Thursday, July 16, 2015

Saturday, July 11, 2015

WEATHER
Visibility: 10+ miles
Wind: light and variable
Altitudes: 8,000 msl (10,000 msl down near Frasier Park)
Time Aloft: 5.5 hours
Max Lift: 10+ kts
Temperature: 80's
Comment: Beautiful day marked by clouds
Tow pilot: Peter & Alex & Harold & Jim

It turned out to be a busy day for demo flights. As Julie mentioned below, the only 2-33 flying was flying every hour until I left at 6:30 pm.

First up was Rick Eason who likes to train early in the cool air. Dan Gudgel had asked me to get to Avenal earlier than I would have otherwise because by last evening at 10:00 pm, no one had volunteered to tow. That's pretty disappointing because we have a fairly long list of pilots who have been checked out in the tow plane and one would have thought someone might have offered to tow. So I got there early and by that time Peter Mersino had also arrived and mentioned that he had signed up to tow last evening at about 10:30 pm.


Jim Rickey just ahead of me entering the Avenal Dip leading to I-5.

Coming up over the Kettleman Hills a welcome sight showing the beginnings of multiple cloud streets.

Dan Gudgel at the golf cart driven by Jim Rickey while Rick Eason walks the wing.

Rick Eason waiting for Dan to get belted in for his first launch of the day.

Off they go and then Dan had Rick do several launches solo just to the IP.
Meanwhile the good guys worked on the Big Bird adding interior panels and outside panels in hops the glider would be available sometime before December.


Karl Kunz and Martin Caskey work on a panel under the nose cone of Big Bird.

Here's a rundown on the new people who came out for a demo flight. Alex was flying with Scott while Scott's dad, Robb waited patiently. Alex must have done three or more flights with Scott. In fact, all afternoon, Alex and I traded off, I'd tow for his demo flights and he'd tow for mine.


Robb watching while Alex helps Scott get settled in.

They're ready, Tyler Bishop is ready to run the wing while Dad, Robb, moves to the side.

Scott had a nice series of launches trading off with Tyler and I for use of the Orange Crush.

My first two flights were training with Tyler Bishop who is trying to move forward with his training to have his license by the time school begins in the Fall. Our first flight was off tow at 3000 msl and we did a few maneuvers as well as thermaling and practiced once again simulated rope breaks. The second launch was a simulated rope break at 200 agl, and although he thought he was being helped by me during the maneuver, I was content to watch him do it alone, and he did very well. That was a good way to end the day.


Tyler watching Rick Eason depart in his Cessna 172, heading for Merced.

Tyler resting after a good series of flights ending with a very well done simulated rope break.

Steve Valentine found time to come out on his beautiful Indian motorcycle and we went up for a nice flight. He gets the rust out in the first half of the flight, then does well later on. If he came out more often he'd find himself moving rapidly towards solo.


Steve Valentine ready to launch and had good practice thermalling near the field.

Another set of demo flights arrived about noon, Ted Lawrence, his twin children, Alexi and Brent, both 15 years old were excited about the flight. First up was Alexi who informed me she would like to become a pilot soon and based on here excitement during the flight, she will make a very good pilot. Our demo flight didn't last too long with the lift leaving and the sink moving in. But she enjoyed it completely. Next up was her twin brother, Brent, and while the lift had returned by that time, the heat and the circling forced us to return to the field sooner than anticipated. We hope they both return someday when the weather is cooler and the lift is stronger


Alexi Lawrence about to launch on her first glider ride. She'd like to become a pilot.

Dad, Ted, brother Brent provide moral support for her but she didn't need it. She was simply excited.

Now it's Brent's turn for his first glider ride. I hope he comes out again for another try at it.

Alex next up with two young kinds, Micaela and Logan Cors, who live in Tulare. Their Dad, Christian, has been Alex friend for some time. The two kids had a great time with Alex and the lift was available most everywhere, most of the time. However there were periods when the lift moved somewhere else and one demo flight was terminated earlier than expected due to lack of lift.


Logan Cors is excited to be flying in the glider with Alex Caldwell. Micaela is next to fly.

Now it's Micaela's turn and she's just as excited as Logan was and enjoyed it just as much.

