Sunday, November 16, 2014

Saturday, November 15, 2014 - Great Soaring Day for November, Good Lift, Nice Cumulus Clouds

WEATHER
Visibility: Excellent
Wind:  Light all day. Max 12mph. from Avenal MAT 565 Weather Underground Station.   XCSOAR glide computer reported wind at 4 kts. from 056 deg. while thermaling at 4000 ft. MSL over the field.
Altitudes: 5000ft MSL plus. Andrew Oullet and Jan Zanutto near Black Mtn.
Time Aloft: 2.5 hours- Andrew Oullet and Jan Zanutto
Max Lift: 4 kts near Avenal Airport. Up to 6 kts. near Black Mtn.
Temperature: Maximum 67 deg. F. from the Avenal MAT 565 Weather Underground Station.
Comment: Highlights:  Andrew Oullet has first flight in SZD 55.  Visiting pilot Jim Murphy from Puget Sound Soaring Association.  Jan has exciting flight in DG on backside of Tar Canyon. Tow pilots Chris Reilly and Jim Rickey checked out by Dan Gudgel.
Tow pilot: Frank Owen

There was a tremendous amount of activity going on at Avenal today. It was a beautiful day,  with good soaring conditions. Beautiful cumulus clouds were popping by 10:00 am over the field,  and over the mountains,  with good lift from 10:00 am until late afternoon. Chris Reilly was checked out as a tow pilot by Dan Gudgel in the morning. Sorry, I didn't get any pictures of that.  Peter Mersino and Harold Gallagher flew out from Chandler in the Piper.  Jeff Richardson worked with Martin all day in the South Hangar. Martin's good friend Dennis was over in his Piper Taildragger,  in which he has installed an FLARM!  Jan Zanutto was out flying the DG and marking thermals for Andrew Oullet, who took delivery on a beautiful SZD 55, and made his first flight in the ship today.  Andy Reistetter was out working on his Russia. I didn't see him fly.  I had been concerned, as  he has been saying he would like to sell the ship, but I was relieved to hear today that he plans on remaining in the club and flying more in the club ships. 
Jim Murphy,  from the Puget Sound Soaring Association visited today and flew with Alex for 1.8 hours in the Orange Crush.  Looking West towards Black Mtn. from about 4000 ft. MSL.

Jim earned his private glider rating this summer at the Puget Sound Soaring Association. Most of his flying up there was on their ridge, so he got in some good practice at thermal flying today.  We told him the weather is  ALWAYS  like this at Avenal year round ;-).  He may be moving to San Luis Obispo in about a  year,  so we hope he'll be back soon.

Cumulus cloud shadows over the Kettleman Plain near Avenal from about 4000ft. MSL.

Jim Murphy discussing soaring with Frank Owen, our tow pilot for the day.
Jim sent me the following comments and pictures after his flight:

"Hi Alex,Thanks again for the time aloft, I loved the flight and the conversation. The experiece thermaling was great. I sent the pictures in a separate email... not the best selection but c'est la vie. Hope to be back out to fly with CCSC again sometime in the near future. I need to retire and fly more. "







Yutaka Buto flew the 1-26
Andrew Oullet took delivery of his new ship, an absolutely beautiful SZD-55,   and flew it for the first time. Here is his report:

"Hey Alex. Attached are 2 photos. I got to 5000 over black.

I started over the ridge after releasing at 2500. Jan had some nice lift picked out for me while on tow. After climbing to 5k, I shot down south along the ridge and then followed the 41 to the 33 and then back to the mountains. It's a different feeling knowing I can make it back to the airport in areas and altitudes that would have given me anxiety in the 1-26. 

I am very impressed with how the SZD-55 flies. It's a very easy glider to fly, I was able to be hands off for a good amount of the straight glides. Holding airspeed constant while rolling in and out of thermals will take a few more flights to really get dialed in compared to the 1-26 because it picks up speed so easily. 

