Sunday, June 17, 2012

Weekend report June 16 - 17

On Saturday two unexpected things happened. We had cumulus clouds and Lane showed up. In case you haven't been flying with us for 20 years, Lane Cobb was the first person to join the club after it was founded in 1988. He was quite active until 2005 when he took a short break from flying that lasted till this weekend. It's great to have him back.

In addition to being a superb pilot, Lane is an excellent source of flying stories. We reviewed some of them at the cookout Saturday night. If you haven't heard the one about his final glide into Post Mills in the 1-23, or the one about holding his breath at 18000 feet in the 1-26, or hopping over the road in the 2-33, or re-installing his instrument panel in mid-flight, or being infested with bird lice, be sure to ask him.

The first three people to arrive at the field were towpilots. Not sure what that's about. Evan found a detached spring in the L19 exhaust system, fixed it, and towed all day, including a long cross-country tow at the end of the day when he could have been drinking beer. Thanks, Evan!

The best round-trip flight of the day was turned in by Moshe (RU), who took a 225 km tour of Vermont. He crossed over to the Green Mountains at Stockbridge, went north almost to Morrisville, then home. He made his last climb at Spruce Mountain where he elected not to divert over to New Hampshire to join Paul. That turned out to be a good call. Here's a picture he took somewhere over Hancock.

Paul (S1) set out on an ambitious trip with turnpoints in northern Vermont and at Mount Washington. Things were going well until he flew into a stable airmass at Whitefield and plummeted to the ground, thereby demonstrating the wisdom of the old adage, "If you find yourself flying over the cumulus clouds, it's best to turn around."

Paul's cell phone battery had just enough juice in it to make two calls, one to Marsha to let her know that he'd be late for dinner, and the one that got to Evan in time to organize an aeroretrieve.

Tim (PM) had a nice two hour flight early in the day, but it wasn't recorded properly for some reason. After a quick turnaround on the ground, Andy (PM) took off and flew up to Mount Moosilauke, a 109 km flight that included an escape from Dean.

The Schleicher team of Skip (JS) and Thomas (ZP) weren't able to come to the cookout, so we didn't get to hear their stories. Skip flew 81 km. As Thomas was landing, he did a good job of keeping his eye on the towplane taking off in the opposite direction. It wasn't close, but we should all be more alert for this situation on no-wind days.

For the third day in a row, local flying was more difficult than cross-country flying. The thermals were widely spaced, and if you found yourself between two of them without the option of pressing on straight ahead, then you probably were faced with a short flight. The successful local pilots were the ones who found a lucky thermal and loitered at the top. These included Greg (3J, new type), Tim (PI), and Dennis (67, PI). Lane and Rick tried to leap between two thermals in the 2-33, and paid the price.

All in all, a good day at the airport. The happiest moment was when Rick found his wallet on the runway after it had fallen out of the 2-33.

The cookout started right on time, which was before Paul and Evan returned home, and before Moshe was finished preserving a few yards of gap tape. Eventually, the party included

Andrew, Andy, Christopher, Dennis, Ella, Evan, Gordon, Jane, Judy, Keith, Lane, Marsha, Mary, Mike, Moshe, Nancy, Paul, Peter, Petey, Rick, Sherry, and Sue.
Thanks go to Mary for her cooking and organizing and to all the contributors. Special mention to Dennis, who elevated the PMSC cookout experience by bringing a platter of shrimp!

The airmass was getting a little stale by Sunday, our fourth flying day in a row. But it was another fine day to be outdoors in a beautiful setting, never mind the haze. Eleven club members turned up, and eight of them flew. It was a good old fashioned local soaring day, with all the racing gliders remaining in their boxes. The best two hours of the day were between 2pm and 4pm, and Greg (3J) and Nancy (PI) took full advantage. The rest of us sat around in the screenhouse and watched the next generation of glider pilots (Sawyer and Andrew) fly a really weird RC glider that seemed to be immune to damage.

The day ended on a high note when Bill Swartz gave his Dad a ride in the Blanik.

Happy Father's Day!

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