Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Slow news month

The customarily prolix editor of PMSC News is suffering from severe writer's block. I need a topic. Please suggest something in the comments. Thank you.

In the meantime, here's something new from SSA.

Friday, December 3, 2010

More Statistics

Here is a table showing club data since 2002:

Monday, November 22, 2010

Club Statistics for 2010

Total Club Glider Usage:

SGS 2-33: 156 flts 55:21 hrs (Average 0:22 hrs/flt)
Blanik L-13: 134 flts 74:23 hrs (Average 0:33 hrs/flt)
SGS 1-23: 71 flts 78:23 hrs (Average 1:06 hrs/flt)
HPH 304: 58 flts 100:54 hrs (Average 1:44 hrs/flt)

All club gliders: 419 flts 309 hrs (Average 0:44 hrs/flt)

Towplane Usage:

Tows to Club Members (includes encampments): 555
Tows by our Birddog: 510
Altitude Towed by our Birddog: 1,035,500 feet (196 miles)
Busiest Tow Pilot: Evan - 108 tows*
Most Tows Given in a Day: 23 (on July 3, 3 were by FSA)
Most Tows by a Pilot in a Day: Evan - 19 (on August 8)


Formal Dual Instructional Flights - 125
Formal Dual Instructional Flight Time - 36:29 hrs
Busiest Instructor: Thomas - 88 flights**
Number of First Solo: 2
Number of New Pilot Certificates: 2


Total: 0

* maybe the first time in PMSC history this distinction does not belong to Andy
** maybe the first time in PMSC history this distinction does not belong to Rick

Thursday, November 18, 2010

It's not over yet

Tim (PM) flew 167 km, reached 12500 feet, and was home in time for a late lunch today. Not bad for November.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Pilot Paul

Congratulations to Paul Dixon on his first solo of a full-scale glider today!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Airman Alexander

Alexander put on his lucky shoes today and took Bill Stinson for a couple of rides in the 2-33. The result was the issuance of a Private Pilot certificate, and now Alexander is on the lookout for passengers. Congratulations, Alexander!

Christopher, Thomas, and Rick were on hand as witnesses. Bill had nice things to say about our club and our training program.

(Sonny, you're next, no excuses).

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Lennies, Lennies, Everywhere

Best full size and 720p resolution if you have the bandwidth. A particularly beautiful day at the "diamond mine".

Alexander Boxes the Wake

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Near Miss at 22,000 Feet

Tragedy was narrowly averted on Columbus Day when two aircraft converged at 22,000 feet over New Hampshire's Mt. Washington. The decisive action of the pilot of "Romeo-Romeo" saved many lives.

He backed up and let the jet go by. Vertical separation was estimated to be as little as 5,000 feet.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Pete sneaks by the summit

Clean slate

Moshe claims the first flight of the new OLC year. Welcome to 2011. We're already ahead of NESA and GBSC.

Cross-country kilometers

The southern front

While the rest of us have been focusing our attention on the vertical plane, Tony has been accumulating kilometers horizontally. On Sunday he took 7H on a 291 km trip in central Florida.

A nice flight to finish up the 2010 OLC season.

Wave Camp

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Gorham early report

The first weekend is over, and although it was principally a GBSC weekend, so many PMSC members showed up at Gorham to fly that we suspended flying at Post Mills.

Tim, Pete, Tom, Evan, Rick, John G, Christopher, Steve, and Andy have all put in an appearance. Evan and Tom got their diamond climbs, and Tim missed it by just a few hundred feet.

The highest anyone got on Saturday and Sunday was roughly 27000 feet, and the highest on Monday was about 20000 feet.

It has been a great encampment so far - at least 20 gliders on all three days. Several have left, but there will still be tows available at Gorham for the next eight days or so.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Wave camp has started

and the weather looks perfect!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Monday, September 27, 2010

Wave Season Has Started

Actually it started a couple of weeks ago. I have been watching the weather using Kevin’s article as a guideline. It seems to work pretty well. When the skew-T predicts wave there is usually signs of it in the clouds. Up until this weekend I wasn’t able to fly on promising wave days. On Saturday the skew-T looked good. Here is the skew-T for Saturday (historical info is available at this NASA site).

There were cloud streets and wave like clouds at 5-6K just like you would expect from the skew-T. Andy took the towplane up for a warm up and reported moderate turbulence (rotor). Bill (3J) and Tom (TH) went up first to scout things out and found usable lift to 5.5K under the clouds. Since they were sticking I took the next tow.

