Aerial view of the Reno-Stead Airport taken from an aircraft flying overhead.

Information for pilots and users of Reno-Stead Airport.

Winter 2014 Reno-Stead Airport Association Newsletter





Reno-Stead Airport Terminal/EOC

Freedom Flight Center



While aircraft may be considered the essential elements of flying, airports are the essential element for aircraft operations. In far, far too many cases, airports have been greatly restricted or even closed because the local aviation community failed to recognize they could have been a participant in the processes that led to the unfortunate results. RSAA actively works to assure our Stead airport users are represented at all important events and activities.

On December 16, 2013, the Board of Trustees of the Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority celebrated the Grand Opening of the new Reno-Stead Terminal and Emergency Operations Center. The Freedom Flight Center honors Stead’s rich military history as it welcomes and sends-off pilots at one of the finest general aviation airports in the West. The two-story, 12,000 square foot Center provides an Administrative Office, Community Conference Room, Pilot’s Lounge and an Emergency Center for the 200-based aircraft that use the facility.

  • Recent Stead improvements include:New Air Tanker facility opened by the BLM
  • 9,000 feet of new runway and upgrades to runway lighting
  • Runway 8/26 Area Safety Improvement (May 2011)
  • Runway 32 Instrument Landing System (ILS) commissioned November 2009
  • Wide Area Augment System (WAAS) established in 2006
  • Runway 14/32 lengthened to its current 9,000 foot dimension
  • Several on-airport road reconstructions improving access and security

Nevada selected for drone development

The Record-Courier
January1, 2014
By Jane Tors
University of Nevada, Reno

The Federal Aviation Administration has selected Nevada as one of six states designated as a center for the development of unmanned aerial vehicles and outdoor testing of unmanned autonomous systems, Governor Brian Sandoval announced
today. The University of Nevada, Reno is poised for research and industry collaboration in this emerging arena that will enhance economic development in the state.

“The decision by the FAA to select the State of Nevada as a test site to begin work on safely integrating unmanned aircraft systems into the national airspace aligns perfectly with plans and projects underway at the University of Nevada, Reno,” Kam
Leang of the University of Nevada, Reno mechanical engineering department said.

The University has more than a dozen faculty across several departments and colleges, including engineering, business, geological sciences, cooperative extension and environmental sciences, who will contribute to the research, design, implementation and commercialization of advanced autonomous systems.

“We have been developing research and educational infrastracture to support the FAA designation of Nevada as an unmanned autonomous flight location,” University of Nevada, Reno President Marc Johnson said. “This designation has been an objective of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development for some time and the University is working in concert with government and industry to support advanced manufacturing and to diversify the Nevada economy.”

The University is establishing an innovation center for advanced autonomous systems with the goal of creating unique industry-university partnerships to commercialize technologies in autonomous systems. This includes land-based, aerial and stationary robotic systems such as industrial robots, advanced manufacturing systems, driverless road vehicles and underwater robots.

“The vision for this initiative is to partner with the private sector to support innovation for advanced autonomous and manufacturing systems,” Manos Maragakis, dean of the College of Engineering, said. “This is a collaboration between our colleges and with the business community that will stimulate economic development.”

A new minor degree program in Unmanned Autonomous Systems begins in January. Courses in computer science, electrical engineering and mechanical engineering are being combined into the new UAS engineering program that will spearhead the effort for the interdisciplinary center for advanced autonomous systems.


Nevada’s aviation/aerospace industry takes off

Reno Gazette-Journal Small Business

December 13, 2013

By Dave Archer

Nevada is on the short list of states competing to be chosen by, the FAA as a national test site for unmanned autonomous systems, commonly known as drones.

The FAA’s decision is expected by the end of December, and should Nevada be selected, the economic impact to the state could be $2.7 billion over the next three years.

Nevada’s place on the short list is well deserved. Our aviation industry encompasses both the public and private sector and currently employs more than 12,000 people with an average annual wage of about $93,000 per person. Within the public sector, Nevada is home to Fallon Naval Air Station, Nellis Air Force Base and Creech Air Force Base.

Fallon NAS opened in 1942, and is home to Top Gun, the Naval Fighter Weapons School, while Nellis opened in 1941 and is home to the USAF Weapons School and the Thunderbirds.

