Tuesday, May 29, 2018

XC "Camp" Weekend May 26-27

Visibility:10 mi
Wind:5-10 N
Altitudes: 8K
Time Aloft: 5 hours
Tow pilot: Kyle, Jim and Karl

Thank you to everyone who came out over the weekend to fly and socialize. We had a later than intended pilot's meeting on Saturday and everyone decided to see where the day would take us rather than set a task. The resulting flights were varied with several gliders heading south to toward Cuyama Valley, several heading north toward Panoche, and only one taker for the valley (me in XD).

The most notable flights were freshly rated Commercial Pilot Neiman Walker with a nearly 5 hour flight in his new Libelle and Carl Engel successfully completing his first off-airport landing in a field just west of Paramount Farms (aka Wonderful).

Discus Party

Clouds dotted the sky throughout the day and temperatures were perfect for a evening BBQ. Ramy Yanetz from the Hollister group flying out of Panoche landed just as we were starting dinner and quickly got an aero retrieve back to Panoche.

Karl examines Ramy's ASG-29 18m complete with ADSB Out.  Drool worthy.

Carl Engel returns from his first off-airport land out thanks to awesome ground crew Bennett Diamond and Erik Rinell

BBQ sausages and salad with Brownies for dessert

Several of us camped out on the field and shared an awesome breakfast in the morning (thank you Mario).

Mario, Marc and Richard cooking up some incredible breakfast burrito fixins.

Sunday was a much drier day with more plentiful sink. There were still many good flights with no land outs - Yay!

Marc did such an outstanding job working the line and helping out on Saturday, Martin was happy to give up his seat in 5H to allow Marc to get his first glider flight in 15 years or so. He flew with Morgan in 5H for about a 4 hour and 300+km flight over much of our typical range.

Marc, on the controls running the convergence over the Cholame Hills.  Are you sure this was your first glider flight in years?

Great showing on OLC for Avenal pilots: 

Saturday May 26
Sunday May 27

I know many of us were thinking of Jan while flying this weekend. He was a good man who contributed so much to the club in so many ways. He will be greatly missed.

Jan launching years ago in his DG-100
5H wore 7K markings and black wing tape in tribute

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Statement from CCSC President Mike Paoli regarding Jan Zanutto

At approximately 12:30pm on Saturday May 19th, club member Jan Zanutto launched in his personal single seat glider from the glider port at Avenal, CA. He reported established in lift nearby and was observed climbing above his release point. Approximately 1:30pm he reported via the radio that he was climbing in a thermal at 10kts. That was the last radio transmission that was heard at the gliderport from him.

It was a strong soaring day with multiple pilots enjoying long cross country flights.  Jan was an experienced cross country pilot and it was believed that he was taking advantage of the excellent soaring conditions.

When the last few gliders returned to the airport late in the day without Jan returning, 911 was called to initiate search and rescue operations.  Two members launched in the towplane to initiate a search before dark. At approximately 7pm, the search pilots saw a wing on a slope. After orbiting the area they located the main fuselage nearby. The position of the aircraft was recorded and relayed to public safety personnel.

Personnel from Kings County Sheriff and Cal Fire found the wreckage a little after 11:30pm and confirmed that Jan had been found deceased.  

Investigation into the accident is ongoing and in the hands of the NTSB.

The Central California Soaring Club mourns the loss of our close friend and our thoughts are with his family and friends during this difficult time.

SATURDAY, May 19, 2018. A Very Sad Day

Time Aloft:
Max Lift:
Tow pilot:

In Memoriam. Jan Zanutto

Saturday, May 19, 2018

SATURDAY, May 12, 2018. A booming day for soaring.

