Saturday, September 29, 2012

We have a new waypoint database

and it's on the World Wide Turnpoint Exchange.

The geographic area of this database is quite large.  You'll find it useful whether you are flying out of Post Mills, Springfield, Morrisville, Franconia or Gorham.  The whole database is just a little too large to fit in a Cambridge Flight Recorder, so you can either edit out the 25 or 30 points you find least useful or wait a day or two for a 250 point trimmed down (based on distance from PM) version which will be posted shortly.

Similar databases will be available for Franconia and Gorham very soon based on the same core waypoint list.

Use at your own risk.  Any landable airport or field can become unlandable without notice.  I've pulled a lot of scat out of the old database (seaplane ports, missing airports, 30' wide airports and similar) but I can pretty much guarantee that somewhere in here lies an "airport" unsuitable for gliders.  We have not visited them all.  Check them out on Google Earth, and if you really want to rely on them, go visit them in person.

Thanks to Moshe and John Leibacher for helping with this.  Please get back to me or Moshe with any errors found.


Friday, September 28, 2012

Monday, September 24, 2012

That's gotta be a record

Yesterday we had six towpilots and three CFIs on the field.

Five days in a row

We've had some really great weather recently. The slackers and the regulars combined for another "five day weekend," ending yesterday, with a total of 31 flights.

Tim (PM) took a high tow on Wednesday, hoping for wave. The forecast said it was a possibility, but the wind had died down by the time he took off. He turned it into a nice 3.5 hour flight in thermals, visiting Goose Pond, Cookeville, and Strafford.

Dennis made the trip to Post Mills to work on patterns and landings. After the last one, there was nobody left on the airport and no hurry to put the glider away. We stood around talking and enjoying the late afternoon sun. A perfect day to be outside in a beautiful setting.

Dan and Greg showed up and Karl flew in. The weather was good, but the thermals were a bit widely spaced. Greg had his first extended flight in PM, and Dan flew 3J for about an hour - twice.

It rained a bit on Friday evening, and the forecast for Saturday was pessimistic and completely wrong. The day turned out fine for flying, if not for soaring.  Tim towed early, and Andy took over for the rest of the day.

Kevin started things out by flying PI with a guest and then had to leave. Mike and Sonny showed up to help out but didn't fly. Greg and Andy Lawrence had short flights. Mark had a good day: 3 flights in two gliders with two instructors.

But the best time was had by Dennis Cavagnaro, who made his first solo in a sailplane!

It was a bit too cool for a water dunking, so we used leaves instead.

Dennis saw me coming with the bucket, and he didn't know it wasn't water.

We had another frontal passage Saturday night, and Sunday was windy. We put student flying on hold, hoping that it would calm down toward the end of the day. In the meantime, we had a day of maintenance, standing around, and socializing, with a little bit of flying thrown in.

Tim, who started our five day weekend, finished it off with another 2 hour, 114km flight in PM. He heard Evan on the radio somewhere in New York (Evan, apparently, is slowly making his way home after finishing second in the Region 4 contest. Good job, Evan).

Karl made it to 7000 feet in 3J, and found so much lift in the pattern that we thought he was going to land somewhere else.

Then something strange happened. The wind and the lift both quit in the middle of the day. Late launchers Skip and Mike found nothing at all, and flight instruction suddenly became possible. John Lippman had a pair of flights with Thomas, and Bob flew with Rick. Dennis capped off the day with his second solo.

Five straight days of flying. Congratulations to all.  Anybody want to go for six?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Evan wins Day 1 at New Castle

Today was the first day of the Region 4 contest in New Castle, Virginia.

Evan was the winner!

The most widely read PMSC News item of all time was his story of his first New Castle contest.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Caption needed

Weekend report September 15 - 16

The seasons are changing. The weather is dynamic again. This was the last weekend in which the days were longer than the nights.

Technically, this was a three day weekend, since we flew on Friday (see previous post). A frontal passage Friday evening brought us cooler air and a brisk northwest wind for the next two days.

Saturday was unstable, with several cycles of clouds and blue sky. New members Mark Hopkins and John Lippman started their training and Sonia got checked out on the golf cart. Mark and John had a couple of good lessons each, despite the turbulent conditions. Our default towpilot, Andy, came out and towed because our scheduling system seems to have failed.

