In December 2005, 14-year-old Luke Wadach moved forward with his life's dream and began researching ways of becoming a pilot.
His quest led him and his parents to Exec Air's Flight Training Center, where the programs were outlined and training materials were purchased. His goal was to solo on his 16th birthday.
By late January 2006, he was well on his way through the training CD ROMs and flight number one was scheduled. Delays put that first lesson off to Feb 21, but snow flurries cancelled that one as well. Snow and wind gusts cancelled lesson number one again on Feb 25, but Wadach finally was successful on March 1.
Luke trained sporadically throughout the spring and summer while balancing finances, schoolwork and sports. By October, at age 15 and a half, he was ready to solo.
Unfortunately, the Federal Aviation Regulations state that you must be 16 years of age in order to fly solo, so Wadach continued to train with his instructor, completing all of the required instrument, night and most of the dual cross-country flights.
By January, Luke had most of the requirements met and really began counting the days until April 4, his sixteenth birthday.
When the fateful day finally arrived, there were rain showers in the early morning, thunderstorms to the north and winds out of the south at 20 to 30 mph. Waiting all day for a break that never came, the idea was finally shelved and he looked forward to the following day.
"I did get my learner's permit at the DMV on my birthday," Wadach said. "I didn't get to fly, but I did get to drive the family car a little bit."
April 5 brought nothing but snow and snow showers, with IFR visibilities all day long. "
It's typical weather for a spring day in Syracuse," Wadach said "I still couldn't solo, but I got to drive the car a little more."