Visibility: Unlimited
Wind: Light and variable early, strong and gusty late afternoon.
Altitudes: 8000+ msl
Time Aloft: 3.5 hours
Max Lift: +1000 fpm
Temperature: Cool 70's
Comment: Too good a day for anyone to miss.
Tow pilot: Harold Gallagher, Jim Rickey, Alex Caldwell

Last weekend was one of the best lift days we’ve had in a long time. Anyone who went aloft had fun and could have stayed aloft all afternoon. I have added several interesting stories from most of those who flew that afternoon, and among them is Dan Gudgel’s granddaddy of all demo flights. You’ll see what I mean when you read his stories.

Wyll Soll was first to launch and he stayed up for 3.5 hours. Since Wyll is engaged in academic work his story is somewhat abbreviated. Here is what he wrote:

Hey Harold I am a bit too busy with school right now to do an in depth write up about  my flight but basically I got off tow into a good climb.  Then ran SE along the convergence line for about 19 miles until I got to a blue spot that I couldn't comfortably cross. I then ran back to Avenal and went up to Black.  I headed for a q w of EL7 but it was not working and I retreated back to the valley.  I then went north towards Coalinga but had to skirt around a lot of overdevelopment. After that I went back to Avenal and tried the mountains again but they were not working and then I hung around near Avenal for a bit and then landed with a solid 15 kt headwind on 25.  Here is a link to my trace on OLC:

Wyll's trace of his flight showing all the places he stopped to thermal.

Mario Pauda also went up and here is what he wrote:

Hi Harold,

I had a nice flight after you towed me 2000 ft over the Kettleman Hills, right into the convergence zone.

The cu’s were lined up all the way to Coalinga, my task for the day. At times, the lift under the clouds was so strong, it felt as if I were “pulling g’s.” I found myself wondering if I should curl my toes, tense up my legs and grunt (ha!).

One cloud was particularly noteworthy: it had bumpy (bordering on turbulent) lift associated with it, and, get this, the cloud was rotating. Rotor? Perhaps. The rotating cloud was further west than the convergence line; the wind from the west was strong enough to push the convergence zone to the Kettlemans and beyond. So perhaps the west wind was strong enough to set up a rotor. In any case, I went back to the main convergence zone at around 5,500 ft.

Close to Coalinga, the cu’s had overdeveloped. Sink everywhere. I took the attached photo of the New Coalinga airport from my highest altitude of the day, 7,500 ft MSL, and then headed back to the Kettlemans. I got as low as 4500’ or so before I found a good climbing thermal to make it back home for a 2.1 hour-flight. Overall, an educational and rewarding fight in  “Nothing Too Loose,” my 1-26 (that is the intended spelling, T-o-o L-o-o-s-e, as in “everything is just tight enough”). The New Coalinga airport is to the left of the picture.

The New Coalinga airport is at the left side of the photo.

One more point about this nice soaring day: Jim Rickey had a long flight in the Casper the 1-26 later in the day. He was gone for so long, Wyll Soll and I were wondering if he had landed out. When he finally made it home, his butt was frozen (his words). Evidently, the seat cushion he used was too thick. Jim, being the tall man that he is, kept bumping his head on the canopy. So, he removed the seat cushion and sat his butt on bare metal. He was wearing shorts, to boot. A cursory examination revealed no signs of frostbite!


Next up for a story is Jim Rickey who spares no words to convey an excellent flight:

I'm going to start my narrative just a little bit before I climbed in Casper.

My last tow of the day was Rick Eason, also in Casper.  Right after takeoff I spotted a good dust devil 1/2 mile west of the departure end of 31.  Went for it.  While in the vicinity of the dust devil I was seeing 1000-1200 fpm lift with Rick in tow.  Just as I completed a 180 deg turn to head back to the real action, Wyll announced that he was directly over the field at 5500 feet and climbing 5 knots.  Let's head there!  Wished Rick had a radio to hear the announcement, because at 2000’ AGL he found lift and pulled the big red knob.  Dang.  He was back on the ground way too soon.

I offered to tow him again, but he said he needed to get going, and asked if I wanted to fly it or should he put it away.  "Leave it out."  (I think Rick decided for me!)  I rounded up Alex to tow, he did somebody else first, then it was my turn at  4:27 PM.  Is it even worth a tow?  Might as well.  Rick stayed to run my wing.

