. When I was there last year thorough ECT, it was fine weather and good conditions to relax. Good Luck!

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