|Peter Sahlberg and his Schweizer 1-35 are ahead of Pancho in the launch sequence.|
|Jennifer, Mike, Faith, and Pancho watching Sheila crew for Peter Sahlberg.|
Since the first launch didn't turn out so good, Peter
decided to try it again. While Mike Thometz
was at the clubhouse notifying Alex Caldwell
it's his turn to tow, I decided to tow Peter
on this flight. I towed him out to Tar peak and turned along the West Ridge where he almost immediately found excellent lift, got off, and that's the last we saw of him for several hours.
|Sheila Sahlberg crewing for Peter waiting for his second launch.|
|Melanie Peters, Grandpa Al, and Jim Rickey waiting for her turn for her first glider ride.|
and I had one last flight to go for his BFR and after launch to pattern altitude we caught a thermal and began turning. We were joined almost immediately by Henry
, the large red-tailed hawk who showed us how to thermal for a few minutes, then got bored with our lack of skill and flew off.
|The hawk joined us and then out-flew us for a few turns.|
|Finally he got bored while thermalling ahead of us and finally left, probably in despair at those silly gliders.|
and I finished with his BFR, it was time for Jennifer Bauman
to fly. She's working hard at school in her engineering curriculum and was a bit more tired than she could handle solo. So she flew with me and was quite capable of flying on her own, but I think she made a cautious and very safe decision to go with me rather than trust herself. As she just demonstrated, the very first pre-flight we must all make before going flying is of ourselves to insure that we can handle the skills needed with a clear head and rested body.
|Jennifer Bauman doing well on tow even in quite bumpy air.|
|Heading over towards Avenal town, the tow plane keeps climbing until we release.|
decided that the nicest gift he could give his granddaughter, Melanie
, is a glider ride on her 13th birthday, the day she becomes a teenager. So, along with Jim Rickey
who would be the pilot in command of her flight, Melanie
was buckled in and given serious instructions by Jim
about expectations on the flight. they launched and Jim
, always good at finding lift, stayed up nearly an hour as I recall. Whatever the final time aloft, Melanie
really had a fun time up there. Maybe she'll start taking lessons one day soon.
provided a nice write-up that I forgot to include when I published this blog. So here is his story:
Jim and his friend Al
had previously talked about giving his flying-loving granddaughter a ride in a
glider for her 13th birthday. We did not really expect it to happen
today, but at 7:15 this morning when "Grandpa Al" arrived to cook for
our EAA Chapter breakfast, Melanie was in the passenger seat of his
truck. She has been working at the breakfasts for almost two years, and
gets a lot of airplane rides, but she has never been up in a glider.
Checked the schedule and
saw that Orange Crush's last schedule for the day was Jennifer from 2:00
to 3:00. Called Harold and told him to have her leave out Orange
Crush after her flight, and we would be on our way. Melanie did not
hesitate one bit to take the left seat of the 210 both ways to Avenal.
Got Melanie situated in
the front seat of glider, and gave her some instruction on the instruments and
controls, making sure she was comfortable pulling the big brown knob when it was
time, and also to work the trim.
Found some bumps on
climb out, with one good riser. Had a ways to go to get up to my
planned 3,000 release, so kept on going. But no climb. Alex
was heading towards Tar Canyon in hopes of finding lift, but we were just
barely climbing, on tow. Was getting further away from the gliderport
than I felt comfortable releasing at that altitude in all the sink, then Alex
did a 180°. Caught the thermal again and told Melanie to look for traffic
to the right, and finding none, to release.
I got it trimmed up and
let her take the controls. Felt a thermal, and went for it. I got
us into it, then coached her to try and stay in it, with just occasional help
on the controls. We had released at 3,600' MSL, and worked it up to
5,400' MSL. At one point she had Orange Crush in a 55° to 60° in the
thermal. Any other first timer I would keep the banks really gentle, but
she has done rolls, inside and outside loops, etc., and seemed to be having
fun, so go girl!
Either the thermal had
run its course, or we lost it. Either way, we were within three miles of
the gliderport, and almost a mile up, so we (rather she) could play. She
wondered about stall recovery without a throttle to push forward, so after
making sure she was game, we did one. Her comment was, "Oh,
that wasn't so bad."
After the stall, Melanie
just had fun. A couple of times we felt some lift, and worked it for a little
bit. The sun's heating was decreasing, and the little bit of lift we
found just slowed the descent. Finally I told her it was time to get in the
pattern for landing, and she said a disappointed, "Aawh."
We were up about an 1:10.
After the flight Melanie expressed a desire to take lessons. I would not be too
surprised to see her solo on her 14th birthday, then a glider certificate on
her 16th birthday, then solo Grandpa's Cherokee 180 the same day. Her
goal is to become a commercial airline pilot, a pretty ambitious goal for a
teenager.of two days. I think she just might make it happen.
|Jim Rickey giving Melanie Peters instructions about what to expect on her first glider flight.|
|They both look like they're going to enjoy the flight and indeed she did enjoy all of it.|
decided some months ago that he needed a new glider, one with higher performance and kept looking for that length of time. Finally he found just what he was looking for, an ASW-20
which was just enough higher performance for him to really feel comfortable flying. He launched and did have a great time flying his "new" glider. Gone for a long time, I caught him returning to Avenal and doing a left pattern for runway 31R.
|Jan Zanutto downwind for runway 31R at Avenal.|
|The classic turn from base to final, spoilers unlocked and raised a bit.|
|Jan on short final in excellent position for a nice landing.|
|You can't get any more concentration out of Jan than what we're seeing now.|
The end of the day and those who flew had fun, were satisfied at the lift strength, and time aloft. Most of all I think that Melanie and her Grandpa, Al, had the most fun since it was something new for both of them. They helped tie down the Orange Crush and chatted with Alex Caldwell at the end of the day.
|Wrapping up the day tying down the Orange Crush, Melanie and Al enjoyed it all.|
|Alex Caldwell describing the various regimes of flight to the interested parties.|
I was around late in the day when Joe Anastasio
arrived back from a long 3-hour flight in his PW-5. He was a bit tired but really satisfied with his performance and I suspect he'll add it to the OLC so we all can see what he accomplished.
In that same vein, Morgan
launched and were gone a very long time having worked the convergence and flying more than I had expected with the current conditions. They chronicled their flight on one of the recent emails and I'm sure entered it in the OLC.
Last but certainly not least, Harold III
was again at his task of beautifying our clubhouse and surrounding areas. This time, he painted all the trim around the windows and cleaned and painted around the electrical boxes to the right of the door. In addition, he had time to paint the outside of the door as seen in the following pictures. Thanks for all that great work, Harold
. All of us appreciate what you have done lately.
|Sure looks better with all the trim painted, especially near the electrical boxes.|
|Our window with the reflection in it looks like a painting by Rembrandt.|
|Close up of the extra work that went into cleaning up the electrical boxes.|
|Outside of the clubhouse door looks better than ever, thanks to Harold III.|
See you all at the XC Camp
weekend coming up this Saturday and Sunday, and maybe even Monday.
Harold J Gallagher
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