Off tow I was able to fly around at 5.5-6K with Tom and Bill in rough thermal/rotor lift. If I got to cloud base I would try to slide out into the clear air next to the clouds but could not contact any wave lift (in hindsight I was probably looking on the wrong side of the clouds).

After flying around Post Mills for about an hour and unsuccessfully trying to find wave lift I headed out on a cloud street going southwest. The street was working great and for the most part I could fly without circling. But if there was a clearing in the clouds I would circle up and look for wave lift. Nothing really felt like wave. The clouds seem to be honest. The darkest clouds had strong lift.

As you approach Killington Peak the terrain goes up and the fields disappear. The clouds still looked good and there was this clearing ahead so I felt pretty confident as I headed toward the peak.

This clearing turns out to be (I looked it up the next day) Plymouth VT and the Calvin Coolidge Homestead. As I approach the Green Mountains the clouds don’t seem to be working anymore. I can’t find any lift. I feel like I am kind of stuck because this is the only clearing for 5-10 miles so I don’t dare leave to go back to lower ground. As I sink lower I move closer to the clearing. Finally I fly over a steep ridge ½ mile west of the clearing and find some lift. It is strong lift but it is turbulent. I am now down to 3200’ msl which is only 1000’ over the ridge and 1500’ over the clearing. I try circling but get blown to the west and out of the lift. After struggling for what seems like a long time I figure out that if I “ridge soar” the little ridge by doing figure eight’s I can get a pretty steady climb. I stay in that same spot and finally get some altitude. As I get up to about 4,200’ I notice I am in the sunlight and there is a pretty well defined wave window right above me. The lift is consistent and getting stronger. I stay in that same spot and climb up through the window and after an hour I top at 14K (I am glad I put the oxygen tank in last week). The wave window is small and there is solid overcast west to NY, but there are larger windows to the east and I know I can get to them if my window closes.

The glide computer says I will arrive back at Post Mills at 9,600’ agl so I head for home. I can hop over the bands of clouds to stay over the wave windows but I don’t seem to be picking up much lift. I arrive at Post Mills still at 11K so I guess there must have been some. Its time to burn up some altitude and get below the clouds so I push up the speed and head towards Black Mountain. Going downwind the data logger trace shows a ground speed of 338 km/hr (210 mph!).

Sonny, Andy, Alexander and Kevin help me put the glider away when I land. Thanks!

The flight log is available here (thanks Rick):

And thank you Cal Coolidge for clearing that spot.


P.S. All day I couldn’t figure out exactly which way the wind was blowing. I should have realized that wave clouds and wave windows line up parallel to the mountain that produce them and not necessarily perpendicular to the wind. If the wind hits the mountain at a 30-degree angle the clouds will be at a 30-degree angle to the wind.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

New Castle results

After five straight days of flying, the Region 4 contest has ended. John Good (X) was the winner in the Standard Class. Evan Ludeman (T8) took fourth in the 15 Meter Class.

Congratulations to both, and we look forward to seeing them at Wave Camp in a couple of weeks. I'm sure they'll have stories to tell.

Friday, September 24, 2010

T8 and X at New Castle

Once again, Evan and John are tearing up the skies in southern Virginia at the Region 4 contest.

They have had excellent weather so far, and Evan has been posting his flights every day. John, who thinks OLC is just a fad that will go away soon, is winning in the Standard Class, with two days to go.

You can read all about the contest on the SSA website, and if we're lucky, Evan will write about it again when he gets home.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


El Presidente finally gets to go soaring, shows everyone how a landing is supposed to be done, photo to prove it.

T8 over the CT river

Photo taken from PM on 8/28/10.

Weekend report September 11 - 12

Another one-day weekend.

Saturday was clear with 6000 foot cloudbases. The clouds dried up early, but the lift continued right up till sunset.

On Saturday Andy took an "early" flight in PM, and landed early by choice (something to do with fatherly duties). His flight was long enough to beat Tom (TH) by less than a kilometer on the OLC. It's a good thing he didn't know it at the time.

Mike (PM), Rich (3J) and Christopher (3J) all flew locally. Paul K and Rick had a nice long flight in the 2-33, but they spoiled Bill's plan to take a guest up for a ride. Someone suggested that a radio would have been useful in that situation.

The best flight of the day was a tossup between Evan's long distance flight (T8) and Sonny's long duration flight (KX). You decide.

The Saturday cookout was cooked outside, but we moved indoors for dining purposes. It's getting to be that time of year.

Sunday was cool and overcast. Nobody showed up!

