Thursday, April 13, 2017

SATURDAY, April 8, 2017. Good stormy day, with lift over 10+ knots.

Visibility: Unlimited under the cloud deck.
Wind: NW variable from 5-10 knots.
Altitudes: 7000+ msl. Others not reporting may have been higher.
Time Aloft: More than a couple of hours. Morgan and Julie maybe more than that.
Max Lift: 10 knots plus. But 6-9 kts most of the time.
Temperature: Freezing aloft and I can testify to that from the 2-33 back seat.
Comment: Great fun flying amidst the great white halls of clouds like inside a cathedral.
Tow pilot: Jim Rickey, Neiman Walker


This photo of Jerry Badal soaring up to 7000 msl and touring among the clouds says it all about today's flights. We were so fortunate to have been up at that time, before the rain began, and while the clouds made hazy structures all around us. We were above the cloud bases at 5000 msl, below the cloud bases at about 9000 msl and between clouds in and around, never getting closer than the Class E cloud clearances. We didn't have to get close. The sheer size of the cumulus made it awesome to see and avoid. At one time we were in what I can only describe as a cathedral of clouds with one entrance/exit and the dome above us must have been over 9000 msl. It was breathtaking to be there and watch while Jerry marveled at the lift and the scenery. There have been excellent days at Avenal and this has to rank as one of the best. I believe there are members of the club that haven't been exposed to John Gillespie Magee, Jr.'s famous poem. Enjoy!

Wyll Soll running the wing for Neiman Walker in the 1-26.
Right into a magnificent sky on a John Gillespie Magee day.
The Orange Crush on final after a good training flight.
Just nearing a soft touchdown on our great grass runway.
Bennett Diamond on another of his well done training flights.
Bennett Diamond and Andrew Ochoa chat after Bennett's very nice flight.
Jerry Badal getting ready for his wonderful 1.1 hour flight. Andrew Ochoa helping hook up.
In no time we snagged a good thermal and headed aloft among the "footless halls of air", at 6+ knots.
The higher we soared the stronger the lift. This has turned into nearly 10 knots of lift. Soon it will be stronger.
We soared above cloud base, below cloud base, next to clouds, and watched clouds develop below us.
At 6000 msl, clouds were developing below and next to us.
This cloud was big and far enough ahead of us that we could easily turn inside of it and not make contact.
On our way to 7000 msl but while it seems clear where we are it really was a cathedral of clouds we were inside.
After awhile the lift was so easy we could concentrate on photographing other gliders.
This is Neiman Walker flying the 1-26 over the solar farm just NW of our field.
Jerry Badal nearing 7000 msl. Actually we got to 6940 msl before we just toured the area in and out of great lift.
Neiman Walker in the 1-26 searching for lift below us and found it soon after.
The magnificent clouds were worthy of a John Gillespie Magee day.
Carl Engel's glider CZ soaring below us over the fields W of Avenal.
Carl and Jerry teamed up to mark lift but it was everywhere.
More of Carl Engel soaring over the foothills.
I know. Carl again. But it sure looked good in the air, didn't it?
OK. This is the last one I'll publish today.
Morgan Hall and Julie Butler in the Duo Discus gaining altitude before they head out on a cross country.
After this I think Morgan initially headed north but after that I lost track of them.
Jerry Badal in a 10+ knot thermal heading up and up. Note the variometer.
Just having fun among the cloud formations but it was way too cold for me in the backseat.
It was fun watching clouds form below us, then rapidly coalesce and get much higher than we were.
An eight knot thermal was a let down after a few 10+ knot thermals.
It can't be  much more fun than we had at altitude just touring the "footless halls of air."
It looks like Morgan and Julie in the Duo Discus up high.
We were about 100 feet below our highest altitude gained at 6940 msl.
Look in the upper left corner. Doesn't that look like a tiny tornado?
Someone soaring over the prison complex.
This was the dome area of the cathedral mentioned in the first paragraph of the story.
I was frozen and Jerry was only "cold" since he was having more fun flying while I froze motionless in the back.
Richard Walker in front of his Schweizer 1-35 waiting for a tow.
Pancho Herrera getting his and Jerry Badal's Libelle ready for launch with Richard Walker observing.
Eric Burlingame up at 5000 msl in the rain while the lift began to go away and concern for runway mud arose.
Well at least Eric was happy washing off the bugs from the leading edge as we flew through the rain.
Troy Wollman had just returned from a nice flight and had student friends gathering around.
Jim Rickey turning final in the 1-26.
Jim Rickey short final for runway 31L at Avenal.
The end of the day and JB goes back in the box for another week.

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