Thursday, June 21, 2018

Summertime, and the living is easy

Happy Solstice!

Today is the longest day of the year, but it isn't the day with the latest sunset.  That day will be Wednesday, June 27.  The sunset will occur on that day at 8:36pm, almost two minutes later than today.  Tonight will last only 8 hours and 32 minutes.

And Happy Birthday to the Solstice Babies: Lane, Andy, Tony, and Sherry!

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Mt. Washington Wave Flight

Dan (EA) and I (BU) had surprisingly good wave flights last Saturday.  The forecast was for strong northwest winds but the boundary layer (top of thermals) was forecasted to go up to about 7,500 ft.  The top of the boundary layer is the dividing line between unstable and stable air.   For wave you normally want stable air at the top of the mountains so we were not sure if we would find any.

Thermaling and ridge soaring to get to Mt. Washington was fairly straight forward.  Then Dan dropped back to the Carters and found wave over the Wildcat parking lot so I followed.  We enjoyed nice strong lift sometimes over 6 kts up to Class A airspace (18,000').

Dan at 17,742' still climbing at 2.7 kts
You would think from 18,000' the trip home would be a piece-of-cake but with the strong headwind and abundant sink Dan just squeaked it into PM.  I stopped to pick up extra altitude at the Mt. Lafayette wave.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Weekend report June 2 - 3

We didn't fly on Saturday due to wind and projects.  Dennis spent the day compounding the 304, and Rick worked on the golf cart trailer.  Belated congratulations to Dennis for getting his Gold Distance/Diamond Goal flight approved by SSA!

We made up for lost opportunities on Sunday, with thirteen eventful flights.  Skip (JS), Moshe (RU), Karl (HK), Peter (67), Doug (3BA), and Dennis (DC) flew locally in conditions that improved as the day went on.  Late in the day, Kari joined them, with his first flight in the 304.  David is getting the hang of the 2-33, climbing almost 3000 feet from pattern altitude.

Meanwhile, Evan (T8), Tim (BU), and Greg (JD) went up to Twin Mountain and back in a flight of three.  Greg reported that it isn't quite as easy to go to the White Mountains when the top of lift is only 4500 feet.  It isn't as easy getting back, either.  Here is Evan almost landing at Dean, after his high point at Mount Lafayette:

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Weekend report May 26 - 28

Thanks to a good volunteer effort, we were able to squeeze a three-day weekend into one day of flying.

The weather was disappointing for the first two days, but on Monday Tim made 15 tows, Evan made 9 instructional flights, and Dennis manned the golf cart all day.  The beneficiaries were the students, David, Nathan, and especially Kim, who had five lessons.

Meanwhile, Kari flew the Blanik solo, in preparation for his transition to the 304.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

A couple of weak days

Sometimes weekday operations don't pan out as expected.  We gave it a shot Thursday and Friday this week.

On Thursday, we had a nice airmass, but the day started with a discouraging amount of altostratus.  Karl, Dennis, Peter, and Rick took their time waiting for heating to start.  Karl showed off his new ID (KH) which is now displayed on his fin and trailer.  Eventually, the sky cleared and trigger temperature was reached.  Karl took off first and stayed in the air for about an hour.  Dennis (DC) crawled up to 5700 feet once and spent the rest of his 90 minute flight practicing low saves. Peter, who is getting really good at unassisted takeoffs, flew the 2-33 while thinking about getting a flight recorder.

There was only one slacker on Friday, Tim.  He and his guest took a wave tow in the Blanik (3BA), but didn't connect.  They had a nice flight in thermals and were able to reach their tow height a couple of times.

Thanks, Karl for fixing the green golf cart again.  It's running like a switch watch.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Weekend report May 19 - 20

The weather was nice for ballooning on Saturday, which ruled out soaring for the day.  Sunday's weather precluded flying in all categories.  A Slacker Day was called on Monday, but that fizzled out, too.

The only event of note was Dan's (EA) flight from GBSC that ended up in a field somewhere in Massachusetts.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Weekend report May 12 - 13

The forecast for Saturday was "first half cloudy, second half drizzly." In reality it was "first half clear, second half cloudy."

A good collection of members showed up, including Thomas (yay, Thomas, come back soon!). But it turned out that most them came to drop off their parachutes for repacking. The only person serious about flying was David, who was able to get four lessons, including one of most of an hour in duration.

David returned on Sunday, to better weather, and had another soaring flight. The tow was "interesting" (he might tell you the story if you ask), but the rest of the flight was quite enjoyable. He is making terrific progress, due to his enthusiasm and willingness to show up at every opportunity.

Also on Sunday, Skip (JS), Don, and Henry made local flights while Mark (HG), Tim (BU), Moshe (RU), Greg (JD), and Evan (T8) all headed for Mount Washington. At the end of the day we had only two retrieves to do.

Thursday, May 10, 2018


The word is German, but it has become an internationally recognized term for the best possible thermal soaring conditions. I can remember about half a dozen such days in the 29 year history of our club. Yesterday was probably the second best day ever at Post Mills.

