Saturday, December 9, 2017

December 8, 2017

Visibility:          Yuck down low, 100 nuatical miles plus above the haze.
Wind:              Light, max gust recorded was 11 MPH.
Altitudes:         Whatever you released at.
Time Aloft:      Sled rides.
Max Lift:         Enough for the Ravens to soar in a tight circle up to 1000' AGL
Temperature:   Hit 71°F early afternoon!
Comment:       Training Day
Tow pilot:        Jim

As the RASP had predicted, there was no soaring to be had.  One time I saw a raven in a thermal at about 500' AGL, somebody else gave a later sighting at 1000' AGL.  Early in the day the haze topped at about 1500' MSL, and viability was fantastic. As the day warmed up the haze layer crept up, but the thickest part never got past 2500' MSL.

What it was was a great day for student training ops.  A very relaxed pace, time for briefings and debriefings, etc.

Bennett worked on on his check-ride prep.  Sitting up there in the towplane I could "feel" him doing an awesome job boxing the wake.  Instructor-towpilot planned rock-offs, simulated towplane engine failure, instructor induced slack rope, he handled it all just fine.

Wyll and Griffen are still in training phase:

Wyll was given steep turns on tow and followed them very well.  On the way down Don had him do airwork.

Griff was made to work on boxing the wake, as well as airwork on the sled ride "home"  and accuracy landings.  From my perch aloft it looked like he had stopped 2-3 feet shy of the cone that had been set out.  Great!

A very productive day for the students that came!  New member Jay came out and was enthusiastic as he always is, but we ran out of daylight, so he did not get a ride.  Bummer!

*         *         *         *        *

After one glider released I had time to snatch this image of the smoke from the wildfires that are ravaging Ventura County.  The smoke in the distance is approximately 100 nautical miles away.  If I had taken the camera on the first tow, a couple of hours earlier, you would have seen the smoke in a thinner, straighter column, towering about twice as high as seen here, with less haze obscuring it.

Smoke from Ventura County fire, taken just west of the Avenal Prison, taken 1:17 PST at about 3000' MSL.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

SATURDAY, December 1, 2017. CCSC Board Meeting

Visibility: 8-10 miles in haze.
Wind: Light and variable.
Altitudes: Release altitudes
Time Aloft: Probably less than a half hour
Max Lift: Reported up to 2 knots.
Temperature: Very cool, in the high 60's
Comment: Excellent Board Meeting.
Tow pilot: Griffin Schwarz.

For those of you who couldn't make it out here today, you missed one of the better Board meetings we've had. President Mike Paoli and the Board members put on a detailed, friendly, orderly, fact-filled, wide-ranging, and member-involved meeting. The Board members were prepared, confident about their material, anxious for member input, and the whole affair pleasantly and smoothly unfolded. Congratulations to all the Board members and to the members who attended and contributed to the array of information valuable in its content.

Thick haze predominated in early morning and did dissipate to some degree after 1:00 pm. There was some flying but not too much. Most members in attendance came just to engage in the Board meeting and that's a great sign of member interest and involvement.

Daniel Slezak did  two flights today and each one better than the next. He is progressing at a highly satisfactory rate and I'm expecting good things from him in the next few weeks.

Don Flinn took Tammy Golomb for two demo rides in the Big Bird and I assume she enjoyed the experience.

Bennett Diamond did some flying in Big Bird but that was later in the afternoon after I left for the day.

As I left for the day, I noticed the 1-26 being towed to the launch area. Then I saw Jim Rickey heading out that way so perhaps Jim did have some time to go flying, maybe to check on the newly installed instruments.

To understand the breadth and scope of what was discussed at the nearly 2.5 hour Board meeting, look for the minutes to be distributed when they get time to complete them.

Excellent turnout, interested members, smooth presentations, and a very friendly atmosphere.
Mike, Jim, and Pancho put on presentations that kept the interest of the attendees
Pancho Herrera is doing his best to get his arms around the club finances and billings.
Bennett, Griffin, and Alex all were intently observing the meeting and assimilating the information presented.
Don Flinn in the backseat taking Tammy Golomb for a demo ride in Big Bird.
Two flight instructors comparing notes on how we do things here at Avenal.
Mount up!!! Ken Talovich climbing aboard his RV-8 and then bound for Pine Mountain Lake airport.
Ken's low pass was so fast it blurred the photo and I nearly didn't get it all in the frame.
Another flight for Tammy Golomb with Don Flinn piloting from the back seat.
Daniel Slezak ready for his first training flight of the day.
We finished the first flight and now Daniel is waiting for the second. Both were flown very well.
Daniel Slezak up in the haze and nearing pattern altitude on his second, and best flight.

Bennett Diamond moving Big Bird out of the way until he's ready for his flights.

Friday, December 1, 2017

SATURDAY, November 25, 2017. Only a few souls arrived.

Visibility: Hazy but more than 30 miles
Wind: From the SE 5-7 knots
Altitudes: Release altitudes only.  Smooth air all day.
Time Aloft: Less than 30 minutes
Max Lift: Maybe 100-150 kts.
Temperature: Cool 70's
Comment: Hardly anyone showed up.
Tow pilot: Jim Rickey mostly, Harold once.

