Monday, June 15, 2015

Saturday, June 13, 2015. Work Day, Soar Day

Visibility: Unlimited
Wind: Light and variable
Altitudes: 11,600 msl
Time Aloft: 4 hours
Max Lift: 1000 fpm
Temperature: 108 deg F
Comment: Hot work in the hangar, cool soaring aloft.
Tow pilot: Morgan Hall. Thanks for the hot tows and the late day fuel run.

Today at Avenal, just a reminder to always check density altitude. And 40 deg C = 108 deg F.

Well, it was a day of mixed efforts. Some worked on the  Big Bird wings while others assembled their gliders and headed for the cool altitudes. And some did both. We had enough workers on the wings and fortunately got both sides of both wings scuffed up enough to send them to the paint shop. Thanks to all those who got hot, sweaty, and hung out in the tow plane hangar with yellow gloves, pants, shirts, etc. Here are some of them:
Joe Anastasio and Pancho Herrera working hard, sanding and sweating.

Alex Caldwell, John Harbick, and Mike Paoli working on the other wing.

Jeff Richardson jumped in the picture but he really did work hard until his flight with Carl Engel.

Speaking of Jeff, there he goes in the Orange Crush with Carl Engel. And Tyler Bishop worked as well on the wings.

Big milestone. Joe A pulling the wings trailer away after the team completely finished them.
The reason Carl Engel needed ballast in the front seat was to refresh his skill at flying from the back seat. He brought with him his wife, Elyse, his sister Grete and Grete's friend, Kate. He took his sister for a nice ride since the lift was excellent and then Kate was next for another good flight.

Elyse and Grete wait and watch while Kate goes for her ride.
Carl Engel getting Kate buckled in and instructed in the release and the trim lever.
Kate is ready, with Grete already having been up for a nice long flight.
Elyse, Carl, Grete, and Kate, all heading towards Paso Robles after Kate's flight.
Grete flying over the field with Carl in the Orange Crush.

Kate flying downwind with Carl enroute to her landing.

Waiting for launch times were Julie Butler with her Discus A, Karl Kunz in his ASW-20, and Pancho Herrera in his Libelle.
First launch for the high performance ships was Karl Kunz in his ASW-20

Julie's Discus A behind Pancho's Libelle ready to launch.

Pancho is ready to launch heading for the power lines, not the prison area where Karl was scratching a bit.

Here are Julie's and Pancho's stories of a fun flight around the Central Valley.

Julie Butler:

Originally, I had planned to try and fly to Inyokern for their flyin/BBQ, but the weather forecast deteriorated all week and I didn't think that was a good choice for me. So, I suckered Karl Kunz and Pancho Herrera into rigging their gliders and flying with me.

This is only my second flight in my new Discus A, and I'm still figuring things out. My takeoff was definitely not perfect, but once I released at 2500 msl, I climbed to 6K and took off after the guys who launched before me. Karl was waiting for me at Black and once I climbed out there to about 8500, we headed north in a good line of lift and didn't lose much. Karl found another thermal on the east end of Priest Valley and I joined him and climbed to 9500. Pancho quickly found us and joined us there and we headed north again. I could see the marine air pushing into Hollister and heard 5KM on the radio commenting that it was a struggle to get out of Panoche

 I went a few miles past San Benito before turning back to EL5 and climbing with 5KM and 4M (Pancho) to my highest altitude of the day 11,600. Much cooler there than on the ground. It was at this point - 1.5 hours into the flight - that I decided maybe I should ditch Pancho and pull my gear up. Did I mention I'm still getting the plane dialed in?

Karl had to get home, but Pancho and I left EL5 for Orchard. We heard Morgan call that he was making a fuel run and I thought there was no reason to go back to the heat. So, after tagging Orchard, 4M and I made another run north still getting altitudes of 8K+. I turned east bound over Coalinga and made a run down the Kettleman Hills to Hwy 41 before heading back to the field to land. A great day of flying with friends. 3.4 hours total.


