Tuesday, August 2, 2016

SATURDAY, July 30th, 2016. Clean up day in awful heat. Some flights.

Visibility: Poor
Wind: SE 6-10 kts
Altitudes: 7300 msl
Time Aloft: One hour
Max Lift: 10 kts
Temperature: 108++ deg F  with a Density Altitude of about 4300 msl at 4:00 pm.
Comment: Awful heat.
Tow pilot: "Looch" Worl, then Jim Rickey.

The heat was awful. It felt like a hair dryer was right next to your cheek when the wind blew. It was one of the hotter days at Avenal I can remember. The wind not only didn't provide any relief but in fact it contributed to the heat blowing in every nook and cranny.

Most of the day was made up of many CCSC members who came out to work on making the grounds look better. Some arrived as early as 7:00 am, others came later, but all pitched in and worked hard while they could stand the heat.One palm tree in particular was trimmed so well by Morgan Hall and Jim Rickey it almost looks like it doesn't belong on our property. You'll see it next time you visit Avenal.

Dennis Lyons provided much support and vehicles and also took the following eight pictures of various members in action against the wild of the gliderport.

Jim Rickey responded about Saturday's work:

I want to extend thanks to all those who came out Saturday on one of Central California's finest miserably hot days.  When I arrived at about 7:30, a quick glance looked like there were already a half-dozen members working hard, and the old refrigerators were already loaded on Dennis's pickup.  More members showed up as the morning went on.  Many hands make short work.
What was really impressive is the number of members who came out despite having no plans to fly.  (I'd name them, but I'm sure I would miss at least one person)  They know that being a member of a club carries responsibilities to make a club work.
The grounds look considerably better.  While there is more to be done, it will wait for cooler working weather.
In the meantime, there were several piles of brush left.  Anybody may wheel the 'green waste' can over to a pile, or two, or three, scoop up the debris, and place the can to be picked up.  In a few weeks all the piles ought to be gone.
Thanks again!

Martin Caskey, Larry Johnson, and Joe Anastasio work the front yard.
Martin and Larry working a few areas of high weeds.
Along came Joe Anastasio with the lawn mower to make the cutting much faster and easier.
Sergio Grajeda also working on the front yard in dark clothes that should have intensified the heat on him.
Jeff Richardson filling one of many bags of cuttings.
Jim Rickey working next to a sign that desperately needs to be redone, and will be soon.
Mike Paoli and Pancho Herrera working on the north side of the clubhouse.
Morgan Hall using his chain saw to trim a large bush just north of the clubhouse.

When most of the work was completed, at least that which could be done without dropping from heat exhaustion, a few brave souls went flying. Those who gained enough altitude reached cool air and enjoyed the flight, until they had to descend into the furnace that was the gliderport. A few, like Andrew Palmer, are preparing for their solo flight and were simply doing pattern tows, in the heat. Ugh.

Most of the flights were made by Troy Wollman who managed to do four of them, taking fellow students up for rides. Later in the day, Troy snagged the same thermal that Luca Soares and I got into that took us up over 7300 msl. The thermal was still strong at that point but we had other priorities and exited the thermal.

Here's Troy's explanation of his flights:


I'm not sure when you left yesterday but I had 4 flights. On the first, I took my brother, Trenton, on a short flight. He was feeling sick on tow so we kept it short. My second flight was with Kyle and we were up for about 2 hours. We took a strong thermal up to about 6000 MSL and then headed north to Coalinga. We were able to take a convergence line along the foothills until we were abeam Coalinga airport at 7000'. From there we turned around and flew back to Avenal, stopping twice to top off in good thermals. We got on the ridge near Tar Peak and flew south towards Reef Station before heading back to the airport. Our bottoms were getting pretty sore at that point. I forgot to take my flight logger with me on that flight. We would have scored well for a 233.

At that point, the wind had picked up and was about 90 degrees across the runway. I did a pattern flight with Alex for some x-wind instruction before taking Trenton up one more time. We did some gentle thermalling by the dump up to 5000' MSL before the airsickness returned. I should have carried more speed on the landing because the wind shifted when we were about 10ft from the ground and the landing was harder than I would like for a passenger. 

Troy Wollman in Big Bird on tow with a passenger
Big Bird. Simply a beautiful looking glider against the blue sky.
Sergio Grajeda on tow, practicing another solo flight.
Sergio had several flights today and is getting closer to taking the written exam and then the practical test.
Another pattern tow for Sergio. I guess he thrives on the heat, living in Avenal.
Luca Soares and I on our way to 7300 msl where the air was mercifully cool.
Luca got us just over the 7000 msl mark and continued up another 200 feet before we did other maneuvers,
Most of the time, the lift was between 600 and 1000 feet per minute up.
The day was this hazy with all the smoke from the local fires in California.
The biggest and best thermal occurred right where you see that dust devil. And it stayed there all afternoon.
The thermal hung around that area most of the rest of the afternoon when the temperature was its worst.
Luca Soares did an excellent job of thermalling us up over 7000 msl.
It's been a long time since we've seen a Density Altitude (red numbers)over 4000 msl.

A few of us did enjoy the cool air above 7000 msl. In fact the height of the smoke layer I estimated at about 7500 msl because on our flight we were just getting out of the smoke and began seeing long distances.

This was not a Saturday to brag about because the heat took it's toll on all who were here today. It saps the energy out of one's body, leaving you not inclined to do much else except head for cooler air somewhere.

It appears that next Saturday will likely be nearly 10 degrees cooler and should make for a far more enjoyable day of flying.

See you next Saturday,

Harold Gallagher

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