Monday, July 31, 2017

SATURDAY, July 29, 2017. Ken Talovich flies in, has a demo ride.

Visibility: Unlimited
Wind: Light and variable from the E
Altitudes: 8300 msl
Time Aloft: 2.5 hours
Max Lift: 600 fpm
Temperature: 105 degrees
Comment: Too hot for comfort at least on the ground.
Tow pilot: Dan Gudgel.

Jan Zanutto and Rick Eason had an excellent flight in their new Grob. Here is Jan's story:

On Saturday the 29th Rick Eason and I pushed the Grob out and prepared for what I thought was going to be some ridge flying up over Black. The attached picture shows the first 15 minutes of our flight.

First 15 minutes of Jan and Rick's flight.

Dan towed us over to the power lines along Tar ridge and a right-hander put us into some nice lift. Within 15 minutes of being on the ground we were climbing through 6000 feet on our way to what would be the top-out at 8300. Nice! I really believe that the new black of Black mountain is putting off some strong thermals. 

We worked Castle, then tried pushing out into the blue to see where the line might be. Didn't really find it, so we lost some altitude and went back to Black to regain height. Then we pushed down to Orchard for a look at the Temblors. There were CU down along the Temblors, I couldn't really tell just how far and I thought I'd maybe try to push out to around highway 46 and see if there was anything that could help me make it limp back across the gap. 

Not finding much out that way, we pushed back to Tar, and tried going East toward Kettleman. Nothing but a sled ride out that way, but having 8000 feet to play with it was kinda fun being able to push out and see what was lurking out there, and then run back to regain what was lost. 

Great day, at about 2.5 hours, and we could have stayed up for twice that if we had wanted to. I have included some Instagram video links so you can see the breadth of the fire.

Hosing off the 1-26 is a nice gesture. All the gliders need it weekly.

Alex Caldwell and John Harbick are preparing for a refresher flight since John hasn't flown in awhile.

Ken Talovich on final in his beautiful RV-8. He's considering glider flight lessons after his demo ride.

Short final for runway 31R and Ken's RV-8 is in perfect position.

You have to see this RV-8 to believe how immaculate it is in all respects. The paint alone is artistic.

Neiman Walker in the 1-26, good position just above the runway. 

Eric Burlingame in Big Bird launching for a nice flight.

Ken Talovich's RV-8. The exhaust pipes are painted on, not real. Even the rivets are painted on.

Ken's wife, Tammy, is painted on a Vargas body. On the hatch cover she is crying because Ken is gone all the time.

Yes, even the machine guns and trailing smoke are just painted on. You need to see it up close to believe it.

Ken making a 200 mph flyby over the runway 31R.

Ken has a smoke adaption on his RV-8 that makes a nice looking trail after him.

SATURDAY, July 22, 2017

Visibility: Unrestricted.
Wind: Early from the NW, later from the SE but light and variable
Altitudes: 5400 msl.
Time Aloft: More than two hours
Max Lift: 1000 fpm
Temperature: Hot, above 100 degrees
Comment: Meeting on the patio early, soaring in the afternoon.
Tow pilot: Julie Butler and later, Neiman Walker.

The long burn scar from the Avenal fire that consumed the entire ridge all the way to Coalinga.

Luca Soares and Jim Rickey looking at the aileron and the hinges connecting it.

Julie Butler moves the tow plane into position for a hot day launch.

Those are the mountains where we typically go to get good soaring. Now Tar Peak is just a black ridge.

Joe Anastasio on his way to finish assembling his PW-5.

Jim Rickey and Troy Wollman talk over the condition of the tail wheel from the DG-100.

Luca Soares and Joe Anastasio going in different directions but with the same objective.

The trio are still looking at the tail wheel hub on the DG-100.

Niva, friend of Eric Burlingame, waits patiently on the patio with her young puppy.

Moving Big Bird past the patio are Eric Burlingame driving the tow vehicle and Luca Soares walking the wing.

The wheel hub had numerous cracks in it and will need to be ordered to fly again. Troy, Jim, and Joe all agreed.

Luca Soares watching as Neiman Walker launches in the 1-26. We'll see more of him aloft.

Hosing off Big Bird is Luca Soares and sure does make the glider reflect yellow much more brightly.

Luca Soares ready to launch in Big Bird for a renewal of his solo privileges.

Luca in a 3-knot thermal working it well and gaining altitude quickly.

He was able to convert the last thermal into a 5-knot thermal and we got into the cool upper air more quickly. Ahhhh!

Neiman Walker in the 1-26 below us and he's heading for our thermal, a good move for him.

And then we headed to his thermal when we saw Neiman above the horizon. It meant he was above us.

Neiman Walker above us in the same thermal gaining altitude about the same rate as we were.

We finally moved away from Neiman in the 1-26 and looked for another thermal nearby.

The very long burn scar from Tar Canyon on the left all the way to Coalinga.

All that shows are the uplifted rock patterns at the base of the West Ridge. That ranch house was nearly consumed.

A better view of the uplifted rocks along the base just northwest of Tar Canyon, off to the left of the photo.

Luca Soares after his very nice flight, thermalling well, and renewing his solo privileges.

Eric Burlingame on tow in the Orange Crush, nice and low in good position.

The gouge left by the tail wheel on the Orange Crush. Let's hope that during restoration that tail wheel will be fixed.

Carlos, Avenal resident, and student at Cal Poly taking a demo ride. He may join his fellow students and take lessons.

Yes, Carlos definitely liked the ride (we topped 5000 msl) and perhaps he'll be back soon to begin flight lessons.

Zach Yamauchi getting in two checkride practice flights today. He takes his written on Monday. (95%).

SATURDAY, July 1, 2017.

Visibility: Clear and unlimited
Wind: Southeast light and variable.
Time Aloft:
Max Lift: 800 fpm
Temperature: Plus 100 deg
Tow pilot: Julie Butler.

Rick Eason trying out his new Grob, solo this time, and had lots of fun.

And Rick had a lot of help from Julie Butler who braved the heat to help out on the launch line.

It takes awhile to get situated in that Grob for a big guy like Rick.

OK, the last items are handed over and his solo flights should begin soon.

Back from his solo flight in the Grob, Rick Eason is very happy with his and the glider performance.

Russ Genet, back from world travels and soaring flights elsewhere, adapts to the Orange Crush.

Erich Harding just after a nice flight in the Orange Crush. He is really getting good at glider control.

Luca Soares hasn't flown solo for awhile and wanted a few training flights to restore skill and confidence.

Luca Soares about ready to launch on a good training flight.

Russ Genet taking a second flight because he wasn't happy with his performance on the first flight today.

Sergio Grajeda helps his father get belted in for a nice, Father-Son afternoon of flying.

You can't miss knowing these two are father and son. Look at the amazing resemblance.

Now they are just about to launch and Sergio looks happy taking his dad for a glider ride.