Technology convergence

Recently, NASA awarded research contracts to six industry groups, challenging them to come up with an efficient "airliner of the future."

Here is Boeing's entry:

I think that the people at Boeing must all be glider pilots.

Thursday, September 9, 2010


We are having a great season so far!

2-33: 117 flights 42:02 hours
Blanik: 134 flights 73:33 hours
1-23: 51 flights 54:28 hours
304C: 35 flights 63:03 hours

Total for Club Gliders: 337 flights 233:06 hours

Total number of Tows: 434


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Weekend report September 4 - 6

The three day weekend was a bit of a dud. The weather was pleasant on Saturday, but strong northeast winds from the passing hurricane kept us on the ground.

On Sunday, the wind blew from the opposite direction and we were able to do a little flying in the 2-33. Chris R and his instructor appreciated the Doug's effort to come tow for us.

Tom (TH) had a nice flight on Monday and picked the right moment to land - just before the Labor Day parade overflowed onto the runway. Christopher got the 1-23 out, but decided not to add to the pandemonium and dragged it back to its tiedown.

In other weekend news, all the gliding countries in the world grounded the Blanik L13.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Avoiding depression

One way to avoid a tropical depression is to go flying before it arrives.

On Thursday, Tim (PM) and Tom (TH) took one look at the forecast and decided to go flying before it was too late. It was a very hot day (95°F) with weak lift to 4300 feet.

Thermal centering was complicated by wind shear, but Tim was able to figure it out:

After they landed, we tied down all the trailers. Here's the forecast for the start of the weekend:

Now that's depressing.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Fire devil

Here's a thermal that I bet even Tony could stay up in.

Headed South

After two weekends in a row of not being able to stay in the air, Tony has decided to give up and head for Florida.

It was about 90F today when Tony and Carol passed through Post Mills to say goodbye on their annual journey south to escape the cold weather. We will miss them at Gorham this year, and we look forward to their return in the Spring.

A new glider in the family

Congratulations to Moshe on the acquisition his new glider, RU. It is a "Russia," which was the entry in the World Class design competition from (you guessed it) Russia. There are about 55 of them in the country. You may remember seeing one at Franconia.

Here's a picture of Moshe and his new fuselage. We hope to see the whole thing at Post Mills soon.

Weekend report August 28 - 29

Yes, I realize that two weekends have gone by without a report. I have no excuse.

Yesterday, we made 17 flights, with Andy and Tim sharing the towing. Once again, Thomas did the instructing. The best flight was probably Evan's 1.5 hour flight, which hasn't yet showed up on OLC. But we do have flight logs from Steve and Tim, who reports that it isn't all that hard to keep up with Evan on the glides.

Today (Sunday) was a typical August day - sunny, hot, and stable. Despite the weak lift, Steve flew for2 hours in PM, and Thomas and Paul K managed to keep the 2-33 in the air for over an hour. Tom made his second flight of the weekend in TH. We had 11 flights in all. Evan towed most of the day, while Elisabeth got checked out on the golf cart.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A new Private Pilot

Congratulations to Christopher Ian, who took some time off from his powered aircraft pursuits and finished off his Private Pilot (Glider) certificate!

This was a significant accomplishment for Christopher and for PMSC. It was the first flight test at Post Mills that didn't involve Rick or Andy. Thomas was the recommending instructor, and Matt towed. It's good to see that we are finally becoming somewhat independent of the old coots.

Here's a picture of the proud instructor and his former student. Christopher is holding something I can't quite make out. It looks like Thomas's old Green Card. As I say, I wasn't there, so I can't be sure.

And here is Christopher's writeup of his day:
After one and a half seasons of flying gliders in my spare time and airplanes in my off-time, with extensive (formerly Swiss) CFI-induced flight test preparation and completed logbook compilations, I passed the oral test and 2-flight flight test to earn my private pilot certificate – with glider rating on a terrific sunny day at Post Mills. Frequent 4-600 fpm thermals in the mix to make it fun.

Examiner Bill Stinson conducted a mostly predictable oral test (“What special consideration should be taken and avoided in ground handling of the Blanik L13?” Thanks Sonny, for the answer to that one). The first flight with expected requisite maneuvers (“trim for cruise speed, now take your hands off the controls - and give a little right rudder and fly”).

Thanks to Matt for stepping up to tow on his day off from his other job towing - with Andy as backup – and to CFIs who endured enough to take 2 years off before the next BFR with honorable mention to Thomas who pulled all the strings together with ground school prep and logbook technique to be ready for testday.

