Sunday, April 10, 2016

SATURDAY, April 9, 2016. Two BFR's and afternoon rain.

Visibility: Unlimited below the cloud deck.
Wind: Southeast at 5-8 kts.
Altitudes: 4000+ just below cloud deck.
Time Aloft: About an hour: Sergio Grajeda
Max Lift: 500 fpm.
Temperature: High 60's, low 70's.
Comment: No high performance sailplanes flew today.
Tow pilot: Jim Rickey, who else?


Cold, windy, and later on, rainy. That's about the only way to describe the day. But there was enough lift below the darkest clouds to satisfy most everyone who wanted to fly. But there weren't that many out here today, other than students and some work on the tow plane by Jim Rickey and Martin Caskey. It was pretty unusual that no high performance glider was flying today. I can understand that because the cloud deck was low enough to challenge even the best of the gliders. So we had fun with the two 2-33's because there was virtually no waiting for a tow.

Jim Rickey observed at about 5:00 pm the sound of a thunderstorm and shortly thereafter the rains came heavier and longer. So that puts our planned Sunday ops in limbo until we can assess the runway condition. There are quite a few signed up for tomorrow and hopefully the rain didn't soak in too much.

The colors of Nature are as beautiful as a 10 knot thermal.
The top of the Kettleman Hills is the best view of our valley at Avenal.
Main Street in Avenal with majestic mountains in the background.
Alex Caldwell's van making its way down 269 to the gliderport. The solar farm is ahead.
Nothing subtle about our beloved Big Bird. It brightens up everything around.
Sergio Grajeda on his way to a really good flight of nearly an hour, above the gliderport.
A promising sky, a beautiful glider, and a competent student pilot make a great combination.
Sergio doing nicely on tow behind Jim Rickey in the tow plane.
Peter Sahlberg completes his BFR with three fun flights.
Jim Rickey is always available for help around the gliderport. Thanks, Jim.
Martin Caskey riding shotgun for the trip back to launching on runway 13L.
The dark rain clouds began gathering over the K-Hills but there was lift over there as well.
Big Bird looks good from any angle. Here it waits launch when our tow is completed.
Strange that only the two training gliders were in use today.
Over the top of Peter Sahlberg's hat, the view is interesting of the dark clouds ahead.

After Peter's BFR, my good friend, Joe Oldham, arrived with his buddy, Joey, and they enjoyed the beautiful scenery and the launching activities. Then Joe and I went aloft for what was going to be two training flights but the rain came and we went ... back to the tie down for Big Bird. The mud was quickly beginning to attach itself to my shoes. Joe is doing quite well and solo now doesn't seem so far off to him as he gets more and more excited. With so much flying experience I suspect he'll solo in short order after demonstrating the safety maneuvers and knowledge of glider operations.

Alex Caldwell training from the backseat in the neon-like Big Bird.
And then the rains came. Finally a thunderstorm to soak the runway.

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