Karl Kunz finished his work on Big Bird in the hangar and headed home to Carmel.

Off he goes in a cloud of dust.

After Logan and Micaela's flights, Alex and I traded off again, he towing, me flying. This time it was with Christian Heidgerd, originally from Boca Raton Florida, now living in Lemoore. He earned his CFIG three years ago but hasn't renewed it so it will take another checkride with Dan Gudgel to get him current again. We went up for a nice flight, and thermals got us to well over 6000 msl. We could have gone a lot higher but they needed the glider on the ground for another demo flight. Christian will be back again, soaring and renewing his Instructor rating.

Christian Heidgerd doing very well thermalling us up over 6000 msl.

Up here the air was cool and smooth in the core of a solid 8 knot thermal.
I thought we were finished for the day but along came Sergio Grajeda, an Avenal resident, who has been watching gliders for years and wondered what it was like. In fact, he's never been in the air before so this flight with him was a real treat. Since Alex had to leave with the Cors family, Jim Rickey offered to tow the last flight of the day. Thanks, Jim.


Sergio had a great time, amazed at what everything looks like from the air. Maybe he'll be back.

Now for the exciting long distance stories, first my Julie Butler, then by Morgan Hall:

Julie Butler --

When Morgan and I arrived at the field, Jim, Martin, and Jan were hard at work on Big Bird, the 2-33 was up and down with multiple people at the controls, and Andrew had just launched. The day was already going with clouds marking routes north and south. We quickly assembled XD and 5H, completed pre-flights and PCCs and got our cockpits ready to go. With everyone focused on training, there were not many victims for the back seat of the Duo, so Ethan opted to jump in rather than pull his glider out of the hangar.
I released just south of the field, climbed to 3500 and headed to Tar where I was able to connect with the clouds and get up to cloud base while waiting for Morgan and Ethan to launch. We planned to head south together and once they got up, we headed out under the clouds. Just as we were leaving, I heard Andrew entering the pattern - turns out he managed to get sick and had to cut his day "short" after a very nice 2 hour flight. I opted to turn around just north of Caliente Peak while 5H continued on to Conover. I ran with 5KM out of Hollister from Blackwell to Black Mountain before deciding I wanted to climb. After getting back up to 7500, I continued north to the San Benitos where the lift was a little weaker and I got a few rain drops.
Here is a link to all the region 11 postings for the day:
http://www.onlinecontest.org/olc-2.0/gliding/daily.html?st=olc&rt=olc&df=&sp=2015&c=US&sc=11

5H Flight Report


Julie and I were supposed to fly in the Glasair up to Seattle.  The combo of rain moving into the Pacific Northwest and epic looking conditions made it easy for us to decide to go soaring.

Ethan and I launched shortly after Julie and got off tow at 1200agl in a decent thermal and took that to 3800 or so before heading to the hills where we found a 8kt climb to cloud base at around 6500.  We used that to cut the corner to the Avenal Hills and tried to connect with Julie in XD.
As beautiful of a soaring sky as you can ask for.  CA Valley

Julie climbing beneath us near Soda Lake.

We ran with Julie for the next 40 minutes or so.  Mostly her in the lead, she is quick in the new Discus.  Nearing Caliente we had got a bit out in front, she opted to turn back.  We pressed on to see what lay further south.  Bases were only about 8k.  Not real high considering the terrain gets into the 6-7k+ down in the Sierra Madre and Sespe mountains.  We made a few turns with 5KM trying to get a few pictures near New Cuyama, then headed south, only stopping for a climb after crossing the Cuyama River near Cuyama Peak.

That climb was to about 9000 and was our last thermal of the day.  We flew the next several hours just working the energy lines, swapping PIC duties every so often.  Over 300km without a circle.  We pressed another 25 miles or so to the east overflying Conover and then out towards Pyramid Lake.  At 115 miles out from Avenal we turned around, there were no more clouds and bases along the Tehachapi range were lower.

Looking NE up the Tehachapi mountains.  Much lower bases that near Frasier.
We backtracked along the convergence line, never needing to thermal.  Getting down into the upper 5k range a couple of times, but always getting back up.  With the line looking good along the temblors and up into the San Benito range, we pushed north as far as we dared, not wanting to need to circle.

