Wednesday, November 23, 2016

SATURDAY, November 19, 2016. WAVE DAY FOR ALL !!!

Visibility: Severe Clear
Wind: 12 G 18 direct crosswind, from 220 degrees.
Altitudes: 8200 msl. Jennifer Bauman and Troy Wollman.
Time Aloft: 3.8 hours, Mario Pauda
Max Lift: 900 fpm.
Temperature: Mid 60's.
Comment: Wave flying for everyone.
Tow pilot: Dan Gudgel, Andrew ???, and Luciano Worls.

A great day for everyone to see what flying the wave is all about. Some made it only through to the top of the rotor, while others got to see what a glider elevator feels and looks like.

Below about 3000 msl the air was quite rough and too much for my students to handle. It was so rough that the tows took so much longer than normal to get above that altitude. For most of the tows I simply gave up and got off at around 2500-2600 msl. After going up through, and down through for eight training flights, my own patience was a bit frazzled. However, once above, the air was laminar smooth and most had fun flying in the wave. After sixteen times in that rough air, my control arm was complaining a bit and my right palm got a bit sore.

Jennifer Bauman and Troy Wollman did the smart thing and flew together in the Orange Crush, spelling each other during the flight. Since they were up for nearly three hours, they had forgotten how rough the sub-ridge air could be. They made it down with no trouble but on the patio they well remembered how difficult the transition was through and down to a landing.

Russ Genet and I were up first and we managed to get into the wave and up to 5300 msl. We could have gone higher but realized that there were others waiting for their rides since I had been scheduled every hour from 9 am to 5 pm. Fortunately two time slots cancelled and made it a bit easier to work everyone in that wanted to fly. Here is Russ's comment:

Hi Harold (and Russell and Don), 
Nice flights today!  Very exciting to ride the wave! 
It was good to have a crosswind.

Russ Genet

Hi Troy and Jenn (and All), 
Fantastic!  I look forward to your report!  Way too much fun by everyone today. 
Cheers, Russ

Two newcomers were Beth Hotchkiss and Alexia (Lexy) Aguirre and neither had ever been in the wave. After suffering through the rough air, we snagged the wave and went high. Beth got to a bit over 6000 msl and Lexy managed to get to 5800 msl. Both, of course, were most impressed with how smooth and how quickly we rose in the wave. While most were experiencing around 4 knots of lift, both Beth and Lexy saw 700-800 fpm of lift in the area in which we captured the wave. See the accompanying photos.

For Jim Bell and Beth Platz the day was mostly about suffering through the rough air (rotor) and then spending time trying to capture the smooth air for a ride up. But after enough time had passed and their working hard at getting just above 3000 msl, we headed back down for another try at the tow and the rough air. Although neither got very high, the experience was definitely worth the effort and Jim Bell remarked that in learning, he was OK with it since he knew the future might bring such conditions after his solo and he needed to know how to deal with it. Beth Platz was her usual implacable self and wasn't too bothered by getting knocked around the sky for two flights.

Mario Pauda was the only other ship in the sky besides the Orange Crush for any length of time. He managed nearly four hours aloft and, like Troy and Jennifer, ranged around in the vicinity of 8000 msl.

It's too bad more members weren't out at the field, but on the other hand,  it would have shortened the flight for Troy and Jennifer because my use of Big Bird lasted all day with few downtime spaces to take advantage of. We certainly expect more wave days at Avenal and I strongly suggest members watch for the RASP by Alex Caldwell. His production of the data for Saturday was correct and could have been the key to whether or not a member chose to drive a distance to get to Avenal for the wave. I'm sure most members saw the chatter of emails concerning the wave long before Saturday arrived and the prognostication was accurate.

There will be more days like Saturday so pay attention to those all important emails a few days prior.

Dennis Lyons wrote: "Looking NE toward Avenal from my house, north of Paso Robles 12:35 today."
Russ Genet chats with Dan Gudgel and his tow pilot trainee, Andrew ???.
Russ Genet is anxious to see what the wave is all about. He found out at 5300 msl.
Mario Pauda joins the group at the far NW end for launching.
Russ Genet coming up on 5000 msl. He topped off in the wave at  5300 msl.
Russ headed back down when he reached 5300 msl just to give the others a chance at wave flying.
Russ is seeing 300 fpm lift but the lift was often much higher than that.
Beth Platz worked hard at fighting the rotor but we didn't get much above 3200 msl in wave.
Jim Bell had two flights, mostly in the rotor because it took so darn long to climb.
The cloud showing is the primary wave lenticular. There were secondary and tertiary waves east.
Beth Platz stayed around for awhile after her flight but headed home early afternoon.
Jennifer Bauman and Troy Wollman launching on their record-setting flight, for them.
Whoever was flying did very well countering the strong crosswind.
Off the ground and holding low, Jennifer and Troy had no idea how much fun the flight would be.
Beth Hotchkiss is just about to launch on her first flight in the wave.
Approaching 5500 msl, Beth topped out at just over 6000 msl.
The altimeter shows  just at  6000 msl and Beth is one happy young lady.
Yes, Beth Hotchkiss just had a wonderful, first wave flight in Big Bird.
Next up was Alexia Aguirre who was excited to see what wave flying was all about.
Note that we are just about 800 feet per minute going up in the wave.
The altimeter shows 5100 msl, Lexy actually topped off at 5800 msl. Notice Lexy's hand gently on the stick.
Late afternoon, both gliders are tied down after a fun day for most students.
The Orange Crush was the final glider to be tied down after Mario Pauda landed his 1-26.
With the sun below the West Ridge, the primary wave cloud can be seen with its front edge colored by the sun.
Here are six pictures taken by Troy and Jennifer during their epic wave flight of nearly three hours aloft:
Troy Wollman and Jennifer Bauman in the Orange Crush at altitude.
Mario Pauda in his 1-26 a hundred feet below Troy and Jennifer.
The view was magnificent from 8000 msl in smooth air, no turbulence.
On our way down from 8200 msl but regained the altitude later on.
Far in the distance one can see multiple lenticular clouds marking tertiary waves.
Jennifer and Troy are a bit tired but enthused after their record setting flight in the wave to 8200 msl.