Can't wait for the next flight!

-Andrew"
Andrew on Wingtip as SZD-55 is towed in following Andrew's first flight in the ship.
Andrew and Jan's GPS flight tracks for their flights today.

A beautiful sky and a beautiful ship.

Andrew approaches Black Mtn. from the South in the SZD-55 on his first flight in the ship.

   
Jan Zanutto had an exciting flight in the DG. Maybe just a bit more exciting than he wanted! Read on.   He was up before Andrew and helped mark some thermals for Andrew. Here is his description of the flight and some photos he submitted:

"I didnt even install my flight computer yesterday, I figured I would just take whatever lift was there and stay local. It was kinda nice not having to set up the cockpit with all the usual accouterments.

I got 2.5 hours in, and max height was almost 4500 over tar. As you can see I stayed around the ridge and the valley. I included a close-up picture of one section of my flight that I'd like to pass on as a learning experience.

Finding lift yesterday was somewhat predictable, as there were a lot of clouds covering the hills and Black mtn particularly. The areas of the ground that were in the sun and facing the sun produced lift as could be expected. Black mtn got a little overdeveloped as the day went on.

I was at the power lines working a thermal and steadily drifting west with the thermal as it was pushed by the wind. In the valley west of the power lines there was sun, and Andrew was higher and farther west than I was so I made a decision to push out over the valley and try to get into the same lift that he was in. Things changed a bit, and there was lots of 800fpm sink out there and it didnt take long to realize I had initially pushed west a little too low and didnt leave myself a good enough margin to get back to the last known lift if this move didnt pay off.

I turned around and when I got back to the ridge where the power lines cross I was about 100 feet below the ridge height. For a few seconds I had the thought of a zoom run and pop over the ridge and back to the Avenal side of the hills. THen sanity took over as I thought to myself "what do you want your headstone to say?"....

I realized I had basically two options. I could either hug the descending terrain and run back south, hoping to pop through the gap at tar canyon, or I could hug that same terrain and follow it as it descends and eventually arrive at the flat lands and a road as far south as I could stretch it safely and find a landout spot.

One thing I did was immediately call Andrew on the radio and advise him I was low and spot my position as he would be the only person who knew where I was. He had a visual ID on me and said he'd keep and eye on me.

I stayed as close to the terrain as I safely could and got quite a few nice bumps and zero sink areas which really stretched out my glide. There was absolutely no turning to circle at this point. I was getting lower with the terrain as it descended. Thankfully, so thankfully plan A was working and what seemed like an eternity of having terrain higher than me on both sides finally gave way to the backside of Tar and the Tar gap appeared.

I popped through the Tar gap and could see that I had a visual final glide back to Avenal. I was greeted by a good size flock of birds- a very welcome sign and I turned into their lift and was able to climb back up and salvage the flight.

Looking back now I am surprised at how calm I stayed in the cockpit and had the sense to call Andrew to let him know where I was, and also to establish and stay at best L/D speed to maximize my glide out of the canyons.

I'm sure there would have been a landable spot to the south but I'm glad I didnt have to exercise that option. The rest of the flight was pretty fun."


Jan's comment: "about 4500 over Tar. notice the sun on the west side. thats where lift was"

