Friday, June 5, 2020
We've gotten some practice with retrieves lately at CCSA. Its an unavoidable and sometimes fun part of cross-country soaring. Here are the Retrieve Heros from my off-field landing on Thursday - our own Martin Caskey and Jesus of the Zapata Ranch. Big thanks to them both.
When you have a chance to join a retrieve, don't hesitate. There's always something to be learned and some grand adventures and maybe tall tales as well.
Friday, May 22, 2020
Wind: light out of the north
Time Aloft: 6.5hrs
Max Lift: 9kts
Comment: Awesome midweek flying day
Tow pilot: Alex
Alex agreed to come out tow for us on this Wednesday. With high bases and nice weather predicted Aleks, Ethan, Ken, and myself (Wyll) came out to fly. Here is a bit about the day from my perspective.
This was probably one of my all-time favorite flights and my best by far flying out of Avenal.
Launched around 11:30 with good cu already building over Black and a few wisps around the airport. Alex towed me about halfway out to Tar Peak and I got off in decent lift. It worked well with a decent climb rate but cut off around 3300ft. I made one attempt to reach the clouds over the hills but was met with lots of sink on the way and high tailed it back toward Avenal. I then climbed back up in the same spot but held on to the thermal a little higher and was able to connect with the clouds in the mountains and they were booming.
|Looking south towards Soda Lake|
I then met up with TG and continued on towards the California Valley. Once on the correct line, the run south was again uneventful staying above 6000ft and only stopping for climbs around 5kts or better.Cloud base was about 6500ft when I got my first good climb and rose throughout the day to about 8000ft. I cruised under the well-marked convergence from Black around the horn to EL4. At EL4 with cloud base still, only about 6500ft I couldn’t go any further north without committing to New Idria as a landout so I turned around. This also worked out because about this time the Hollister guys were just getting their first climbs at EL1 and so I figured I would get a head start on all the modern glass that was going to be chasing me down in my 50-year-old Libelle.
|Looking North from Cholame|
|Looking south from my turn around point|
Just north of Caliente Mountain, the line turned from fully developed cu to wispies. TG reported they were working but I decided not to push my luck and turned around. The run back north was again uneventful and I spent a decent bit of it flying with HV and 1KS.
|Climbing with HV and 1KS|
|Heading North over Parkfield |
I continued north past Avenal with my goal of getting to EL4 again before turning around. As I got close to EL4 a few climbs didn’t work and I started to get worried.
|8kts on the averager |
Getting towards the edge of glide to New Coalinga I started heading east. I realize now that I was probably too far east of the convergence line and flying under dead clouds. I kept getting lower and started going into survival soaring mode, taking anything that felt like a thermal just trying to make it back to Avenal. About this time my glider battery also took a dump (I had been flying for about 6 hours) so I turned everything off but the Vario and switched to a handheld radio. After two broken climbs in the hills that didn’t work out, I figured I was destined to land at New Coalinga, then about 2 miles from the edge of the town of Coalinga I hit my 2knot savior.
|This 2kt climb just got me home|
I climbed as high as it would go which was about 50ft above a Macready 4 glide back to Avenal and set off. Not ideal but as long as I hit some good air I could make it and worst case I could turn around and go back to New Coalinga. Luckily I hit good air and was able to float my way back. I closed off my trace and headed into land touching down right around 6:05. Big thanks to Alex Caldwell for towing today and Ethan Ronat for helping me put WE away.
Here is a link to my OLC trace to see more
Friday, May 15, 2020
Wind: seasonal, from the N
Altitudes: bases were 7-9,000'
Time Aloft: 4-5 hours
Max Lift: Strong
Tow pilot: Frank
Limited Operations Resuming at Avenal
Great soaring conditions have arrived. Several from CCSA flew yesterday, both locally and XC. This picture shows the 100+ mile cloud streets from the OTHER side (Paso Robles airport) at the end of the day. Plan to come out, enjoy the fresh air and help get the fleet and airfield into shape. Then get current, following the modified procedures adopted by the Board, and remember how fun this is.
Sunday, February 9, 2020
Visibility: Probably about 8 miles in haze below the inversion. Unlimited above the inversion, which was at about 3,200 ft MSL.
Wind: Light and variable most of the day. Out of the ENE late in the day, at about 5-10 kts.
Altitudes: 3,100 ft. MSL
Time Aloft: 30 min.
Max Lift: 2-3 kts at times.
Temperature: 70 deg. F.
Comment: Dual control soaring simulator running Condor2 software at the field.
