Saturday, January 16, 2021

Carl Lindgren's First Glider Solo

Visibility: Pretty Far
Wind: Light
Altitudes: Release altitude mostly, though there was rising air
Time Aloft: Short
Max Lift: On tow
Temperature: 50's to 60's
Tow pilot: David Simpson

Another sweet winter day at Avenal.

The highlight of the day was Carl Lindren's first glider solo flight.  

Carl Lindgren did some power flying back in an earlier era, but after many years away from aviation, started training this fall in gliders.  He’s been very diligent and focused in his preparation and flying.

Today, under beautiful clear skies and a gentle breeze at Avenal, that effort was rewarded in his first solo glider flight (and his first solo flight of any kind this century!)  I’ll bet that his memories of this one will be just a sharp as his first solo many years ago.

In addition, Piper and Kyle H were out for some post-solo spot landing practice and both did quite well.

Kyle D continued with his pre-solo training and is pretty far along the curve now.

Peter got in a few more "get acquainted" flights in 06 and made some very nice looking landings.

Zach and Jim did some work on the radio/charging system on 22S and Jim also devoted part of the day to maintenance and repair on tailwheels & wingwheels - not glamorous, but absolutely essential.

We also saw Alex working on 1B and Frank biking around shooting video and enjoying the day.

I'm sorry the farmers aren't getting any rain, but its sure been nice winter flying at Avenal lately.


Saturday, December 19, 2020

Peter prepares to launch

Piper Baynes closes herself into the cockpit of N3613F to be launched by newly minted CCSA towpilot, her dad, Chris Baynes.

A Great Day for Training

Visibility: Clear to the Sierras above 2500'
Wind: Calm
Altitudes: Tow heights
Time Aloft: 40 mins Kyle Detke and Alex
Max Lift: Alex?
Temperature: 50s
Tow pilot: Dan Gudgel, Kyle Hyde, and Chris Bayns

Lots of activity for nearly the shortest day of the year! After Monday, we are over the hump with days getting longer and the soaring season getting ever closer.

The days started with getting the wheel back on 13F. Big thanks to Chris Bayns for taking the wheel home with him, cleaning the hub and axle up, as well as all the help with the reinstall this morning. 

Ops began around noon with Piper taking the first flight putting her new solo endorsement to use. Logan also had the opportunity for more solo flights as he works towards his commercial glider add on. 

Both Kyle Hyde and Chris Bayns flew with Dan Gudgel to complete their tow checkouts today, I had the pleasure of being on the other end of the rope from both of them and they both did a fantastic job. 

Kyle Hyde and Kyle Detke both took instructional flights with Alex today and are getting real close to soloing. 

I also had the pleasure of flying from the backseat with Carl and Frank. Carl is ready to solo, other than a paperwork formality that he will be working to clear up this week. Frank has been a long time CCSA member and has done a great deal of towing for the club in recent years. Today was his first time back on this end of the rope in a decade and he is looking forward to regaining glider currency this winter. 

Today was finally the day that Peter got his new to him ASW 20 in the air and he had nothing but great things to report on the ship. He is looking forward to getting much deserved XC time in it this spring. 

Despite the later start, everyone had a chance to get in the air today. It is great to see this enthusiasm during the offseason and I am excited to see how everyone continues to progress as the thermals return.  I hope everyone has a merry Christmas and I will see you in 2021!

Saturday, December 12, 2020

Piper Banys First Solo!

Visibility: Mostly clear, with low and high clouds passing all day
Wind: Light, typically NE at 5-7 knots
Altitudes: Release height! 
Time Aloft: Sled Rides, except for one flight with some zero sink
Max Lift: Nada, zilch
Temperature: 50s
Comment: Beautiful winter training day
Tow pilot: Karl Kunz

Piper Solo'd Today!



Piper Banys made her first solo flight today.  The first solo is a flight every pilot remembers the rest of her life, and I'm sure Piper's will stick with her as well.  Her parents and brother were there to share in the special moment.  There's more training to do, of course, but let's congratulate Piper for this terrific accomplishment.

New members Kyle Hyde and Kyle Detke, who are power pilots transitioning to gliders, worked on polishing their technique as well.

Today also saw the return to the air of 22S, after some months of Covid-19 lockdown.  I'm sure some spiders were unhappy that we disturbed their habitat, but otherwise it was great to have the "Spirit of Laird" back in the sky.