Blogger comments on Jan's flight:  We have had two other instances in the club I can recall  where people got trapped on the back side of the ridge with no lift,  and  too low to get over the ridge and back to Avenal. One incident was  in the Blanik a number of years ago,  and another one was in the 1-26.  Both pilots in those instances took pretty much the only option available as Jan did, they headed South into the Sunflower Valley,  and followed the lowering terrain. With the lower glide ratio of those ships compared to Jan's, shooting through the Tar Canyon Gap,  as Jan did,  was not an option.  They both made successful off field landings in somewhat low rolling hill like terrain at the North end of Sunflower Valley. Thankfully, the terrain in that area is relatively benign. The Sunflower Valley  gets even flatter further South towards Hwy 41,  and there are some roads one could probably  even land on. However,  with the lower glide ratio ships, in our two incidents, they ran out of altitude while still over somewhat hilly terrain at the North end of the Sunflower Valley.   But fortunately and luckily,  not due to any good planning,  since I believe in both cases, the pilots made straight in approaches and took whatever they happen to have had in front of them  when they ran out of altitude, the terrain there  is relatively free of obstacles.  The end result was no damage to the gliders or pilots. The lessons are 1. Don't get in that situation where you are too low out there and get on the back side of the ridge. The 1-26 would be lucky to get back to Avenal Airport from the ridge top height at Tar Canyon.  2. The good thing our land out pilots did once they realized they had made mistake No. 1, was to keep their gliders flying, not letting their glider get slow and stalling or spinning  in from a low turn trying to thermal,  or trying to make a turn at low altitude.  3. Tow pilots should never tow a 2-33 or a 1-26 out past the ridge line,  even if the pilot takes a very high tow. This is one factor in the 1-26 incident. He took a high  4000ft.  tow,  but was taken considerably out west beyond the ridge line. When he released, he did not find lift right away,  and  encountered sink.   He  was quickly below ridge top height,  unable to get over the ridge from the backside and back to the airport.
_______________________________________________________

Jim Rickey man handling the 1-26 after his landing.

Everybody checking out the SZD 55 following Andrew's flight.

End of day panorama to the North. Cumulus clouds  had pretty much dissipated, having morphed in to a kind of stratus-like layer over the mountains. Later some lenticular like clouds were seen over the mountains to the West and North West just at sunset.
Thanks to Harold for this photo of a lenticular over the Sierras while Harold and Peter were flying back to Fresno.

Panorama to the South at the end of the day.

Dan has organized the North Hangar . He spent much of the day working in there when he wasn't flying checking out tow pilots Chris Reilly and Jim Rickey.


Dan Gudgel and Jim Rickey during Jim's tow pilot check out.

Martin Caskey working on spar box repair on Larry Johnson's Russia. The South Hangar looks beautiful, complete with lighting,  thanks to the work of several hard working volunteers.

Area Forecast Discussion
Issued by NWS San Joaquin Valley, CA


000
FXUS66 KHNX 142330 CCA
AFDHNX

AREA FORECAST DISCUSSION
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE SAN JOAQUIN VALLEY - HANFORD CA
329 PM PST FRI NOV 14 2014

.UPDATE...UPDATED AIR QUALITY ISSUES SECTION.

&&

.SYNOPSIS...
BUILDING HIGH PRESSURE OFF THE WEST COAST WILL KEEP DRY CONDITIONS
OVER CENTRAL CALIFORNIA INTO EARLY NEXT WEEK. PATCHY VALLEY FOG
WILL DEVELOP AGAIN SATURDAY AND SUNDAY MORNINGS. A WEAK STORM
SYSTEM WILL BRING A SLIGHT CHANCE OF RAIN TO THE AREA NEXT TUESDAY
NIGHT AND WEDNESDAY.

