Tuesday, December 20, 2016

SATURDAY, December 17, 2016

Visibility: Unlimited
Wind: NW at 10-13 kts
Altitudes: 3000 msl
Time Aloft: 30 minutes
Max Lift: 300 fpm
Temperature: Cold.
Comment: Few members present
Tow pilot: Frank Owen

Not much going on today. Frank Owen showed up in his Cessna 152 and towed until about 1:00 pm at which time we all left.

Troy Wollman was "flight instructing" another college student, John Preslik, and I was getting Jim Bell ready for solo. Troy had a few flights with John, while Jim and I had four launches, of which two were simulated rope breaks at 200 agl. The other two were to pattern altitude as preparation for his solo which will likely take place when he returns after the holidays.

The field was OK along the main runway but quite soft and in some cases actually muddy almost everywhere else. But no ruts were made, except for those made by the tail wheel on the Orange Crush. That wheel must get fixed or we're going to have narrow ruts all over the field this winter. Apparently the wheel on Big Bird swivels nicely and perhaps one or more of our talented mechanics can modify the Orange Crush tail wheel to match Big Bird's tail wheel. That would be a nice present for Christmas.

And that was the day, today. Tied the trainers down and went home.

Harold Gallagher

Preparing the Orange Crush for flight while Frank Owen waits patiently in the tow plane.
Sergio Grajeda helping Troy Wollman's "student", John Preslik, get settled in for the flight.

SATURDAY, December 10, 2016.

Visibility: More than 40 miles under the cloud deck.
Wind: NNW at 5-8 knots
Altitudes: 4000 msl.
Time Aloft: Less than an hour.
Max Lift: 500 fpm.
Temperature: Low 60's to high 50's.
Comment:  Waves to the south, cold air aloft.
Tow pilot: Dan Gudgel, Neiman Walker

It was a busy day with many people out here, both demo flights and training. We had three visitors who just may come back one day as members of the club. Anthony Azevedo has a business nearby in Five Points which makes a quick trip to Avenal possible. Anthony seemed interested in perhaps learning to fly.

The other visitors were Pete Goulding and Kat Winkelman who live in Paso Robles. Pete just acquired a modified HP-18 and is planning to bring it to Avenal after some work needs to be done on it. Some of us knew Bruce Patton who also built his own HP-18 but not modified much from plans.

Fortunately I had two college students for training flights today and one very young  student, Erich Harding, who is doing well for his age of 11 yrs. The college guys are Zak Yamauchi and Eric Burlingame and both are progressing nicely. Eric already holds a power rating so his progress is moving along more quickly. He will likely solo soon after he returns from the holidays.

Don Flinn had the majority of students that included Bennett Diamond, Connor Zabrocki, Alexia Aguirre, and Andrew Ochoa. There were numerous flights today and it kept Neiman Walker busy both learning early with Dan Gudgel and later on towing alone. All agreed his performance was excellent.

There were two demo flights today from construction workers temporarily stationed at Lemoore Naval Air Station. They were just a few days away from returning home to Maryland where they have homes.

We were happy to see John Harbick finally show up once again after being away for several months. But in that time he had to endure more "stuff" than anyone should expect. Hopefully the holidays will be kinder to him and Peggy than they have so far.

Lenticular clouds to the south but fairly mild winds here in Avenal.
Erich Harding keeps progressing nicely, especially for an 11 year old young man.

Erich's landing was almost completely unassisted with a nice smooth touchdown.
The Orange Crush is just beginning its takeoff roll. 
Sergio Grajeda and Larry Johnson helping Joe Anastasio assemble the PW-5.
Dan Gudgel is teaching Neiman Walker how to fly the tow plane expertly.
Don Flinn and student launching in the Orange Crush.
Alex Caldwell and John Harbick going for a nice flight together. It's about time John flew again.
Typical lineup of gliders waiting for a tow.
Neiman Walker learning quickly and is doing very well for first time towing.
Don Flinn and student launching in the Orange Crush.
Glider inbound on short final for runway 31L.
Alex Caldwell and John Harbick on tow again in Big Bird
The PW-5 sits between the two trainers. Joe Anastasio is flying today along with a few more college students.
Zak Yamauchi, Bennett Diamond, Connor Zabrocki, Wyll Soll, and Andy Ochoa.
Zak Yamauchi ready for another training flight with great enthusiasm.
Jim Rickey, surprise, about to fly the 1-26 after a few weeks of helping others. Connor standing by.
Neiman Walker now flying tows with no guidance from Dan. He's doing quite well.
Jim Rickey ready for launch. That's Wyll Soll running the left wing.
Now that's what we liked to see. Jim Rickey enjoying the momentary launch.
Don Flinn and Bennett Diamond on final for runway 31L. Nice picture.
Don Flinn launching with Andy Ochoa in the Orange Crush.
Andy Ochoa and Don Flinn on final in the Orange Crush landing runway 31L.
Eric Burlingame waiting in Big Bird for the Orange Crush to land on runway 31L.
Another good day of training with the air smooth enough for good tow experience. Get as much training in these winter days as possible and you'll be happy you did when the really good soaring conditions arrive in Spring.

