Monday, August 8, 2016

SATURDAY, August 6, 2016. Hot but not unbearable. Training and cross country.

Visibility: Unlimited
Wind: Southeast @ 7 kts.
Altitudes: 9500 + msl
Time Aloft: 4 houts +
Max Lift: 10 knots
Temperature: 101 deg F.
Comment: Takeoffs from runway 13L
Tow pilot: Jim Rickey

Hot but not as hot as last Saturday. Bearable in the shade but not so much in the direct sunlight. Hanging around under the wings of gliders helped make the day easier. Naturally the complication was the wind which forced us to relocate to runways 13. I shouldn't complain too much since these issues are characteristic of the Central Valley in August. The weather is why I moved here in 1978 and I'm still thankful that when the heat hits 100, the humidity stays mercifully low. The Weather Channel app for the iPhone shows the weather and what the temperature actually feels like. In this area, those two numbers are the same because of the low humidity. One recent measurement from Chicago showed a temperature of 92 deg F with a humidity of 70%. So, the tag line "Feels like ... " showed 106 deg F for the Chicago area. I've been telling my relatives that for the 40 years I've been here in California. But on to the story ...

Here is Carl Engel's quick note about his and Jeff Richardson's flight. Carl in his Discus and Jeff in the DG100.


No big story for Saturday's flights.  Jeff and I spent the afternoon running between Black, Lookout, and Orchard Peak trying to track the blue convergence with marginal success.  Max altitude was 9,500 ft (top of the smoke layer) and duration was a little over 4 hours.  A few strong (and turbulent) thermals with peaks over 10kts, but most in the 4-6 kt range.

No pictures from me this week either, sorry!


Joe Anastasio flew the PW-5 for long enough in the heat and returned after canvassing the area from North to South.

Andrew Palmer and Luca Soares are in the training mode with both nearing solo. Andrew is closer only because we've done more maneuvers but after today, we brought Luca up to speed on the required maneuvers with just two to go. I expect both of them to solo within the next few weekends, largely dependent on the weather, rough air, and wind. Both have been handling the rough air and wind quite well so I expect only a major increase in any of those parameters would shut down a solo attempt.

Andrew Palmer brought his Aunt out to Avenal for a ride with Troy Wollman. Actually, Ruchira Nageswaran looked like Andrew's younger sister. She's an Architect from San Francisco and has been in practice for 20 years. Attended the University of Notre Dame where my own father graduated in 1927!!

Troy Wollman flew a number of flights with passengers including Ruchira and Tiffany, both of whom enjoyed the flight but not the heat and maneuvering. Tiffany indicated she'll learn to fly, and Ruchira began thinking of it since she said she has always wanted to learn to fly.

Jim Rickey, as usual, towed all day, and finally was able to launch in late afternoon, unfortunately after many of the strong thermals had moved on to unknown parts. But he didn't seem too unhappy. He and a few others hung around the field until the last two flights arrived.

Jeff Richardson showing Don Flinn the finer points of assembling the DG100 with Carsten Moeller watching.
Joe Anastasio and Larry Johnson in the distance were preparing to assemble the PW-5.
All three cross country ships are nearly assembled and ready for an afternoon of chasing thermals.
First up today is Mike Paoli in the Orange Crush launching from the northwest end.
This is the critical part of the tow that requires intense concentration as shown by Mike's countenance.
Andrew Palmer, Ruchira Nageswaran, and "Big Jim" Rickey.
Me, Andrew Palmer, and Big Jim Rickey.
Looks like the Cal Poly group needs a tumbleweed removal day here at Avenal.
Jim Rickey talking to Joe Anastasio about where and how high did he want to be towed.
Carl's Discus and Jeff's DG100 moved to the northwest end for imminent launching.
Tiffany crewing for Carl Engel and Jeff Richardson.
Carl opening the canopy and starting the launch process with his Discus.
Don Flinn digging deep to hook up Andrew Palmer in the Orange Crush.
Thanks for the hookup, Don, and we are now ready to launch.
Carl Engel launching southeast down runway 13L, Jim Rickey towing.
They got off the ground with plenty of altitude as they passed over the fence southeast.
I think the CZ represents CARLZ glider, a beautiful Discus.
And Carl is off on another nice long cross country flight north and south of the gliderport.
This time it is Jeff Richardson in the DG100 almost too quick for a good photograph.
Another launch for Big Bird with Troy Wollman taking Tiffany up for another flight.
After a long day of towing, it's finally Big Jim's turn to enjoy whatever thermals remain in late afternoon.

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