Creech is the former Indian Spring Airfield, which became Creech AFB in 2005 and is now a major command and control facility for international squadron of unmanned aerial vehicles. In recognition of the growing importance of drones, the University of Nevada, Reno will offer a minor in unmanned autonomous systems beginning next springOur private sector equally is robust and demonstrates how entrepreneurs, regardless of the industry, come in all shapes and sizes. Here is a representative sampling of just a few of the aviation and aerospace companies located in Northern Nevada:

  • Blast Deflectors Inc. of Carson City (whose website proclaims “Having a Blast since 1957”) makes jet blast deflectors and ground run-up enclosures used by airports and military bases.
  • Digital Solid State Propulsion, based in Reno, makes con-trollable, environmentally friendly energetic materials used as safe, electrically throttled propellants for rocket motors
  • Click Bond, located in Carson City, makes bonded fasteners used in aerospace and aviation applications as well as numerous other applications.
  • RIX Industries in Sparks builds gas compressors and nitrogen generators for use in missiles, aircraft carriers and submarines.
  • Sierra Nevada Corporation is headquartered in Sparks, and is building the Dream Chaser, a proposed successor to the space shuttle.
  • Drone America in Reno produces a wide range of autonomous unmanned and ground control stations.

Keep an eye on this industry. It’s poised to take off!

Dave Archer is president/CEO of Nevada’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology, which produces business and technology events to help Nevada’s entrepreneurs and small businesses.


Sierra Nevada Corporation Enters Into European Partnership

Reno Gazette-Journal

January 9, 2014

Sparks-based Sierra Nevada Corp. will collaborate with the European Space Agency and German Aerospace Center on the Dream Chaser commercial space vehicle, the company has announced.

The deal might open up new uses for the Dream Chaser program besides getting astronauts to low-Earth orbit and potential opportunities to use European technology on it.

Last month, Sierra Nevada Corporation met all goals for the second phase of the NASA Commercial Crew Development program.


Aircraft service center “struggling”with Nevada sales tax burden

Reno Gazette-Journal

December 4, 2013

By Bill O’Driscoll/

Four years after opening a Western region service center in Reno, business jet maker Dassault Aviation is poised to expand—but faces some tax-related turbulence, a top corporate officer said Tuesday.

“Reno is a great location. We are able to dispatch people all over the West Coast quickly,” Bob Sundin, president of Dassault Aircraft Services, said at a Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority breakfast meeting.

He said Dassault’s Reno operation has grown from 15 employees and $5 million in revenue to 36 employees and $12 million in revenues, and the company wants to move its help desk and spares depot, now based in California, to Reno, helping create hundreds of jobs.

But, he said, France-based Dassault is “struggling” with existing state sales taxes that are “not friendly to the aircraft services business.”

It amounts to as much as $3 million at Dassault’s Reno operation, he said, and he cited no such tax in Idaho, Utah and Arizona.

“That makes it hard to justify putting in a brand-new hangar in Reno,” Sundin said. “We need to work with Reno and the state to see if there’s a way for that to be changed. If not we may have to look to go elsewhere.”

But Reno, he said, “has a lot going for it in location. We want to keep in one location, and Reno gets us as far west as we can get.”


ScholarshipAviation Scholarships

The Community Foundation of Western Nevada awarded 96 scholarships in 2013, totaling $225,550.
In addition to these new awards for 2013, CFWN also paid scholarships for students who received multi-year awards in years past. Those totaled 47 scholarships, for a total of $84,489. The grand total paid out in 2013 was $310,039.
Included were grants for the General Fred Michel Scholarship Fund, to the following five recipients, for a total of $6,000:

Jacob Lewis
Nicholas Audenried
Shane Goodson
Hughston Norton
Ariana Henry

The General Fred Michel Scholarship fund was named for, and in large measure initially funded by the family of Fred Michel, who was the second President of the Reno-Stead Airport Association (formerly Stead Airport Users’ Association).






Corporate jets firm open at Minden airport

The Record Courier

December 18, 2013

By Anne Knowles/

If you — or your company — are in the market for a corporate jet, executives of a new company located at the Minden-Tahoe Airport would like to talk with you.

Tahoe Aviation, which opened the doors on its 26,000-square-foot facility at the Carson Valley airport recently, provides service and maintenance for corporate airplanes.

“We sell and buy aircraft. We are a turnkey service for companies that are very good at making widgets and have a need for transportation,” says Arnold Peterson, president and CEO of the new venture.

Peterson says the company will also lease airplanes to the traveling executive.

“Some businesses like to hire a pilot and have them on the payroll, some want to write a check once a month,” says Peterson.

Tahoe Aviation’s airport building, built by A & A Construction Inc., contains three hangars and two, 1,100-square-foot offices. The company has one client so far and employs one worker for fuel services. It plans to hire more as needed, says Peterson.

The business, a joint venture between APRI Aviation, Inc., and Falcon Aerospace Inc., is a reincarnation of sorts. Peterson has been in the corporate aircraft services industry for 30 years and until 2005 ran a similar business in the Bay Area where he employed 49 workers.

“I’ll visit all my old customers after the holidays and we can pick up where we left off,” says Peterson.


Cessna 172 Hits Truck on Takeoff, Killing Three

Flying Magazine

By Bethany Whitfield

November 20, 2012

Three men were killed November 15, 2012, in a Cessna 172 when the airplane hit a truck on takeoff from Knox County Regional Airport in Maine.