Found a little lift and released at 2500' MSL.  Got up to 3000' MSL with a little bit of effort, then back down, then back up to 3100', etc.  Scraped along for a little while just barely east of the gliderport.  Surface winds were WSW 11-19 MPH with gusts 20-27 MPH on every report during my flight.  The lift was downwind of the gliderport, it was getting late enough I figured lift could collapse with a bang at any moment, and the headwind back to the gliderport was strong.  I played it very cautiously.

Finally got up to about 3100' over the dump, which gave me a little room to explore, even with the headwind back to the runway.  Actually got up to 3100' about three times.  The last time I was able to find convergence heading to the northwest from the dump.  As long as I was climbing I was happy.  Went up and down between 3000' and 5000' a few times.  Finally got up to 5100' at the southeast end of a run, and felt good about pushing a bit further east to get under a promising looking CU that had been parked there. Worked it for a little bit, then the bottom started getting lumpy.  Bound to happen.

I found either the same convergence line that had moved further east, or a second one.  Traveled in a straight line for a while at +2 knots, until I stumbled into some 6 knot lift.  Bank to 55 deg and take every advantage of it.  Rode that up to about 7100', adjusting the turn the whole time.  When it died (or I lost it?) scratched around and touched 7500'.  Not at all cross-country efficient to seek out the last bit of climb you can, but I had no thoughts of going anywhere.  Had pushed a little further east, continuously aware of the headwind to home and the thought that this rising air is all going to come crashing down at any moment.  Never got much further east than the ridge line of the Kettleman Hills.  Not having a working radio, and leaving my cellphone behind (because Casper had already claimed one touchscreen of mine), caution was the order of my day.

The flight did not start out too promising.  Compared to some of the earlier flights--like Dan's--it was nothing.  All things must come to an end, and the CUs were rapidly dissipating.  Sun angle looked like it was nearing 6:00.  Headed back to the gliderport, and found some 6-8 knot sink  Over the town I was able maintain altitude for awhile.  I could see all other aircraft were on the ground, and was able to keep 2500' for three east-west round trips over the City--mainly just to add another tenth of time. Heading eastbound the groundspeed was probably triple the groundspeed heading into the wind.

Entered left crosswind for 31.  Looking at the wind sock and the wind tee, I considered landing on 25.  Crab angle on left downwind for 31 was impressive, 30 deg I'm guessing.  Looking at Casper's shadow moving on the ground confirmed the track was pretty close to parallel of the runway, though.  Even running the downwind leg a little wide to leave room for high groundspeed on the base leg, the downwind-base-final turn was a quickie to avoid overshooting the runway. Impressive crab angle on final down to about 100' AGL, where surface friction started reducing surface wind to WSW15.

Rolled out at 6:15 PM.  What had started off as a not-too-promising flight ended up being a 1:45 refreshing blast.


Last but not least are the events experienced by Dan Gudgel on his one demo at Tehachapi and two demos at Avenal all in one day.

Here is what Richard Walker had to say about his flight:

Took off about 4:20 pm with a 1 hour flight. Convergence was over the Kettleman Hills.  I got up to 6400 msl and went south to 41 where sink was 800 and increasing. I  headed back, regaining altitude for a run to the north end of the hills. Cut over to the power lines then back to Avenal. Getting cooler by that time. Jim Rickey was still enjoying his flight when I landed. Enjoyable flight.


And last but certainly not least is what Dan accomplished with three demo flights today:

Dan writes:

Nice soaring synoptic pattern above:  Upper level low with its associated cool air aloft and yet generally sunny conditions for surface heating thereby providing a deep convection layer.  With the low aloft slightly inland, encouragement for onshore flow in the day following a dry-cold front passage also resulted in the deep marine layer along the coast to push air through the Diablo Range passes into the West San Joaquin Valley for shear line development in combination with thermals to high-based cumulus.

