Sunday, September 20, 2015

SATURDAY, September 19, 2015

Visibility: A bit hazy but otherwise more than 20 miles.
Wind: Mostly light and variable, at times none at all.
Altitudes: 4000 msl
Time Aloft: 2 hours
Max Lift: 6 knots but mostly 2-4 knots.
Temperature: Low 90's.
Comment: FAA Inspection day for experimental gliders.
Tow pilot: Morgan Hall most of the day.

Early morning saw a number of the high performance gliders out of their boxes but not assembled. This is the annual inspection day where the FAA comes out to examine the paperwork that must accompany each of the gliders that are classified as experimental. All worked out well for the pilots and their gliders and the FAA representative went away satisfied.

It wasn't a very busy flight ops day. Most of the experimental gliders were put away after the FAA inspection, all except for Mike Paoli and his Libelle. It seemed like Mike was going to fly his glider for the first time after his purchase of it some weeks ago.

First aloft was Dan Gudgel beginning the training of a young man, Lukas Pritchard, who brought along his entire family to watch the proceedings. It sounds like maybe there will be follow-on flights for a complete training cycle. Let's hope so since the young man would be a great addition to our training group.

Next up was Mario Pauda who brought his lovely wife, Blanca, to the airport for her first glider ride. Since she has been flying with Mario in power planes, this was a good chance to compare the two. She really enjoyed the flight, especially for the quiet and the smoothness of the time aloft.

Mario Pauda on tow with his wife, Blanca, in the back seat.
The guys in the hangar shop were working on the Big Bird very early. As shown, they are making progress and have the fuselage fully covered. Much remains to be done but at least it's beginning to look like a glider again. Some detailed work is required but then the paint layers begin to be added.

Now that's where power planes should be, off to the sidelines while watching the better aircraft fly.
The fuselage looking better and better and may be ready for some paint.

For a few weeks now, Mike Paoli has been preparing his newly purchased Libelle glider. We knew he wouldn't fly it until he was satisfied he had taken care of all the details prior to flight. We just didn't know when that first flight would take place. Well, today was the day, and he had a lot of help getting things just right. He credits Pancho Herrera with much of the flight preparation, including the proper assembly, and then detailed conversations about the flight characteristics. So, Mike was ready and the following photographs tell the story:

Assembled and ready to fly, Mike Paoli and Pancho Herrera discuss last minute details.
The rogue's gallery in the background were giving "moral" support.
Mike is almost ready to launch in his Libelle.
Morgan Hall, Jennifer Bauman and Karl Kunz chat about Mike's flight and stay out of the sun.
Jeff Richardson and Pancho. Does it take two to help launch Mike?
Nope, it takes four. Pancho, Joe Anastasio, Jan Zanutto, and Dan Gudgel.
The gallery has turned into five. Sergio Grajeda, Jeff Richardson, Morgan Hall, Karl Kunz, and Jennifer Bauman.
Jennifer Bauman is photographing something but you'd rather not know.
Wings up, tow rope tightened, Mike is ready for his inaugural flight. 
In the dust Mike is in good position behind Morgan in the tow plane.
Looks good, steady, in line with the tow plane. Mike does it well.
Jan Zanutto watching Mike as he returned to the field after a good flight.
Mario Pauda decided to refresh his knowledge of flying the 1-26 as he used to do years ago.
It took four to launch Mike and another four to receive him after the flight. Yutaka Buto holding the wing.
Turning the glider around so Mike can try another flight. He did and did it well.
On tow in a really good position half way down the runway, Mike masters the Libelle.

About mid-day, Jeremy Stanley flew his Cessna 150 to Avenal to work with Dan Gudgel on tow pilot training and checkout. They flew several times both high tows and pattern work and at some point we'll see Jeremy flying our Cessna in front of our gliders. Welcome to the club, Jeremy.

Jeremy Stanley arriving in his Cessna 150 in the background as Jeff Richardson walks to Mike Paoli's Libelle.
Jeremy Stanley and Dan Gudgel on tow for one of his checkout flights in the Orange Crush.
Mike Paoli on another flight in his Libelle. I guess he likes his glider.
Yutaka Buto returning to the field on runway 13L after a reasonably long flight.
Alex Caldwell's Nimbus 3 not assembled for the day. Alex decided the thermals weren't worth the effort.
While it wasn't the busiest day for flight ops, those who went aloft had fun and at least could remain aloft for several hours as long as the glider wasn't needed by the next scheduled pilot. We expect to see more of you next week. The weather should be really nice and cool.

Harold Gallagher

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