Monday, January 25, 2021

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Visibility: decent, but the  low ceiling,  at  about 2000 MSL early,  required just doing pattern tows much of the day until the mid to late afternoon.    It became sunny late in the afternoon,   with a few scattered clouds,  allowing some higher tows to be made. 
Wind: 10 to 15 kts out of the NNE all day. The wind got a bit stronger in the later afternoon.
Altitudes: Tow release altitude was as high as anyone  got,  as far as I know.
Time Aloft: About 20 minutes by Kris Caldwell?
Max Lift: None,  that I heard of.
Temperature: 56 deg. F. maximum
Comment: Kris Caldwell flew the DG 100, Kyle Detke solos in the 2-33, for his first glider solo, Kyle Hyde does more solo work in the 2-33, Walden Hillegass tries soaring with Zach in the 2-33, then  joins CCSA and Cal Poly  Akaflieg, Thomas Wolfe tried out the Condor 2 flight simulator with the photo realistic Avenal scenery,  and the highly accurate  topography  on the simulated dual control cockpit designed and built by Mike Malin of the Truckee Soaring Association,  and on temporary  loan to the Cal Poly Akaflieg and indirectly to CCSA. Thomas then flew with me on a couple of short pattern flights, and then soloed again in the 2-33,  after having a 7 week break.  Logan Stevens towed most of the day, but traded towing duties with Kyle Hyde and took at least one tow in the 2-33, so he doesn't forget how to fly a glider. It should be mentioned that he just passed his commercial power license a few days ago at San Luis Obispo.  He is also working on getting his power CFI ticket next.  Everyone got some practice with cross winds on take offs and landings,  and in the pattern today.  Jim Rickey and Richard Walker were also at the field, as usual,  helping everybody else,  and probably working uncompensated on various club tasks so that  everyone else can fly! 
Tow pilot: Logan Stevens and Kyle Hyde

Kyle Detke about to take off on one of his three solos.
Thomas Wolfe assisting Kyle Detke
Kris Caldwell taking off in the DG 100. Zach Yamauchi running his wing.
Jim Rickey watching Kris's take off. I think he might be looking towards flying the DG more this year. 
Thomas Wolfe Kyle Detke and Logan Stevens watching Kris in the DG 100. 
I think that is Walden Hillegass.
Walden Hillegass, Logan Stevens and Kyle Detke.
Kyle ready for another solo flight.
Kris Caldwell readying for second flight in the DG 100.  First day flying in a Non-Schweizer Ironworks glider with the higher performance of a  fiberglass glider! He appeared to like it! He should be ready for some great longer soaring  flights when the really good soaring weather returns in a couple of months! 

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.