&&

.DISCUSSION...YESTERDAY/S DISTURBANCE CONTINUES TO EXIT TO THE
EAST LEAVING BEHIND A DRY NORTHWEST FLOW ALOFT. AMPLE LOW LEVEL
MOISTURE LINGERS AND VISIBLE SATELLITE IMAGERY SHOWS PLENTY OF
STRATO CU ALONG THE EAST SIDE AND SOUTH END OF THE SAN JOAQUIN
VALLEY AND OVER THE ADJACENT FOOTHILLS. AN ONSHORE SURFACE FLOW
REMAINS WITH GUSTY CONDITIONS THROUGH AND BELOW THE KERN COUNTY
MOUNTAIN PASSES AND ACROSS THE DESERT. THESE WINDS WILL PERSIST
ON SATURDAY THEN BUILDING SURFACE HIGH PRESSURE OVER THE GREAT
BASIN WILL TURN THE FLOW OFFSHORE BY SUNDAY. UPPER RIDGING WILL
AMPLIFY JUST OFF THE COAST DURING THE WEEKEND THEN SHIFT INLAND
EARLY NEXT WEEK. AREAS OF FOG ARE LIKELY TO DEVELOP IN THE SJV
AGAIN TONIGHT AND MAY BECOME LOCALLY DENSE. FOG POTENTIAL BECOMES
LESS LIKELY BUT STILL POSSIBLE SUNDAY AND MONDAY AS DEVELOPING
OFFSHORE FLOW BRINGS IN SOME DRIER AIR. TEMPERATURES WILL HOVER
NEAR TO SLIGHTLY ABOVE NORMAL THIS WEEKEND INTO EARLY NEXT WEEK.

THERE REMAINS A FAIR AMOUNT OF UNCERTAINTY FROM THE MIDDLE TO THE
END OF NEXT WEEK. A PACIFIC SHORT WAVE WILL APPROACH THE COAST BY
TUESDAY BUT MEDIUM RANGE MODELS HAVE GENERALLY TRENDED WEAKER AND
FARTHER NORTH WITH THIS FEATURE. HAVE MAINTAINED LOW CHANCE POPS
OVER THE SRN SIERRA AND JUST A SLIGHT CHANCE IN THE SJV TUESDAY
NIGHT AND WEDNESDAY. MODELS SHOW SOME BRIEF UPPER RIDGING AROUND
THURSDAY THEN PERHAPS ANOTHER DISTURBANCE BY FRIDAY.

&&

.AVIATION...
WIDESPREAD MVFR AND AREAS OF IFR VISIBILITIES IN THE SAN JOAQUIN
VALLEY DUE TO HZ/BR 08Z TO 20Z SATURDAY. OTHERWISE VFR CONDITIONS
WILL PREVAIL OVER THE CENTRAL CA INTERIOR FOR THE NEXT 24 HOURS.

&&

.AIR QUALITY ISSUES...ON SATURDAY NOVEMBER 15 2014...FIREPLACE/WOOD
STOVE BURNING STATUS IS: NO BURNING UNLESS REGISTERED IN FRESNO...
KERN... KINGS... MADERA... MERCED AND TULARE COUNTIES. FURTHER
INFORMATION IS AVAILABLE AT VALLEYAIR.ORG

&&

.CERTAINTY...

THE LEVEL OF CERTAINTY FOR DAYS 1 AND 2 IS MEDIUM.
THE LEVEL OF CERTAINTY FOR DAYS 3 THROUGH 7 IS MEDIUM.

THIS INFORMATION IS PROVIDED AS PART OF A TRIAL PROJECT CONDUCTED
BY THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE SAN JOAQUIN VALLEY - HANFORD.
CERTAINTY LEVELS INCLUDE LOW...MEDIUM...AND HIGH. PLEASE VISIT
WWW.WEATHER.GOV/HNX/CERTAINTY.PHP /ALL LOWER CASE/ FOR ADDITIONAL
INFORMATION AND/OR TO PROVIDE FEEDBACK.

&&

.CLIMATE...
             RECORDS
SITE DATE    HI_MAX:YEAR LO_MAX:YEAR HI_MIN:YEAR LO_MIN:YEAR

KFAT 11-14       79:1948     50:1971     56:1981     30:1916
KFAT 11-15       79:1979     46:1982     56:1965     30:1964
KFAT 11-16       81:2008     48:1982     58:2012     27:1958

KBFL 11-14       85:1933     53:1978     60:1967     24:1916
KBFL 11-15       84:1900     48:1982     58:1969     27:1916
KBFL 11-16       82:1979     47:1958     58:1965     27:1916
&&

.HNX WATCHES/WARNINGS/ADVISORIES...
NONE.
&&

$$

PUBLIC...DCH
AVN/FW...BEAN
SYNOPSIS...MENDENHALL

WEATHER.GOV/HANFORD
 
 

 




 

Friday, November 14, 2014

November 8, 2014; No lift.

