Monday, October 29, 2012

Weekend report October 27 - 28

We had a fair amount of activity at the field this weekend, but only six flights.

Andy, Keith, and Mike took advantage of the calm before the storm and hid the towplane in a hangar and staked down the club trailers.  Tom, Skip, and Thomas showed up, hooked up their gliders, and disappeared like rats deserting a sinking ship.

Greg arrived with his new pride and joy, a Glasflugel 304CZ and assembled it (mostly) over by the dinosaur.

He and fellow road warrior Dan trailered "Juliet Delta" all the way from Oregon in just over three days.  The ship is absolutely beautiful, and very well equipped.  Congratulations, Greg!  The glider is now home in Lyme.

As we await the arrival of the hurricane, the only aircraft in evidence in the tiedown area is the 2-33, which was the only glider that actually flew this weekend.  Our student pilots John and Mark are taking advantage of late-season opportunities for instruction, and that is admirable.  They will be ahead of the game at the beginning of next season.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

What comes after red?

We're all familiar with weather maps in which the colors represent different wind strengths. There is a progression from green to yellow to orange to red as the wind strength increases. Red is reserved for the highest wind speeds we get around here, 50 - 60 mph.

Today we learned the color that comes after red. It is brown. Brown is the color reserved for 75 mph. Here's the wind gust forecast for 2pm tomorrow (Monday).

I really don't want to know what comes after brown.


Saturday, October 27, 2012

Check your tiedowns

Tomorrow may be our last flying day. Ever.


Monday, October 22, 2012

Weekend report October 20 - 21

We can blame the weather for our getting off to a late start on Sunday, but not on Saturday, which was a beautiful day from beginning to end.

The clouds on Saturday looked good, but they provided no help at all.  There was weak lift over the sunny spots.  Rick towed, Bill instructed, and Mark made good progress in the 2-33.  Tom (who seems to have stopped posting his flights on OLC) and Skip (JS) made a couple of late afternoon local flights, with Skip flying long enough to cause us to call him to find out if he was still in the air. Karl and Bill took a Cub ride while waiting for Skip to return.

The Sunday weather was not very good early in the day, but it became quite pleasant toward the end.  Andy towed and Tim instructed.  Mark got a lesson and Dennis racked up another solo.

Andy, Tim, and Mark brought the old Blanik out of storage and back to the airport.  I wonder what will happen to it next!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Wave camp late report

Evan writes:

I'm uncertain what happened at Gorham early in the inter-weekend period because I was breaking rocks "down South", which is to say I was working in the general vicinity of Epsom, New Hampshire.  I did hear that there was flying both days including some light wave in easterly winds.

The forecast for Thursday was for a rather more serious Mount Washington kind of traditional post frontal wave, so I headed back up north Wednesday evening, just a little too late for an evidently excellent spaghetti dinner at the red house.

Thursday was cold (as predicted) and windy (as predicted) but the wave was a little weaker than one might have guessed based on the forecast.  Conflicts with other users of the airspace (F-16s) were therefore not as annoying as might have been because it just wasn't the really "tall and strong" day we were hoping for.  I flew up to perhaps 16K where the winds aloft were 85 plus and enjoyed the view, but wished for a go-somewhere day.  After flying, I ended up at the S-a-a-l-t Pub with a bunch of others, where the menu is worldly and interesting, and the food quite good.

Friday promised lighter winds and potentially better x-c wave, but it came with a lot of cloud, bands of snow showers and low visibility.  At least one glider (I1) got high enough to clear the weather and had an extended high flight, but climbs were weak so later launchers including T8, RR (flying the Puchacz),18H and PM had to dive back under the clouds and seek some place to wait out the snow showers.  It didn't work.  T8, 18H and RR headed for Hayes, PM (Tim) headed for Mount Madison.  We all gave it up in turn and landed without incident, but Tim landed at Whitefield just to be different.

Saturday was forecast to be drier, so several of us decided to rig early.  T8 was first to launch around 0930, not exactly dawn patrol but at least early enough to catch a beautiful view of mother earth with the sun still low in the eastern sky.  Visibility was absolutely superb.  Unusual for the weekend, F16s were practicing in the MOA again, so the wave window was unavailable until late.  Iron man Pete took off just before lunch in LT and toured the area for almost five hours.  Andy made it to 14000 feet in PM, and as soon as he landed, Greg took over and squeaked out a Gold Altitude climb (3033 meters, pending approval).

Several pilots enjoyed playing around in the Crescent wave to a maximum of about 13K and others flew the Mount Washington primary right up to 17,999.  I paired up with RR, shot a little video, and we flew off on a daring O&R to Berlin at the breakneck ground speed of about 35 knots (with a headwind component of about 70).

Cross-country not being the order of the day, RR decided to make an attempt at a "legal diamond" by flying to a low point on Mount Hayes and then digging back out to get a 5000 meter climb all below 18000 feet.  I thought that sounded like fun so I headed down to do likewise and found the low level ridge to be exceedingly rough and a little too sporty for my taste.  "S" turning on Mountt Hayes below 1600, I found wind shear that twice attempted to roll me well beyond my intended bank angle, so I called it quits and landed in time for a late lunch.

In the meantime, Skip (JS) took a fashionably late tow to the primary and was able to get over 13000 feet.  It turned out that this was the last good climb of the day (and our first OLC claim of the season).

Late in the day, the wave window was finally open and I took another flight.  Several of us did battle with a powerful primary rotor, but none were able to connect with the wave.  Doug flew 3J, but he didn't record the flight, and I don't have his report.  Dan and John Good gave it their best shot in the Duo, but the wave was gone.  I found a lovely thermal cloud street to Mount Starr King and back, then capped off the week with a beautiful ascent of the Presidentials in ridge lift at sunset.  After waiting all day for his turn, Dennis took Rick for a nice tour of the valley in I1, and by trying every peak on the Moriah-Carter range, they confirmed that even the ridge lift was gone.

The forecast for Sunday was so hopeless that even the optimists thought it would be a good idea to break camp.  Andy led the 3J disassembly crew, Greg and Dan packed up the golf cart, and Rick, Dennis, and Annie moved the airport cones back in the way of safe operations.  Walter made his ceremonial low pass in the Pawnee at sunset, and that was that.

So ends another successful wave camp, thanks to everyone for helping out and staying safe.

We adjourned to dinner at the delightful Saladinos Italian restaurant and market and took our leave by turns.  Several of us cleaned up the red house and the stragglers held an impromptu debrief while waiting for Felix Baumgartner's balloon to ascend to 128,000 feet for his record breaking jump.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Wave camp early report

The first weekend at Gorham featured all kinds of weather, but not much in the way of wind.  So far there have been only two flying days, and only one with decent wave conditions.

On the first day (Friday), Tim, John and Evan reached about 20000 feet after struggling a bit down low.  But that struggle was nothing compared with yesterday.  That morning, twenty five optimists assembled their gliders in intermittent drizzly conditions.  When the sun finally broke out, everyone rushed into the air and most of them fell back down.  The ones that didn't were faced with the challenge of staying within range of home while running away from the clouds.

The best flight of the day was probably Dan's introduction to the wave, just before sunset, with Jerry from NESA in the PW-6.  They made it to 11000 feet over the Horn, in clear conditions.

The rest of us are hopeful that the wind will start to blow from the west before next weekend.

Monday, October 8, 2012

1000 kilometers each

Hey, this is interesting:  19 club members participated in this year's Online Contest, and our total distance flown was 19145 kilometers.

Who will be the first to claim a flight in the new season?