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.

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