The day began with a royal blue sky and a light southerly breeze. Cumulus clouds were slow to develop and never got to be more than 3/8 of the sky. Every one of them marked a good thermal, and the old ones evaporated quickly, leaving no doubts about where to go. The best achieved climb was 9.8 knots to 10800 feet.

The usual suspects - Dan (EA), Greg (JD), Evan (T8), Dennis (DC), and Tim (BU) - were able to take full advantage of the day. The first three were towed aloft by Tim, beginning a few minutes before noon. The backup towpilot arrived just in time to launch Dennis and Tim.  After that, it was very quiet at Post Mills for a long time.

Dan, Evan, and Greg went over to Stockbridge and flew down the Green Mountains to Mount Greylock in Massachusetts.  Then they turned back north and flew the whole length of Vermont up to Camel's Hump. At some point, Dan fell behind and flew by himself for the rest of his flight.

While this was going on, Dennis and Tim had their own plans. Dennis declared a 314 km triangle with turnpoints at Gorham, New Hampshire and Springfield, Vermont. Tim went the same way at first, although he did not see Dennis. Tim continued on and turned at Old Speck in Maine and Pittsburgh, New Hampshire, which is well north of the Vermont/Quebec border. He made a long straight glide from there to Topsham, where he picked up another street and headed NNW to his final turn at Barton, on the way to Newport. When he got home after this W-shaped flight, he had flown 508 km.

Dennis, who did not have the luxury of following the streets on his declared task, made it to Gorham without too much trouble and retraced his steps back to Post Mills, and then on to Mount Ascutney and Springfield. He was high enough at his second turnpoint that he was able to make an 80 km final glide back home. His flight qualifies for the Gold Distance and Diamond Goal badge legs.  Congratulations Dennis!

So with Dennis, Tim, and Dan back home, it was apparent from the lowering sun and the freshening southerly wind that we might have some retrieves to do.  Sure enough, Evan phoned in from Dean at about 7:15pm. We called him back from the clubhouse phone (a first!) and while he was talking with us, we could hear him talking on the radio to Greg, who was still in the air. During Evan's 3-way conversation, Greg decided to turn back and land at Dean as well. He was actually closer to Post Mills than Dean, but with the wind, it was a prudent call, especially after 7h40 in the air.

In no time flat, Dan and Tim were on the road to fetch them.

The day's OLC results were nothing short of spectacular:

EA 640
T8 636
JD 622
BU 508
DC 345

Hammerwetter indeed.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Eight aloft

It was a great day for slacking on Tuesday, and we had eight flights.  The conditions were blue with good lift to 7500 feet, and you could get to 9000 if you were lucky or patient.

Karl (HK) finally recorded a flight, and here it is:

You can see that he flew around for a whilc, and then went up to North Haverhill.  Good flight, Karl!

Peter (67), who doesn't need any instruction on thermalling, flew for a couple of hours, and Henry (3J) was up for almost as long.

Meanwhile, Dennis (DC), Mark (HG), Moshe (RU), Greg (JD), and Dan (EA) combined for a grand total of about 2000 kilometers! Dennis and Mark went to the White Mountains and got sort of stuck there for a while. Moshe went his own way (south, mostly). The others went west to the Greens and had a great time running up and down the ridge over there.

Eight flights on a Tuesday, more than either of the previous weekend days. Perhaps we should rename ourselves the Post Mills Slacker Club.

Our crack weatherman, Moshe, predicts that tomorrow will be even better.

Lone slacker

Karl worked on his trailer all day, then took his glider out and flew it for a couple of hours. He says he went all over the place, but he still doesn't have his flight recorder working.

The ASW-15B he shares with Henry will have "HK" on the tail someday. This will help us not to confuse that glider with "HG." That's the one with no markings at all on the glider or the trailer.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Weekend report May 5 - 6

Saturday was blue all day, with enough wind to make us shy about instructional flights.

Toward the end of the day, David Lysy had a nice flight in the Blanik with Evan for an hour and a half, and Moshe showed Rick a few thermalling tricks over the copper mine.

Dennis (DC) and Mark (HG) flew around the neighborhood, while Greg (JD) and Tim (BU) stretched it out a bit with modest cross-country flights.  They worked three wavelengths upwind to some nice altitudes (Tim reached the legal limit). The OLC machine didn't give Greg credit for the second half of his flight for some reason. Perhaps it thought he started his engine, or something. [Update: Moshe speculates that his groundspeed got too low, and the algorithm gave him a virtual outlanding. That sound right].

At the end of the day Karl (HK) got his first flight in his new glider and did a great job. He is still sorting out his flight recorder, so there is no flight log for this flight,

On Sunday, it was overcast and not raining for the first half of the day, and overcast and raining for the second half.  Henry and Peter took a bunch of instructional flights, Peter went solo, and Keith Merrick, who claims to be back into it, got back into it.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Two long flights

This just in...

Evan (T8) and Dan (EA) both had terrific ridge flights today at Mifflin.

Evan flew 1091 km and made it all the way to Hot Springs, Virginia (near Ingalls), and back in just 8 hours.

Dan ran all three ridges (Tussey, Bald Eagle, and Jacks) for a total of 805 km.

Congratulations, guys, and we can't wait to hear your stories!