Wednesday, July 27, 2016

SATURDAY, July 23, 2016. Hot, high, and lots of Cal Poly Members

Visibility: Unlimited
Wind: North @ 10 kts
Altitudes: 5100 msl. Jacob Mersino
Time Aloft: More than an hour.
Max Lift: 600 fpm
Temperature: 104+ deg F
Comment: Lift everywhere later in the afternoon.
Tow pilot: Luciano "Looch" Worl.

A good crowd arrived from Cal Poly and most of them flew either with Troy Wollman or with me. Troy was busy all day taking classmates for rides, most of the rides in Big Bird. It was quite hot on the field and for the first few hours of the day, the thermals weren't high enough to get to the cool air. Finally in late afternoon, three of us were aloft and we snagged a good strong thermal that took us over 5000 msl. It was good practice all thermaling together up that high. Fortunately, Andrew Palmer and I in Big Bird got to the thermal first, then watched as the other gliders, Orange Crush, and the 1-26, came over and got in it with us. Mario Pauda and Sergio Grajeda were in the Orange Crush, and Jacob Mersino was in the 1-26. We all maintained good, safe separation, and just at 5000 msl, Andrew and I left the thermal and went looking for other sources of lift. The air aloft was so cool it was hard to come down, knowing that one would descend into a furnace of air. Andrew and I were aloft an hour enjoying the cool while it lasted.

Jacob Mersino in the 1-26, Mario Pauda & Sergio Grajeda in Orange Crush, and Andrew Palmer flying the Big Bird. They were closer than the photo shows but safely separated.

Kudos to Richard Walker for getting there early and immediately starting work on the 1-26 to replace the wheel bearings, which he did and for that, all of us are grateful. Thanks a heap, Richard. He was helped by Sergio early on, getting the old wheel off the glider, and putting it back on. Thanks, Sergio.

Andrew Palmer continues to progress and seems likely that he'll solo in just a few more short flights. There were a few new Cal Poly members at Avenal today, and perhaps we'll get an update on this story from someone who knew the names and curriculum of those present.

Luciano Worl (Looch) did his usual strong towing today, hardly stopping for a rest. I know it must have been hot inside the tow plane but Looch didn't complain at all. This is another of several weekends that he has volunteered to tow and we are all thankful for his efforts. Great job, Looch.

Peter and Jacob Mersino prepare to preflight the Orange Crush.
A large group of Cal Poly students arranging to haul Big Bird to the launch area.
I'm sitting in the front seat for a back seat refresher flight for Jacob Mersino.
Jacob Mersino taking his sister-in-law, Elisabeth, for her first glider ride. Scott and Peter waiting.
The Mersino family ready to launch Jacob and Elisabeth. Scott Mersino to the left.
It was a good flight, 30 minutes, and Scott's wife, Elisabeth, enjoyed it all.
Troy Wollman and Lucca finished their flight in Big Bird.
Lucas waiting patiently on the patio for his turn aloft, with Troy Wollman.
Mario Pauda in the back seat, Sergio Grajeda in the front seat, ready to launch.
Tiffany getting a lesson from Troy Wollman on how to run a wing.
Now it's Tiffany's turn to go up with Troy in Big Bird.
Jacob Mersino flying the 1-26 enroute to an hour plus flight, and sharing a thermal with two other gliders.
Tiffany learned how to run a wing and boy did she run it far. I thought she was going to the clubhouse.
And she kept going even after this photo was taken.
One of many good dust devils later on in the afternoon when thermals got us up over 5000 msl.
Beth Hotchkiss finally woke up after a good midday nap. She's talking with Andrew Palmer.
Big Bird landing on runway 31L after a nice long flight.

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