Harold Gallagher

Monday, December 19, 2016

SATURDAY, December 3, 2016. Akafleig activity.

Visibility: Unlimited.
Wind: Light and variable from the WNW.
Altitudes: Mostly tow altitude.
Time Aloft: Less than half an hour.
Max Lift: 300 fpm.
Temperature: Mid 60's.
Comment: Lot of training activity.
Tow pilot: Dan Gudgel and Jim Rickey, and trainee Andrew Robinson.

Sorry for the delay everyone. I had an unusually comprehensive final exam in the Remote Sensing course I'm taking at Fresno State and studying for it consumed inordinate amounts of my free time until last Tuesday at which time it came to an end, not sure how successfully.

There were more than a dozen people at Avenal today, mostly college students continuing their training. But we did have a nice Mexican family arrive so that the son, Ever, could take a demo flight with Dan Gudgel. Of course he loved the flight and wondered if there might be more in the future. See the photos of the family.

Don Flinn had a full schedule of students including Lexy Aguirre, Connor Zabrocki, John Preslik, and Bennett Diamond.

Zak Yamauchi, Eric Burlingame, and Jim Bell flew two flights each. Jim is ahead of Zak and Eric in his training but Eric is a power pilot and likely to solo much sooner than Zak or Jim. They all had fun today and learned a lot. Zak especially was thrilled that he made a final touchdown and landing unassisted.

With the holidays coming up soon, it is likely there won't be as much training as before, especially because most of the college students head home (all over the country) for the Christmas/New Years holidays.

Mama Mercedes Loya , daughters Mariana and Nayeli waiting as brother Ever prepares to fly on a demo flight.
Dan Gudgel in back, Ever Loya in front as they pass by Ever's family.
The Loya Family, Ever, Mariana, Oswaldo, Nayeli, and Mercedes.
Sergio Grajeda getting settled in and preparing for a nice afternoon launch.
Sergio Grajeda about to launch in the Schweizer 1-26
Jim Bell continuing his quest for solo flight and getting better each training flight.
Jim is a happy guy because he realizes how much he's improved since starting flight training.
Dan Gudgel flying with Andrew Robinson who is training to be a tow pilot.
Andrew Robinson must fly at least three flights with Dan as one qualifying parameter for towing.
Mike Paoli being assisted by Dan Gudgel and Bennett Diamond before launching in the 1-26.
Dan Gudgel, Neiman Walker, Eric Burlingame, John Preslik, and Bennett Diamond.
Eric Burlingame waiting for the rope to tighten before launching in Big Bird.
Zak Yamauchi all bundled up and ready for his first flight with me.
The end of the day with perhaps one more flight before dark.
Remember that this is the best time of year for early flight training. The air is smooth and learning to tow is so much easier now than when the air is turbulent. Even the off-tow aerial maneuvers are clearer and easier to learn now, so make plans to get it all done while the air cooperates.

See you next week,

Harold Gallagher

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

SATURDAY, November 19, 2016. WAVE DAY FOR ALL !!!

Visibility: Severe Clear
Wind: 12 G 18 direct crosswind, from 220 degrees.
Altitudes: 8200 msl. Jennifer Bauman and Troy Wollman.
Time Aloft: 3.8 hours, Mario Pauda
Max Lift: 900 fpm.
Temperature: Mid 60's.
Comment: Wave flying for everyone.
Tow pilot: Dan Gudgel, Andrew ???, and Luciano Worls.

A great day for everyone to see what flying the wave is all about. Some made it only through to the top of the rotor, while others got to see what a glider elevator feels and looks like.

Below about 3000 msl the air was quite rough and too much for my students to handle. It was so rough that the tows took so much longer than normal to get above that altitude. For most of the tows I simply gave up and got off at around 2500-2600 msl. After going up through, and down through for eight training flights, my own patience was a bit frazzled. However, once above, the air was laminar smooth and most had fun flying in the wave. After sixteen times in that rough air, my control arm was complaining a bit and my right palm got a bit sore.

Jennifer Bauman and Troy Wollman did the smart thing and flew together in the Orange Crush, spelling each other during the flight. Since they were up for nearly three hours, they had forgotten how rough the sub-ridge air could be. They made it down with no trouble but on the patio they well remembered how difficult the transition was through and down to a landing.

