We  had another nice day of auto towing at Avenal in the pleasant Fall weather today. A number of people showed up at 9:00 a.m. for ground school, headed by Dan Gudgel. Thanks Dan! It was a very informative and interactive ground school. A quiz prepared by Dan reinforced the learning process, and led to further questions and vigorous but respectful discussion. We all agreed on some further modifications to our launch procedures. We will have the hand held radios available if possible,  but we also agreed on a set of signals involving wing leveling, combined with flag signaling,  so as to not be dependent on the radios.   Radios can have various problems,  such as wrong frequencies tuned accidentally, getting "stepped on" by others using the frequency etc. We then spent the rest of the late morning and most of the afternoon flying from auto tow.  Unfortunately, Dan had to attend a wedding and was not able to fly today.  Jeff Richardson again loaned his powerful 4WD Chevy Suburban,  which really has good auto tow performance. We were at times getting 600 ft. AGL in the 2-33 dual, which is the highest I've ever gotten in the 2-33 on ground launch at Avenal Airport so far. We had some wind, about 10 kts.,  from the SSE,  and operated off runway 13 this time. Morgan Hall arrived in the Cessna 150 on his long X-country that is required for his power license. He attended the ground school,  but had to leave just as we started flying in order  to complete the flight to Watsonville and back to San Luis Obispo on schedule.  Martin Caskey was out with his friend Dennis from Paso Robles and was working on the tow plane. They  attended the ground school but spend the rest of the day working on our tow plane.  Other attendees who flew during the day were John Harbick, Andy Reistetter, Larry Johnson, and Jan Zanutto along with Jeff Richardson,  who did much of the tow vehicle driving. Most people experienced both normal tows and premature releases,  simulating rope breaks at various stages of the launch.   After last week's heavy dirt intrusion into the cab of the Jeff's Suburban and the messy clean up, he rigged up a cool grommet through the rear window/door for the release line and a fancy tape job on the rear window. He also pressurized the interior by keeping the windows closed as much as possible,  and running the air conditioner. He reported much less dust intrusion this time. Hopefully the clean up will be easier this time. Everyone got 2 to 3 flights, except Larry, who had to leave early,  but  got one flight in. Jan Zanutto was signed off with an endorsement for ground launch proficiency. He then got out the DG 100 and proceeded to do 5 tows with it. On one tow, which was the best flight of the day, he got a thermal and climbed to 1000ft. AGL after releasing at 700ft. AGL. We caught much of that flight on these two videos:


Jan also had a tail mounted camera on this flight and recorded the whole flight here:

DG 100 ground launch to 1K

On Jan's last flight, he had a real bone-fide rope break as he pulled into the "full climb". He handled the situation perfectly,  and was high enough to make a 180 deg. pattern and land normally on runway 31, rolling out and stopping right at his T-hangar. After Jan's rope break today, which appeared to be just related to the rope finally having enough wear to be significant  after about 150 launches, I plan on replacing the 1/4 in line with new rope next week.

Jeff volunteered to do one more ground launch operation next week with the Suburban, and should get signed off for the ground launch endorsement next time.  He also plans on flying the 1-26 next week on ground launch.