Sunday, June 29, 2014

Saturday June 28th, 2014. A HOT, HARD WORK Day.

Visibility: Unlimited
Wind: Variable from the southeast at 3-8 kts
Altitudes: 5000+
Time Aloft: 3+ hours
Max Lift: 500 fpm
Temperature: 104 in the shade, probably 115 on the runway.
Comment: Hot, tiring day for most of the members who worked on the tumbleweeds.
Tow pilot: Dan Gudgel most of the tows, Harold Gallagher three later in the day.

WOW! The members really turned out today and worked in blisteringly hot heat. I'm convinced it was at least 115 degrees out on the runway where they were all working to rid the ground of the troublesome tumbleweeds. That so many came and simply worked all day is a testament to the dedication of our members to a great soaring site and cooperation among all.
Ethen Ronat, the organizer of the work crew, works hard himself.
Karl Kunz flew down from Monterey just to help out with the weeds.

Pancho loaned the crew his truck for carrying away the weeds. That's Joe A. loading.
Here is Ethan's narrative about what happened today:

Hello all,

I would like to deeply thank a bunch of hard workers, who joined forces and did a great job clearing nearly all of the two main runways. This job was much bigger than I anticipated, and it took 12 of us more than 4 hours, and still the job is not completely done. Some of us were so physically exhausted (the high temperatures did not help of course), that we did not have energy to fly, once we were done working. But it was very productive work, and it is safe to say we can now land on most of the runways, without the risk of getting a wing hooked on a tumbleweed bush. 
Pancho volunteered his truck to help clear piles of de-rooted tumbleweeds to one location, near the entrance to the field. There are however some piles left on the north end of the western runway (31L), so hopefully the wind will do the job of blowing them away by next weekend. If not, we need to get those out of the way. The other leftovers that still need to be done, are some more tumbleweed de-rooting and cleanup between the runways (31R and 31L, if I may call them so), and on the west side of 31L, as well as some more work down runway 7. Anyone who could not show up today but want to chip in with this work, are most welcome to continue next weekend. 
It was nice to see how we were able to continue all the training flights in Orange Crush without any interruption, and in a safe manner, as all workers moved aside every time there was a takeoff or landing. Dan in the tow plane may have missed a heartbeat here and there, seeing us work nearby as he was speeding down the runway, but gladly we were alert, and gave him no reason to worry.

Thank you very much to the following guys (and I deeply apologize, if I missed anyone. If I did, please point it out to me, and I will make sure to give that person the full credit he deserves):

John Harbick (who was working long before most of us arrived)
Peter Sahlberg (who helped with this project, in addition to dealing with the maintenance issues of Big Bird)
Pancho (who graciously brought his truck for this project - well I guess it was more practical than doing it with his Porsche…)
Larry Johnson (who is working on these stubborn tumbleweeds a second Saturday in a row)
Jeff Richardson
Mike Paoli
Karl Kunz
Carl Engel
Jim Ricky
Craig Gifford
Morgan Hall

Hope to see others join in to finish this project.

Cheers, Ethan

For those who didn't get out today try coming out next week and help out.

Tyler Bishop arrived today with his Dad, Hugh, and continued his flight training. Today was his fifth and sixth training flight and he's doing all of the tow now. That's quite an accomplishment since most who went aloft today agreed that the air was very rough. Tyler handled it all with aplomb. He is progressing quite well and I expect him to solo in the normal amount of time and flights and perhaps even earlier. Tyler is 15 years old and if he continues to his license, he'll join the select group of young people who have achieved their dream of flying here at Avenal. That group includes, among others, Andrea Mersino, Jacob Mersino, Hanna Marlette, Jack Wiegand and others in that age group. Here are a few photos of Tyler taken during the first six training flights at Avenal.

This is one of Tyler's early training flights in the Orange Crush.
Safely on the ground he accomplished quite a bit including most of the tow.
Tyler is preparing for his fifth and sixth training flights on June 28th a rough air day.
Searching for lift among the rough air is not an easy learning experience. Tyler did well.
Joe Anastasio was one of the few who braved the heat and tumbleweeds, worked hard most of the day but was still energetic enough to assemble his PW-5 and go aloft. He had a good flight, found lots of lift, played up and down the mountain range and Kettleman Hills and came back still with some energy leftover.

Joe ready for his flight helped by Craig Gifford, while Tyler Bishop stands by the wing.
Also getting in the air after a very hard, hot day of work are Morgan Hall and Carl Engel. I'm sure it was a lot better aloft than what they were doing all day, but Morgan still had to work hard to gain altitude as we watched him circle near the field for some time, gaining slightly but still aloft. Later he did get up higher and into the mountains where he told us the thermals hit a ceiling of about 5000 msl, the reported inversion layer.

Morgan and Carl circling the field at about 3000 msl.
Still nearby, I couldn't decide which photo was better so I decided to insert both.
It was a day of hot, hard work, and some fun later on for just a few. Craig Gifford flew one flight and managed to stay up for awhile. Edo and Alex did several training flights that included boxing the wake in that rough air and later on , Andrea Mersino arrived to fly just once but she reported a fun flight, not very high and in the Orange Crush whose variometer doesn't say much when you want it to. After her flight, and Edo's two flights with Alex, Morgan and Carl landed and the day was complete.

And finally this from Jeff Richardson:

Hi, here is a short video showing takeoffs while we were clearing tumbleweeds.

Shot & edited on my Lumia Icon phone.

Sent from my super cool Windows Phone

Thanks to all who made the day another excellent accomplishment for all our members.

Harold Gallagher

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