Thursday, September 28, 2017

SATURDAY, September 23, 2017. Two noteworthy flights from Jan Zanutto and Zach Yamauchi

Visibility: Unlimited
Wind: NW 11G15, but slowed later.
Altitudes: 10,370 msl, Zach Yamauchi
Time Aloft: 2:50, Zach Yamauchi
Max Lift: 10 kts, Zach Yamauchi
Temperature: Beautiful on the ground, cool air aloft.
Comment: Fun for anyone who went aloft.
Tow pilot: Dan Gudgel; later, Frank Owen.

There were enough members out at the gliderport today including Mike Paoli, Karl Kunz, Richard Walker, Sergio Grajeda, Carlos Grajeda, Eric Burlingame, Daniel and Doug Slezak, Don Flinn, Luca Soares, and other Cal Poly members.

A crowd gathers around the Grob where Jan Zanutto is preparing the glider for a flight with his daughter, Lauren.

Only two members sent in a description of their flights, Jan Zanutto and Zach Yamauchi. Both had very nice flights and here are their reports:


It was almost 20 years ago that I first joined CCSC, and according to Harold's logbook I flew the Blue Whale. I then got signed off in the Blanik and brought my daughter Lauren out for a ride in it.

She has been asking for a ride in the Grob and yesterday it finally happened. Lift over Black was very strong, giving us a climb to 9k. We pushed a bit north to the end of the CU line that went up the San Benitos. I could hear radio chatter from Santa Ynez, and one guy on his way back north to Hollister

Two hours later we were back in the pattern. The last time Lauren came out with me we arrived in a red and polished Ercoupe.

Jan Zanutto and daughter Lauren in the Grob with a tail-mounted camera. Great photo!!


Yesterday was my second flight in the DG100.

The rasp forecast looked promising but I was not prepared for the incredible lift over Black Mountain and the surrounding range. I took off at 1:40 and got off tow at the base of the hills at 2300' after hitting a 3-5kt thermal on tow. I rode that thermal up to 6k and then headed over towards the peak of Black Mountain. The thermals on the mountains were whipping up ash in tight columns that appeared to reach a few hundred feet in height.

After catching a few more 4kt+ thermals up to 8k, I headed towards the cu line that Jan in the Grob was playing around in. As soon as I was under the cu line, 4-6kt lift was abundant. I was cruising just below cloud base and ended up meeting up with Jan as he was heading back in the mountains to the west of Coalinga. We got a few pictures of each other and I continued up to the northwest.

The cu line started to thin out about 20 miles to the northwest of Avenal, but the lift was still consistent. An hour in, the lift was topping out at 10k and the views were spectacular! It amazed me by how cold it was that high. When I looked back at the rasp, it showed freezing temperatures above 10k! My XCsoar app said that I was nearing silver badge distance but I was disappointed to find out over the radio that a declaration before hand was required to claim a badge :(

I started to head back after I had completed my unofficial silver badge distance and by that time, the cu's had filled in above me. The downwind ride home was very low stress as I was able to stay above 9k flying in dolphin mode (I think that's what its called). I arrived over Avenal with 7k left and decided to burn through some of my remaining altitude by running down to 41 and back before landing. My total flight time was 2:50 hrs with a maximum elevation of 10,370'msl.

I am grateful that the club can provide such an amazing ship that allows newer pilots such as myself to experience a whole different world.

Jan and Lauren in the Grob along the Temblor Range northwest of Avenal. Photo by Zach Yamauchi.

Zach selfie, flying the DG100 northwest of Avenal probably near 9000 msl.

Screen shot of Zach's track from Avenal northwest and back to Avenal.


Ken had no written description of his flight but talked to me after and he really had a great flight for someone who two flights ago had just soloed. Seems he was aloft for 45 minutes and climbed to 5,300 msl. within the general area around Avenal. Excellent thermalling but as we all know, those guys who have had hang gliding experience, like Morgan, seem to have an uncanny knack for finding and climbing in thermals.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

SATURDAY September 9, 2017. New solo by Ken Talovich

Visibility: Unlimited with beautiful cloud markers along the mountains.
Wind: Light and variable from the NW/SE
Altitudes: 5000 msl. Jan Zanutto
Time Aloft: Two hours +.  Jan Zanutto
Max Lift: 400 fpm
Temperature: Somewhat cool aloft but warm on the ground.
Comment: Ken Talovich first solo in a glider.
Tow pilot: Jim Rickey and Morgan Hall

It was a busy day for Ken Talovich, Jan Zanutto, and Alex Caldwell, and a lot of other club members. Read the picture captions for additional information.


Here's a picture of Wyll Soll's mother,  Joy Soll,  I took during a demo ride I was able to give her on Saturday Sept. 9 at Avenal. We had some thermals,  and were able to stay up long enough for her to get an idea what it's all about. I also got to fly with Wyll, who has been flying up at the Alvord Desert in Oregon,  and has been doing auto tows up there with Don Flynn. He recently checked out and soloed  in an SZD-51 Junior up there. The junior is roughly comparable to the CCSC's DG100
Alex Caldwell

Alex and Joy. Photo by Joy.