We turned just south of Hernandez where the rain had softened things considerably.  Ran for home and had to duck out into the marine flow near Hewiston to get down for landing.

Possibly my lowest circling percentage ever.  According to the OLC, just 9% over 4:40 flying time and allowing an average speed of 118kph.  3rd fastest in the country for the day and only behind two pilots flying out of Ely with probably a 7000ft height and true-airspeed advantage.  Gotta love a strong convergence line.

Jim Rickey trimming interior panels with a router.  Don't try this at home.
Thanks everyone for coming out to Avenal and making the day one to remember. We hope to see at least some of you here again next week.

Harold Gallagher

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

July 3rd and 4th Weekend - Booming Convergence


WEATHER
Visibility: unlimited
Wind: light and variable
Altitudes: 11-12,000
Time Aloft: 4.5 - 6hrs
Max Lift: 13kts
Temperature: 104F
Comment: Few pilots, great soaring weather, Big Sur and back.
Tow pilot: Friday July 3:  Mike "Wrongway" Thometz.  Saturday July 4th: Karl Kunz

A week or two prior, Julie, Martin and Pancho conspired for a couple of days of flying around the 3-day weekend for July 4th. Jim volunteered to BBQ lunch each day and it looked like we had a party planned.

Friday would include a BBQ dinner and movie night.  Saturday would be more flying.

In the days leading up to the third, the weather forecast improved and we looked to have some well marked convergence with cloud base above 10k.

By Thursday, the only confirmed pilots were Morgan and Martin. Pancho was out, Julie was working, Karl was towing.  In came Mike Thometz to the rescue granting Karl the opportunity to go soaring.

Friday July 3rd

Friday morning was hot.  Into the 90s by 10:00am.  Rick Eason and Jim helped me rig the Duo. I had planned on taking up a new member, he ended up sick and unable to make it.  Karl rigged GD and Jim was planning on flying the 1-26. I called Dennis Lyons for a backup to come out and fly with me in 5H. He headed out in his Cub.

By 11:00, there were cu on the San Benito mountains and a few starting to pop way to the south.  Gliders rigged it was time for a burger and some hydration. Martin was rigging TN by then.

Following lunch, GD was first into the air.  Dennis and I followed in 5H a few minutes later.  There was a good amount of lift right at the airport and a long line of sink headed towards the mountains.  Eventually we hit a good thermal, thanked Mike for the tow and started to climb before ratcheting our way into Black.  At Black we joined up with GD and decided to head south towards CA valley.  Leaving nice and high, it was a long smooth glide for 20+ miles before we found some lift south of Twisselman.  With that climb back to 8k we could make the connection to the clouds in CA Valley.

Karl and I were within a few hundred yards most of the flight swapping leads occasionally and Karl finding several needed climbs just a few hundred feet off my wing.  Team flying works!

After a climb in CA Valley it was our typical excellent convergence.  No circling for the next 50 miles or so and climbing in cruise.  Nearing Cuyama Peak we stopped to tank up for the glide across the Cuyama River valley east of Ventacopa.  Karl found the strong core and we merged into a boomer that I saw 13kt averages on.  That was good for 11k and let us run across towards Mt. Pinos, over and beyond Conover and down towards Pyramid lake into the blue.
Mt Pinos on the left. Frasier center left in the distance.
We decided to turn 110 miles out from Avenal and head back.  Stopping for another good climb south of Pinos to 12k then off to the SW to follow the line back around New Cuyama.  After a few false attempts at thermaling near Santa Barbara canyon, we pressed NW and got a good climb at Caliente peak.  A few wisps of cu were still forming in the CA Valley which gave us hope of an easy run home.  From Caliente I pushed west along a line of Cu while Karl went north.  That was the first time we got separated and set us on different courses for the run home.  My line was faster, only because I didn't find much lift and had some long glides.

Karl worked the temblors successfully and stayed higher. I milked the blue convergence up past Orchard, just barely keeping Avenal in glide.  Then the sink of the marine air along the Avenal Hill sent us running north. Right to the convergence in the middle of sunflower valley.  A few turns and final glide was assured.  We turned and ran at 80kts in the convergence climbing from 4k to 6k by Black.  90kts from there to near Coalinga and then back to Avenal.  Karl did pretty much the same thing.