To step it up a bit, for flight number two, Bill covered up the airspeed indicator and altimeter, and declared- “We are not going to tell the tow pilot how high to tow us. Release from tow when we get to 2,500 AGL” (3,200 msl) – about $33 worth for the locals. Nailing it at 3,300, off tow and out to find thermals before the expected no-spoiler approach, Bill threw another twist into the mix: “Let’s land in the other direction so we don’t have to walk as far” - but without removing the covers over the dials to test the student on a downwind, no-spoiler landing. Forgetting momentarily that he was PIC for the first time, I asked about the runways – “Do I have a choice?” And Bill, seemingly amused stated, “I don’t think so.”

So, things worked out; PMSC has a new private pilot; and the former student has earned the coveted right to not talk to another CFI till the end of the 24th month after the month of his flight test.

That would be August 31, 2012. And that was a question on the oral test, though not stated exactly as written here.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Weekend report August 7 - 8

Much of what follows is hearsay; I was away for most of the weekend.

Our spring-like August weather continued through Saturday, and we had 13 flights. By mid-afternoon, cloudbase was over 7000 MSL. Once again, Evan led the way with a 271 km flight in T8 to Morrisville, Sugarbush, and Dean.

Steve made a nice 107 km triangular flight to Bailey, Hanover, Mt. Cube and home in PM. Skip, master of the zigzag, went 10 km further in JS. Sonny (KX) took the "per ardua ad astra" award by flying to Franconia, landing, and bumming a ride back to Dean from the FSA towplane - from which release point, he soared home to Post Mills.

Sam, Christopher, Keith, Paul N, Moshe, and Alexander flew locally at Post Mills while Thomas instructed and Bob towed.

On Sunday, the conditions were so good for instructing that Thomas flew eleven times (Thanks, Thomas!) Thomas's list of student pilots included Chris, Paul K, and Christopher, who is getting ready for his Private Pilot flight test. It was nice to see club founder and former instructor John Gass getting back into practice in the 2-33. John's son Ryan is our newest student.

At the end of the day we had two first-in-type flights: Alexander in the 1-23, and Matt in the 304. Congratulations to both!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Weekend report July 31 - August 1

We had excellent flying both days this weekend. On Saturday, Evan's 347 km flight was eclipsed by Alexander's first solo, a two-hour flight in the 2-33:

Sonny attempted a 5-hour flight in KX, but fell short by 20 minutes. Tim (PM) flew to Barnard, Stowe, and return for 227 km. Kevin (6Q) raced around his 100 km speed triangle, but failed to break his own state speed record. Thomas (ZP) also made a nice cross-country flight, but, as usual, refused to submit his flight log.

Although Sunday was reported as a little bit trickier, Evan managed to go two more kilometers (349) in T8, on a trip to Belvidere mine, Sugarbush and Franconia. Skip (JS) and Kevin (6Q) got late starts, but were able to add 62 and 70 km to the club total, respectively.

Meanwhile, back at Post Mills, Jason, Chris, Alexander, and Paul K flew with each other in the 2-33. Tim's contribution was to break the brake in the Blanik.

Mike takes a day off

Congratulations to Mike, who made a 239 km flight to Mt. Madison and back on his first cross-country flight of the year.

On the same day (Friday), Matt flew 3J for three hours and 94 km. Skip made a similar flight in JS, but his flight recorder conked out 41 minutes into the flight.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

First in the world

In a manner similar to the Olympics, the organizers of the World Gliding Championships go out of their way to be fair to all participating nations. There is a tradition (copied from the Olympics) of doing everything in alphabetical order. This means that we're usually at the back of the parade, in the back of the briefing hangar, in the faraway tiedowns and parking spaces, somewhere between Ukraine and Venezuela.

This year is different. For some reason, the Hungarian organizers have decided to call us "America," and now we're at the head of the line for everything!

Here's a picture of our luxury team office, in a prime location, next door to Brazil:

And here's a picture of our guys explaining to our friends from Argentina why they can't be first this year:

They probably also had to explain why it's OK to call US "America," but not them.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Sorry to report that a couple of days ago (that gusty day that made most of us glad to be on the ground), the Stemme S-10VT based at Morrisville swerved off the runway and bashed into Moshe's glider at its tiedown.

It could have been worse. Preliminary reports indicate that Moshe will need a new canopy and turtledeck. Damage to the Stemme is unknown.

Tough luck, Moshe. At least now you have an excuse to come to Post Mills to fly.

