Sunday, February 9, 2020

Saturday, February 8, 2020

Visibility: Probably about 8 miles in haze below the inversion. Unlimited above the inversion, which was at about 3,200 ft MSL.
Wind: Light and variable most of the day. Out of the ENE late in the day,  at about 5-10 kts.
Altitudes: 3,100 ft. MSL
Time Aloft: 30 min.
Max Lift: 2-3 kts at times.
Temperature: 70 deg. F.
Comment: Dual control soaring simulator running Condor2 software at the field.
Tow pilot: Karl Kunz

We had 5 students that flew today from the Cal Poly Akaflieg group.  Will Beaudoin, Anthony Bellanti, Thomas Wolfe, Alan Lewis, and Lux Vadakin all flew.  Everybody got 2 flights in. One of Alan Lewis's flights was a shortened one, with a practice rope break he got because he's ready for that phase of training. Otherwise,  we towed to 2,000 ft. AGL,  2,500 ft. AGL,  or on one flight to 3000 ft. AGL.   For a while,  we had 2  of our 2-33s  flying when Zach Yamauchi flew a friend. Also flying today was Luca Soares in the SGS 1-26. I think Luca flew at least 2 flights in the 1-26, maybe more.  On one flight in the 2-33, we had some lift,  and climbed the better part of 1,000 ft. from our low point,  up to just a little over our release point at about 3,100 ft. MSL, if I remember correctly. On the flight just before that, we had some zero sink type lift.  The lift window for the day was pretty narrow, as on the next flight, I think we couldn't find anything. By then, the wind had also come up just a bit out of the ENE, at maybe 5-10 kts.,  and it seemed to put a damper on any further lift.  I thought the temperature also felt like it had dropped with the arrival of the wind. Perhaps a cooler airmass had moved in, maybe a convergence line had crossed over the field as the new wind arrived?

Zach Yamauchi brought out a glider flight simulator set up that's on loan from Truckee Soaring to the Akaflieg group.  It has 2 seats with dual controls.  It was made by Mike Mayo and loaned to the Cal Poly Akaflieg group until the Truckee Soaring season opens. It's quite impressive,  and must have taken a lot of thought and creativity to get it all working. My first impression was that it might have been made from an IKEA kit, as it's mostly wood.   It has an ingenious system of pulleys, cables and electronic sensors to feed control input data to the program running on the associated computer.  It's running a copy of the new Condor2 software, which is a giant leap in performance and the realism of the terrain and scenery over the original Condor.  Zach has asked that we use it only when a checked out Cal Poly Akaflieg member is present to supervise,  and not allow unsupervised children to use it, etc. It could be breakable if not treated with a lot of care.  I watched a couple of the Cal Poly flight students using it.   I think it is a valid way, with a supervised, well thought out training syllabus,  to practice a lot of training maneuvers that would otherwise cost a lot of money for tows, and would also require waiting for the right weather conditions, etc.  Thanks to Zach!
Thanks also to Karl Kunz for donating his whole day to provide the excellent towing!

Monday, February 3, 2020

Saturday, February 1, 2020

Visibility: Very good, almost unlimited. Some fog in the valley to the east early.
Wind: Very light all day
Altitudes: Release altitude -500 ft.
Time Aloft: .5
Max Lift: 1.5 kts.
Temperature: about 70 deg. F.
Comment: We got some very weak lift on a couple of flights and were able to gain about 300 ft. on one flight and hold altitude for a little while on the other.
Tow pilot: Nick Ferraro
Some funky fledgling ravens on our clubhouse roof a couple of years ago. Maybe title should be fledgling ravens doing the "funky chicken"!  Not shy, in fact very curious, but being closely watched by their parents in the adjacent palm tree.

Steve Schery preflighting  "Big Bird", SGS 2-33 N3613F,  prior to completing his flight review. Steve currently flies a Carat motorglider, usually at nearby New Coalinga Airport. He has previously had both
 Discus and  Russia sailplanes , which he's flown here and in Moriarity, NM. He is working part time at the NASA Ames Research Center at Moffet Federal Airfield in Mountain View, CA. He is a Professor emeritus, of physics, if I recall correctly,  from the University of New Mexico.  He is also a tow pilot with over 500 hours in Pawnees flying at Moriarity, and has also  towed  in our Cessna 150/150 for our club as well. He helped the club get our current tow plane set up to be legal to tow, which was no mean feat.  He also makes very good tow ropes and weak links.

Later, I flew with Alan Lewis and Lux Vadakan, both of whom made two flights and are progressing well. Sorry, I didn't take any more pictures. I saw Jim Rickey and I hope he may have gotten a few! Or maybe Richard Walker, who was also out at the field today. There was another couple there who's names I didn't get. I don't think they were flying.   We had some weak lift on some of those flights,  and were able to gain about 300 ft. one one flight.

Dan Gudgel came out and flew with Spencer Umney and Anthony Bellanti in 22S.  Thanks to Dan! He also finished the glider familiarization portion of the towing endorsement for Nick Ferraro.  I noticed everyone was pitching in helping to tie the gliders down at the end of the day, fueling and putting the tow plane away at the end of the day, securing the hangar, checking the water level in the golf cart batteries, cleaning the battery tops of dirt, and thecorrosion from the battery terminals, hooking up tow lines, running wings, retrieving and positioning gliders in the take off area, picking up trash, collecting tumbleweeds and other property maintenance chores. The operation seemed to go pretty smoothly with everyone helping out.  I'm not sure exactly how many tows we did, but it was at least 12, perhaps 14.