Tow pilot: Karl Kunz
We had 5 students that flew today from the Cal Poly Akaflieg group. Will Beaudoin, Anthony Bellanti, Thomas Wolfe, Alan Lewis, and Lux Vadakin all flew. Everybody got 2 flights in. One of Alan Lewis's flights was a shortened one, with a practice rope break he got because he's ready for that phase of training. Otherwise, we towed to 2,000 ft. AGL, 2,500 ft. AGL, or on one flight to 3000 ft. AGL. For a while, we had 2 of our 2-33s flying when Zach Yamauchi flew a friend. Also flying today was Luca Soares in the SGS 1-26. I think Luca flew at least 2 flights in the 1-26, maybe more. On one flight in the 2-33, we had some lift, and climbed the better part of 1,000 ft. from our low point, up to just a little over our release point at about 3,100 ft. MSL, if I remember correctly. On the flight just before that, we had some zero sink type lift. The lift window for the day was pretty narrow, as on the next flight, I think we couldn't find anything. By then, the wind had also come up just a bit out of the ENE, at maybe 5-10 kts., and it seemed to put a damper on any further lift. I thought the temperature also felt like it had dropped with the arrival of the wind. Perhaps a cooler airmass had moved in, maybe a convergence line had crossed over the field as the new wind arrived?
Zach Yamauchi brought out a glider flight simulator set up that's on loan from Truckee Soaring to the Akaflieg group. It has 2 seats with dual controls. It was made by Mike Mayo and loaned to the Cal Poly Akaflieg group until the Truckee Soaring season opens. It's quite impressive, and must have taken a lot of thought and creativity to get it all working. My first impression was that it might have been made from an IKEA kit, as it's mostly wood. It has an ingenious system of pulleys, cables and electronic sensors to feed control input data to the program running on the associated computer. It's running a copy of the new Condor2 software, which is a giant leap in performance and the realism of the terrain and scenery over the original Condor. Zach has asked that we use it only when a checked out Cal Poly Akaflieg member is present to supervise, and not allow unsupervised children to use it, etc. It could be breakable if not treated with a lot of care. I watched a couple of the Cal Poly flight students using it. I think it is a valid way, with a supervised, well thought out training syllabus, to practice a lot of training maneuvers that would otherwise cost a lot of money for tows, and would also require waiting for the right weather conditions, etc. Thanks to Zach!
Thanks also to Karl Kunz for donating his whole day to provide the excellent towing!
Monday, February 3, 2020
Visibility: Very good, almost unlimited. Some fog in the valley to the east early.
Wind: Very light all day
Altitudes: Release altitude -500 ft.
Time Aloft: .5
Max Lift: 1.5 kts.
Temperature: about 70 deg. F.
Comment: We got some very weak lift on a couple of flights and were able to gain about 300 ft. on one flight and hold altitude for a little while on the other.
Tow pilot: Nick Ferraro
Steve Schery preflighting "Big Bird", SGS 2-33 N3613F, prior to completing his flight review. Steve currently flies a Carat motorglider, usually at nearby New Coalinga Airport. He has previously had both
Discus and Russia sailplanes , which he's flown here and in Moriarity, NM. He is working part time at the NASA Ames Research Center at Moffet Federal Airfield in Mountain View, CA. He is a Professor emeritus, of physics, if I recall correctly, from the University of New Mexico. He is also a tow pilot with over 500 hours in Pawnees flying at Moriarity, and has also towed in our Cessna 150/150 for our club as well. He helped the club get our current tow plane set up to be legal to tow, which was no mean feat. He also makes very good tow ropes and weak links.
Later, I flew with Alan Lewis and Lux Vadakan, both of whom made two flights and are progressing well. Sorry, I didn't take any more pictures. I saw Jim Rickey and I hope he may have gotten a few! Or maybe Richard Walker, who was also out at the field today. There was another couple there who's names I didn't get. I don't think they were flying. We had some weak lift on some of those flights, and were able to gain about 300 ft. one one flight.
Dan Gudgel came out and flew with Spencer Umney and Anthony Bellanti in 22S. Thanks to Dan! He also finished the glider familiarization portion of the towing endorsement for Nick Ferraro. I noticed everyone was pitching in helping to tie the gliders down at the end of the day, fueling and putting the tow plane away at the end of the day, securing the hangar, checking the water level in the golf cart batteries, cleaning the battery tops of dirt, and thecorrosion from the battery terminals, hooking up tow lines, running wings, retrieving and positioning gliders in the take off area, picking up trash, collecting tumbleweeds and other property maintenance chores. The operation seemed to go pretty smoothly with everyone helping out. I'm not sure exactly how many tows we did, but it was at least 12, perhaps 14.