Wind: Initially from the NW, then switched to the SE.
Altitudes: Not reported but estimated at over 8000 msl.
Time Aloft: Three plus hours.
Max Lift: 800 fpm
Comment: Melanie's 13th birthday ride, Jan newest Glider, Pancho's successful BFR
Tow pilot: Mike Thometz and Alex Caldwell.
It was a busy day and there was something for everyone. First up was David Edwards, Jr. who came out several weeks ago wanting a ride and for some reason we couldn't accomodate him. I was hoping he came back for his ride and this morning early, he and his Dad, Edward, Sr. made the trip and Ed, Jr. got his ride. Maybe that will be the start of his glider training. Let's hope so.
Switching to the far northwest end for departures on runway 13L was caused by a bit of a wind from the SE that wasn't too strong but enough so that the pilots launching early decided it was for the better. While there were other launches in the morning, my first student was Kavin Gustafson who is very close to solo. All we need do is get him his Student Pilot's License he needs for solo and a few launches to pattern altitude in preparation for his solo. Then he's on his own. This time we had a higher tow and boxing the wake in rough air was not too difficult for him. Then we tried a sim rope break but we were too far out from the runway at 200 agl so we went to pattern and thermalled a bit before committing to a landing.
|Alex Caldwell, Mike Thometz, Faith, waiting while Kavin prepares to launch|
|Kavin is very close to solo and likely within the next weekend or so.|
|Jennifer Bauman providing the beauty and Pancho Herrera the intensity.|
|Meanwhile Pancho is belting in for his BFR flights.|
|The tow plane is in position and Pancho is working his way down the checklist.|
|Faith, Mike Thometz friend, waits while Pancho closes the canopy.|
|Departing over the glider trailers a few moments before I released at 250 agl.|
|Looks like Kavin Gustafson in front of the clubhouse watching our launch.|
|The little red 1976 Volvo is the culmination of a 5-year project for Jennifer and her Dad.|
|Peter Sahlberg's first attempt at finding lift and going cross country.|
|Peter Sahlberg and his Schweizer 1-35 are ahead of Pancho in the launch sequence.|
|Jennifer, Mike, Faith, and Pancho watching Sheila crew for Peter Sahlberg.|
|Sheila Sahlberg crewing for Peter waiting for his second launch.|
|Melanie Peters, Grandpa Al, and Jim Rickey waiting for her turn for her first glider ride.|
Pancho and I had one last flight to go for his BFR and after launch to pattern altitude we caught a thermal and began turning. We were joined almost immediately by Henry, the large red-tailed hawk who showed us how to thermal for a few minutes, then got bored with our lack of skill and flew off.
|The hawk joined us and then out-flew us for a few turns.|
|Finally he got bored while thermalling ahead of us and finally left, probably in despair at those silly gliders.|
|Jennifer Bauman doing well on tow even in quite bumpy air.|
|Heading over towards Avenal town, the tow plane keeps climbing until we release.|
Al Peters decided that the nicest gift he could give his granddaughter, Melanie, is a glider ride on her 13th birthday, the day she becomes a teenager. So, along with Jim Rickey who would be the pilot in command of her flight, Melanie was buckled in and given serious instructions by Jim about expectations on the flight. they launched and Jim, always good at finding lift, stayed up nearly an hour as I recall. Whatever the final time aloft, Melanie really had a fun time up there. Maybe she'll start taking lessons one day soon.
|Jim Rickey giving Melanie Peters instructions about what to expect on her first glider flight.|
|They both look like they're going to enjoy the flight and indeed she did enjoy all of it.|
|Jan Zanutto downwind for runway 31R at Avenal.|
|The classic turn from base to final, spoilers unlocked and raised a bit.|
|Jan on short final in excellent position for a nice landing.|
|You can't get any more concentration out of Jan than what we're seeing now.|
|Wrapping up the day tying down the Orange Crush, Melanie and Al enjoyed it all.|
|Alex Caldwell describing the various regimes of flight to the interested parties.|
I was around late in the day when Joe Anastasio arrived back from a long 3-hour flight in his PW-5. He was a bit tired but really satisfied with his performance and I suspect he'll add it to the OLC so we all can see what he accomplished.
In that same vein, Morgan and Julie launched and were gone a very long time having worked the convergence and flying more than I had expected with the current conditions. They chronicled their flight on one of the recent emails and I'm sure entered it in the OLC.
Last but certainly not least, Harold III was again at his task of beautifying our clubhouse and surrounding areas. This time, he painted all the trim around the windows and cleaned and painted around the electrical boxes to the right of the door. In addition, he had time to paint the outside of the door as seen in the following pictures. Thanks for all that great work, Harold. All of us appreciate what you have done lately.
|Sure looks better with all the trim painted, especially near the electrical boxes.|
|Our window with the reflection in it looks like a painting by Rembrandt.|
|Close up of the extra work that went into cleaning up the electrical boxes.|
|Outside of the clubhouse door looks better than ever, thanks to Harold III.|
See you all at the XC Camp weekend coming up this Saturday and Sunday, and maybe even Monday.
Harold J Gallagher