WEATHER
Visibility:         Very hazy.
Wind:             Hardly any.   Peak gust recorded for the whole day was 8 MPH.
Altitudes:        Whatever you got released at.
Max Lift:        "About 6 feet per minute"--Joe Anastasio
Temperature:  70s from before 10:00 AM to after 5:00 PM, peak of 79° around 1:00 PM.
Tow pilot:       Jan Zanutto

In the few months I have been looking at the RASP, today, 11/8/2014, was the most pessimistic soaring forecast I have seen.  The forecast was right.  High pressure overhead was really keeping a cap on the inversion, and thermal activity was nil, with what little bit could be found topping out at about 2000' MSL at its peak.

Joe Anastasio did report finding lift, about "6 feet per minute," he called it.  The lift he did find was widely scattered.  The rest of us just found a few widely scattered bubbles of decreased sink.

For such a dismal soaring day, there was a surprising amount of activity at the gliderport.  Richard Walker got his biennial flight review with Harold Gallagher.  Graeme McIntosh got in some short flights.  Others flew, but getting there late myself, I do not have their accounts.

Tyler Bishop took the 1-26 up for the first time.
Tyler is ready to go.  Note the haze in the background.
Tyler is ready for hookup then to go.
Jan Zanutto captured Tyler with this "Top Gun Look" photo.
Jim Rickey also took the 1-26 for the first time.  It was nice how much faster the 150 can levitate a 1-26 compared to the 2-33.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

November 1, 2014 -- Awards Banquet


WEATHER
Visibility:        Very good.
Wind:            Gentle from the SSE until noon, switching to northerly. Gusts up to 20 MPH mid-afternoon.
Temperature: 56°F at 10 AM, 61° from 1:30 to 2:30, 53° as the last of us departed that evening.
Comment:     No flight operations today...great Awards Banquet!


Visibility was great, markers were abundant in the sky.  Looked like it would have been a great day for soaring up to 500' below the cloud base.  The RASP was looking like one could expect fair thermal action. If you take into account that it was November 1st, should probably say great thermal action for the date was expected.

BUT!  Overnight 0.58" rain fell.  The gliderport was unusable. Nonetheless, it was still a productive day.


This first project did not just happen today.  Over the course of the last few weeks, Richard Walker has been working on installing a stove in the clubhouse.  His cabinetry work looks great.  It will be useful for some of the non-flying functions of the club--perhaps a ground school in the winter with the smell of something baking???
Richard Walker has set a stove in the ClubHouse.
Dan Gudgel busied himself for the day in the towplane hangar.  First thing he did was clean out "stuff" that had been left there, as well as sweeping / blowing out the hangar.  It improved the appearance quite a bit.
Dan Gudgel cleaned out the towplane hangar.

Then Dan built a frame and covered it with pegboard to store towing items such as tow ropes and weak links.  Every item will have its place on the pegboard, with dark images of each item on the white pegboard.  Use an item up?  Get it replaced!
Pegboard.

A new variometer was installed in Orange Crush.

The southeast hangar had huge amounts of pigeon droppings shoveled out.  The missing panel in the roof was replaced, which has dramatically cut down the pigeon problem inside.

It was great weather for working, and everybody out there did something beneficial that day.  Some people worked on their gliders.  Some worked on weeds on the runway.  A good sized crew worked on the southeast hangar.  Some worked on cleaning up the clubhouse in preparation for the Awards Banquet that evening.  The rain did not mean a washed-out day--lots of people did lots of things.


Awards Banquet:  (Thank you Morgan for your text, below!)

