Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Saturday, April 11, 2015.

Visibility: Unlimited with few high clouds.
Wind: Mostly from the North at 5-10 mph.
Altitudes: 9500 msl, Morgan and Julie. Most others flattened out at about 6300 msl.
Time Aloft: Probably three or more hours
Max Lift: 600-800 fpm
Temperature: Cool and nice
Comment: Full schedule and visitors from England
Tow pilot: Dan Gudgel in the morning, Jim Rickey most of the afternoon.

With just one 2-33 the schedule filled up fast well before today. Fortunately a couple of intended pilots had to cancel for various reasons and that eased up the glider a bit. There would have been more flights but some of those who flew once in the morning and planned on flying in the afternoon, left early.

Steve Valentine arrived early and was ready to fly by about 8:30 am. He continues to improve, especially with the towing and soon will have it mastered completely. Then it's just a matter of time for him to progress to solo flight.

Jennifer Bauman then flew one high tow to practice maneuvers like boxing the wake, stall recoveries, steep turns, spirals, slow flight, and rapid turnarounds in preparation for the simulated rope break at 200 agl. She did well on the maneuvers flight and then did well on the 200 agl turnaround simulated rope break. Not much left to accomplish before solo flight that might occur next Saturday. Yes, I warned her about losing her shirttail. So she'll probably wear something ratty that's a throwaway.

Mike Paoli needed just a refresher flight in the 2-33 and we got off at 2800 msl. He did well, as expected, since he tries very hard to always stay current in both the 2-33 and the 1-26. Jeff Richardson also showed up and was on the schedule to fly the Orange Crush.

Roman Franco arrived with his Dad, Paul. Roman hasn't flown since September so his flight was mostly a refresher, just to see how much of his previous skill set remained in mind. He did fine on tow and off tow was able to thermal his way up from 2800 msl to 5200 msl in very strong lift. We exited the thermals at that height only because we needed to return the glider to the next person in line. Otherwise, I'm sure we could have reached another 2000-3000 feet in altitude. I think his skills have returned quite satisfactorily.

Thomas Karcher was my eleventh glider student, but first glider student of mine to achieve his Private Pilots License. That occurred in October, 1999. He then returned to England where he developed various businesses and later, websites on the Internet. He returned in July, 2004, for a refresher flight, and returned today after 11 years away. He brought along a lovely lady, Hanya Steblyk, from England, and they are touring California for two weeks. After today, they are headed to Yosemite. Can't blame them for that.

Thomas Karcher and Hanya Steblyk
Pancho Herrera, Harry Davies, Jennifer Bauman, Thomas and Hanya.
So they both wanted a glider flight and Hanya went up first.

Hanya made it into the 2-33 with grace, dress and all.
She wasn't nervous at all, and enjoyed the sightseeing all during the flight. I'm not sure but I think this was the first time that any woman had gone for a ride in such a fancy dress, but she made it work in style. During the flight she relaxed, did a lot of sightseeing, and simply enjoyed the beautiful day, especially compared to the dreary weather in London.

Hanya is comfortably awaiting her first glider ride.
It was fun for her and she loved the beautiful California weather.
We were up just long enough to appreciate the beauty, quiet, and awesome California scenery.
Now it was Thomas' turn and he amazed me with his memory of staying in position on tow. It has been 11 years since he last flew a glider but aside from a few rusty moments, his skills were up to the task.

Hanya is giving Thomas moral support, or at least love support.

Thomas on tow in good position behind the tow plane piloted by Jim Rickey.
Tyler Bishop launched in the 1-26 and was up for a nice duration flight. On the way back he didn't take good enough notice of the windsock and landed downwind with an estimated 10 mph tailwind. That put him into an unexpected PIO (pilot induced oscillation) on landing that he then forgot how to correct. All he had to do was freeze the stick at the first sign of the PIO and it would have smoothed out immediately. Dan Gudgel was there when he came to a stop after about 8 bounces, and chatted with him about both the strong wind from the north and the PIO. Enough said. Tyler knew how from much instruction previously but was caught mentally unready for it to actually take place. A good lesson with no damage to either body, except maybe a fractured ego.

Tyler Bishop on tow in the 1-26 for a good duration flight
Craig Gifford and Harry Davies also flew the 1-26 but no report forthcoming from them.

There were other pilots out flying today in private ships. Jan Zanutto, Peter Sahlberg, Morgan and Julie, all of whom had good, long flights, above 6000 msl, with Morgan and Julie topping them all at 9500 msl.

Jan Zanutto out near the IP waiting his turn to enter the pattern.
Jan Z on final for runway 31R at Avenal.
 Finally, late in the day, Jim Rickey, who had towed all afternoon, decided to fly the 2-33 in preparation for his checkride coming up soon. I towed for Jim twice and that concluded the flying for the day.

Thomas Karcher was on hand to help Jim get launched late in the afternoon.
Jim Rickey is always letting others go ahead of him in the glider. Now it's his turn.
Jim Rickey on final for runway 31L at Avenal.
Jim on short final for the last flight of the day.

 And last but not at all least, my son Harold III, who accompanied me to Avenal today, had time on his hands but made superb use of the time by cleaning the washrooms better than I've seen them that way in a very long time. Last week he cleaned the clubhouse beautifully, and this week, crowned the whole thing by making those two little rooms far more attractive to use, especially for visitors who would expect such cleanliness. Thanks Harold, from all of us. Now we all must try and keep those two rooms looking like they were at the end of the day today.

Not sure if this is our washroom, it looks so good.
I think everyone will be pleased with what Harold has done for us.
This used to be the worst of the two, now its at least as nice and clean.
Thanks again, Harold, for all the work you put in. I'm amazed they cleaned up so well. A little bit of floor paint would go a long way.

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