4.5hrs and just under 500km on the OLC for us both I think.

Jim writes: I took the 1-26 for a flight.  After looking at the RASP I had mild hope of getting over to where the convergence was, even drew glide rings on a sectional I printed.  Was not to be.  Released at 2,800' MSL, and only made it as high as 3,100' MSL.  The flight was basically a "slow motion sled ride," with a few small, short-lived climbs.  I'm putting 0.4 in my logbook.

Actually Jim sent me a longer write up on his flight but couldn't get it published until today. Former club member George Powell had hip surgery and some critical issues. So here is Jim's first write up on his flight:

Back to Morgan writing:  After securing the gliders we were treated to cold drinks, warm company and great food courtesy of Jim Rickey.  Dennis had brought zucchini cake that his wife baked that morning.  Delicious and vegetables!  Following dinner we set up the new TV for the club on a picnic table and enjoyed a viewing of The Sunship Game.  If you haven't watched it, be prepared for some land outs that will make you cringe.

Saturday July 4th.


Saturday morning Jim made eggs with sausage and peppers and Julie followed up with pancakes, all washed down with liberal amounts of coffee.

Rick was back, but time flew and he didn't get a chance to take any flights in the 2-33. He did however connect the trailer for 13F and haul off the wings for Big Bird. He's having them painted for us so that we get fresh wings and fuselage all at once.

We rigged JB for Alex to fly in order to be able to provide insights to people getting checked out in the glider.

Martin had recovered from some internal plumbing ailments the day before and we were all ready to fly.

Alex launched first and then Julie and I in the Duo.  I got in the back for a change so that Julie could log some front seat time after letting me hog it our last few flights.  Off tow we climbed pretty quickly and headed into the mountains.  It took a little work to connect, but then it was game on.  Cu were calling us from the San Benito and as we headed northwest, there were Cu cycling over Junipero Serra, the highest peak in the Santa Lucia range over near Big Sur.

We decided that if that cu cycled and looked consistent and we could get high enough, we would dive across and try to visit the coast.  Worst case, we'd land King City and see if someone would fly over and give us an aero-retrieve after the Avenal launches were complete.

The line was over the San Benito range.  Pretty far east for a typical Big Sur crossing.  Nearing EL4 we took a climb to cloud base at a little over 11k and followed the farthest SW reaching finger of the cloud before diving into the blue.  It was right around 40 miles glide that we committed to.  Once away from the mountains, we found very still air and little wind.  Our glide ratio typically showing very close to the published 45:1 of the Duo.  Maybe that new paint is helping.

Approaching Junipero Serra.  Cu showing the way from the central valley to the sea.
Salina Valley looking NW from near King City.  America's Salad Bowl.


After 40 miles of dead air, we were coming in just about peak height at about 5700.  Just a little below the peak actually.  It took a few turns in bubbly lift to get a little comfort to press around to the south side of the mountain into the sun and wind.  That was 8kts back up to 10k.  We took that altitude and pushed the 12 miles out to the ocean and the Big Sur coastline where we turned.

Looking SE towards Pacific Valley in the fog.  

Looking NW



Eselan Institute down there.  For thousands of dollars, they can help you change your attitude. Sometimes a few thousand feet of altitude can do the same.
Julie got us reconnected with the clouds back near Junipero Serra.  There were clouds closer to Carmel, but we didn't linger too long at the coast.  Climbing back to 10k again while evaluating our options.  We didn't have the altitude to get back across the ridge where we had come from. Winds were showing a bit of easterly component at altitude.  That chopped off the route of heading back towards a low point near Coalinga.  So we turned NE and headed towards Panoche.  The ridge line is relatively low there and was marked with clouds.  This took us well north of King City, past Pinnacles and past where Julie landed JB after capturing the egg from Hollister.
Looking SE towards the San Benito range from over Highway 25.

After 30 miles of dead air, the ridge looks higher than it did and the clouds not as close as they seemed either.  No troubles.