Julie is practically 100% of the awards committee and will never give herself the "Harold Gallagher Wings Level Award" but I think we all know that she embodies the spirit of the award.

That's our award that represents the commitment to the club and to soaring that Harold was our inspiration for when we started the banquet and the awards fun 5 years ago.

Whether it is contest banquets or our fall banquet, Julie pours herself into these events with the organization and execution to pull them off, keep everyone well fed and sending lots of leftovers home with people.

Thank you Julie.  

And thanks to everyone that came out Saturday despite the chilly, damp weather to enjoy the food, company and awards fun.

While Julie decided who got the awards, Morgan got the honor of emceeing the presentation.
Emcee Morgan
For those that could not make it, here are the award winners this year:
Slipping Tortoise Award - No Award!  Thanks to Harold, Alex and Dan keeping the instruction going and the Checkrides happening.  We didn't have any viable candidates--this year!  Two members were warned, however, that they would get the award next year if they did not get with the program and get their glider certificates before next year's awards banquet!

Tape Measure Land-out Award - Ethan Ronat - Only this year it was a really long tape measure required.  Usually we can count on someone making a mistake near the field and landing just outside the fence.  Not this year.  Good job everyone.  The only land out that was not Contest induced was Ethan Ronat landing in CA Valley in late summer.  So it would have taken about a 50 NM tape measure.
Golden Weak Link Award - Karl Kunz wracked up the most days of towing.  We had a strong grouping in the second place area by Andrew, Mike, Harold, Jan and Allen.
Carl Kunz with his Golden Weak Link award.
Iron Butt Award - Craig Gifford - with his flight in a Schweizer 2-33A, "Big Bird," of 4 hours, 19 minutes, reaching 10,200 MSL, Craig was the obvious choice.
Craig Gifford recounts his Epic flight of  August 9, 2014.
Greasy Elbow Award - Mike Paoli - For both his work commitment and his continued organization of work efforts around the club.
Mike Paoli and his Greasy Elbow award.

Wings LeveL Award - Jim Rickey - Although Jim is a relatively new member, he has really dove in with lots of energy and support.  Organizing BBQs, working on club aircraft, helping with maintenance around the glider port, taking pictures and managing the blog he's really making an impact.

As always, there are lot's of people that could be on those awards.  And for the service awards, everyone that has been named in years past continues to live up to the standards they set:  Harold, Richard, Martin, Jan, John, Dan, Peter S, Peter M …We don't really have any one and done types. Thank all for the continued dedication.


The Dinner:

Julie almost single-handedly did another outstanding job on the dinner.  Complete change of pace from last year, with a Mexican food.  Enchiladas, make your own tacos and/or burritos, rice, beans.

Martin Caskey and Dan Gudgel

Julie Butler, Karl Kunz, Morgan Hall (standing), Mike Paoli, Richard Walker, Carl Engel, Jeff Richardson.



Mrs. and Mr. Craig Gifford, Pancho Herrera, Andrew Ouellet, Harold Gallagher.



Mrs and Mrs Jan Zanutto, Mrs. and Mr. Peter Mersino



The whole gang socializing after dinner and before the awards.


Julie and Morgan baked these...mmm-mmm-good.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

October 11, 2014; Quiet Day

WEATHER
Visibility:       Excellent
Wind:            Light.  Two gusts of 13 MPH @ 2:02 & 2:07 PM
Altitudes:       Alex; 3800 MSL
Time Aloft:    Alex; 1 hour, 47 minutes
Max Lift:       Not much.
Temperature: 83°F @ noon, broad peak of 87°F during the afternoon.
Comment:      Slow Day!
Tow pilot:      Jan Zanutto most of the day, then Andrew for the last tow of the day.

A good description would be broad areas of gently descending air, with a few fingers of air that rose.  Not many people had signed up for gliding today--they probably all looked at the RASP and decided, "Why bother?"
High Resolution Hcrit prediction for 3PM this afternoon.

