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

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