The Montpelier Blue Hole

"'Twas not so deep as a well, nor so wide as a church-door, but 'twas enough" to drag the Silent all the way from 7000 feet over the granite quarry to the ground at MPV. It seemed like a good plan at the time.

Tim was much smarter and circumnavigated the dead zone for a 216 km flight, stepping around the accursed sink, visiting Randolph, Sugarbush, Camel's Hump, Stowe, Cabot, and Lyme.

Men at some times are masters of their fates.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Name that Citizen Club Member

WGCs are confusing

Every two years, a pair of World Gliding Championships take place. (If this sounds confusing, don't worry about it. It will change soon).

This is one of the years in which the two contests are happening.

The first one, called the "31st World Gliding Championships," was held in Slovakia, and it has just ended. The entry list included 106 pilots from 23 countries. The competition classes were Standard, Club, and World, and the winners were the pilots from Poland, Germany, and France, respectively. We (USA) sent two pilots to compete in each of the three classes, and our best results were 8th in the Club Class and 5th in the World Class. You can read all about our team's experiences in the US Soaring Team blog.

The second one is also called the "31st World Gliding Championships," and it will start tomorrow in Hungary (144 pilots, 33 countries). This time the classes are Open, 18 Meter, and 15 Meter. Once again, we are sending two pilots in each class, and they are writing their news in a blog, which is once again called the US Soaring Team blog, not to be confused with the other one, above.

Next year, there won't be any WGCs. The year after that, there will be two, and they will both be called the "32nd World Gliding Championships."

Clear as mud, huh?

Monday, July 19, 2010

A news reporter that gets it...

...halfway 'round the world.

Part 1

Part 2 may be found on the menu below the video window (it's obvious which one -- look for the girl in the front seat of a Grob).

Part 2 shows a JS1 wing under static test breaking the test fixture(!) at some ridiculous load. the amount of flex is absolutely alarming.


the 100:1 shot

Yesterday turned out to be a mostly local soaring day. The cu would start to build and I would head off with XC ambitions... and the clouds would fall apart literally right before my eyes. So with nothing better to do, I decided to fly "local XC" and work on minimizing my circling time.

You do this by making use of linear sources of lift -- cloud streets, ridges and wave being the most common around here. Since this is something I've been meaning to work on -- my usual style is to cruise too fast, get too low, then have to spend too much time getting back up again -- I have my cockpit PDA set up to track the percentage of time I spend in circling flight. I looked down and noted it said something in the mid 30s -- typical for me and easy to improve upon. So I began working the cloud streets a little harder and concentrating on efficiency. Sure enough, the number in the box starts to drop.

Here's the flight log.

Late in the day (through the magic of "SeeYou" I can tell you it was 3:49) I noticed it was looking really nice towards the White mountains. Kinda late for this... but what the heck. From Exit 14, I made a Mr. Efficiency Glide all the way to Twin Mountain. SeeYou shows this as 42.3 miles at an average ground speed of 81 mph and an achieved glide ratio of -- get this -- 540:1. Along the way, I climbed the ridge at Moosilauke and worked the ridge/thermal lines along the Franconia ridge. I had 15 - 20 mph wind at my back for good measure.

In racing, we talk of "going fast by going slow", and this is about as good as it ever gets.

Coming back up the ridge into the wind, I worked around the corner at Lafayette and wondered if there might be wave in the notch. I worked smoother than normal ridge/thermal lift up to cloud base and it felt pretty wavy, but there was higher cloud all over and the wave wasn't well organized enough to either make a proper window or allow me to climb. But there seemed to be something there. So I headed towards home via Moosilauke and -- with a bit of trepidation -- decided that I'd try it across the wilderness well South of the Franconia ridge line. That worked okay, though I wouldn't try it in a lower performance glider. I made about 35:1 from Lafayette to Moosilauke, which is pretty good considering the absence of clouds and a substantial headwind component. I think I picked up a little wave back there at times.

SeeYou considers my ridge/wave climb at Lafayette to be "straight flight", so credits me with a 26.9 mile glide at 326:1, pretty good considering that headwind! Thermaling up at Moosilauke, Mr. Efficiency flew to Lake Morey where Mr. Speed says "I got it", and that last glide was only good for 29:1.

The end result was 23% circling for the whole flight and an average achieved glide ratio of 96... and a remarkably enjoyable flight for a day that started with low expectations. Next time, we go for 100:1.


PS: Thanks for towing, Tim!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Weekend report July 17 - 18

On Saturday, Doug and Matt combined to fly 15 tows. Matt got a chance to fly a glider, but Doug didn't. On Saturday, Tim flew 16 tows without relief and without getting a chance to fly a glider.

