Saturday, September 23, 2017

SATURDAY September 9, 2017. New solo by Ken Talovich

Visibility: Unlimited with beautiful cloud markers along the mountains.
Wind: Light and variable from the NW/SE
Altitudes: 5000 msl. Jan Zanutto
Time Aloft: Two hours +.  Jan Zanutto
Max Lift: 400 fpm
Temperature: Somewhat cool aloft but warm on the ground.
Comment: Ken Talovich first solo in a glider.
Tow pilot: Jim Rickey and Morgan Hall

It was a busy day for Ken Talovich, Jan Zanutto, and Alex Caldwell, and a lot of other club members. Read the picture captions for additional information.


Here's a picture of Wyll Soll's mother,  Joy Soll,  I took during a demo ride I was able to give her on Saturday Sept. 9 at Avenal. We had some thermals,  and were able to stay up long enough for her to get an idea what it's all about. I also got to fly with Wyll, who has been flying up at the Alvord Desert in Oregon,  and has been doing auto tows up there with Don Flynn. He recently checked out and soloed  in an SZD-51 Junior up there. The junior is roughly comparable to the CCSC's DG100
Alex Caldwell

Alex and Joy. Photo by Joy.


Cal Poly Masters student Kajetan Fricke went soaring with me today. He arrived in the US from Munich only one week ago. He already has a private power rating in Germany and wants to get a sailplane rating. We got a good 2 hours before he had to come back to get his ride home. We were able to push up north a short distance while listening to the radio chatter of the Hollister guys coming south and GD making his run.
Jan Zanutto

Kajetan and the Grob. Photo by Jan Zanutto.
Karl Kunz assembling his ASW-20 for an expected long flight.
Ken Talovich on short final in his unique RV-8, flying in from Pine Mountain airport.
Richard Walker moving his Schweizer 1-35 to the launch area.
Jan Zanutto, Kajetan Fricke, and Sergio Grajeda gathered around the Grob in the background.
It's flight time for Kajetan and Jan as they get ready to move the Grob to the launch area.
It's wash time for both the Schweizer 1-35 and the 1-26.
The Headless Horseman, Ken Talovich, preflighting Big Bird before his big solo day.
Another headless pilot, Jim Rickey, encouraging Ken Talovich as he finishes his preflight.
With the big cloud markers over the San Benito's it promises to be a good soaring day.
A big gathering over at Julie Butler's glider trailer.
Jan and Kajetan in and ready to launch with help from Wyll Soll and Julie Butler.
On the roll, Jan guiding the Grob along the recently smoothed runway 31R.
Julie Butler awaiting her turn to launch, astride her sleek sailplane.
Karl Kunz nearly ready to launch and head for the markers already formed over the Temblor Range.
Markers looking good and Karl is anxious to get there as they continue to develop.
Julie Butler and Neiman Walker assist at the cockpit while Ken Talovich is ready to run the wing for Karl Kunz.
Looks like another glider is inbound so they will wait until that operation is finished.
Julie Butler waiting, Neiman Walker will run her wing, and Morgan Hall is the hookup guy.
Ethan Ronat is another of the high performance glider pilots who went aloft today.
Richard Walker likes what the skies over Black Mountain are showing as good lift markers.
Ken Talovich ready for a phase check with Alex Caldwell prior to his solo today.
Ken's a pretty confident guy after preparing for this day with all the necessary presolo maneuvers.
Ken and Alex about to depart for the phase check flight.
Wyll Soll running the wing for Ken and Alex.
Ken's in good position with just a slight crab angle to counter the crosswind.
Joy Soll and Wyll Soll basking in the cool shade near the launch area.
A glider not aloft on this beautiful day at Avenal, is like a Macaw sitting on the ground, beautiful but inert.
Richard Walker just turned final in his Schweizer 1-35.
Richard on very shot final over the fence enroute to landing on runway 31L.
Neiman Walker in the 1-26 turning final for runway 31L.
Over the fence for the left runway and a nice finish to a long flight.
Ethan Ronat ready to launch in his Discus CS talking to Ken Talovich about buying a glider.
Finally it's Ken's turn to solo. He's ready and looking forward to flying solo in yet another model of aircraft.
With Neiman Walker running his wing, Ken Talovich prepares for his first solo flight in a glider.
Jan Zanutto and Kajetan Fricke turning final in the big Grob two-place sailplane.
On short final and in good position for a nice landing.
Ken Talovich aloft in Big Bird flying downwind just prior to turning base, on his first solo glider flight.
Short final for Ken and Big Bird as he finishes his first solo glider flight. He'll do two more in rapid succession.
Richard Walker launching again in the Schweizer 1-35 while the 1-26 waits for another pilot.
Ken's not sure why this is necessary but he is a good sport.
He didn't want his hairy back to be shown but here it is anyway.
Nice going Ken, you did three excellent solo flights. CONGRATULATIONS!!!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Work Day

Visibility:           5 Miles
Wind:               Calm in morning, becoming 10 gusting to 18 around 4 PM.
Temperature:   96° @ 9AM, warming to 107° during afternoon.
Comment:        Good Work Day
Tow pilot:          None.

