Sunday, October 25, 2015


Visibility: 30 miles but hazy
Wind: S at 3-6 knots
Altitudes: 2800 msl.
Time Aloft: 40 minutes
Max Lift: 4 knots but hardly anywhere
Temperature: Mid-80's
Comment: Maintenance on the tow plane early, five flights later.
Tow pilot: Jim Rickey, Harold Gallagher, Alex Caldwell


The best part of the day was when all the mechanically-oriented guys got together and replaced the seals on the nose gear strut. It was a bit of a complicated job but they worked well together, and finished the task just a few minutes after their original estimate of 1:00 pm. WAY TO GO GUYS!!! THANKS FROM ALL OF US!!

So who were these guys? Morgan Hall, Rick Eason, Richard Walker, Karl Kunz, and assistance from Alex Caldwell, Jim Rickey, and Sergio Grajeda. One of the seals was quite messed up and the fluid coming from the strut had water in it indicating that too many times the strut was filled with air only, from a compressor that should have been filtering out most of the moisture. The strut looks great now, filled with the right kind of fluid and pressure by nitrogen, brought by Rick Eason.

The work went on seamlessly with all hands helping. Rick Eason is holding the prop.
Alex Caldwell, Karl Kunz, Richard Walker, Morgan Hall, and Sergio Grajeda.
Parts of the disassembly were a bit tricky requiring several hands on it at simultaneously.
Putting it back together was easier than taking it apart.
Looking at the seals and the surface of the cylinder for a scoring.
Karl Kunz, Richard Walker, Morgan Hall, Jim Rickey, and Rick Eason.
Moving the Orange Crush out for the first flight of the day.
Jennifer Bauman just ran the wing for Alex and Sergio's only flight of the day.
Madison Cors, 8 years old, is about to take her first glider ride.
Madison's Dad, Gus, is excited about his little girl's first flight.
Bringing the Orange Crush back to the launch area after Sergio's flight.
We made sure that Madison had plenty of cushions to sit up high enough.
Alex Caldwell and Gus Cors look on with pride as Madison beams with anticipation.
Yes, one final task is to straighten her hat before launching. Alex will fly this flight.
Moments from launch, Madison is now very excited and rightly so.
Jennifer Bauman brought to Avenal two students at Cal Poly who had been out before and were now continuing their training. Since there were to be five flights, we traded off with Alex who had two flights to make and I had three, alternating launches. Troy Wollman was first up and he is progressing nicely, taking most of the tow and doing well on maneuvers off tow.

Next up was Alex Caldwell flying with Sergio Grajeda who is coming along really well and Alex says he could be soloing soon. Sergio is our only student from Avenal and now looks forward to making a career out of flying.

Now it's Andrew Palmer's turn and he, too, having joined the club recently, is making great progress on tow and off, working on the basic flight maneuvers. Andrew has had no prior flying experience so his progress is just a bit behind Troy's because Troy has had power flying experience. Both are doing very well based on the experience each brought with him from prior years.

The fourth flight belongs to Madison Cors and Alex Caldwell. She seemed genuinely excited about the flight after returning to earth and her Dad thinks she might just be ready to start glider training in a few short years.

The fifth and final flight of the day was Troy Wollman's second launch and by far the best flight he's had in all previous glider training flights. He towed well, was steady on the stick, maintained good position, and off tow, his stick and rudder coordination is making excellent progress. He'll be looking at solo flight just a few weeks ahead.

At various times during the day, the Cal Poly contingent worked on the winch, got the engine running, were able to test the take up reel, and were generally satisfied that we could be using the winch one of these days.

That finished the day, around 6:00 pm after the Orange Crush was tied down. The Master Mechanics all had gone home right after the work on the tow plane and deserved at least an afternoon at home for all the good work they did on the strut. THANKS A MILLION, GUYS!!!

Next Saturday is Halloween and also the day when we'll have the CCSC Annual Banquet. If you haven't notified Julie Butler of your attending, please do so as soon as possible. Instead of the dinner in the evening we're planning on having it at noon so that one can either fly in the afternoon as late as one wants, or head home early to get the kids dressed up and out on the streets for the annual candy festival.

See you next Saturday.

