Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Weekend, April 6th through April 8th, 2018

Visibility: Up to 20 miles in and around rain squalls.
Wind: Sometimes calm, otherwise from the NW at 3-8 kts.
Altitudes: 5500 msl
Time Aloft: More than an hour.
Max Lift: 650 fpm.
Temperature: Cool in the mid 60's.
Comment: CCSC Meeting on Saturday, flying only on Sunday.
Tow pilot: Jim Rickey and Harold Gallagher

It was an interesting weekend. Rick Eason and Richard Walker arrived on Friday, with Rick towing his glider back from Merced ready to fly once again. Rick has a nice motor-home and managed to sleep in comfort both nights. Richard shared the comfort rather than an outdoor tent or the not-so-comfortable couch in the clubhouse.

The CCSC board members were at the meeting on Saturday morning with a few other members who made the drive even though it was unlikely anyone would fly in the rain squalls all quadrants. It was raining pretty hard in Fresno, and harder north of Fresno towards the Merced/Modesto and Pine Mountain areas.

Rick Eason's panorama of Avenal on Saturday morning when we were deciding whether to head to Avenal or not.

Later in the afternoon when the rain had not yet arrived, Rick took this panorama of what we missed at Avenal.

Rick had this rainbow in mind but it wasn't as spectacular as he saw it in person.

The sunsets are always beautiful over the West Ridge at Avenal. Rick's version is representative.

Later in the day when the rains finally did head towards Avenal, Jim Rickey took this series of excellent pictures.

Jim remarked that the hills indeed looked as green as they do here in this picture.

Although Jim enhanced this photo it still is excellent for the cloud forms shown in the distance.

Rick Eason took one more sunset picture on Saturday as the sun reflected off the low clouds.

That all took place on Saturday. On Sunday, a few of us arrived to fly and a few flew their newly acquired and sleek "new" Libelle. Wyll Soll and Neiman Walker bought a high performance glider and took delivery of it today, Sunday. It looks to be in great shape and I suspect they are quite happy to acquire it.

Wyll flew it first and I was pleased to tow for him. He did very well and I couldn't even tell he was back there on the rope; he was that steady on tow. I couldn't stay around for Neiman's turn at the Libelle since Ken Talovich needed to get back to Pine Mountain Lake airport and I was riding shotgun in his RV-8. But I"m sure Neiman did as well as Wyll because they are both excellent glider pilots.

Here are the photos in the order in which things took place on Sunday:

Wyll and Neiman are learning to assemble their newly-acquired Libelle before first flights today.

Richard Walker remembering the cockpit image as Ken Talovich holds the tail in position.

Richard has all the controls memorized and ready to fly his newly-acquired Schweizer 1-26 for the first time.

With Ken running the wing, Richard is ready for first launch in the 1-26, N17949.

Rick Eason needs three flights to regain currency and he's taking them in the club's 1-26.

Jim Rickey is on final for runway 31L after taking Rick Eason for another of his needed three flights.

Ken Talovich is going to fly the 1-26 before he and I do a training flight in the 2-33.

Wrestling with the seat belt prior to launch, Ken is happy to fly the 1-26, maybe even more than the 2-33.

Ken is about to launch with the wing held level by Rick Eason. Ken is checking the dive brakes.

The Libelle is just about assembled and ready for Wyll and Neiman to fly it for the first time.

Jim Rickey had a better picture of the West Ridge but it is so beautiful in the Spring as to make two worthwhile.

Ken aloft in zero sink at 2000 msl but shortly snagged a nice thermal that took us to 4500 msl in constant 650 fpm up.

Ken really liked that ride since it was the first that he really appreciated how strong and continuous thermals can be.

Alex Caldwell, the Libelle seller, and Neiman Walker surrounding Wyll Soll as he prepares for his first Libelle flight.

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