Monday, August 26, 2013

August 17th - Typical Summer day at Avenal

Visibility: Good, but some haze
Wind: Typical light NE flow
Altitudes: 10,000 in the convergence, 4,000 in the valley
Time Aloft: 4 hrs
Max Lift: 4-6 knots
Temperature: Upper 90's
Comment: No pictures turned in
Tow pilot: Peter Mersino, Yutaka Buto

Thanks to Alex Caldwell for providing some feedback on the days activities.

This is the activity I observed on Sat. at Avenal. Apologies for missing anyone.  Hope somebody took some pictures, I didn't!

Harold's knee is doing better, and he was back in action. He still has an MRI coming up. Jameson McRee flew with Harold in Bigbird for his second formal lesson and seemed to really enjoy it.

Harold also checked out Keith Curry on the 1-26. Keith flew the 1-26 after first flying solo in Bigbird,  and seemed stoked about thd 1-26 when he landed.

John Harbick was out early flying on his own in the Orange Crush,  practicing accuracy landings and energy management in the pattern and landing.  Then we did three more flights,  practicing boxing the wake, simulated emergency rope break, no dive brake landing using slips for glide path contfol, stalls, some  thermaling etc.  John now has his recommendation for his private pilot checkride and will be scheduling that with Dan soon.

Yutaka Buto was out and working on getting his glider CFI to add on to his power CFI ratings and the commercial glider rating he has already earned.  He is going to be scheduling a checkride soon.  Late in the day, Yutaka took over towing duties from Peter Mersino, who towed all morning and much of the afternoon.

 Ben Andros had the day off from his day job flying F-18s at Lemoore,  and got checked out in the 1-26. He made two flights in it, staying up the better part of an hour on the second one. He seemed to really enjoy the 1-26. I think he was just trying to make us measly glider pilots feel better,  but he says the F-18 is not that much harder to fly. He says he mainly thinks about his "lift vector" and where he wants that, then the computer(s) make the controls do what they need to to make it happen. He also says the available power allows one to "power out of mistakes".

 Jim Rickey came out and made his 5th and 6th glider flights with me. He is handling the towing in the turbulent afternoon air very well, as well as the patterns and landings, and will be ready for solo before long at the rate he is progressing. One benefit of flying in the afternoon turbulence has been that most of his flights have allowed soaring, with up to, or over, one hour to practice medium and steep turns, coordination of the controls and lots of stalls and slips due to the altitude we gained from the good soaring conditions we've had. We have  used 2000ft. tows instead of 3000ft. in the hot afternoons when there are soaring conditions, to save some wear on the towplane. Conditions near Avenal on Saturday allowed soaring to 4000ft. MSL with 400fpm climb rates in the best lift. Oh, I should mention that we discovered during tne towplane oil change last week tnat in addition to his other credentials,  Jim is also an A&P mechanic!

Ethan Ronat was the only one out flying a private ship. He had a good flight,  and was up for the whole afternoon. He got to over 10,000 ft. MSL north of Coalinga near Center Peak. He went under some mid level cumulus clouds with about 12,000 ft. bases but did not find lift under them. From the ground, they looked like tbey were associated with a weather system crossing just north of us but extending out way west to sea and not like the typical cus we see along our common convergence line. They were more like tbe kind you see at higher levels with a front, and probably were not connected
with thermals rising from the surface. That's my theory anyway.

Also showing up after a few month's absense was Yovani Hernandez. Turns out he has been playing soccer on Saturdays, but it's finished now, so we may be seeing him more often.

Alex Caldwell

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