Hopefully we will see more of you members out at Avenal this time of year. I remind all of you again that these conditions from now until March are ideal for training. Take advantage of them.

Harold Gallagher

Sunday, November 20, 2016

SATURDAY, November 12, 2016. Fun day for most, but no lift.

Visibility: More than 10 miles in a bit of haze.
Wind: Light and variable but mostly from the NW
Altitudes: Not too much higher than tow height.
Time Aloft: Probably less than an hour, if that.
Max Lift: Maybe 200 fpm.
Temperature: Mid 70's, very pleasant day at Avenal.
Comment: Even with no lift, most had fun today.
Tow pilot: Julie Butler and Morgan Hall. Thanks to you both.

Click on any photo to see large sizes of every photo.
If you like the published photo,  a higher resolution is available. Most photos I take are 4608x3456 then reduced to 2000x1500 for publication. Just let me know which photo you'd like and I'll email you the higher resolution. Such resolutions are available for many years back in photos posted on this blog.
With so many pictures published, they tell the story just as well as if I wrote it all out in paragraphs.

Russ Genet preflights the Orange Crush while Jennifer Bauman finishes with Big Bird.
An early launch for Big Bird because many more students are here today from Cal Poly.
Jim Bell's first flight of the day especially to work on his towing skills.
Partly lost in the background clutter, the 1-26 is piloted by Troy Wollman.
Dan Clark, Jeff Richardson, and Wyll Soll await their turn in the sky.
Jim Bell launches once again and is getting much better on tow. 
Dan Clark takes his turn in the 1-26. Dan hasn't been here for awhile but we're glad to have him back.
Jesse McClintock and Wyll Soll walking past the 1-26 while Dan checks the takeoff list.
We need to see Dan here more often but realize he lives in Felton, a long way from here.
The launch area is filling up, thereby pushing the need for another tow plane.
Wyll Soll admiring Mike Paoli's Libelle. Jesse McClintock is helping Mike unhook.
Now it's Wyll Soll's turn for an instructional flight in Big Bird.
Off goes the DG100 for another flight but with little lift it will be back too soon.
Not sure who owns this Maule but we did have visitors here for delivery of the new simulator.
Mike Paoli checking the movement of the dive brakes in preparation for his launch.
Jeff Richardson about to run the wing for Mike Paoli in his Libelle.
Mario Pauda's 1-26 is surrounded by admirers and helpers.
Mario is checking the seating configuration for comfort and correct positioning.
Russ Genet's first flight with me, in the Big Bird. Russ is progressing nicely towards solo.
Dan Clark hooks up the DG100 for Jeff Richardson.
Jeff Richardson is about to launch in the DG100 but won't be too satisfied with the lift.
Mike Paoli launching in his Libelle.
Mike Paoli says this is a keeper photo that will be printed large size and framed on his wall.
Beth Hotchkiss likes to take pictures of almost all operations at Avenal.
Dan Clark giving the thumbs up to Ethan Ronat at the wing tip, preparatory to launch.
Beth Hotchkiss at it again, photographing Big Bird and the surrounding students from Cal Poly.
Alex Caldwell is leaving for home in his RV-3.
Ethan Ronat nearing ready for his flight in that beautiful Discus C he acquired from Steve Schery.
The late afternoon sun paints Big Bird with an almost golden glow.
Andrew Palmer about to hook up Big Bird for Beth Hotchkiss.
Ethan Ronat landing in late afternoon after an uneventful flight with little lift.
While only 2 days away from being the brightest moon in decades it still is a nice sight.
Unless using a telephoto lens, the big bright moon is a relative dot in the night sky, observed by Beth Hotchkiss.

Next weekend should be another nice day for students to test their skills both on tow and off. Don't let the cool winter air keep you from training flights, so valuable when you schedule them every weekend instead of letting weeks go by with no flights. The more often you fly, the quicker your personal goals are achieved in aviation.

See you next weekend.

Harold Gallagher