Saturday, May 12, 2018
     Timing is everything and today was no exception for me.  Due to weight and balance limitations I flew in two venues today, Mountain Valley Airport and Avenal.  The morning instructional flight at Skylark North Flight School ended up being a long flight of 1.2 hours in the Tehachapi Shear Line with a young USAF Test Pilot School Officer.  A coordinated long-awaited Spring Soaring Christmas present for Garrett Quade of Lemoore had been arranged for this afternoon at AvenalHarold towed me up for the “Demonstration Ride” in SGS 2-33, N3613F and about the time we reached 2500 ft AGL (3300 feet MSL), a strong thermal was encountered.  I released, centered the initial 500 fpm thermal and proceeded to climb to 8100 feet MSL with thermal strength reaching 800-1000 fpm in the band between 5000-8000 feet MSL.  From that point 1 mile southeast of Avenal, I ran a rough line of scattered cumulus with bases estimated 8500 feet MSL out to the west and not losing but about 300 feet of altitude during the run.  Not bothering to turn I continued to fly along the Kettleman Plain / Foothill interface working small cumulus-to-cumulus at an average speed of 65 mph indicated.   Encountering another strong thermal averaging 800 to 1000 fpm about 4 miles west of Avenal , I again climbed back to 8000 feet MSL and now proceeded to leisurely porpoise fly north-by-northwest to the New Coalinga Airport with few to scattered cumulus around.  About a mile southeast of the Coalinga State Hospital I spotted Mario Pauda circling above in his SGS 1-26 and took a few turns below him but the flight was getting long on time with another ride waiting so I impatiently pushed southeast.  The return flight back to Avenal averaged 75-80 mph indicated airspeed and still I arrived at the airport at 3500 feet MSL.  The surface winds were from 250 degrees, magnetic, at about 15 mph so I opted to angle-land on runway 31 and had only a short ground-roll in preparation for the next ride.  Garrett Quade had a great time on the approximately one hour flight.
     The waiting ride was a complimentary ride for Doug Spencer, Sr., a close friend of Doug Morris who has graciously allowed us to use his tractor to keep our weeds down and provided scraping for the benefit of the airfield operations.  Jim Rickey towed me off runway 31 nicely despite the 45-degree crosswind and north of Avenal City I released to work an encountered thermal at 2300 feet AGL (3100 feet  MSL).  The thermal was initially hard to find and center as it was “only” 200 to 300 fpm and small.  However, it soon developed into a nice 500 to 700 fpm thermal that I took to 7500 feet MSL.  From there I proceeded west to the Diablo Range and similar to the previous flight I followed a line that seemed to have more lift than sink along its axis.  Unfortunately, this flight became a bit more turbulent as the wind conditions were worsening so the flight was truncated for comfort purposes.  Still the flight lasted about 40 minutes and provided Doug Spencer an introduction to general aviation, and specifically to that of soaring flight!  By 4:45 PM PDT, the surface winds shifted back to the southwest with gusty conditions and speeds of 17 to 22 mph.

Dan Gudgel

Here are some additional pictures taken from some training flights and a few others:

Several Board meetings took place this morning and a fair amount was accomplished.
The three Musketeers, Doug Spencer, Sr: Doug Morris; Doug Spencer, Jr.
Dan Gudgel breaking the sound barrier on his way back from Coalinga with Garrett Quade.
Dan Gudgel turning left base after the Granddaddy of all demo flights in the 2-33.
Dan is setting up on final for runway 31L at Avenal.
Over the fence and the end to a spectacular demo flight for Dan's friend Garrett Quade.
Finally Doug Spencer, Sr., gets his chance to experience the wonder of silent flight. Doug Morris standing by.
There were still nice markers aloft when Dan and Doug launched in Big Bird.
Dan and Doug passing by the clubhouse on the way aloft. Doug had to wait a couple of weeks for this flight.
Still lots of clouds aloft and Dan should have no difficulty finding the same strong lift he found with Garrett.
Rick Eason decided to test the lift and he's readying for launch in Casper, our friendly 1-26.
It's late in the day and unless Rick catches a good thermal he might just land back and give Casper to Jim Rickey.
Richard Walker  just finished assembling his 1-26 and will be launching soon.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