Our sport depends on our towpilots. The next chance you get to thank one, please do so.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Moron WCAX news

An off-field landing at Sugarbush yesterday made the Channel 3 news. The word "CRASH" is a prominent feature of the video.

I'm afraid it's hopeless. The general public will never learn about our sport. Ever.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Seen at the Airport

Yesterday at the airport I thought I saw Brian using gasoline to kill the weeds around his Dinosaur.

On closer examination I realized it was Mary "Sparky" Wilson. Mary, what were the Campfire Girl Marshmallows for?


Monday, July 12, 2010

Saturday, July 10, 2010

PMSC Accounts for 40% of All "Add-On" Ratings in the US

The FAA says in 2009 there are 29,131 domestic glider pilots. They give the above statistics (reported by SSA) for new glider pilot ratings and classify them by "glider only" or "add-on" ratings. It shows the total glider "add-on" ratings as 10 for 2009. In 2009 PMSC had the following add-ons: Pete, Matt, Bill and Tim. PMSC and Rick Sheppe accounted for 40% (4/10) of all "add-on" ratings in the USA for 2009! Congratulations Rick!


SSA cited table 17 and 18 here.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Usage Statistics Through June

Here are the totals for the club ships so far this season:

Total tows -168

L-13 63 flts 33:55 hrs
2-33 36 flts 12:33 hrs
304 11 flts 20:43 hrs
1-23 13 flts 11:57 hrs

total for club gliders 123 flts 79:08 hours


Runway Incursions

I'm not an expert on the topic, but I bet I have more experience with runway incursions than most. I'm up to five now. Two while flying gliders, three while flying single engine airplanes. All have been in the form of a blocked runway while I've been on final. Four of the five required evasive action on my part. I have been blocked by un-announced, very low opening parachute jumpers, a car, a car towing a glider and departing light planes (twice).

The point of this message is: if it can happen to me five times, it can happen to you too! Keep your eyes and your options open!


Franconia Encampment Winner

I am declaring myself the winner of the Franconia Encampment because nobody had more fun than I did.

My fun started on Friday when I took the first tow out of Franconia behind the FSA’s new Birddog before our towplane even arrived (thanks to our reciprocal tow agreement). I enjoyed a 4 hour flight to Mt. Washington where I was joined by Evan (T8). The only thing more fun than going to Mt. Washington was making it back. (Andy-sorry if I hogged the 304 but if you want to fly you should really get to the field earlier).

On Saturday I had a great 2.5 hour rock polishing flight on the Franconia and Lafayette ranges in PM.

Sunday started out great when I took my daughter Christina on her first glider flight. She declared it was “awesome” even before we were off tow. We flew above Cannon and Kinsman to 6K. I found out she likes sustained 2G turns, weightlessness and screaming along the ridge at 100 mph. It WAS awesome!

Christina gave her stamp of approval on gliders and so Lynne took her first glider flight with Andy in the back seat. Andy gave Lynne the perfect introduction to soaring and she even liked it (although she is not quite ready to sign up for the family membership). This was the most fun I had for a flight where I didn’t even leave the ground.

After Lynne got back Alexander and I took the Blanik for a late afternoon flight. We flew the Franconia ridge for about an hour then made the transition to the Lafayette range where Pete joined us in 3J. It was great flying with Pete, and to see Alexander skillfully squeezing the last few feet of altitude out of the ridge lift. We tried to connect with a wave that developed but couldn’t – but even that was fun.

When not flying the pool, the fireworks and the conversation were all great.

Thanks to everyone who work so hard to prepare and move the equipment need to make the encampment work. Thanks to the tow pilots. And thanks Judy for keeping us fed.

Did any one else have any fun this weekend? (put it in the comments)


p.s. I plan on winning at Gorham too.

Saturday report from Franconia 2010

Not a fantastic day for soaring but both the Canon-Kingston and Lafayette ridges were work reasonably well and we did around 30 tows as the FSA L-19 had some tailwheel

Lake Fairlee lakefest this Saturday

See their post at http://blog.lakefairlee.org/?p=790

Posted by Andy in behalf of Paul Kram

Friday, July 2, 2010

Friday report from Franconia 2010

The first day of our Franconia encampment was a complete success. The day started by towing the Blanik piloted by Kevin and Olivia, tow plane flown by Andy but things went wrong when Kevin "sneaked" off tow half way to Franconia causing me enough concern to go back to Dean to look for them. THEY WILL PAY!

