Sunday, November 15, 2015


Visibility: Hazy but more than 20 miles
Wind: Mostly calm with occasional 3-5 knots
Altitudes: Tow altitudes only.
Time Aloft: 30 minutes max
Max Lift: 1-3 knots
Temperature: Mid 80's
Comment: Troy Wollman's First Solo!!
Tow pilot: Peter Mersino all day long.


It was a busy day especially from noon on until dark. And dark it was when all the activities had come to a halt. The best news is that Troy Wollman soled for the first time. As usual, the first solo flight is always better than what students demonstrate to the instructor before first solo. Troy did his best without the instructor in the back seat. Hmmm. I'll have to think about that one.

Early in the day, Clark Woolf flew two excellent flights, both of which were marked by his taking over most control of the tow. He's only had a few flights so far, so his progress is quite remarkable. Did I forget to tell you that Clark just turned 13 a few weeks ago? He is one young man to watch as he moves forward this year on his training. With his progress so far, I expect great things of him not only in soaring but in his life as well. He shows great promise in other phases of his life at home and in school. Well done, Clark.

Clark Woolf doing well with flight maneuvers.
Clark making a nice coordinated turn. Note the yaw string straight back.
Clark is very good for his age. I expect great things from him in aviation.
As she has done in the past, Jennifer Bauman brought out another group of superb Cal Poly students. One by one, they are joining the club and moving rapidly forward with their training. Kyle O'Connell was first up and he has had prior training in gliders, especially at Southern California's gliderport, Lake Elsinore. So I expected good things of his handling the glider and I wasn't disappointed. After today, one or two more quick flights to pattern and Kyle will be ready to fly here on his own.
Jennifer Bauman about to hook up for Kyle O'Connell.
And here's Luke Bughman heading over to run the wing for Kyle.
Kyle O'Connell and Harold are ready to launch in the Orange Crush.
In a cloud of dust they launch and follow the rope for a few hundred yards.

Sometime after Kyle flew, others in the Cal Poly group took their turn in the Orange Crush.
Andrew Palmer continues to improve his control of the glider on tow, removing more of the anxiety each flight. His off tow flying is excellent and his landings are well controlled and smooth, the best part of his flying to date. Next up was Luke Bughman who also did very well on tow and managed to handle the off tow flying as well, including stalls, steep turns, patterns and landing. Neiman Walker, another Cal Poly future aerospace engineer, took his second flight and demonstrated his rapidly gaining control of the towing, and off tow maneuvers. At this rate, he might very well solo within a week or two. Well done, gentlemen!!

Troy Wollman is closest to his solo flights. Last time he flew I noted that if all goes well he might very well solo on the weekend of November 7th. Well today, he invited his Dad, Richard and brother Trenton, to Avenal to see if, in fact, the solo would happen. As it turned out, Troy was ready in my evaluation even though he might not have been all that convinced within himself. But that's common among a lot of students when I get out of the glider to let them solo. In this case, our first two flights together were not the best he could have done, but I recognized his underlying skill that made me comfortable with his solo flight. So, after only two flights with me today, it was time for him to fly on his own. And fly well, he did. In fact, Troy saved the best flights of the day for his solo, and that also is not uncommon among newly crowned solo pilots. 

CONGRATULATIONS TROY!!!. Welcome to the wonderful world of aviation and solo flying.
Jennifer Bauman, Sergio Grajeda, Richard Wollman, and his son, Trenton.
Andrew Palmer and Alex Caldwell watching the proceedings.
Troy Wollman ready to launch on his first training flight of the day.
A crowd gathered to see whether Troy would solo today.
Trenton Wollman, Richard Wollman, Andrew Palmer, Neiman Walker, Kyle O'Connell, Jennifer Bauman, Greg BaumanLuke Bughman, and the tow pilot, Peter Mersino.
Alex Caldwell is hidden behind Jennifer Bauman.
Hmmm, I wonder if they're all nervous for Troy
Jennifer is busy attaching the Go-Pro video camera to the underside of the wing.

Troy receiving last minute instructions just before his first solo flight.
Trenton Wollman is very happy for his brother after Troy's first solo flight is completed.
There were a number of members who flew the 1-26, Bart Klusek and Jim Rickey among them, and including Jennifer Bauman, whose parents, Greg and Terri came out to watch her fly a glider, a first time for each of them. Naturally Jennifer did well in spite of the obvious lack of lift on a cold day, very late in the afternoon as you can see by the long shadows cast during the photo shoot. She loves the 1-26.
Jennifer is receiving ample help for her launch in the 1-26.
Jennifer loves the 1-26 and wanted her picture taken in front, just to remember.
As you can see, there were more than one taking Jennifer's picture.
Left to right, Greg Bauman, her Dad, Kyle O'Connell, Terri Bauman, her Mom, and Jim Rickey watching.
Now it's Jim Rickey's turn to fly the 1-26. Bart Klusek launched just before Jim.
It was so busy all afternoon folks were still standing around watching the launches as the sun disappeared.
Now the cool air begins to flow into the valley and the daylight is quickly fading.

It turned out to be a very long day with all the paperwork finally being completed when it became absolutely dark except for a light sliver of daylight over the West Ridge. Naturally Troy Wollman's shirttail was cut off as is our custom and he reportedly went into a restaurant looking like that. In fact, that's good because then the other patrons will wonder, ask questions, then maybe start training in gliders for themselves.

The new up high and the old down low. Both play an important role in aviation.
A memorable day to be sure and one that turned out to be fun for most of those present. Keep in mind the wonderful contribution the workers in the far southeast hangar are making for the club. Every weekend they are out working on Big Bird to get it ready for its return to active flying. They were there this morning as well and over the past few months have included nearly all the dedicated working members. A few names that come to mind are Jim Rickey, Skip Breidbach, Larry Johnson, Peter Sahlberg, Joe Anastasio, Rick Eason, Richard Walker, John Harbick, Jeff Richardson, et. al., and headed up by Jan Zanutto along with his mechanic-mate, Martin Caskey.

Next week should bring another round of good training and surprises for those in attendance. See you then.

Harold Gallagher

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