Friday, September 2, 2016

SATURDAY, August 27, 2016. Two new Solos, Clark and Luca.

Visibility: 10 miles in haze.
Wind: 5 kts from the SE, then N.
Altitudes: 4000 msl
Time Aloft: One hour.
Max Lift: 400 fpm.
Temperature: High 90's.
Comment: Two new solo pilots, Clark Woolf and Luca Soares
Tow pilot: Luciano Worls, Harold Gallagher, Alex Caldwell.

Click on any photo for larger sizes of all photos.

The day started quite early for me, arriving at 7:20 am in preparation for Clark Woolf's solo day. In the morning cool air, Avenal seems a gentle, easy going, inviting place to be. Then the heat builds up, the activity increases, the dust is kicked up by the tow plane and the early morning idyllic setting comes crashing back down to reality. But we continue to fly, and train, and celebrate achievements, and have been doing so the past 27 years.

This morning Clark Woolf soloed. He could have done so on his 14th birthday but the FAA couldn't get their act together in time and Clark got caught up in the mess. Now of course, students CAN solo on their birthday with the FAA allowing them to apply for their Student license several weeks in advance of their birthday. Just a month or so ago, that wasn't the case. The FAA mandated that no student could apply for their student license at the earliest, on their birthday. Then they had to wait at least two more weeks for processing before their license was mailed to them. Finally after enough pressure was brought to bear they relented and figured out a way to allow students to apply ahead of their birthday. The solution didn't seem all that difficult to me but some bureaucracies just seem to make a mountain of a termite hill.

CONGRATULATIONS CLARK. You earned your solo privileges and made three excellent flights. Sarah, your Mom, said she wasn't at all nervous but as he launched for the first time, I thought I detected a bit of a quiver in her countenance but maybe I was just seeing things. Sarah has been the guiding force behind Clark's effort. She, herself, earned her Private Pilot's license (in power) in Spring of this year and set the example for Clark to follow. Now Clark needs a lot of book-work, and continued solo flights as the winter approaches. We'll make sure he gets both.

At the end of the day, beginning about 3:00pm or so, my student from Cal Poly, Luca Soares, also soloed and did very well. Luca is in the Computer Engineering program there in San Luis Obispo and is part of the crew from that fine university who come out nearly every Saturday for lessons, or flights, or work around the gliderport. But Luca admitted to being nervous. That's not only to be expected but I'd worry a bit about any student who was so blase' about their solo flights that they might miss some important operations during the flight. Luca didn't miss a thing, flew well, landed and rolled out, each time managing his energy better with each flight.

CONGRATULATIONS LUCA. You earned the privilege of solo flight by working hard, following instructions, and maintaining an excellent attitude throughout. Continue your solo flights until you qualify to fly the Schweizer 1-26.

There was a lot of activity during the day but I didn't get it all committed to memory. Here's what I remember:

Mike Paoli constructing an enormous launch ramp for the floor of his hangar. The ramp is just wide enough for the wheel of his Libelle and I trust it was installed without incident.

Carsten Moeller worked hard all morning cleaning the washrooms, and they badly needed it. He worked a bit on the clubhouse but needed help for that large effort and there weren't too many volunteers at the time. Thanks much Carsten. Those washrooms were a terrible mess and badly needed attention.

Richard Walker was on hand and did get two tows for rather short flights. The lift wasn't all that good today and most of what took place were training flights rather than cross country hops.

Troy Wollman brought a friend out but I have no more information on that.

It's likely I'm forgetting various folks who were here today but I'll have to wait until they contact me with their stories and pictures.

Clark Woolf about to solo the Orange Crush. He's 14 yrs + a month and a good pilot.
A few words of wisdom from his Flight Instructor and Clark will solo for the first time.
Clark's Mom, Sarah, who said she wasn't nervous (well maybe a little).
Clark on tow heading up to 1000 msl and will release near the IP.
Just about now Clark will release from tow and fly a good pattern back to earth.
Clark Woolf's first solo landing of what may be a long aviation career.
I'm really proud of how well Clark flew the three solo flights, his first ever.
Two (Luciano on the left towed Clark) of the three people who helped Clark make his first solo flights. The third? His Mom, Sarah is taking the picture.
Clark Woolf had to lose his shirttail after his excellent solo flights.
Carsten Moeller running the wing of the 1-26 for Troy Wollman.
Luca Soares is ready for his first solo flights in any aircraft.
Luca Soares on tow on his first solo flight.
Just like Clark, Luca is nearing the release point for his first solo flight ever.
Luca Soares second solo flight with Troy Wollman running the wing.
Luca through the dust makes a nice takeoff behind Alex Caldwell in the tow plane.
Next Saturday the temperature is expected to be in the high 80's and that's just about perfect weather for flying gliders. Since it's Labor Day weekend, perhaps a few more members will show up than were here today.

See you all then,

Harold Gallagher

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