And next is Pancho's take on the flight:

Although it had been my intention to devote my energies to the 2-33 project, Julie's insistence and the expectation of cooler temperatures aloft prompted me to assemble the Libelle and give it a go.  I was glad I did.

As always, it was rewarding and educational to fly with Karl and Julie.  The lift was strong but scattered and the lack of markers made the thermal hunting a little more challenging.

We launched around 2 pm with Karl scratching around south of the field and me trying my luck closer to the power lines.  Both tactics proved successful and it took little time for me to acquire 5k+ and set forth toward Black.  The lift line was generally east of the ridge and we worked it northward, climbing as we went.

I was doing pretty well keeping up with Julie in her DiscusA until she put the gear up, then she was just too fast to follow.

Karl did a good job of staying well above us both and nudging us toward better lines.  Thanks Karl.
I achieved my highest flight to date, topping 11,500 in the San Benitos!  Wow, what a view from up there!
I then did a quick run SE toward Orchard Peak, turning back to the field at hwy 41.
3.4 hours and 11.5K!  You just can't beat that kind of flying fun on a thirty dollar tow!

Once they were launched it was time to do the intro flight with Gary Price's grandson, to whom he had given a gift of a glider flight for his high school graduation. Steven Enciso is a talented young man who has been flying radio controlled aircraft some time now, and reports state that he flies them with a skill beyond time in the sport. So I knew he would appreciate the flight and the lift we encountered. Sure enough, he was "amazed" at our gaining 2000 feet of altitude in just a few minutes, then toured the area without losing much of altitude. Of course we could have stayed up all afternoon if no one was waiting for the glider. But there was another intro flight waiting down below.

Steven Enciso ready for his first glider ride, excited to be there as a gift from his Grandfather, Gary Price.

Joe Anastasio running the wing for the gift flight that Steve really enjoyed.

There's the launch pull and we're off to the sky full of lift.

On tow, taken by Gary with his massive camera/lens combination.

On tow just after leaving the runway and turning left for the best lift area.

On tow overhead about to release in a very strong thermal.

Steven's view of our favorite city in California.

At the end of a very nice flight, Steven rolling down runway 7 toward the launch area.
Maybe Steven will get the bug to sign up for glider instruction. We'll see, although he plans on entering the Air Force within a few weeks. Who knows, plans change, minds change, we might see him after all.

Next up for an intro flight is Kyle who flew in today in his Cessna 140. Alex Caldwell took Kyle up for a nice long flight since the lift was pretty much everywhere. Kyle might be back but I didn't get a report from Alex on how he enjoyed the flight. My guess is, he liked it a lot.

Kyle's nice looking Cessna 140 that he flew in today planning on a glider flight.

Alex Caldwell adjusting himself in the back seat while Kyle smiles at the prospect of going for his first glider ride.

And last but certainly not least, Jennifer Bauman, whom you remember soloed a glider several weeks ago, has traveled to Munich, Germany, and connected with Frank Owens friends over there. She visited the same gliderport I did a few years ago and enjoyed the contact. Here is her story along with her pictures:

Jennifer Bauman:

Hi Harold! 

I went to the glider field today and got to fly in a DG1000. They have a huge operation in K√∂nigsdorf. Over 350 pilots and 6 different clubs operate out of the field. While I was there, I saw probably 35+ glider launches (apparently it was a slow day), mostly with the winch, and a few with the tow planes. They use the winch for every-day soaring and use the tow planes if they are doing aerobatics or if they want to be towed to the mountains (the Alps are ~12 km away). 

Here are some photos:

This is one of their tow planes, designed and built by students from the Technical University of Munich.

Jenn flying the DG1000 over Germany.

You can see the village of Königsdorf in this photo.

I flew with Frank Owen's friend Spam.  
It started thunder storming pretty soon after we landed. 

Hope everything is going well at Avenal! Germany is lovely but I still miss it. =)  


That's it for now, folks. See you all next Saturday when the weather is supposed to be around the century mark and the lift will likely be easy to find.

Harold Gallagher

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