After the collision, the airplane reportedly climbed to about 150 feet before banking east and nose-diving into a wooded area, killing 22-year-old David Cheney, 24-year-old Marcelo Rugini and 24-year-old William Hannigan III. First responders at the scene attempted to pull one occupant out of the burning wreckage without success.

The Cessna 172 had been heading northbound at the time of the crash. According to airport authorities, the truck – driven by a pilot picking up a fellow pilot at a nearby hangar – was authorized to be on airport grounds, but did not feature a beacon light. The driver of the truck was not injured during the accident.

It is unclear what communication, if any, occurred between the truck and the occupants of the 172 at the non-towered airport. The National Transportation Safety Board is currently investigating the accident.



Become an expert in time management
Be tactful. Never alienate anyone on purpose.
Hear both sides before judging.
Be courteous to everyone.
Own a good dictionary and thesaurus.
Do business with those who do business with you.
Don’t procrastinate. Do what needs doing when it needs to be done.
Start meetings on time regardless of who is missing.
Focus on making things better.
Do more than is expected. Share the credit.
Every person you meet knows something you don’t; so learn from them.
Never underestimate the power of a kind word or deed. Don’t be afraid to say: “I don’t know. I made a mistake. I need help. I’m sorry.”
Look for opportunities to make people feel important. Be open to new ideas. When talking to the press, remember they will always have the last word.
Stand when greeting a visitor to your office.
Give people the benefit of the doubt.
Instead of using the word “problem,” try substituting the word “opportunity.”
Never underestimate the power of words to heal and reconcile.


In Memorium

Winthrop Dale (1925 – 2012)

Dr. Winthrop Dale passed away on October 23, 2012, at Star Valley Medical Center in Afton, Wyoming. Dr. Dale had resided in Wyoming for the last twelve years and was a well-known former resident of Incline Village, Nevada.

Dr. Dale was born June 15, 1925, in Ohio. In 1930 the family moved to the college town of Oxford, Ohio, where his father helped establish the college of Business Administration at Miami University. The family relocated to Moscow, Idaho, in 1937 where his father became President of the University of Idaho.

After graduating from high school, he attended the University of Idaho, where he was initiated into the Idaho Alpha chapter of Phi Delta Theta. Soon after, he enlisted in the army, where he was stationed at Fort Knox during World War II. He was discharged in 1946 but was recalled several years later to serve in the Army in the Korean War. Upon his return he found his true calling in veterinary medicine. He received his veterinary degree from Washington State University in 1956, and went on to build successful veterinary hospitals in Carson City, Yerington and Incline Village.

He also discovered his passion for flying and became an experienced pilot. His skills proved to be very useful as he could fly out to ranches and farms that did not have early access to veterinary services. Among his many accomplishments was a flight around the world in his Cessna 310.

Dr. Dale was an active member of AVMS, AOPA, Earthrounders and Phi Delta Theta Fraternity.


In Memorium

Thornton L. Audrain (1924 – 2014)

Thornton Audrain, 89, was born in Reno to William Royal and Martha Thornton Audrain in 1924, and died at home in January, 2014.

Thornton served proudly as a B-17 pilot in World War II and never lost his love of airplanes. After the War, he graduated from the University of Nevada where he was a member of Sigma Nu and eventually became a founding partner in the CPA firm of Freemonth, Hancock, Geyer and Audrain, later Pannel Kerr Forster, and continued to work as a licensed CPA through 2013. He believed his CPA certificate #93 was possibly the oldest active certificate in Nevada. He was involved with the Reno Air Races as a volunteer from its inception and served as Executive Director from 1987 to 1996. As a young man, he was an outstanding pitcher for the Levy-Zenter fast pitch softball team.

He loved Northern Nevada and spent many happy days hunting, fishing, camping and skiing. Thornton was a generous man, remembered by many for behind-the-scenes help he provided over the years. He was a member of the Elks Club, Reno Mayor Advisors Council, Reno Sunrise Exchange Club, Reno YMCA, U. S. Army Air Corp Reserve and the Lucky Bastard Club -Eighth Air Force, 385th BG, 550th BS.

Thornton is survived by his daughters Linda Audrain of Corvallis, Oregon and Terry Opperman of Sparks, grandchildren Lindsey and Ryan Opperman of Sparks, and Ian Audrain-Skinner of Corvallis, plus four great-grandchildren. He is also survived by his brother James Audrain (Rae) of Reno and his sister Dawna Audrain Johnson (Don) of Fallon, as well as much-loved nieces and nephews.

In accordance with Thornton’s wishes, no services were held. He will be cremated and his ashes scattered in the Nevada mountains he loved so well. A celebration of life was held at a later date.