We got reconnected with the convergence near EL2 and then followed a line to the East out towards the Panoche VOR in order to try to get an FAI triangle out of the flight for the OLC.  From our NE turn point we headed back to the main line, took a few turns and then headed SE again under ripping clouds.  We called Martin and suggested he try running NW because it was booming.  He headed NW, we headed SE.  Briefly near Coalinga our Flarms found each other.  After some circling and looking, we spotted him and headed back NW to share a run under the clouds with him

Martin in Turbo November running NW fast!




After connecting up at about 8000, he was loaded up on energy and cruising at 70kts.  We circled back and he was gone.  I took over as we slowly caught up so that Julie could take some pictures and get some video.  It took about 25 miles to catch him and make up the 300ft deficit we had.  Martin and that Nugget have some legs at 70kts. I was impressed.  We ran to the end of the cloud street, nearly to Panoche, then turned and headed for home.

On the way home, we passed Alex in JB at 10k northbound for another Yo-Yo.  We'll just refer to Alex as "Duncan" now because he was the master of the Yo-yo on Saturday.

A 100-120kt final glide got us back to the heat of Avenal pretty quickly.  Julie closed out our triangle and then it was gear down, full spoilers and look for sink time.  Martin landed first, then Julie.  Nice landing on her part.  The first thing you notice on a really good landing is that you hear the tailwheel rolling just an instant before the main gear.

Alex flew for another hour while we washed gliders and broke down.  Jim was still around to help with those chores.  We then got JB back in the box after Alex's 6+ hour flight.

Jim writes: As Harold, Mike Paoli, and myself were standing on the ground we could see good strong dust devils.  Harold in Orange Crush and Mike Paoli in the 1-26 were both climbing well, so when Harold parked the glider in the launch area, nobody was scheduled on it, he and offered to tow, I went for it.

While on tow, however, I began to feel like I had succumbed to the siren's call.  Had descents, on tow.  Crossed the Northeast corner of the prison at about 2,000' MSL, and by the time we got out to the powerlines, were all the way up to....2,100' MSL  Heading back to the prison again we encountered some lift just to the east of the circle crop, and got up to 2,500'.  By the time we reached the prison again we were up to 2,600 MSL.  Upon feeling a good upbump, I released.

Pulled the trigger too soon, that good bump turned out to be pretty small.  Headed back to the field on the east side of the circle crop and got some climb.  Found the center about a quarter mile off the east-northeast side of the circle.  As I went higher and higher, had to move to the southwest to keep the thermal, ending up about 3/8 of a mile to the south-southwest of the circle crop.  The first time I was there I worked it up to about 4,900', then went searching for something better near the powerlines, where we had been watching dust devils earlier.  Smooth as glass.  Went searching for lift around that area.  Nothing, so I headed back to the faithful field just east of the circle crop.

This time I stuck with it longer, and worked it a little higher.  At two points in the circle there seemed to be more lift than in the rest of it, so I thought it may have been a line of lift, so I rolled out on a northwest heading.  I was able to keep climbing for 2 or 3 miles.  When I could no longer get anything out of it, I did a teardrop course reversal, and was able to ride it again for a couple of miles.

At my peak I got up to 5,800' MSL  Thought about heading to Black to see what I could find.  But even with the rear window open it was still warm, and I was just plain tired, so I headed home.  Made a big circle and saw the sights on the way done.  Landed and Mike Paoli helped me put it away.

Not as great of a day as the glass ships, but not a skunk. 1.7 hours in the 2-33, that was fine.  Waited in the ClubHouse until the others came home.  Thanks to Peter Sahlberg for working on the swamp cooler last week--it sure was appreciated this weekend.

Morgan writing again:  After that, it was time for some taco's and then on the road for home to get out of the heat.

Another 480km day with pretty quick speeds over 100kph.  Could easily have gone farther with more time in the convergence, but it's such a treat to do something different like going to the coast and flying over the ocean.

Even better to make it back to fly with your friends for a bit.


Update 7/9/2015  - DG100G - Flight Report from Alex.