Harold Gallagher

Friday, October 23, 2015


Visibility: Hazy but more than 30 miles.
Wind: 3-6 knots from the SE.
Altitudes: Tow heights of 3700 msl.
Time Aloft: Less than one hour.
Max Lift: 2 knots
Temperature: Mid 80's
Comment: Worst lift day in a dozen years.
Tow pilot: Julie Butler, Morgan Hall, Harold Gallagher.


Yes, you read the comment correctly.

This was probably the worst day for soaring in more years than we can count. Morgan Hall, Julie Butler, James Stanniforth, Jeff Richardson, all in high performance gliders couldn't find any serious lift anywhere in the area. This, in spite of the fact that there were cumulus clouds over the west mountains all day, even to the point of some worry about over-development. When Morgan Hall is scratching for lift at 2300 msl right at the West Ridge, you know its a bad lift day. Sure, they worked the meager lift for awhile but finally all started coming back when Julie reported no lift at all over the K-Hills. There were training flights and with the meager lift, learning to tow was a bit easier. But disappointment was the emotion of the day.

Clark Woolf waiting for his instructor to launch on a training flight. He's doing very well.
Mario Pauda flying the 1-26 in the early morning.
Andrew Palmer ready for his second training flight leading to a Pilot's License.
Harold helps tighten the seat belts for Troy Wollman.
Jennifer Bauman running the wing for Troy's launch. She brought him to Avenal from SLO.
Jennifer's photo of the launch of Troy and Harold.
Jennifer is experimenting with the long lens of the Nikon she borrowed.
Nice arrangement of tow and clouds.
Julie Butler's very nice glider. She towed since no one else was available.
It won't sit on the ground for very long. She' ll explore the K-Hills for any lift.
Still on tow, not looking for lift, since this is primarily a training flight.
The skid is down and Mario is about to come to a stop after a short flight.
Mario is trying it again, with the same result. He shared the 1-26 with Mike Paoli.
The Orange Crush is landing on runway 13R while the tow plane waits on runway 31R.
Another launch just for fun since the lift was non-existent.
Jennifer runs pretty far with the wing, just staying in shape we presume.
Well there was a little lift, maybe 100 fpm, and no altitude, not enough to go anywhere.
The big guys are beginning to line up for launch positions, hoping for great lift.
Jesse McClintock is in the back seat of the Duo and Morgan is about to climb in.
Mario Pauda and Mike Paoli waiting patiently for their launch sequence.
Morgan Hall, Julie Butler, James Stanniforth, Troy Wollman, Jennifer Bauman and Andrew Palmer.
If they get any closer they'll all be in the Duo. That would be interesting.
Jennifer, Troy Wollman, and Harold chatting while waiting for the next glider.
Jesse McClintock in the back seat, Morgan Hall flying the Duo into the worst lift in a very long time.
Tow line is taut, and Julie Butler runs the wing of the Duo Discus.
Jan Zanutto turning final in his sporty little Cessna, arriving simply for a visit.
Looks like the touchdown will be excellent and on both wheels at the same time.
Mario Pauda talking with Julie Butler prior to her launch which will finally take place.
James Stanniforth's  ASG-29 trailer, inside an 18 meter glider he loves to fly.
You would think this is an assembly line based on the sun angle. But it's not. It's dis-assembly time.
Jennifer Bauman ready to launch with Jesse McClintock hooking up the tow rope.
Jennifer returned rather soon as did everyone else who flew today.
Nice touchdown and the roll out brought her back most of the way.
Jennifer brings her guys out just so she has help all over the field.
Andrew, Jennifer, and Troy all from Cal Poly, Jesse soon to be.
Jennifer practicing her photography with this nice silhouette of the Orange Crush.
Troy Wollman aloft and doing very well because he's had prior glider experience.
Troy Wollman and Harold landing at the end of the day, his second training flight at Avenal.

Let's all hope that next Saturday will have a whole lot more lift than today. It couldn't have been a weaker day if it had rained. The strange things about today is that we had beautiful cumulus clouds that appeared to be just over the West Ridge but when the gliders got there, no lift was to be found. At least they all got to launch at least once.

See you all next Saturday.

Harold Gallagher