Jan Zanutto did all the towing for the day except for the last tow, when Andrew Ouellet towed Jan for a ride.  Jan was getting good at finding and circling in the little bit of lift to be found.  Even from the ground, it was obvious to see the difference in climb rate when Jan circled in the lift.  It looked pretty neat, too, watching the two planes climb while "dancing" round and round.

Mike Paoli put fresh tape on the 1:26 and it looks much better.  Then he took it up a couple of times for a slow descent home.

Andrew Ouellet made a couple of flight in Orange Crush with a guest, then took the 1:26 up for a downhill ride.
Andrew Ouellet taking off on the second flight with his guest.

Alex Caldwell put his beautiful Nimbus together and took it up.  With Nimbus's glide ratio and its ability to stay up in light lift, he was able to head for the ridge and work the lift there for over an hour, with a total aloft time of 1:47.

Alex ready for takeoff.  Picture taken by Jan Zanutto from the towplane.


A few seconds later Andrew Ouellet grabs this picture of Jan and Alex taking off.
Here is Alex's own account of the day:
I was up in the Nimbus today for 1 hour 47 minutes. I spent most of the time ridge soaring between Tar Canyon and the power lines. Occasionally,  a thermal would come through while I was ridge soaring, and I could get up to about 3600 ft. MSL.  Later, as I was getting ready to land, I found out there were thermals out over the Valley along highway 31 which were just as good as along the ridge, and also got me to 3600-3700 MSL.  I could have made more OLC distance, I think, by flying out in the valley and covering more ground there, because I would have had a higher altitude AGL to work with than over the ridge, where I was just scraping the hills and was very limited as to where I could go.
Here's a link to my OLC (On-line Contest)  info for my flight today:
I did not get an official  score, because my handicap distance was just under the minimum required 50km handicap distance.
I used the program or app called  "XCSoar" on my Android phone to record the .igc file that I uploaded to the OLC.  I have a USB plug connected to my glider's battery, so I can run the phone for a long flight.  The standard phone battery would not last for very long without external power.

I also experimented with the new SSA supported live tracking app today that also runs on the Android phone at the same time as XCSoar. It's called "GlideTrack."  It is a very simple to run program/app.  It uploads your .igc file as a track that can be displayed in your "locator URL" web page.  You can get to your locator URL page  from the SSA web site  at Soaring Society of America -> Member Resources -> Sailplane Tracker by typing in the pilot's name or the glider contest number once you are registered with them.  It appeared to work quite well.  Here's a link to the SSA tracker URL page at Avenal Airport.  You have to find the contest no. IB and select it's track.  If the date  has changed since the flight was made, you can use the calendar selector to go back to a previous day.   It defaults to the current day.
The SSA tracker has a lot of really cool features, such as the 3-D view using the Google Earth Plugin, and it gives altitude, speed, and direction information at almost continuous 4 second intervals, unlike SPOT, which only gives info roughly every 10 minutes and gives no altitude, speed, or heading info.  The only complaint I would have is that it only works in the Google Chrome browser.  If you try to look at it in Internet Explorer or even Firefox on Linux, or for that matter, Chrome on the Android phone, nothing works right, and the display makes no sense.  It needs a simplified version that runs without all the fancy features for a non-Google Chrome browser.  This is important, because If a wife or friend tried to find you, and they don't know it needs Chrome, they'll be out of luck, and it won't help them find you when it's really needed.

Alex


Jan Zanutto had the last launch of the day, choosing to take up the 1:26 instead of pulling out his own bird.  Lift had not been very good at the peak of the day, and by now it was 3:30 and what little lift there had been there was starting to fade.
Jan Zanutto and the Ravens, which are much closer to the camera than Jan is.
The long days of the summer soaring season are apparently over...Jan is the last landing of the day, at 3:50 PM.
Jan Zanutto makes the fianl landing of the day