I flew JB, ex Julie Butler's and now the CCSC's DG100 on Saturday. Since it is now a club glider,  and pilots wishing to fly it need a cockpit checkout from one of the instructors, Morgan,  Julie and myself agreed that I should fly it myself, so as to have some credibility as a checkout person. I tried to pay close attention during the rigging and assembly. There are always many little things about where all the necessary items are stored, such as wing pins, the tool for installing the horizontal tail,  the battery and charger etc, etc. And there are always little gotchas that can result in trailer rash and other minor damage to the glider if it is not assembled carefully, to say nothing of the safety issues, should the wing pins, horizontal stabilizer and other controls not be properly connected and safetied!  A weight and balance check revealed that I should have some ballast weight in the ballast compartment in the cockpit floor to the right of the instrument panel, which Morgan installed for me. Morgan has a weight and balance calculator for the ship along with the flight manual on-line for our convenience. For me,  the cockpit is very comfortable and quite roomy. Even with a parachute, being short, I still  needed a cushion underneath and two  behind me in order to get my head up high enough to see just over the top of the instrument panel and to be able to get my feet fully on the rudder pedals and have comfortable control throws on the rudder with the pedals adjusted all the way aft. The instrumentation is simple,  but quite effective with the Winter vario and 720 channel radio and boom mike. There is an electric vario , which I assume probably has audio, but I did not try to use it and found it quite pleasant to fly with the mechanical Winter and no audio, which I find can  actually become a bit obnoxious sometimes.

I eventually got in the air at 12:36 PDT. The DG100 is delightful to fly. It tows easily and it trimmed out to neutral in pitch on tow, so there is  no need for the heavy 2-33 forward stick pressure on tow!  It has very good performance combined with delightful control harmony.  In pitch, it has a parallelogram movement of the control stick instead of the more typical pivoting type stick movement. I like this, as the H301 Libelle I used to fly also had this feature.  The DG100  is,  of course,  very maneuverable compared to my Nimbus 3. It is on a par in roll rate with the 1-26,  but with much better performance. It makes it easy to maneuver into the core of small, narrow or rough thermals which should help one get better climbs in those conditions. The near 40:1 glide  performance will make it possible to get into the convergence out of our Avenal gliderport much more often,  and take advantage of the convergence for longer flights than would be possible with the 2-33s or the 1-26. More about that later.

The visibility from the cockpit is outstanding. I was not feeling like I was sitting extremely reclined. Some tall pilots may feel a little more that way,  since they will not need cushions behind them and may end up somewhat more supine, using up more of the whole cockpit length.  

At first, I did not think the weather on Saturday  was going to be that good near Avenal, although the RASP was indicating there might be some cumulus clouds in the convergence way up by Panoche. After a 2000 ft. AGL tow and release near "the barn",  I got up to about 5000 ft.  MSL fairly easily near Tar Canyon. 
I had my cellphone along with XCSOAR running and had programmed in the DG100 glider polar and was anxious to try that out. Julie had installed a convenient USB plug in the instrument panel.  I plugged my phone charger cord into it to keep the cellphone battery up. Good thing she had done that, as the flight turned out much longer than I initially had hoped.  I don't think my cellphone battery would have lasted the whole flight while running XCSOAR.

 I decided I would try to do an OLC "Classic" Yo-Yo style task where I would fly South as far as I could and turn around when XCSOAR told me I could make it back to Avenal with a 1000ft. safety margin with the MacCready setting of 1kt. Then, I would fly as far north of Avenal as I could until XCSOAR told me should again turn back. By repeating this as many times as possible in the allotted  time you have to fly, I've found that you can get a pretty good OLC "classic" score, even though you never get out of gliding distance of the Avenal home airport.

Avenal has the advantage of being located in the center of the convergence in the N/S direction and you can often connect directly into it from a normal tow. A lower performance ship with a good handicap can spend the whole flight in the best part of the convergence, whereas a Nimbus 3 has to fly further away in order to not be penalized for exceeding the maximum  OLC classic number of 5 turnponts,  which risks getting into weaker conditions away from the strongest area of the convergence.   Of course you'll never be able to do an FAI triangle with that strategy.