The RASP was predicting pretty good thermal lift today, and we saw dust devils all over the place from about noon until the wind tore most of them apart.  Yes, it was hot at CA69 today, but it looked like good thermals could have been found with your eyes closed.

But none of the people who showed up truly thought they would fly today.  Rick Eason, his son Matt, Richard Walker, John Harbick, Larry Johnson, Carlos Grajeda (Sergio's dad) and Jim Rickey were there to work.

Carlos continued his clean-up of the grounds--the premises are unquestionably the best looking I have ever seen them.

The others were there to strip the paint off of Orange Crush's metal parts in the process towards giving them a fresh coat of paint.

Rick Eason is power washing the bottom of the wing after the stripper has had a chance to do its work.
Larry Johnson is "painting" stripper onto the struts.
Larry and John Harbick are inspection for dry spots.
Matt is watching dad blast the old paint off.
Rick treated us all to an awesome lunch;  BBQ'd tri-tip, beans, macaroni salad, and garlic french bread were enjoyed at the lunch break.
Larry and Jim power wash the floor afterwards.
We did not get the second wing stripped, as we did not have enough stripper and running out of steam ourselves.  But we made good progress, and got techniques down so hopefully things will go smoother on the other wing.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

SATURDAY, August 26, 2017. Another hot day, few members out today.

Visibility: Unlimited
Wind: Light from the NW.
Altitudes: 5000 msl, Jan Zanutto
Time Aloft: 2 hours, Jan Zanutto
Max Lift: 800 fpm.
Temperature: 105 degrees, 4200 ft density altitude.
Comment: Hot and extremely dusty (on takeoff) day. Carlos Grajeda continues beautifying the field.
Tow pilot: Initially, no one. Then Alex Caldwell showed up so he and I could swap towing.

There were few of us at the field today. Alex Caldwell, Joe Anastasio, Ken Talovich, Jan Zanutto, and Patrick Ciolkosz. As stated above, Alex and I swapped tows for one another. Alex towed Jan and Patrick out to Black Mountain where he had this to say about his flight:

Harold, here is a brief write-up from yesterday:

My friend Patrick Ciolkosz has wanted a glider ride for quite some time. We decided yesterday was the day so we rolled the Grob out and launched around 1:45. I took a 3K tow directly to Black Mountain where we released in some good strong lift. It was a bit deceiving though, because after several attempts to break free of the magnetic pull of Black Mountain we just couldn't get a climb above 5K. We migrated back to my favorite spot at Castle Peak where there is normally a good climb but 5K was tops.

There was quite a bit of radio chatter, guys up out of Truckee hitting 16.5, and guys down at Tehachapi doing similar triumphs. There were some nice markers that looked at least 4K above us, to the north just above Center Peak, and I tried pushing out north but just couldn't connect with anything that was going to get me there. The Temblors and California Valley had nice markers as well. We heard some calls from guys launching out of Hollister and they weren't getting anything except some weak action from the normal EL spots. 

We still stayed up 2 hours in the ridge effect off of Black, doing mostly S turns and getting a look at the charred ground below us. It was nice to see that the bird population did not get snuffed out by the fires. We were accompanied by some ravens, and on one of my lower passes by the microwave tower I thought I saw one of the local eagles perched up on top of a tree.

Air quality was horrible below 5K, but as the saying goes- a bad day soaring is better than the best day at work....

Jan Zanutto and his buddy, Patrick Ciolkosz prepare the Grob for flight.

Ken Talovich waiting for his second flight in preparation for his upcoming solo flights.

Joe Anastasio and Alex Caldwell flew over an hour, enough for his single BFR flight.

Putting the Grob to bed after a nice 2-hour flight to 5000 msl.

Patrick Ciolkosz helping Jan bundle the Grob as protection from the dust and sun.

It moved above 4000 ft density altitude by late afternoon. 105 degrees on the field.

Ken Talovich leaving Avenal in his beautiful RV-8 after two good glider flights that makes him ready for solo.

Ken lifting off toward the clouds to the NW of Coalinga enroute to Merced, CA.

Very late afternoon, after all had quit flying, the clouds began marking lift over the Temblors.