We had several members out doing other tasks as well - Zach brought out a loaded fuel trailer and then did some runway smoothing / weed scraping for a while.  13F had a flat tire, so he and Chris Banys and others worked on extracting the wheel and planning on a tube replacement, clean-up and bearing-repack, etc.

Logan and a friend were out and got a flight to wrap up the day.  A big thanks, as always to Karl Kunz for towing today - we tried to keep him as busy as possible.

This fall and winter have been drier than average, so let's take advantage of these clear, cool days to finish training or brush up on your proficiency and precision.  And then you'll be ready for a pre-frontal wave day or two when they appear in the forecast.

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Logan Solos

Visibility: 10+
Wind: Calm
Altitudes: 5500 Alex Radko
Time Aloft: 1.5 hrs Jim Rickey
Max Lift:
Tow pilot: Luciano Worl

Congratulations to Logan Stevens for soloing on Saturday! It was another nice October day for training flights. The temperature got to 72 deg. F. The winds were "light and variable" all day. There were no clouds during the day over the airport. Early in the morning, we could see some coastal stratus clouds just spilling over the mountains a few miles to the West. The clouds were coming through the Cottonwood Pass,  where Hwy 41 and 46 come over the hills from the coast. But those clouds burned off by later in the morning,  and did not affect us at Avenal.  We all got there quite early.  I think we were in the air on the first training flight by about 08:30.  I had a feeling, from his flying last week,  that Logan would be ready to solo today if we had more time to make a few more flights. We made, I  believe 5 dual flights. 3 of them were to 2000 ft. AGL,  and he practiced boxing the wake on all 3 of those flights, as well as some stalls, "rolls on a point", steep turns, slips and slips to a landing, with 2 landings on runway 8 and then 1 on runway 12, and some extra work on signals on tow,  and the causes of,  and how to handle,   "slack in the tow line". Then we worked on "simulated rope breaks", now called  "PTTs" or "Premature Termination of the Tow". We did 3 PTTs,  with landings on runway 8,  and one PTT straight ahead on 30, which was short, but still counts as a "flight",  since we did leave the ground. Then we retired temporarily to the clubhouse porch where Logan filled out his pre-solo written test and we discussed all of it.  Logan then did, I believe 4 solo flights in total, in our 2-33, N3613F. All these solo flights  were very nice. He got some lift on his last flight and climbed to about 3700 ft. MSL!  There were by then,  some small, anemic looking dust devils to the west of the airport near the solar farm, and he stayed up the better part of an hour. His landings looked like each one was getting better and better. He was controlling his airspeed very well, and using the dive brakes to control and modulate his glide path in the landing pattern,  while judging where his aiming point should be,  so as to be able to control where his touchdown point, his landing roll out and his stopping point should be, all based on the conditions he was encountering,  as to the wind, runway slope and runway surface condition, etc.
Carl Lindgren also came out early and helped Logan with all the preflight duties on the glider and getting it ready for flight. After completing the pre-flight duties, he also made 3 very nice dual flights with me. We reviewed transitioning to low tow, which he had already done with Kevin Shaw,  then he started boxing the wake. He did very well with boxing the wake, and I think next time we'll review what he did today, but will also start working on doing the premature termination of the tow procedures. When he's doing all those activities well, he'll very likely be ready to solo also!

We're using the Russell Holtz progress sheet, which is very useful for the instructors and students, as they can see their progress, and what's coming next. The instructors can see easily what the student has done with the other instructors on other days. The students can see areas that they haven't yet done, so they know what to expect, etc.
Aleks Radko was at the field again flying his Glasfugel 304 glider. I believe he had the longest and highest flight of the day. Attached is a picture of Aleks disassembling his Glasfulgel 304. 
Here is a link to the "Online Contest" page where he has been posting all his flights recently:

Jim Rickey flew the 1-26 for about 1 1/2 hour too, as reported by Zach already.
Also making a flight in the 1-26, but too late in the day to get any decent lift, was Sergio Grajeda. Sergio was helping Looch Worl a lot in fueling the tow plane, putting it away, winding up tow ropes, etc. 

We were very lucky today to have Looch Worl come out and tow for us. He arrived very early in the morning and stayed out there the whole day! Except Jim Rickey did the very last tow of the day for Sergio Grajeda.  I believe I heard we did 16 tows total for the day. We need to get Looch up in a high performance glider on a good soaring day!  What say you Morgan?

Alex Caldwell