Wednesday, November 18, 2015


Visibility: Hazy and 15 miles below the haze layer, 150 miles above it.
Wind: Brisk from the southeast causing runway 13L launches.
Altitudes: No more than tow heights.
Time Aloft: Not much less than 20 minutes including tow.
Max Lift: At times, maybe 100 fpm.
Temperature: Cool 70's, a lovely winter weather day.
Tow pilot: Dan Gudgel until 1:30, then Jim Rickey and Harold Gallagher


Another milestone for the Cal Poly group. Today, Neiman Walker soloed, and had three very nice flights. He's already a power pilot so the learning curve was quite steep upward. We continue to add new members and new solo pilots on a regular basis thanks to Jennifer Bauman who has organizational skills better than most. Thanks again, Jenn. And CONGRATULATIONS NEIMAN WALKER!!!

Harrison King and Griff Malloy after their respective training flights.
Harrison King came out today for the first time, and for his first glider ride. He enjoyed it and took the controls off tow, did a very credible job and perhaps he'll consider signing on with the CCSC and working on his Private Pilot's License.

Griff Malloy has already had a number of glider flights and is moving rapidly toward his solo flight. He's done very well on tow and off so we have a few more maneuvers to go through, a pre-solo test, and he will be ready to go aloft on his own.

Rick Eason was also on the field and had two nice up and down flights in the 1-26. It was just that kind of day here. So he will be flying it a few more months before he starts getting the itch to fly the DG100.

We haven't see Yutaka Buto here at Avenal for a few months but here he was again, out to fly and just to have some free time with the other members. He flies of Ameriflite, running a route from Bakersfield to Burbank in a twin-engined turboprop Merlin Metro.

Ethan Lawton is a new arrival on the field, coming from Cal Poly and aerospace engineering, like all the rest of his group. He chose not to fly but just get familiar with the operations on the field, enjoy being with other student friends, but maybe he'll change his mind some day and begin glider training.

Work continued on in the southeast hangar on Big Bird. It's now a familiar yellow and will be painted again after some soft sanding takes place today. It's close but as Jan Zanutto points out, assembly and fixing small issues will take some time. We're coming up rapidly on a year of effort by our great work crew, whew, and they are committed to taking a major break between Big Bird completion and restoration of Orange Crush.

Jim Rickey and a few other good souls worked on Big Bird in the morning, and then at about 1:30 or so, Dan Gudgel had to leave after a mornings worth of towing, so Jim Rickey gratefully took over the responsibility of launching gliders into the wild blue yonder.

Thanks again to Jennifer Bauman who brought two new students to Avenal along with four other returnees. She has done a masterful job of rounding up Cal Poly students who she convinces to have an interest in gliders. So far, the number of students exceeds 10 as I recall. If I'm wrong on that, she'll have it over ten in a week or two. Thanks Jennifer for such great effort at bringing new people to the club.

Ethan Lawton and Jennifer Bauman enjoying the activities.
Harrison, Ethan, Jennifer, Neiman, and Griff simply enjoying the beautiful day.
OK, time for us to get moving and get the gliders launched.
Yutaka Buto visited us today and Rick Eason is hooking him up for launch.
On approach to landing is Neiman Walker on his first solo flight.
Yes, Neiman is happy but the sun, low on the horizon, is shining directly into his eyes.
It's great to see the Cal Poly group always helping one another and wishing each other well.
This will be Neiman's second solo flight, with the sun getting closer to the West Ridge line.
We have been launching all day from the NW end, taking off on Runway 13L.
This is Neiman's second approach to landing and is in perfect position for safety.
The sun is just about to set behind the West Ridge as Neiman passes by on final.
While the Cal Poly crew retrieves Neiman, the tow plane rolls in with Jim Rickey at the controls.
Wearing a video camera, Neiman is ready for another solo in his series of three flights.
Jennifer and Troy assisting Neiman in his next launch.
Neiman looks as ready as he'll ever be. And his launch was a good one.
The Cal Poly crew waiting for the next retrieve in the hazy light of late afternoon.
Neiman Walker high above the airport in the light of the sun that has already set on the ground.
Right after release, the tow plane is departing down and to the left while Neiman turns right.
Neiman's second approach to runway 13R is a good one in excellent position.
Neiman is just passing by the end of the runway where we are all standing and waiting.
The Cal Poly retrieve crew going after the Orange Crush with Neiman waiting patiently.
There was a rather high aircraft on left downwind for runway 31L but apparently overflew the field.
The end of the day's launches and a happy crew helps Neiman (third from left) celebrate his solo flights.
Troy Wollman, Neiman Walker, Jennifer Bauman share achievements.
Jan Zanutto making sure it is really YELLOW!!!!
You can see in the background that most of the glider is painted with at least one coat. 
With a new spray gun, the job has gone a lot faster than previously.
Even if you don't plan on flying this coming weekend just come out and enjoy the beautiful weather we have had at Avenal for the past four or five weeks. It is soothing, comfortable, warm, sunny, and full of laughter from our happy group of club members.

See you next weekend,

Harold Gallagher

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