Tim, Evan, Thomas, Pete and Tom all had great flights today followed by a late dinner due to incompetent staff at the local pizza joint and we're all geared up for flying tomorrow.

Meantime Rick is wishes he were here and not in rainy Hobbs NM.


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Weekend report June 26 - 27

I don't know what happened on Saturday, but on Sunday Thomas made nine instructional flights (Thanks, Thomas).

Friday, June 25, 2010


I've been asked to officiate at another gliding contest, and I'm headed to New Mexico tomorrow.

You'll just have to talk amongst yourselves until I get back, on July 12.

I have started another blog, in case you want to read about the contest.

Night flight

Every year the President of the club and the chief flight instructor contend for the honor of claiming the latest daylight landing of the year in the Champ and the Cub, respectively.

As I sit here typing at 8:40 pm, Andy is doing his touch-and-goes, circling the house, thumbing his nose at me, knowing full well that I forgot this year and had a beer, which takes me out of contention. Rats!

Wait till next year.

Half a dozen slackers

It was a nice day today, with cloudbases reaching almost 7000 feet before it was over.

Tony (7H) took off first and flew to Cabot, then over to Dean, then...nowhere. It was another one of those missed photo opportunities. If his crew had remembered to bring a camera, we would have had another picture of a glider on the ground with a fantastic looking sky as the backdrop.

Despite his landout, Tony beat Tim (PM) on the OLC by a couple of kilometers. Tim did a double out-and-return to Cookeville and Mount Moosilauke.

Tom (TH) and Matt (89) flew locally, and Evan (T8) limped home after almost landing out at Twin Mountain (288 km, not bad).

Thomas (ZP) had a nice flight (as usual), made a textbook approach and landing (as usual), and, as usual, refused to publish his flight log. What a spoilsport.

Meanwhile, Christopher made a fuel run, endured a fuel transfer, ran wings, and generally helped out on the ground (Thanks, Christopher!)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Two flights

Tony (7H) needed only a few more feet of altitude to make the pylon turn around the Mount Washington summit yesterday. He had to settle for peering into the Observatory windows as he flew by on the west side. Tony reports that there is still some snow in the north facing cols.

Meanwhile, S2, who would like to claim a long flight, cheated...twice. At the end, I didn't have enough height to fly across Lake Fairlee.

Monday, June 21, 2010


Today will be 15 hours 28 minutes long. I hope you enjoy it.

I'm going flying.

Weekend report June 18 - 20

Well, it wasn't an official long weekend, but the Slackers made it into one.

On Friday we divided our forces and flew at Sugarbush and Post Mills. It was the first time in memory that PMSC members talked to each other in the air while flying from two different places. Tim (PM), Evan (T8), Matt (89), and Kevin (6Q) took off at Post Mills and enjoyed some nice flights in variable conditions. Evan made it to Mount Washington and announced that he expected trouble getting back. His crew didn't get too excited, and sure enough, Evan got home in time to do some towing.

Meanwhile, Tom (TH), Rick (S2), Thomas (ZP), and Tony (7H) got three tows for the price of four at Sugarbush. We ran up and down the Mad River valley, which seems to be the thing you do there.

On Saturday, back at Post Mills, we found the summerlike conditions were sufficient for local flying and lessons, but not quite good enough to go anywhere. Evan and Bill (3J) gave it a shot but elected to stay local. Our new students - Chris, Paul K, Alexander - got two flights each and all made good progress. All 14 flights were made possible by our new towpilot, Kent (Thanks, Kent).

Saturday ended with a great cookout, attended by

Andrew, Andy, Anne, Bill, Creighton, Dirk, Ella, Elinor, Evan, Gretta, Ian, Jill, Jill, Judy, Kent, Kevin, Marsha, Mary, Mike, Nathan, Olivia, Paul, Paul, Peter, Petey, Sonny, Sue, Sue, Thomas, Tom, Rich, Rick

and the food and beverage providers deserve special emphasis.

The three-day warming trend continued through Sunday. We made seven flights on a pleasant but windy day. Thanks to Thomas and Doug for instructing and towing.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Dr. Jack

This may be old news but I didn't know... Dr. Jack's BLIP soaring forecasts are now free (the whole site). All you have to do is register. After you register look at the NAM blipmaps for the northeast (I find these the most useful). To get started look at the maps for thermal updraft velocity (how fast the thermals are going up), buoyancy/shear ratio (if the wind will break up the thermals, above 5 is good), critical height (how high a glider will top out) and Cu Cloudbase (where the bottom of the clouds are). Then don't trust anything you've seen.