Cal Poly Masters student Kajetan Fricke went soaring with me today. He arrived in the US from Munich only one week ago. He already has a private power rating in Germany and wants to get a sailplane rating. We got a good 2 hours before he had to come back to get his ride home. We were able to push up north a short distance while listening to the radio chatter of the Hollister guys coming south and GD making his run.
Jan Zanutto

Kajetan and the Grob. Photo by Jan Zanutto.
Karl Kunz assembling his ASW-20 for an expected long flight.
Ken Talovich on short final in his unique RV-8, flying in from Pine Mountain airport.
Richard Walker moving his Schweizer 1-35 to the launch area.
Jan Zanutto, Kajetan Fricke, and Sergio Grajeda gathered around the Grob in the background.
It's flight time for Kajetan and Jan as they get ready to move the Grob to the launch area.
It's wash time for both the Schweizer 1-35 and the 1-26.
The Headless Horseman, Ken Talovich, preflighting Big Bird before his big solo day.
Another headless pilot, Jim Rickey, encouraging Ken Talovich as he finishes his preflight.
With the big cloud markers over the San Benito's it promises to be a good soaring day.
A big gathering over at Julie Butler's glider trailer.
Jan and Kajetan in and ready to launch with help from Wyll Soll and Julie Butler.
On the roll, Jan guiding the Grob along the recently smoothed runway 31R.
Julie Butler awaiting her turn to launch, astride her sleek sailplane.
Karl Kunz nearly ready to launch and head for the markers already formed over the Temblor Range.
Markers looking good and Karl is anxious to get there as they continue to develop.
Julie Butler and Neiman Walker assist at the cockpit while Ken Talovich is ready to run the wing for Karl Kunz.
Looks like another glider is inbound so they will wait until that operation is finished.
Julie Butler waiting, Neiman Walker will run her wing, and Morgan Hall is the hookup guy.
Ethan Ronat is another of the high performance glider pilots who went aloft today.
Richard Walker likes what the skies over Black Mountain are showing as good lift markers.
Ken Talovich ready for a phase check with Alex Caldwell prior to his solo today.
Ken's a pretty confident guy after preparing for this day with all the necessary presolo maneuvers.
Ken and Alex about to depart for the phase check flight.
Wyll Soll running the wing for Ken and Alex.
Ken's in good position with just a slight crab angle to counter the crosswind.
Joy Soll and Wyll Soll basking in the cool shade near the launch area.
A glider not aloft on this beautiful day at Avenal, is like a Macaw sitting on the ground, beautiful but inert.
Richard Walker just turned final in his Schweizer 1-35.
Richard on very shot final over the fence enroute to landing on runway 31L.
Neiman Walker in the 1-26 turning final for runway 31L.
Over the fence for the left runway and a nice finish to a long flight.
Ethan Ronat ready to launch in his Discus CS talking to Ken Talovich about buying a glider.
Finally it's Ken's turn to solo. He's ready and looking forward to flying solo in yet another model of aircraft.
With Neiman Walker running his wing, Ken Talovich prepares for his first solo flight in a glider.
Jan Zanutto and Kajetan Fricke turning final in the big Grob two-place sailplane.
On short final and in good position for a nice landing.
Ken Talovich aloft in Big Bird flying downwind just prior to turning base, on his first solo glider flight.
Short final for Ken and Big Bird as he finishes his first solo glider flight. He'll do two more in rapid succession.
Richard Walker launching again in the Schweizer 1-35 while the 1-26 waits for another pilot.
Ken's not sure why this is necessary but he is a good sport.
He didn't want his hairy back to be shown but here it is anyway.
Nice going Ken, you did three excellent solo flights. CONGRATULATIONS!!!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Work Day

Visibility:           5 Miles
Wind:               Calm in morning, becoming 10 gusting to 18 around 4 PM.
Temperature:   96° @ 9AM, warming to 107° during afternoon.
Comment:        Good Work Day
Tow pilot:          None.

The RASP was predicting pretty good thermal lift today, and we saw dust devils all over the place from about noon until the wind tore most of them apart.  Yes, it was hot at CA69 today, but it looked like good thermals could have been found with your eyes closed.

But none of the people who showed up truly thought they would fly today.  Rick Eason, his son Matt, Richard Walker, John Harbick, Larry Johnson, Carlos Grajeda (Sergio's dad) and Jim Rickey were there to work.

Carlos continued his clean-up of the grounds--the premises are unquestionably the best looking I have ever seen them.

The others were there to strip the paint off of Orange Crush's metal parts in the process towards giving them a fresh coat of paint.

Rick Eason is power washing the bottom of the wing after the stripper has had a chance to do its work.
Larry Johnson is "painting" stripper onto the struts.
Larry and John Harbick are inspection for dry spots.
Matt is watching dad blast the old paint off.
Rick treated us all to an awesome lunch;  BBQ'd tri-tip, beans, macaroni salad, and garlic french bread were enjoyed at the lunch break.
Larry and Jim power wash the floor afterwards.
We did not get the second wing stripped, as we did not have enough stripper and running out of steam ourselves.  But we made good progress, and got techniques down so hopefully things will go smoother on the other wing.