Monday, November 30, 2015


Visibility: Clear and more than 20 miles
Wind: Light and variable
Altitudes: Jets were up at about 35,000 msl
Time Aloft: For the guys in the hangar, about 10 minutes at a time
Max Lift: When the paint smell got too strong. But the dust devils tempted them.
Temperature: Mid 70's, all day.
Comment: Nice day to soar but unfortunately no one did. Julie and Morgan flew Santa Ynez.
Tow pilot: Not today.

Click on the photos for larger sizes of all photos.

A lot of work was done on Big Bird during the week. The pictures show how much progress has been made in final painting. Jan Zanutto and Rick Eason worked on it and the classy detail shows how much they care about the work they do. They were there during the week and not as tempted to go flying. Doesn't Big Bird look great as it nears roll-out? Martin Caskey arrived on Saturday to do more work on Big Bird.

Jan and Rick taped off the N number on the fuselage of Big Bird.
Jan Zanutto preparing for spray paint by covering the entire fuselage.
One coat of red paint will be followed by another until the red is opaque.
Jan spraying red color on the N number for Big Bird.
The horizontal stabilizer also gets a coat of bright red.
With the tape removed the number looks great, neat and clean and readable.
A few small corrections here and there make perfection look easy.

Julie and Morgan had two great flights out of Santa Ynez, one on Friday and another, not quite as good, on Saturday. Here are their reports beginning with Julie's:

Just a quick recap of the flying out of IZA today...

Morgan and I took the Duo down to Santa Ynez today for the fly in. The guys based out of IZA were there along with Kevin Wayt from Orange County, Buzz Graves and Matt Gillis out of Hollister, and Gary Ittner out of Inyokern. We launched at 11AM and towed to the ridge just south of the field under some nice clouds. We quickly climbed to cloud base and headed SSE above the ridge line. We encountered several hang gliders and paragliders along the way and stopped to thermal with one paraglider just west of Ojai. South of Lake Casitas, the cloud base rose from 7K to 10K+.

We topped out around 10K about 10 miles N of Santa Paula and turned toward Pine Mt. We had a nice run all the way up to Morro Bay and turned over the ocean to head back to IZA. The day was shutting down quickly and  after passing east of SBP and watching a C130 takeoff, we found ourselves a little too low to make it back to IZA. We attempted to arrange an aero retrieve before landing at Santa Maria, but were unsuccessful. By the time we pushed the plane to parking and tied her down, we only had to wait about 5 minutes before Sean arrived in his car to take us back to Santa Ynez.

Interesting day - even got to fly with 2 eagles SE of San Luis Obispo. More flying tomorrow with a BBQ to follow in the evening.
Here is a link to photos:

Trace is on OLC.

Then Martin Caskey showed up on Saturday and commented as follows:

I went, worked on yellow thing. Sergio Grajeda and Larry Johnson came out and helped.  No flying was enjoyed. Lots of teaser dust devils, working a line from the red barn northwest. Nice day, quite.

Morgan commented on his flying out of Santa Ynez on Saturday:

Julie shared some photos and a little bit of the detail of our flight on Friday so I won't duplicate that posting other than to add what an amazing day it was and such a treat to soar all the way out over the ocean near our house and still manage to get back up in the convergence.  Just a few minutes too late to get the last climb we needed to make it back into IZA. Playing it safe was the right move and landing SMX, though inconvenient for us and for Shawn who came and rescued us, was generally a non-event.

Saturday, Julie dropped me off at SMX to prep the plane.  She then drove to IZA and got in the Citabria that would be our towplane.  They came back to SMX and we got ready to launch.  I had already taxied (pushed) the glider from the hotel out to the run-up area at A8.  When they arrived with the towplane, we layed out the rope, connected to the towplane and the glider.  Julie climbed in the Duo and got situated.  We then got clearance from the tower to push out onto the runway.  The towplane taxied ahead of us and I dragged the glider out far enough to clear runway lights.  Spun it to point at the towplane and then hopped in.

I had already done all of my major checklist items, so after hopping in it was just Belts, Canopy, Divebrakes and then takeoff.  Total time on the active runway was probably about 2 minutes and no traffic was held up due to our activity.

The flight was another good one, although conditions were softer so we didn't press as far west or east.  Played it a bit safer to make sure we landed back at IZA.  It was still booming at 3:00 when we headed back to land  A convergence line had set up with a southerly flow and it had lift and clouds extending all the way out to Vandenberg if you'd wanted to fly to Lompoc and back.  

I want to encourage people, especially those with their own gliders to consider a trip to Santa Ynez during the winter.  The mountains with their nearly due south exposure produce very good soaring all winter long.  Maybe not exceptional days like we just had, but thermals and also very good wave.

It's a very friendly environment and airport.  Busy, but the power traffic is generally familiar with gliders and easy to work with. Santa Barbara Soaring runs a smooth operation and you'll love the acceleration of a Pawnee compared to our 150/150.

If you're checked out in the DG-100 and have some experience in it, it's available to take to IZA for a weekend. It's a great way to stay current during the winter and get some experience at a new location which is great for personal growth.

Glider launching at Santa Ynez.
The Duo looks good even sitting on the ramp.
Now that the holiday is over, we expect to see more members out at Avenal this coming Saturday. The weather might be good but check the RASP on Thursday for more exact weather predictions. 

See you all on Saturday.

Harold Gallagher

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