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Statistics for April/May

Here are the totals for the club ships so far this season:

Total tows - 97

L-13 42 flts 21:51 hrs
2-33 14 flts 5:49 hrs
304 8 flts 12:37 hrs
1-23 8 flts 10:15 hrs

total for club gliders 72 flts 50:32 hours

Thanks for filling out the log sheets. They have been pretty complete.


Saturday, June 5, 2010


There has been a fair amount of news recently, but none of it has been published. A possible explanation is that your PMSC News editor has been out of town, and nobody has volunteered to write it up (that's a hint).

Consequently, the following can be considered rumor, not news:

1. Tony had a good flight in 7H at Sugarbush at the end of May. We look forward to seeing him back at Post Mills.

2. Tom has been busy practicing in TH, and is getting more comfortable in his new plane.

3. In an effort to avoid this weekend's weather, Kevin, Tim, Christopher, and Evan flew on Friday. Kevin had the best results, but you know how he can tell stories.

4. A sculpture is underway on the field.

5. Rick is dodging thunderstorms in South Carolina

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Double Slacker Fail

Matt landed out today. He was too embarrassed to show his face when his crew arrived. He kept mumbling something about how he'll never be as good as Tony on cross-country days.

But just as we were getting ready to leave, Tony showed up and landed in the same field. Here he is wondering why we didn't bring both trailers on the first trip to the field.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

I don't get it

This one must be for the ladies:

Hunky family guy goes gliding. I guess I'm not part of the target audience.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Wave Friday

The forecast for Friday showed possiblities of wave (Rick and Kevin concured). Sure enough Friday afternoon had wind blowing 45-50 kts straight from Sugarbush and lenticulars were all around. Christopher help me set up the 304 and Andy took off work to give me a 7000' tow (Christopher told me "not to get off early") to the north west at 4:00. Andy placed me just under the leading edge of the cloud shown in the first picture. From there it was 1-3 kts up, up to just short of 13,ooo. I poke along with a ground speed of 0-10 kts all the way up to Spruce Mountain. I don't think I turned more than 45 degrees from takeoff until I got to Spruce Mountain. The cloud I was following ended at Spruce Mountain so I turned around. The return trip was probably 110 kts over the ground. By 5:30 there were still nice looking lenticulars but they were all to far away and I had a nice long ride down to land at 6:00. Christopher waited around to help me disassemble. Thanks to Christopher, Andy, Rick, and Kevin for the great flight.

We should make every Friday "Wave Friday".

The pictures are Christopher's.


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Weekend Report April 23 - 25

We launched Kevin (6Q) and Tom (TH) on Friday and neither pilot met with success, despite the promising looking sky. Comparing notes at the end of the day led us to the conclusion that the turbulent layer was very deep, and convection didn't get organized until somewhat above release height. Kevin reported 10-knot bumps, but nothing workable - a lot like rotor.

Saturday was much more straightforward, and Tom gets full credit for being ready at the beginning of the day, thanks to his new homemade rigging device. Christopher, Steve, Bill, Skip and Thomas flew locally, along with a couple of guests. The best height was 9800 feet, probably in wave. Doug was the only towpilot and never quite got a chance to fly a glider.

The unannounced cookout was lightly attended, but a good party nevertheless. We'll try to give more notice next time.

The Sunday sky was a bit more overcast, but the unstable conditions prevailed. Andy and Tim shared towing and instructing duties, and a few more of us got rid of some rust. We flew, for the second day in a row, with a neighbor, Paul Kram, who is getting serious about joining the club. Welcome, Paul!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


It seems that Evan has volunteered to write the daily contest reports for SSA. I will collect the links to all the reports and scoresheets here.

First Slacker

It must be vacation week.

Andy, Andy, Paul N, Tony, Tim, Kevin, Evan, Jason and Matt are out of town. Everyone else seems to be stuck at work or stranded by a volcano. I think I'll go flying.

Because I can.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Oh I wish I was in Dixie - Hooray, Hooray!

Oh, wait a minute, I am in Dixie. And Hooray for that. This is what an airport in South Carolina looks like in April, smiles all around, short sleeves at 0800 in the morning (we won't discuss August). That's Lane Bush with the Std Cirrus. He isn't grinning quite as big because it isn't snowing at his home field.

Yesterday in practice I flew around 170 miles at a relaxed 60-something mph. The day had a few soft spots, but most carried water all the way around. Winds aloft were 20+ all day which added a little interest.

All for now -- things to do.

Friday, April 16, 2010