Thursday, December 22, 2022

Final Instructional Day of 2022

Visibility: 10 miles, very hazy
Wind: Light andVariable
Altitudes: Release Height
Time Aloft: 15 minutes, maybe?
Max Lift: Pawnee induced 10kts+
Temperature: Chilly, probably 50s with fog early
Tow pilot: Morgan in the Pawnee

Final Instructional day of 2022.  Thanks to Kevin for coming out to provide instruction for the two students and to perform a 1-26 checkout for Chris O.

Larry was at the airport early in an attempt to continue clearing the remaining brush from trees at the arrival end of 30.  Kevin and I were trying to arrive around 9:00 in order to assist with the dump runs, but the winter thule fog had other ideas.  We flew over from KSBP in the Citabria and upon clearing Tar Peak, we could see a line of fog running down 33 that was 1/2 to 3/4 of a mile wide.  
Fog shrouding the airport early
Thin layer envelopes the airport.  Clear just across the street in town's "heat island."

We circled the airport for a bit and it looked quite patchy and very thin and in the process of clearing.  The palm trees and hangars were visible and you could see down through the layer no problem.  I set up an approach to 30 and at about 400ft, the slant angle visibility just went away.  So we climbed back up.  Stared at the clearly visible trailers and runway and thought "Oh, it's changing pretty quickly" so we loitered while it cleared up and made another approach with the same result.  It was clear about the middle of the Solar farm and west, but all runways were obscured once you were looking through the fog at a slant rather than straight down.  I made one more low approach before abandoning the idea and heading to Coalinga which was clear.  We only needed about 15 minutes on the ground at Coalinga for Chris to text me that it had cleared.  So much for arriving early.

Larry had made a few loads of brush to the dump in his pickup.  Given the delay in our arrival, I went to work on prepping the Pawnee which hadn't flown in a few months due to registration delays at the FAA.

Kevin finished up Chris's cockpit checkout for the 1-26 and they got the gliders pulled down to the launch area for 30.

Chris took his first tow in the 1-26 which was my first tow in the Pawnee.  Despite Dan's "No zoomies" admonition during our Pawnee tow pilot briefing, a full power departure in cold, thick air with the 1-26 yields a pretty rapid transition to a steep climb attitude to keep the airspeed reasonable. Chis followed well despite my shortcomings in giving him a boring first departure. A standard box departure had us abeam the 30 numbers at 2000agl.  Damn!

Chris in Good position on one of his higher tows

Brandon and Kevin flew several sorties.  Starting with a high tow and progressing into some pattern work and rope break practice.  Chris flew a number of patterns and then some low patterns to continue work on the 1-26 sight picture and getting enough single seat time to qualify for the DG.
The western smokey mountains.

Kyle D jumped back into a glider after a lengthy break due to life getting busy and in the way of soaring.  His tows were butter smooth and it wasn't obvious that he'd been away from the 2-33 for any period of time.  
Staging for another tow
We wrapped up tows around 3:30 and put the aircraft away.  Kevin and I hopped back in the Citabria with fog closing in from the SE and got out of there just in time for a nice late afternoon commute back to San Luis Obispo.

Looking west over the foothills as we departed.  Layers of fog filling in.
The view to the southeast.

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