SATURDAY, April 28, 2018 CCSC Annual Banquet

Visibility: Excellent
Wind: Light and Variable
Altitudes: 6000+ msl
Time Aloft: More than 2.5 hours
Max Lift: 5-600 fpm
Temperature: Mid 70's
Comment: Banquet a success.
Tow pilot: Not sure.

Richard Walker wrote a very nice summary of the day at Avenal but I failed to post it in the right order. Here it is, so enjoy:

Friday Rick Eason, Jan Zanutto, and I arrived to assemble their new Lark glider.  It went together uneventfully.  Pleasing both of them I am sure.  It now awaits a test flight.  Similar to the 1-35, but built like a tank. Just check out those tip wheel mounts when you are down there.  Dual O-2 tanks and military style regulator. Settings to 45K plus.  Now that is optimism.

Saturday while not a boomer of a day saw flights of 2.5 hrs altitudes to 6k or maybe more.  Of course Morgan made it to Merced and back.  Probably a bit more stressful than usual as he thought he might have to land out.  Down to about 2500' as I heard.

While there were clouds they mostly marked sink.  The private ships could get to Black usually as lift in the valley went to about 5k consistently.  Rick Eason and Don Flinn flew the Grob about 11 or 11:30 and stayed up for close to an hour as I recall on Rick's first flight.  The second one, ah.... not so long.  He got stuck in one of those down cycles.

Joe Anastasio had a around a 2.5 hr flight.   Julie flew twice, but I didn't get her times aloft.  Wyll Soll and Jerry Badal flew their Libelles and may have had flights similar to Joe's.

Kevin flew his motor glider over to Black and to Coalinga I believe.  I watched him land from the air getting back  in time for the banquet.

I flew the 1-35 a bit early for a .8 and put it away.  Seeing Mario Pauda getting ready for launch I pulled out my 1-26.  Getting low I found the house thermal which Mario joined me in and we thermalled together gaining 3k feet topping out at 5700'. Julie joined us for a threesome till one of the Libelles made it a four some.  Mario and I had a blast as we were at the same altitude staying centered in the thermal all the way to the top.  Mario headed toward Black with me right behind.  He headed north to explore along the mountain edge.  I stayed on course to Black not quite making it.  It is a 1-26 so headed out and tried to get to Mario who was a bit lower and closer to Coalinga.  Coward that I am I turned back for Avenal finding lift most of the way.  My watch says time to land if I expect to take this thing apart and make the Banquet.  Glider pilots' curse.  Lift everywhere and you have to come down. Even at 80 mph in the 1-26 the decent was too slow.  Slow up and full spoilers.  Still 5 minutes to full stop and a 1.5 hr flight  Memorable flight with Mario, Julie, and the Libelle in a gaggle.

Disassembled the glider with help from Jim Rickey, Rick Eason and one or two others.

Off to the Banquet where several members are waiting  and setting up additional tables for those to follow.  Some good conversation till everyone arrives and we order.  Had a very good meal, excellent company, and some fine people running the restaurant.

 Mike Paoli presented honorary memberships to Del Bloomquist and Mario Crosina for their efforts in the club and soaring in general. They each gave a talk on how they got into soaring as well as club history.  Very interesting talks from both of them.

Earlier in the day Jim Rickey looked thru Saturday's mail and opened a letter from the IRS.  He immediately consulted with Mike on its' significance.  Mike gave me the honor of reading its' contents.  IRS approval for our 501(c)3 status.  What a wonderful day.  I do not have enough space to thank everyone who helped on the 501(c)3.  However a few deserve special recognition.  Kevin for his editorial help in putting together a superior application.  Dennis L. for helping to get this back on track and pushing for its' completion,  Dan Gudgel for hounding me year after year about its status.  Mike Paoli for his confidence in me that signing IRS document wouldn't put him in jail. Morgan and the Board past and present who worked so hard on the final bylaws. The Club owes you guys a special thanks as they will reap the rewards of your accomplishment. . 

