Saturday, April 25, 2015

Assembly Day

Andy Lumley writes:

We had a good turnout, (I hope I remember everyone). Willy, Matt, Dennis, Tim, Sonny, Lane, Greg, Mark, Andy L., Bill Swartz, Henry, Steve and Dakai arrived early and we got the tow plane, a golf cart, the 2-33 and 1-23 assembled. The Blanik is ready to go but we didn't fly it today.

Here's a picture of the assembly crew standing in front of the only aircraft they did not assemble today.

Despite a very dead battery in the towplane we managed to get it started and did 7 or 8 flights to get Bill, Greg, Mark and Lane checked out. Others waited patiently, but by 3pm we were all pretty cold so we called it a day.

Tomorrow we'll continue with checkrides and when it gets a little warmer (and the water gets turned on) we'll get everything washed and polished.

Bill Swartz re-covered his Citabria fuselage and painted the entire plane this winter. Luckily he gave us a nice fly-by before heading back to Maine.

Monday, April 6, 2015

PAGC Opening Ceremony

The weather was beautiful as we raised the flags at the 1st FAI Pan American Gliding Championships yesterday.



And then the first contest day was rained out.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

The Seniors

Happy Spring!

Bill O'Donnell has alerted us to this video, showing some of the fun we had at the Seniors Contest a week ago.

There is a one-in-six chance that Rick is in the back seat of the Duo Discus in the photo above.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Free flight tests

One of the indications that our sport is in decline is the panicky removal of financial barriers for aspiring glider pilots.

It's a good news/bad news story.  The good news is that there are some opportunites for free flight tests out there.  The bad news is that these initiatives are necessary.

The first one is from Burt Compton from the Soaring Safety Foundation.  If you were around a dozen years ago, you will remember that we invited Burt to Post Mills to conduct one of SSF's Safety Seminars. That was fun; we should do it again.

Burt is well-known for his promotion of the sport of soaring.  He lives in Texas and is personally responsible for putting Marfa back on the map as a major US soaring site, after it had fallen into decline.  He runs a commercial operation, Marfa Gliders on the municipal airport north of town (not the Army Air Force base in the movie).

Anyway, Burt is offering free flight tests for any glider rating.  All you have to do is show up in Marfa.  He'll even put you up for free. Details here. Marfa is a truly wonderful place, for reasons ranging from aesthetic to supernatural, with gliding in the middle somewhere.

The other opportunity is a little closer to home.

Last year, the state of Vermont, at the request of CAP and other interested parties, sponsored a week long training clinic for Flight Instructor applicants.  It was a howling success.  It produced a handful of new CFIs, and the best part is that they want to do it again.

The details are still being worked out, but in a nutshell, if you are a Private or Commercial pilot who has passed all the required Knowledge Tests and show up for the late summer clinic (somewhere in Vermont, probably Springfield), you will receive all the ground and flight instruction you need and a flight test, all at no cost to you. You will then be a CFI, subject to all the privileges and abuse you have envied in others all these years.

You don't have the Knowledge Tests under your belt, you say? We've got that covered, too. There will be a PMSC-sponsored ground school to help get you through those tests.  Paul has sent out the announcement on the club email list.  Basically it says to contact Paul or Rick if you're interested.

Movie recommendations

It's winter, right? It's the season when we spend a lot of time indoors. Time to break out the DVD movies and watch the good ones again.

The best gliding movie ever made was The Sun Ship Game.  How many of these facts about the movie did you know:
  • It was made by a serious film maker.
  • It is not about the World Championships in Marfa.
  • It features the only known footage of a 2-32 in a gliding competition.
  • It starts out in Vermont.
  • It proves that people were once allowed on the roof of the building at Sugarbush.
  • Lebanon airport appears in a scene.
  • Smoking was cool in 1969.

It was such a good movie that parts of it are excerpted in the second best soaring movie ever made, A Fine Week of Soaring.  This one gets a thumbs up from the weird guy doing gliding movie reviews on YouTube. It takes place at Mifflin County Airport, in Pennsylvania, which some of us have visited.

Every self-respecting glider pilot should own both of these classic films. They are available for purchase here and here (other places as well). Under extraordinary circumstances, you might be allowed to borrow Rick's copies.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Wind map 3

Here is another wind map website.

Now there are three of these (links in the right column of the blog). Which one is your favorite?

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Disassembly Day

Time to hibernate again.  See you in 2015!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Number 600

A milestone was reached yesterday.  Dakai and Lane took to the air on the  600th (and likely final) flight of the 2014 PMSC season.  This is a club record for the number of flights in a year.

Andy, who is always ready with his camera to record historical occasions, took this action-packed photo of the pilot, the copilot, and the ground crew, just before the momentous flight occurred:

There is actually something interesting to note in the photo.  The glider was lined up for takeoff on Runway 5.  The late-afternoon (2:00 pm!) sun is shining directly down the runway, which happens only this time of year.  We had to use improvised launch signals, because Andy could not see the glider from the towplane!

Six hundred flights is a lot, for a small club.  Congratulations everybody!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Weekend report November 8 - 9

We're definitely winding down.  This weekend, two pilots showed up to fly and four pessimists showed up to take their gliders home for the season.

The pilots, Bill O and Dakai, flew the 2-33 eight times between them.  The weather was not very good either day, but that gave us more opportunity for ground school and other excuses to stand around and talk, and it allowed us to choose our takeoff times without any pressure.

It was fun to observe Bill getting used to the 2-33, which is new to him. It was Bill's last weekend at Post Mills, and we look forward to seeing him in the Spring.  And we're envious that he'll be spending the winter flying with NFSS.

The best flight of the weekend was turned in by Dakai and Lane, who stayed up 40 minutes, somehow, under a solid overcast.  They were out of sight the whole time, and we were just about to send up the posse when they showed up in the landing pattern.

We will put the club gliders away this coming weekend.  Next weekend is our last flying weekend, and we'll put the gliders away sometime after that.