Post-Thanksgiving weekends are usually pretty lightly attended and this weekend was no exception. Just a few members made it out today so the operations were smooth and easily handled. Trevor Harding brought his son, Erich, out to continue his training. Erich is not yet 13 but is making excellent progress. His flight handling today was the best ever and he proved that he is determined to be ready for solo well before his 14th birthday.

Steve Schery showed up flying his Carat motorglider from Hollister. Steve's been a long time club member who also has flown quite extensively at Moriarty Sailport east of Albuquerque. He lives in the Bay area and works for NASA at Moffett field on some pretty interesting projects.

Jay Jaeckel lives in Newman, about 2 hours north of Avenal. He feels that the drive is worth flying at Avenal and has been taking instruction from Alex Caldwell. I flew with him today and believe that the only thing keeping him from soloing again (he did solo 40 years ago) is a strong level of confidence. He's got the skills necessary to fly safely but isn't quite sure of that himself. Jay will make it soon.

Ken Talovich is moving swiftly through the instruction curriculum and soloed the 1-26 today. He did very well probably because he flies an RV-8 which is similar in control sensitivity to the 1-26.

Jim Rickey, as usual, spent hours working on the radios for the 1-26 in his own quiet way. He's one of those gem members who continues to do club work when most of us don't realize how much he's accomplished. For that we are eminently grateful. Thanks Jim!!

Steve Schery taxiing to the far end of runway 31 for takeoff on runway 13.
Steve just at liftoff heading down runway 13 enroute to home base at Hollister.
Nice power takeoff in the Carat Motorglider enjoyed by Steve Schery.
Jim Rickey completing the final installation of the variometers and reinstalling the radio.
Erich Harding doing the preflight on our newest 2-33, N5722S.
Erich in the cockpit of 5722S at the far end, ready for takeoff on runway 13.
In flight Erich does very well. He's also making excellent progress on doing all of the tow.
We had fun with the aerial maneuvers necessary for solo flight but that flight is a ways off.
Erich just completed another good unassisted landing on runway 13.
Back goes the glider to the launch end but that wasn't far away based on his good landing.
Jim Rickey continues his quiet but efficient manner of working on projects for the benefit of the club.
On the ground ready for another flight in 5722S.
That completes two very good training flights for Erich and his progress is outstanding.
Ken Talovich is about to solo the 1-26 and I'm certain he'll do well.
Now that's a confident look. Ken seems pretty sure of himself and he proved it with this flight.
Jay Jaeckel decided to fly with me since Alex Caldwell didn't make it out today.
Jay's flying is very good and a few lessons of confidence will allow him to solo again after 40 years.
Jay is setting up for landing on runway 13 near launch end for one more flight.
Ken Talovich and Jim Rickey comparing notes on anything aviation.
Jay is about to launch on his second flight, this to pattern altitude.
Ken Talovich departing on runway 13 in his immaculate RV-8 painted by Michelangelo, I think.
Homeward Bound.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

SATURDAY, November 18, 2017. Good training, more demos.

Visibility: Unlimited
Wind: Light and variable mostly from the NW.
Altitudes: Not much above tow altitude.
Time Aloft: Less than one hour.
Max Lift: 4-5 kts sporadically
Temperature: mid 70's
Comment: Use of both 2-33's made it an easy scheduling day.
Tow pilot: Jan Zanutto, thanks for your time today.

It was a nice easy day for glider scheduling and towing so Jan had time to take a few photos during his reign as towplane King. Here are the four he submitted, followed by the rest taken by me during various times:

Jan named this picture "bb". You'll have to ask him. It probably means Big Bird.
And this one he called "aliens". Carrot field with circular irrigation west of the field.
And this one, simply "towing". The digital cameras all stop the prop in weird positions and shapes.
And this one Jan named "lard". Hope it doesn't apply to anyone in particular.
Don Flinn working with his student, our newest tow pilot, Griffin.
Nothing like having the club President, Mike Paoli, hooking up the cable with a few others watching.
Two good friends from Fresno, Bob and his son Brad Crooks. Brad is first up for his demo flight.
Brad is looking over the checklist while his dad, Bob, observes carefully.
Brad is observing the bank angle while we search for lift. We found enough to remain up for 34 minutes.
Here we are in a 4 knot thermal and managed to gain back 1100 feet after sinking low enough to enter the pattern.
A bit of exaggeration on the bank angle. Look at the horizon. We are in zero sink.
Brad and I are just about to head into the pattern after milking this weak thermal for 34 minutes.
This is Bob Crooks first ride in a glider. He's the proud builder and owner of a great RV-10.
Bob acknowledged that glider flying is definitely different than power flying.
We managed to milk the same thermal that Brad and I had earlier but this time could only stay up 27 minutes.
Sam McHam arrived from Clovis with his brother, Glenn and went for his first glider ride.
Glenn videoed the flight and let's hope it came out OK. Sam was having fun up front.
We did a tour of the area including over Avenal and Sam got in a good demo flight if not necessarily very high or long.
Back on the ground, Sam was exhilarated by the new experience. I wonder if he'll return someday.
Sam on the left and Glenn McHam are two very nice brothers from Clovis.