The wind died down for Sunday, and it was much drier aloft. We made a total of twelve flights, all local. Unusually, the lift was on the east side of the field all day, with no lift at the usual hotspots of Tug Mountain and the copper mine.

Karl showed up in the Cub and made two flights in 3J. His first might have been longer if he hadn't misread his altimeter on tow. The second one was of satisfying duration. In between the two flights, Greg disappeared in 3J for an hour or so. Neither one of them carried a flight recorder.

Rick and Thomas (and everybody else) ganged up on Christopher for his first Flight Review (has it been two years already?) Mark and Dennis were good sports about losing their spots on the waiting list.

Andy Lawrence (PM), Skip (JS), and Steve (PM) did record their flights, and all three reported having a good time in the local thermals.

Tom flew TH for a couple of hours at Franconia and has decided to keep the glider there, ready to go to Gorham next month. And Evan and John are racing in Virginia, again. No reports from Tony or Moshe.

And finally, this week's nag list:

1. Golf cart abuse: the rear end of the cart is not as strong as it looks. Recently we have put far too much junk, weights, and even people in back. Let's try not to do this.

2. Tail dolly ettiquette: we all have different ideas about where to put our tail dollies while we are out flying, and this is fine. Don't assume that the pilot wants his tail dolly repositioned while he is in the air. It's frustrating to have to look for it after landing.

3. Towpilots: please use the calendar. Andy enjoys towing, but we don't enjoy not knowing whether any other towpilot is planning to show up.

4. Flight recorders: please use them! It doesn't matter if your flights are short. OLC serves as an excellent club logbook.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Slacker report

We had a pretty good day of flying today, but it was never a sure thing.

The towplane was down for maintenance yesterday, and we knew that Andy, who was doing the oil change and the brake job, was out flying in the Champ. Our hopes for flying on Friday sank when Andy returned just at sunset on Thursday.

However, late that night, Andy reported that he had finished the work on the L19 after dark, and he said that it was ready to fly on Friday (thanks, Andy!)

The lightweights, Dan, Dennis, and Greg, took advantage of the opportunity to fly, and Tim was able to tow. Dan (3J) and Greg (PM) launched at around 1pm and were able to stay in the lift for an hour or so. Dennis and Rick took some pattern tows in the Blanik. Bob showed up at the end of the day to help launch Dan on his second flight of the day in 3J.

After flying, Greg spent some time cleaning PM, and Dan siphoned gas into the airport tank. The two of them are planning another gas run tomorrow. Thanks, guys!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Weekend report September 1 - 3

Our Labor Day weekend was a complete success, with good weather and good flying.

The best day was Saturday. We had good lift to 6000 feet. The two heroes of the day were Andy, who towed all day, and Thomas, who cut short his own flying day to give flight instruction. Evan (T8) took a trip up to the White Mountains and did some exploring north of Gorham. The day ended abruptly when the towplane tailwheel went flat, but most of us had had enough flying by then.

Dan and Greg took the tailwheel home to repair it, but it turned out that it needed a new inner tube.

On Sunday, the day got off to a late start. We waited for Andy and Dan to return from Montpelier where they acquired a new tube for the tailwheel. Thankfully, Evan was able to tow until the very end of the day, so we were able to get everyone up, finally. There was even a little time left in the day for model flying before sunset.

Both Sam and Dan flew the 1-23 for the first time on Sunday. It was a little too late in the day for staying up, but they both made excellent landings.

At Morrisville, Moshe made a nice 100-mile flight in RU, venturing to the northwest, past the Green Mountains into the Champlain basin.

The good weather lasted through Monday, but the lift was decidedly weaker. Also, the Labor Day parade interfered a bit, as usual. I don't think that there were any cross-country flights on Monday, but I'm not sure. I did not have the best vantage point for observing.

On a serious note: after approximately a decade since the last one, we launched a glider with the tail dolly still attached. Although removal of the tail dolly is 100% the responsibility of the pilot, we should all be on the lookout for this hazardous and completely avoidable mistake. Here's hoping that this is the beginning of a very long epoch in which this mistake does not recur.