Monday, May 2, 2016

SATURDAY, April 30, 2016. Strong gusty winds; lift available but rough.

Visibility: Unlimited
Wind: 11G20 from the N
Altitudes: 7000 msl
Time Aloft: Three hours
Max Lift: 10+ knots
Temperature: High 70's
Comment: Good learning day for students
Tow pilot: Andrew Ouellet

Hello Everyone,

With very strong winds plus a turbulent cross wind, the day wasn't a good one for student solos. But it was also a very good day for those who have not encountered such winds to see how difficulty can develop quite quickly if the pilot isn't paying very close attention to the position of the glider both away from the field as well as close in flying the pattern.

It is easy to find yourself too far downwind ready to turn base and then find your turn to final practically stops the glider in mid-air, or at least it seems that way. And on the runway, with the wind tumbling across the highway, against the buildings, and through the trees, the landing can be most exciting. Thankfully most of the students took the opportunity to fly at least one pattern with an instructor and some were able to soar for a half hour or more even in the choppy rough air that often broke the thermals into pieces.

There were quite a few people at Avenal today and the 2-33's were in constant use throughout the day. Fortunately, Don Flinn took over much of the flying that Dan Gudgel was scheduled to do so we got all into the sky that wanted a flight, including several new demos.

Paul Scheibel and group moving the glider into position for Jennifer Bauman's launch.
Jennifer Bauman and Griff Malloy hooking up a video camera to the tail of Big Bird.
Jennifer adjusting the direction of the glider for a smooth takeoff.
 After her flight Jennifer Bauman and Jesse McClintock pulling while Luke Bughman runs the wing.
Paul Scheibel had a nice flight working the thermals as much as possible.
Don Flinn and a new Cal Poly student going for a demo ride in the Orange Crush.
Luke Bughman waiting for the tow plane to move into position for launch.
Luke found a nice 6 knot thermal and worked it up high.
Heading back down after 40 minutes but we could have soared all afternoon.
Tim Dougherty is waiting for his glider ride but already has a Private Pilot's License flying gliders.
He did very well so now, next time out, we'll work on his Biennial Flight Review.
Tim was only a bit rusty and won't take more than a few flights to get ready for his BFR.
Don Flinn on final with another demo flight as he did all afternoon.
Troy Wollman flew one flight but was cut short by not finding enough lift soon enough.
A rare sight today because both 2-33's were almost in constant use.
Yutaka Buto ready to launch in his first time in the Russia.
Jennifer Bauman waiting for her second flight in Big Bird.
Yutaka Buto behind the tow plane about to lift off the runway.
Yutaka had a nice flight and one that we photographed several times when below us.
Jennifer had such a good time her first launch she decided on a second.
Now she is ready and the tow line is taut, with Troy going to run the wing.
Our good neighbors, the Solar Farm, is coming along nicely with panels now being installed.
Jennifer doing very well on thermalling and gaining lots of altitude.
Yutaka below but gaining altitude and subsequently out-climbed us in our thermal.
Yutaka getting closer in altitude and having a good time in and out of thermals.
He's not as low as it looks because it was taken with a telephoto lens.
Lovely green background for the nice little Russia sailplane.
Jennifer has just turned final for runway 31L and will make a good touchdown in spite of the gusty crosswind.
Yutaka is disassembling the Russia while the Cal Poly group hangs around Big Bird.
Jennifer and Jesse chat with Troy as they wait for Don Flinn to get seated.
Another launch in late afternoon where the tows today numbered over 20.
Sunday, May 1st, this photo by Dennis Lyons shows Jesse holding the umbrella shading Jennifer.
A gentleman forever.

During the day, Ethan Ronat launched and was gone quite awhile. He had not returned when I left for the day but has now provided me with some information and two photos of his flight. He really hit a few boomers, showing in one photo that the vario was pegged at 10 knots up and no telling how much stronger the thermal was beyond 10 knots.
Here is what Ethan said:
Hi Harold,
Two more pictures from a nice run along Black Mountain and Castle Peak, in ridge lift as a result of the strong northerly winds. Also thermals were still strong in the late afternoon, after everyone had put all the club gliders away, peaking at 7000 msl at about 5 pm, over Orchard Peak.
Actually, if you look carefully, you see the Borgelt vario pegged above 10 knots, but you don’t know how much more. On the other hand, if you look at the 302 vario, it looks like 4 kts. down, but as you can guess by the other vario, it is a strong updraft, meaning that if you believe the dial is accurate at that range, it means it unwound to about 16kts. upwards!  
Of course it is only a peak vertical gust, and not something sustainable, but nevertheless impressive.

See you all next Saturday,

Harold Gallagher

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