Sunday, February 15, 2015

February 14, 2015

Visibility:         3-4 miles at the beginning of the day, 5-7 miles later.
Wind:             A gust of 11 MPH was recorded across the street--we never felt anything that strong..
Altitudes:        Whatever you released at.
Time Aloft:     15 minutes.  Max.
Max Lift:        Enough to decrease your sink rate.
Temperature: 70° -74° F throughout the afternoon.
Comment:      Leisurely day.
Tow pilots:     Dan, Harry, Nick.

Dan started the morning with ground instruction for future towpilots Nick and Harry.  Nobody was ready to be towed before class, so the flying part of Nick and Harry's checkout was deferred until after class.

Dan is showing new tow pilots Harry and Nick details to look for when inspecting a rope.

Dan gave a ground school about forecast products available and how to read them, air movement, stable vs. unstable air, why moist air is a detriment to thermal development, what happens to thermals after a shear line passes, and why the mighty Sierras don't lend themselves to ridge lift.

Dan starting the topic of "Mountain Wave."
Alex followed with a ground school about the RASP, Regional Atmospheric Soaring Predictor, which is of interest to soaring pilots.  Alex went into the nuts and bolts of generating the forecast, and therefore some of its limitations, then he went on to how to use the products generated by the RASP.

Alex explaining RASP map.

Only two gliders, Orange Crush and the 1-26, made it to the launch area today.
Jaime Strickland is a Veterinarian in Tulare and a new member.  Here she is in Orange Crush getting briefed by Harold before takeoff.
Jaime.  Photo Courtesy of Skip Breidbach.

Jaime has started her takeoff roll.  Photo: Skip.
Good position on the takeoff roll.  Photo: Skip
Steve Valentine joined the club after an introductory lesson a couple of weeks ago. He's a good friend of Jan Zanutto's from the Fresno area, and shares a mutual passion for motorcycles with Jan.  Now it looks like he may have also been hooked by Jan with a fascination for soaring.
Alex adjusts the shoulder harness for Steve Valentine.
Alex gives Steve a preflight briefing.  Photo: Skip
Harry also has good soft-field technique on the landing.  Photo: Skip
Dan Clark is waiting for the towplane to return
Nick (orange shirt) had to leave before his flights for towpilot checkout were complete. 
Harry is walking towards the plane to begin the inflight portion of his towpilot checkout.
Harry has the nose up for a "soft field takeoff."
Jeff Richardson checking the airspace above the gliderport.
Allen White runs the wing for Jeff.
Jaime pointed out that Harold was giving real "ground instruction."
Allen White is ready for takeoff in Orange Crush.
Five minutes later Allen is landing.  Spectators in the launch area are closely watching, ready to move.
Allen's accuracy in rolling out to the desired spot was reminiscent of a Bob Hoover airshow landing.
Harry Davies is a new member.  Orange Crush must be quite a change form his job of flying F-18s at Lemoore.
Harry has completed his checkout in the towplane and is now trying the other end of the rope, which Richard has just attached to Orange Crush.
Jaime runs the wing as Harry starts his takeoff roll.
Not telling who is in the glider or who is in the towplane.  Doesn't matter--this is still a pretty sight for mid-February.
Photo: Skip

Around 3:30 there was a little bit of lift to be found.  Jim felt the left wing getting lifted over the circle crop and work it for about three 360° turns.  Did not gain any altitude, but did not lose any, either, staying right at 2800 MSL ± a few feet.  Probably could have worked it longer, but headed back towards the gliderport in hopes of finding something over the dry fields where a raven had found a little bit of lift.  Did not work, and there was no going back to the circle crop.  At 2000' MSL, about where one would make the downwind to base turn for runway 13, did get an actual climb and tried to stay in it, but that little bit of lift was surrounded by sink.  Time to come home.

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