Russ Genet and I were up first and we managed to get into the wave and up to 5300 msl. We could have gone higher but realized that there were others waiting for their rides since I had been scheduled every hour from 9 am to 5 pm. Fortunately two time slots cancelled and made it a bit easier to work everyone in that wanted to fly. Here is Russ's comment:

Hi Harold (and Russell and Don), 
Nice flights today!  Very exciting to ride the wave! 
It was good to have a crosswind.

Russ Genet

Hi Troy and Jenn (and All), 
Fantastic!  I look forward to your report!  Way too much fun by everyone today. 
Cheers, Russ

Two newcomers were Beth Hotchkiss and Alexia (Lexy) Aguirre and neither had ever been in the wave. After suffering through the rough air, we snagged the wave and went high. Beth got to a bit over 6000 msl and Lexy managed to get to 5800 msl. Both, of course, were most impressed with how smooth and how quickly we rose in the wave. While most were experiencing around 4 knots of lift, both Beth and Lexy saw 700-800 fpm of lift in the area in which we captured the wave. See the accompanying photos.

For Jim Bell and Beth Platz the day was mostly about suffering through the rough air (rotor) and then spending time trying to capture the smooth air for a ride up. But after enough time had passed and their working hard at getting just above 3000 msl, we headed back down for another try at the tow and the rough air. Although neither got very high, the experience was definitely worth the effort and Jim Bell remarked that in learning, he was OK with it since he knew the future might bring such conditions after his solo and he needed to know how to deal with it. Beth Platz was her usual implacable self and wasn't too bothered by getting knocked around the sky for two flights.

Mario Pauda was the only other ship in the sky besides the Orange Crush for any length of time. He managed nearly four hours aloft and, like Troy and Jennifer, ranged around in the vicinity of 8000 msl.

It's too bad more members weren't out at the field, but on the other hand,  it would have shortened the flight for Troy and Jennifer because my use of Big Bird lasted all day with few downtime spaces to take advantage of. We certainly expect more wave days at Avenal and I strongly suggest members watch for the RASP by Alex Caldwell. His production of the data for Saturday was correct and could have been the key to whether or not a member chose to drive a distance to get to Avenal for the wave. I'm sure most members saw the chatter of emails concerning the wave long before Saturday arrived and the prognostication was accurate.

There will be more days like Saturday so pay attention to those all important emails a few days prior.

Dennis Lyons wrote: "Looking NE toward Avenal from my house, north of Paso Robles 12:35 today."
Russ Genet chats with Dan Gudgel and his tow pilot trainee, Andrew ???.
Russ Genet is anxious to see what the wave is all about. He found out at 5300 msl.
Mario Pauda joins the group at the far NW end for launching.
Russ Genet coming up on 5000 msl. He topped off in the wave at  5300 msl.
Russ headed back down when he reached 5300 msl just to give the others a chance at wave flying.
Russ is seeing 300 fpm lift but the lift was often much higher than that.
Beth Platz worked hard at fighting the rotor but we didn't get much above 3200 msl in wave.
Jim Bell had two flights, mostly in the rotor because it took so darn long to climb.
The cloud showing is the primary wave lenticular. There were secondary and tertiary waves east.
Beth Platz stayed around for awhile after her flight but headed home early afternoon.
Jennifer Bauman and Troy Wollman launching on their record-setting flight, for them.
Whoever was flying did very well countering the strong crosswind.
Off the ground and holding low, Jennifer and Troy had no idea how much fun the flight would be.
Beth Hotchkiss is just about to launch on her first flight in the wave.
Approaching 5500 msl, Beth topped out at just over 6000 msl.
The altimeter shows  just at  6000 msl and Beth is one happy young lady.
Yes, Beth Hotchkiss just had a wonderful, first wave flight in Big Bird.
Next up was Alexia Aguirre who was excited to see what wave flying was all about.
Note that we are just about 800 feet per minute going up in the wave.
The altimeter shows 5100 msl, Lexy actually topped off at 5800 msl. Notice Lexy's hand gently on the stick.
Late afternoon, both gliders are tied down after a fun day for most students.
The Orange Crush was the final glider to be tied down after Mario Pauda landed his 1-26.
With the sun below the West Ridge, the primary wave cloud can be seen with its front edge colored by the sun.
Here are six pictures taken by Troy and Jennifer during their epic wave flight of nearly three hours aloft:
Troy Wollman and Jennifer Bauman in the Orange Crush at altitude.
Mario Pauda in his 1-26 a hundred feet below Troy and Jennifer.
The view was magnificent from 8000 msl in smooth air, no turbulence.
On our way down from 8200 msl but regained the altitude later on.
Far in the distance one can see multiple lenticular clouds marking tertiary waves.
Jennifer and Troy are a bit tired but enthused after their record setting flight in the wave to 8200 msl.

Hopefully we will see more of you members out at Avenal this time of year. I remind all of you again that these conditions from now until March are ideal for training. Take advantage of them.

Harold Gallagher