Richard W.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

SATURDAY, May 5, 2018. Jim Murphy Applies for CCSC membership.

Visibility: Unlimited
Wind: Light and variable from the N
Altitudes: 8000 msl probably over Castle Peak.
Time Aloft: 2 hours or more
Max Lift: 600 fpm
Temperature: Low 80's
Comment: Very nice day with enough lift to remain aloft for some time.
Tow pilot: Kyle Jason, Harold Gallagher, Neiman Walker

Peter Deane and friends spent the weekend here at Avenal. They were able to get in enough flying today and they were planning on flying again on Sunday. They brought some really beautiful sailplanes with them. Most of the onlookers were drooling with envy.

Peter Sahlberg passed his BFR with flying colors. Then left on a 2 hour flight described here:


Thanks again for the BFR and the check ride for flying in the back of the 2-33.

I did 2 hours yesterday flying between Black Mountain and the 41/33 intersection. I got some thermal formation time with 5T, which was a lot of fun.

I have attached a picture of the damage something left behind trying to burrow under the clubhouse. I tried to fill in the hole but I did not get anywhere near the material in that came out.


Something burrowed under the clubhouse and left all this dirt on top.
It turned out to be better than we thought at the beginning of the day. The bumps began early since Peter Sahlberg started his BFR flights first thing in the day. We knew it was going to be one of those days when you might not get too high but could stay up all afternoon. Too bad there weren't very many pilots out today.

James Murphy arrived and put in his application to join the CCSC. He and I went up for a demo flight and then later on he went again with Alex. Jim has about 133 glider flights and has recently moved back into our area. We're glad to see him back. Alex had flown with him probably two years ago.

Wyll Soll flew his Libelle but I had no feedback on how well his flight went.

Bob Crooks flew with Alex Caldwell, then went aloft solo to see how well he could remain there. I did see him back down rather early, helping launch Alex Caldwell and James Murphy.

Peter Sahlberg resting after his 1-hour ground portion of the BFR.
Doug Morris showing us his 1937 Pontiac in which he's giving Amber Spencer driving lessons.
Peter says the rainbow probably is a result of the water vapor left over from a launch at Vandenberg this morning.
One of our guest's glider all assembled and ready to launch.
One of the guest's sailplane was an ASG-29 from the Alexander Schleicher factory.
Peter Sahlberg on his first BFR flight that turned out to be a simulated rope break.
The next two flights Peter did well catching thermals and remaining aloft for as long as we cared.
This is the start of his third flight and although we got off at 1800 msl, we thermalled up to 2900 msl.
The Raven at left center of the photo followed us around the thermal until he out-climbed us and left in frustration.
With the BFR successfully behind him, Peter decided to use his 1-35 for thermal hunting.
Bob Crooks and Alex Caldwell had a nice flight together staying up in thermals for some time.
The nose of the 1-26 foreground heads a line up of other high performance sailplanes waiting for pilots.
Wyll Soll's Libelle in the foreground and the Standard Cirrus is next in line.
Two Tango, the ASG 29, is launching for what turned out to be a nice long flight.
Just about to lift off behind the tow plane.
Another beauty, the Standard Class Cirrus, on the launch.
James Murphy exiting Big Bird after his demo flight for orientation of the Avenal area.
Jim Murphy assisting Peter Sahlberg ready for Peter's launch.
Wyll Soll waits in his Libelle for the tow plane to move into position.
Looks like Wyll is ready. Alex and Jim move out of the way while Bob Crooks waits to hook up.
Looking across Wyll's Libelle, Alex is helping Jim Murphy settle in for his second flight.