Visibility: 50+ miles
Wind: Sustained 1 - 11 MPH, gusts 9-20 MPH
Altitudes: Bart, 11,000"
Time Aloft: Andrew, 2.5 hours
Temperature: 92º @ 10:00, 100º by noon, 105° between 3:00 and 4:00
Tow pilot: Andrew Ouellet, then Yutaka Buto
The day started with getting N3613F, aka "Big Bird," back on-line. It has been down a few weeks, and it is nice to have both 2-33As available again.
|Jan Zanutto checks the elevator hinge pins after installation.|
|Final Inspection -- everything is looking good.|
|Martin has just installed the last Royalite panel and is straightening the rear shoulder harness.|
Jan did not just work, work work, he had some fun, too. Here has just landed after his flight.
|There have been periods of activity for the past couple of hours, but now the launch area is getting busy.|
Andrew Ouellet surely had the most fun for the day--started out towing, then got a rear-seat checkout in the 2-33, then took the 1-26 up for a great ride. Here is his story:
After towing for the early afternoon and a surprisingly enjoyable back seat checkout with Harold in the 2-33, I took the 1-26 up for my 3rd flight in it. Got off tow about 1700 AGL and spotted a dust devil moving on to the crop circle. Shot over to it at 1400 and took it to 5000 MSL then headed to the mountains, stopping to maintain my altitude along the way. I found a nice line of lift over Black at about 6000, and rode it to 9000. Then hopped out of the mountains just west of Coalinga. I wasn't hopeful for any lift in the valley as a high overcast layer had moved in and blocked out the sun, so at around 7000 I headed back to my lift lines and shot south down west of the prison, ending up at 10,400 at my highest point. The last hour and a half of my 2.5 hour flight was spent a little queasy - probably due to my near constant circling for the first hour of the flight trying to gain enough altitude to get to the hills and circling in convergence before I realized what it was. Anyways, after I decided I'd had enough flying for one day, I rocketed back to Avenal, ending up over the field at 6000. Then I took a detour around the prison, the Solar farm and the town and moseyed my way to the IP for an uneventful landing after a 2.5 hour flight. Highest flight yet and second longest duration. As expected, there was no lift to be found near the town because of the overcast layer.
Jim and Bart were nice enough to hang out until I landed and we all went for burgers afterwards.
Thanks to Yutaka for giving me the last tow of the day.
|Andrew in the rear seat of "Big Bird" while Harold is along for the ride without having to look around somebody's head.|
|Andrew and Harold, towed by Yutaka, are backdropped by a deep blue sky with the beginnings of incoming clouds.|
After getting his rear-seat checkout, Andrew takes the 1-26 up for a little ride.
|In the very bottom left corner you can see the ten-thousand-feet hand on the altimeter appears to be a little over 6,000 feet, and the variometers are showing a healthy climb.|
|Here the altimeter has passed 10,000 feet, and both varios are showing a good climb.|
Jim Rickey took Orange Crush up for a ride. Here is his story:
Took off about 3:45. Did not find any great lift. I did find a little bits of lift now and then. Found one thermal near the circle crop that I was able to get a few hundred feet climb out of, but either it faded or I lost it. Kept on working my way back to the gliderport as I got lower and lower, occasionally finding some bubbles to work. The flight as a whole amounted to a slow descent--I probably got 15 minutes of time after releasing at 2000' AGL and calling it quits at 1000' AGL.
I saw a line of dust devils near the southeast corner of the Solar Farm. I suspected they marked a line of convergence with the air mass coming in from the south. I had enough altitude to get there, but I did not have enough altitude to get there, not find good lift, and make it back.
Bart Klusek writes;
I flew the Russia again. For the first hour or so I was looking for lift over the ridge, never getting high enough to venture further into the mountains. I am blaming this on my thermalling skills being rusty after almost three months of not flying. Eventually things started looking better, I got to the Black mountain, found a nice thermal not too far from the usual spot and pretty soon I was at 10k. Then I flew to Parkfield, gaining another thousand feet or so on my way. Then it was time to go head back to the airport, as I still had some work to do on the ground.
There was no landing drama this time. With the BRS installed and no parachute on my back, the CoG was far enough back to keep the tail down on the ground roll.
* * * *After Bart flew the Russia, he resumed setup of the weather station for the gliderport. Here he is preparing the solar sensor. At the top of the pole is an anemometer and wind direction sensor.