Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Wave Camp 10/10/16

Dennis sent in some pictures of his and Evan's flight in the Blanik.  They got up to about 14,000'.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Name that club member

This one is trickier than most.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Go Yankees

Congratulations to Evan and Dan, who flew to first and sixth place yesterday at the Region 4S contest in New Castle, Virginia.  In the overall standings, Evan is 4th and Dan is 9th, with two days to go.

Here is what a flight in southern Virginia looks like when the ridges aren't working (northeast wind yesterday).  The 4-turn Task took the pilots to the northeast originally, with a return from the southwest.

At the bottom of the image above, you can see Dan's last climb before his final glide. He really needed it:

And here's a closeup of that climb:

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Field landing

Dan landed out in a nice field yesterday. He and Evan are at the Region 4 South contest in New Castle, Virginia. The contest runs through the weekend, and the results are published on the SSA website.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

First flight of DG in DG

Congratulations to Don Graber for his first flight in his new DG-300!

Friday, September 16, 2016

Solo effort

It isn't easy to go soaring without any help. On Monday, Henry came to the field to fly, got his glider ready, waited for the towpilot to show up, and then had a nice flight. He writes:

A dew point spread in the high 20s and the sky was completely blue. Postponed launch until after 2:00 waiting for some cloud development but none developed anywhere near the field.

I decided to get the rust off and see what I could find planning a high tow. Rick towed me in 3J to 4400 feet and after doubling back on a modest thermal southwest of the field I released. I got back to the thermal, and tried a turn or two with little gain so went shopping. Found a better section of perhaps the same thermal at about 3700 feet and put on 500 feet - then I lost it.

Moved further north over fields southwest of Tug and played with the thermals there, losing a bit all the time. Headed over to the lake to see if there was any lift there. No luck so came back towards the IP thinking that my ride might be done, At 2700 feet, I found the best lift of the day over the east edge of airport and got 200 fpm all the way back up to 4500 feet.

In straight flight I would occasionally see 400 or even 500 fpm for a brief moment but never found it while circling. Now I was high and saw the big fields of the Connecticut River beckoning so went over to try them. Went east and then north almost to the Fairlee bridge with nothing better than holding even. Time to get back home as the field was looking low on my glide slope. When I got to the east side of the airport I had 2300 feet , maybe enough to just get to the IP at 1900. I circled twice to to see if I could gain a bit of altitude but not much there.

I had sat long enough on the thin cushion I have to use to fit in 3J and decided to enter a long downwind with a lot of spoiler to burn off my height. Good landing, coming to rest at the windsock.

Later Brian helped me tow it to tie down. 1 hour and 30 minutes in the air!

So don't be afraid of sharpening your skills on a blue day. Just take a high tow. I am glad I did.

Monday, September 12, 2016

911 Wave Flight

Wave season has started (AT).

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Tricky Grass Field

I wonder what these guys would have done if they had encountered Echo Alpha in the pattern.

You can't be too careful at a tricky grass field, especially one surrounded by hills and full of gliders.

On departure, our visitors downgraded us from tricky to scary. They're welcome back any time.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

First XC by Mark Hopkins

I flew my first x-country flight on Saturday with Greg Hanlon (JD). I took a 3K tow and parked under a dark cloud to the south of Tug. The lift was weak, but I managed to work up to 4100’ or so. The cloud base was probably 4500’, but couldn’t make it. Our task was to head NE so I flew a few miles to a spot on the north side of the airport to wait for Greg. He joined me soon and we headed to the ridge between PM and the river and tried to gain as much altitude as possible for crossing the desert between PM and the first clouds over near Cube. I circled awhile under a decent cloud and got up to 4500’ or so. At this point Greg said there was nothing to be gained by waiting. He pointed out that we had Dean by 2000’ or so, although there was a substantial disagreement between JD’s glide computer and mine - mine said Dean by 1500’ (Greg had put my polar into his computer, which was really thoughtful of him). I definitely would not have made the jump if I were by myself, but having Greg’s experience and coaching made all the difference. I was very surprised that once I committed to Dean I didn’t think about PM again. We worked our way towards the first mountains and found enough scratchy thermals to maintain our altitude WRT Dean, although my MSL was decreasing. Eventually, we reached the NW shoulder of Moosilauke. At this point I was showing 1200’ to Dean although Greg had me somewhat higher. I almost pulled the plug here and headed for Dean (I think I was down to 3500’). Just when things looked bleak (to me) we found a decent thermal that took me to 4500’ and put us in glide for Franconia. We headed for the ridge at the back side of Cannon and found plenty of good lift to take us over the north end. The thermals here were topping out about 5500’. So things were starting to work. Listening to the radio of the goings on at Post Mills where folks were falling out added to the excitement of having made our getaway. Greg was making things pretty easy for me, looking ahead, coaching constantly, and patiently circling overhead while I thermaled slowly upward. All I had to do was fly my plane and try not to do anything stupid. Over the mountains it was a beautiful soaring day with plenty of nicely spaced cumuli. We still stopped at almost every cloud to tank up, which I suspect Greg might not have done without me. But perhaps it wasn’t the easiest day either. So we flew over Franconia ridge at 5500’ or so and then continued over to Garfield and on to Twin Mt. I think I reached 6000’, my high point for the day, at one point. The scenery over the mountains was awesome. I really enjoyed flying along the ridges and taking a little time to watch the scenery below. Our goal was the Mt Washington Hotel, but the clouds there had a different character. The cloud base was lower, the bases were wispy and the area looked overdeveloped. At some point Dan Mac (EA) passed us on his way to Washington after escaping PM. Greg probably would have continued, but he thought things might get a little bit exciting and that I had had about as much stress as I could take. So we turned around and headed back along the ridge to Garfield, over Cannon and on to Moosilauke. The flight home was as easy as the flight out was hard. There was plenty of lift and we passed Moosilauke at almost 5000’ with PM in comfortable, fast glide. We got to Post Mills at 1800’ (just as the glide computer predicted). 
Looking back on the flight, I think that it has given me the confidence to venture out on my own. I know that Greg was balancing a lot of variables that I was just dimly aware of that made our flight possible, but the essential parts of the experience are to make the psychological leap to leave PM behind and make Dean (or Warren) your airport and then to maintain a sufficient reserve altitude to glide to each successive airport as you move away from PM and again when you return.  Having done that once, I hope I can do it again.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Brontosaurus vs forest

If you've never seen a forest being eaten, you should come out to the airport today.