Wednesday, August 19, 2015

SATURDAY, August 15, 2015

Visibility: Excellent
Wind: Variable at 6 knots
Altitudes: Something above 4000 msl
Time Aloft: Several hours.
Max Lift: 6 knots
Temperature: 100+
Comment: Blog includes Friday ops.
Tow pilot: Peter Mersino

On Friday, August 14th, Jan Zanutto and Steve Valentine decided to fly and Peter Mersino offered to tow. Since Steve is my student the day worked out just fine. Steve is nearing solo and determined to fly often so that he doesn't get too rusty between weekends. Now that he's flying more often, he's getting much better and his last flight on Friday was his best by far.

Steve Valentine thermalling up above 3000 msl from 2200 msl.

Jan Zanutto made one flight but it was pretty good considering the RASP wasn't all that great for soaring today. There were thermals but none seemed to get too high. He had fun anyway.

Jan Zanutto launching in a cloud of dust.
On his way to a nice flight of some duration, putting up with the heat down low.
Meanwhile back on the patio, Mike Paoli was working on the seams of his Libelle canopy. Better there than out in the hot sun.

Mike Paoli is going to make his glider the best Libelle ever on the field at Avenal.

By mid-afternoon, Jan Zanutto had returned from his flight and Steve Valentine had also gone home. Mike was left to finish the improvement on his Libelle canopy.

Jan Zanutto's ASW-20 awaits disassembly and a return to the box from which it came.


Early Saturday morning, Rick Eason began a series of 5 flights to continue his quest of his commercial glider add-on rating. We all arrived about 9:15 am and began launching shortly thereafter.

Rick Eason waiting for his first launch early on Saturday morning.

Once Rick was finished, Roman Franco flew three flights and he also is nearing his solo flight. The first flight terminated prematurely because we got out of position high on the tow plane and had to release immediately. The second and third flights were excellent and gave me more confidence that he will soon be able to handle the various realms of flight in preparation for his solo.

The Alphabet Lineup of glider trailers.

Joe Anastasio signed up on the CCSC Scheduler and although he didn't say so, I'd guessed that his BFR was due. Time really does fly, along with all our pilots. It seems like just yesterday that Joe completed his BFR with me, but that turned out to be in August, 2013. He did very well, on the simulated rope break, and then on the hour of thermalling around the field. Another BFR added to the mix.

Joe Anastasio ready to launch on what turned out to be a surprise rope release at 200 agl.
Peter Mersino in the tow plane returning to Avenal's runway 7.
Joe Anastasio doing nicely in a 4 knot thermal accomplishing his required one-hour BFR flight.

Higher still, but this time only two knots of lift to work.
On the ground at the end of his one hour flight, Joe is a bit tired from all that thermalling.
While Joe and I were aloft, Carl Engel launched in the DG100. He was up long enough so that Peter and I had flown back to Fresno before he landed. As we approached Fresno, the Rough fire near Hume lake in the Sierra, had produced a pyrocumulus cloud that kept getting higher as we neared Chandler airport.

Called the Rough Fire, near Hume Lake in the Sierra, it produced a high pyrocumulus cloud.
Carl Engel and Mike Paoli did us all a great service by going for fuel at the end of the day. On the way back they photographed this beautiful sunset.

Thanks to Mike Paoli and Carl Engel for this beautiful photo of the sun setting over the Temblor Range.

See you all next weekend when the temperatures will likely be below triple digits.

Harold Gallagher

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