Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Weekend report May 26 - 28

For the third week in a row, the bad weather moved in just AFTER the weekend. May the trend continue into June.

Bill and Mike made local flights before the weekend, but the lift just wasn't there. Tony, on the other hand, pulled off a nice 260 km flight in which he visited one of his neighbors to the north, but decided not to drop in.

By Saturday our weekend airmass was established. The thermals were not well organized and difficult to identify, but they were everywhere. It was often the case that circling didn't work very well below a certain height. The clouds were short-lived and mostly not worth chasing. Despite all this, a few members got to 7000 feet. Tom, Greg, Sonny, Tim, and Tony posted flights on OLC. Tony's was his last flight of the season in Florida, and he has packed up for his summer trip out west.

It was nice to see Evan, who towed all 16 flights on Saturday, and it was nice to see Elizabeth who spent the day on the golf cart under the hot sun. At the cookout that evening Evan provided the beer and Mary provided the ointments for Elizabeth's sunburn.

The weather held through Sunday. The light turnout allowed Nancy, Tom, Greg, and Steve to make extended flights. The weather must have been a bit weaker at Morrisville, where Moshe (RU) made a 2-hour local flight.

By Monday, the prefrontal haze had moved in, but that didn't stop Kevin and Steve from practicing their low altitude thermaling skills in the Blanik and the 1-23.


1. We are trying to organize some ground school classes (probably at Lebanon airport in the evenings during the week). Stay tuned.

2. There are signs posted around the north end of the airport. Watch out for them. There will be dinosaur repairs going on this week. Watch out for nails and other hazards.

3. Kevin has discovered that the back of the front seat in the Blanik is adjustable. This should help with the left-knee-spoiler-handle problem.

4. Rick assumes that all the BFRs are completed.


1. We have developed a few maintenance items that need attention. Don't forget to volunteer to help with the 304 trailer, the Blanik instrumentation and canopy, the 1-23 instrumentation, new towropes, and the golf cart radio. Always be on the lookout for things to fix.

2. Try to keep the golf cart moving. We have been doing an inefficient job of moving gliders around on the ground.

3. We will move trailers and do some mowing next weekend.

4. It's OK to throw trash into the golf cart during the day, but don't forget to clean it out before going home. Also, don't forget to claim your water bottles, lunch boxes, flip-flops, and toys at the end of each day.

Monday, May 21, 2012

4 Days in May

For some reason, it all came together for us at the end of last week, and we were able to string together four straight days of flying.

The Weekday Slackers kicked things off by flying PM around Vermont on Thursday and Friday. Thursday’s weather was clear blue with a moderate west wind. Tim took off before noon, intending to fly a 300 km task with a first turnpoint at Morrisville. Progress upwind proved difficult, so he changed his plan and went due north, eventually reaching Burke Mountain. He turned around and cruised handily down to Lebanon where he got clobbered by sink, probably due to wave. One last desperation climb allowed him to get home, with a total distance of 244.61 km (the reason for the precision will become clear, below).

The next day, the weather was about the same (3 knots in the blue to 6000 feet), with lighter winds. Two unbelievable things happened. Rick, if you believe him, flew to Catamount and Mount Garfield and returned with some story about a total GPS failure and no flight log. Meanwhile, Bill and Greg made an unbelievable eight flights together. This is definitely a Post Mills record for lessons in a single day, in both the instructor and student categories!

The actual weekend started with a rush of members seeking Flight Reviews and field checks. It was nice to see Nancy, Paul, Keith, Andy (not that one or that one), Doug (3J), Rich, and Christopher getting their first flights of the season. The hotshots Tom (TH), Skip (JS), and Thomas (ZP) raced around in their fancy gliders – and Bill (PM) raced around in the club’s fancy glider (after he gave 4 more lessons). Altogether we made 16 flights on Saturday, all towed by Andy (that one), including one as check pilot.

Saturday was also a good day in Florida, where Tony (7H) set out, presumably, to beat Tim’s distance from Thursday. He came up short, flying a mere 244.13 km. Better luck next time, Tony!

The first PMSC cookout of the season was well attended (20) and well supplied with food and beverage. Thanks to all who contributed, and thanks to Mary for cooking and for keeping the whole thing under control.

On Sunday the weather was a bit hazier and weaker, but still good for soaring. Keith towed all but one of the nine flights. Nancy and Moshe completed their Flight Reviews, which leaves only two to go, and Karl and Sonny got their field checks. An interesting cooling phenomenon happened in the middle of the day. Without any warning or clouds, the lift suddenly quit, and the three gliders in the air at the time all landed. Keith noted that the wind had shifted to the east, so it was probably an incursion of cold air from the river valley. What made it interesting is that an hour later it was going again, and the last two flights of the day were over an hour long, with landings after 6pm.

Update (5/22/12): Evan (T8) just posted his Sunday flight from the contest in Pennsylvania. 343 km in thermals "on the plateau." This beats both Tim and Tony for the weekend distance title. The contest ends today, so Evan should be home soon.

All in all, it was a great 4 days in May. Notable accomplishments were Greg’s 8 flights, Bill’s 14 flights, and all the towing done by Andy, Keith, and Doug.

Finally, if you get a chance to fly in a two-seater with Moshe, as Karl and Rick did on Sunday, you should not pass it up. Moshe is a master of thermaling, and it’s worth paying for a tow just to see how he does it. You can observe a lot just by watching.

Also, if you want to know the proper way to put the gear down in the Blanik, just ask Keith.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Weekend report May 12 - 13

After yet another towplane delay that caused several members to suggest that we borrow back our winch, we finally started flying late Saturday.

Tom and Skip brought their gliders, and both took refresher rides before flying their own planes. Greg showed us how hang glider pilots do it by soaring the Blanik to 8300 feet on Saturday and again to 7800 feet on Sunday. Mike had a nice flight on Sunday in PM, but had to land when the first thunderstorm of the season gave us a near miss. Tim, Bill, and Rick combined to fix, tow, and instruct. Perhaps next weekend we can skip the fixing part.

Only Skip (JS) carried a flight recorder. Moshe and Tony haven't checked in, so we have only one flight to report to OLC this week.

Steve, Nancy, Sonny, and Christopher showed up and helped out, but didn't get a chance to fly.

Evan continues to sit around at the contest in Pennsylvania, where this photo was taken, just before the rains came:

and these two were taken today:

Why is this man not smiling?

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Local hero gets lost

As usual this time of year, they're racing gliders in central Pennsylvania.

This time it's a combination of the 15 Meter Class Nationals and Sports Class Regionals. Both contests started a couple of days ago, and Evan is entered in the Nationals in his ASW-20, T8.

After a heroic 810 km ridge run on the first practice day, Evan landed out on the second day at a small airfield which he misidentified on his way to the ground.

The contest, which will last till May 22, can be followed on the internet. So far, the bloggers at SoaringCafe are doing a much better job of reporting than SSA.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


This is why we're glad we don't live in Europe.


Weekend report May 5 - 6

It was all about the towplane this weekend.

Our original plan was to have the L-19 ready for towing by the end of last week, but we were overtaken by gremlins. Finally, late Saturday afternoon, it was ready to fly. The overhauled engine required a break-in period before towing could commmence, and this is pretty much occupied all of Sunday.

We had fine weather both days, and it was a both frustrating and educational to watch the sky develop on Sunday. Skip and Thomas brought their gliders to the field.