  From 5000 ft.  MSL I was able to fly down to Hewiston for my first turnpoint. When I got back to the Avenal area on the second leg it was getting better,  and I got up to about 8000 ft. MSL. near the tin roof building at the SE end of the Castle Peak, Black Mt. ridge line. There were some cu's forming way up north near Panoche by this time,  but they appeared hopelessly out of reach, at least not without risking and outlanding at New Coalinga Airport. I was able to use the 8000 ft to fly up even with the town of Coalinga before turning south again  When I got back to the tin roof building on the third leg, I met up with Martin Caskey in his Nugget and we thermaled together. This time I got up to 8500 MSL  and then kept going south, this time to about Orchard Peak between Hwy 41 and Hwy 46 before turning North once more. 
Now there were some wispy short lived cu's forming over Black Mtn and between there and Center Peak just North of Coalinga, a clear indication that the convergence was working. I got to over 9000 ft.  MSL again near Black Mtn on the way north this time. I got to near Center Peak at about 9000 ft. MSL. There were good looking Cu's over New Idria to the North but there was a pretty wide  "blue gap" I would have to cross to get there, so I elected to turn south again and made another run to just South of Hwy 41 and then turned north once more. 

On the next northward run, it was getting later,  but the clouds along the convergence were getting better. Morgan and Julie had flown the DuoDiscus all the way to Big Sur and had made it back to Panoche  after climbing to 11,000 MSL over the Santa Lucia range, and were now under the very good looking cloud street between Panoche  and New Idria and were reporting that it was "ripping". They had talked Martin into flying north up to New Idria and beyond in the cloudstreet and had met up with him up that way.  They were now both flying south together  back towards Avenal.  As I approached Coalinga, a beautiful cumulus cloud was forming in the convergence about 3 or 4 miles to the west of town, just as I caught site of Martin, with Morgan and Julie in trail about 2000ft below me going fast in the opposite direction.  I climbed at 8kts to 10,600 MSL under  the beautiful cumulus  cloud. From there, it was much easier to reach the next good looking cloud street running Northwest along the San Benito range. I continued running north under that cloud street until I think just a little north of New Idria and short of Mercy Hot Springs. Then when about 30 nm. north of Avenal, I turned around and headed back home to Avenal.

When I arrived at Avenal, I still had 7500 MSL, and had been up 5.5 hrs. Thoughts of winning the coveted "Iron Butt" award started creeping into my head and I decided to see if I could stretch the flight time past 6 hours. I made a flat glide South to Dudley Ridge and then back to Avenal, finally landing after 6hrs 11 minutes in the air. The DG100 makes the Iron Butt a piece of cake.  Since the improved cockpit ergonomics distribute the pressure on your nether regions, you will not have to suffer what in the medical trade are called "decubitus ulcers" and will be able to fly again the next week!


I submitted the flight to the OLC.  I thought I had exceeded the maxium 5 turnpoints OLC allows in the classic division,  but since my last leg out to Dudley Ridge was longer than the first turn I made at Hewiston at the beginning of the flight, it looks like OLC just ignored the shorter first leg and gave me points based on the last turnpoint near Dudley Ridge. 

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Saturday, June 27, 2015.

WEATHER
Visibility: Unlimited
Wind: Variable from all directions, especially from the northwest and gusty.
Altitudes: Not sure since few reports came in but over 4500 msl.
Time Aloft: Again, no reports except an estimate of 2 plus hours.
Max Lift: 800 fpm.
Temperature: 108 deg F on the patio in the shade.
Comment: Hot, dry, dusty, thermals all over the field in all directions.
Tow pilot: Thanks to Julie Butler.

Morgan Hall, Mike Paoli, Jeff Richardson, and Peter Sahlberg were on the runway clearing the goat-head plants to avoid those nasty stickers that look like tiny land mines. And they stick to the soles of your shoes, and try their best to puncture the tires on sailplanes. Trudging in from the effort, all the guys looked tired and hot, not unexpectedly. But the job got done, thanks to them.

There were a fair number of members out today doing various jobs including continuing work on Big Bird. Jim Rickey, Martin Caskey, Jan Zanutto, et. al., were the effort crew.


Nose cone on the Big Bird fuselage, the last big addition before the fabric goes on.

Air duct on the nose cone of Big Bird. It will soon fly once again, hopefully in time for summer thermals.

Andrew Ouellet came down from the Bay Area to fly his beautiful sailplane and attempted to fly along I-5, heading southeast then joining the ridge to get all the way to New Cuyama. Not sure if he made it since he lingered around the airfield longer than I think he expected. Maybe we'll get a report from him in the next day or two.

