Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Visibility:         Fantastic!
Wind:              All around the compass, but mostly east 2-9 MPH with gusts up to 18 MPH.
Time Aloft:      Jeff in 2-33, 1.5 hours.
Max Lift:         Dive Brakes full open and still climbing.
Temperature:   70° at 11 AM, 79° between 3:00 and 4:00.
Comment:        Leisurely Day.
Tow pilot:        Jim.

(Most of the images on this post were courtesy of the participants, Alec and Linda.)

Sunday, May 17, 2015, was a relaxing day at Avenal Gliderport.  Only one glider at a time was up; only four tows were done.

The weather was very pleasant, pleasantly warm and a nice breeze.  Visibility was on the order of 50 miles.

Jeff and his friends from the DaSH Human Powered Airplane Project had come out to fly.  Alec, the Chief Designer of the project, Geoff, a cyclist/pilot, Linda, who worked on the construction, and Linda's daughter Ella, came out.

First to fly, though, was Andy Reistetter.  He was planning to take the 1-26 up at 1:00, when conditions would have been much better, but he had to move up his schedule and launched shortly after 11:00.  He knew it would likely be tow and landing practice, and unfortunately he was correct.  Nonetheless, he seemed to be quite happy after his flight.

About noon Jeff's friends started getting ready to fly.

Jeff talks Alec through the positive control check.
Geoff, Jeff, and Alec.
First up was Ella, who had never been in a glider before.
Alec explains principals of flight to Ella.
Ella is all smiles before the flight as Jeff secures the belts forher
Alec, Jeff, Ella, and Jim discuss the plan for the flight.
Jeff is ready to take Ella up.
The atmosphere had not really started "cranking" yet, and while their flight was not a "sled ride," it was not very long.

Ella and Jeff after their flight.
A great big smile.  We love seeing that on first-time glider passengers.
Next up it was Geoff's turn.  Geoff is a strong bicyclist.
While Jeff is away, Jim is giving some instruction to Geoff
Geoff and Jeff ready for tow.

Alec is running the wing for Jeff and Geoff starting their takeoff roll.
Oops, rope break, delay in launch.
Geoff winds up the majority of the rope, and Alec takes home a memento of Avenal Gliderport, the broken end.
Finally, off into a gorgeous sky.
Soaring conditions were steadily improving, and Geoff got his fill of soaring.  Maybe just a little bit more than he wanted.
Geoff and Jeff landing.
The last person to fly today was the Chief Designer of the Human Powered airplane, Alec.
Alec getting ready to go up.

Geoff running the wing for Jeff and Alec.

When towing Jeff and Alec, the rate of climb was dismal--until we hit the convergence.  Boom!  Instant updraft.  The pointer on rate-of-climb instrument moved very quickly from almost nothing to 1300' per minute.  After the flight Jeff apologized for getting so far out of position.  While things momentarily got a little wild, I never even come close to using full control authority of the towplane.  Doing the math, the towplane got a 20 fet-per-second updraft two seconds before the glider got it.  Good job, Jeff!
Big sky, little glider.
Not as close to the cloud as it looks.
This was likely taken about the time Jeff reported that he had the dive brakes fully open for a eight minutes and still gained 100 feet.

Looks ominous, but Jeff and Alec were further away from the could than it looks through a telephoto lens.
 Jeff and Alec were up about 1½ hours, and could have stayed up longer, but it was time for all good things to come to an end.

Base Leg.
Turning Final
Final Approach.

5:17 PM, rain has started to fall in the distance.

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