Julie Butler landing after a warm-up flight in the tow plane.

Jeff Richardson decided the day was right for a checkout in Julie's DG100 since it is now a club ship and available for rent at a very reasonable rate. Julie checked him out in the controls, procedures, and handling characteristics of the glider, and finally, with a gusty crosswind, he launched. Did very well, with no PIO on takeoff. And he was up a long time so he must have enjoyed the flight and the handling of the glider.


Julie and Jeff checking the pins, readying them for the wing additions.

Nice instrument panel set up for those planning to get checked out in the DG100.

The wings now come out of the trailer to be added to the fuselage carefully.

Julie Butler supervising Jeff Richardson while he assembles her DG100.

A few last minute words of advice from Morgan Hall and Jeff will be ready for his first flight in the DG100.

Pre-takeoff reflective thoughts about the controls, instruments, and expected handling characteristics.

Good start on the launch, wings level even in a good, gusty crosswind.

Out of the dust and holding the attitude steady, Jeff had no PIO's on takeoff.

Jeff Richardson launching in Julie's DG100, a first flight in it for him.

Joe Anastasio, after working around the field, and having Martin Caskey do the annual on his glider, he launched in the PW-5. I wasn't around when he landed so he must have had a good flight.



Martin Caskey hard at work doing the annual inspection on Joe's PW-5.

Joe Anastasio pushing out his PW-5 in preparation for flight.

Joe waiting in the PW-5 while Julie chats with Mike Paoli.

Now Joe is ready, Jim Rickey runs the wing, and Mike Paoli waits in the background.

A cloud of dust marked the day, dry and hot, with gusty winds, and big thermals.

Among all this activity, Peter Sahlberg decided to find out why the swamp cooler wasn't working. Including a pump that wasn't operating, and a tray full of mud preventing water from entering the pump, he worked for more than an hour cleaning the tray, and disassembling the pump for cleaning. Now it all works again and we have cool air streaming through the clubhouse. Thanks, Peter.

Tyler Bishop waited an hour or so for the gusty crosswinds to subside, then launched in the 1-26. He had a few minor PIO's on takeoff but nothing dangerous. After not a long time aloft, he landed with a rather hefty bounce, saying he got into some deep sink somewhere on the runway as he was a few feet off the ground.

Tyler about to launch in the 1-26 while Harold runs the wing.

Later on, Tyler and his Dad, Hugh, really helped me out of trouble with my car all the way back to Fresno, including a run they made for water as I limped to a stop on some deserted place along Rte 41 about 20 miles south of downtown Fresno. And that was the second time they stopped and helped. I would have been stranded for hours had it not been for them. So thanks guys for sticking with me all the way home.


A late addition for this blog, Mike Paoli not only sent me 11 photos he took, but added a bit of information to the blog I didn't have when I wrote it. Here are his comments:

Harold,

Here are some pics I took Saturday with my new camera. (Pics added above)

I had a good flight in the 1-26. Julie gave me a great tow into strong lift along Hwy 33. I climbed to over 7,000 ft. in the area between the highway and the Kettlemen Hills. Lift seemed particularly strong over the Burrito Place.  My landing demonstrated the need to practice x-wind landings at every opportunity.

Jeff, Joe, and Andrew all had good, long flights. I think Andrew topped out at over 10,000 ft. and Jeff at 8,400 ft. Jeff was very impressive flying the DG-100 for the first time, with a smooth takeoff and landing in not so smooth cross-wind conditions.

Mike

After a nice flight Jeff landed and got help putting the DG100 back in its box at the end of the day.


Tucked away nicely in its box, the DG100 gave Jeff a very good ride.

The day was marked not only by strong surface thermals/dustdevils, but high up the lenticulars were formed indicating a wave action coming from somewhere to the northwest. See the following photo:

Looking northwest towards Coalinga, lenticulars formed from a mountain range far to the northwest.

Not too much else happened today, considering the temperature of 108 deg F. Most of us were moving slowly, staying in the shade, and drinking liquids often. Maybe next weekend will be a bit cooler but we can't count on that. And of course, next Saturday is July 4th, so the celebrations may override the temptation to go soaring. We'll see then.

Harold Gallagher