Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Weekend report June 21 - 22

Another terrific weekend for the club!

We expanded our operational footprint to three airports in two states, accomplished some good flight instruction, welcomed back an old member, and racked up over 3000 OLC kilometers.

Saturday started out with a quick trip in the Cub to Springfield by Kevin and Rick to help Dennis assemble his glider. When we left him, he was still looking for a towpilot. Fortunately, he found one later in the day and had a short practice flight. Afterwards, he was able to hangar the glider in preparation for further flying on Sunday.

Back at Post Mills, the conditions were good enough to get up and get away for one long (T8) and several medium sized (ZP, BA, EA, JS, S1, RU, PM) cross-country flights.

Two of those flights did not quite make it back to Post Mills. Greg and his guest Mike flogged the Blanik up to Franconia and landed at Dean on the way home. Andy Lawrence must have decided they needed company, and he landed there, too. In an uncharacteristic display of efficiency, the club leapt into action and executed two simultaneous retrieves, getting everyone home in time for the cookout (it didn't hurt that this was the longest day of the year).

The cookout was well attended:
Andy, Andy, Bill, Dan, Ella, Evan, Karl, Keith, Greg, Mary, Mike, Mike, Moshe, Paul, Peter, Petey, Rich, Rick, Sue, Sue, and Sue
and the only complaint was that we ran out of food again. Perhaps we should be better organized, who knows?

The flying on Sunday was even better. Iron Man (T8) was the first to take off, and the last to land. In seven and a half hours, Evan flew 600 kilometers, which is an all-time distance record for flights out of our humble airfield. Congratulations, Evan!

A 600 kilometer bow tie
Moshe (RU) took a 300 km trip that included the far side of the Green Mountains, an area gliders don't normally visit. Thomas (ZP), Greg (JD) and Dan (EA) chased each other around a quadrilateral with vertices at Mount Hunger, Burke Mountain, Mount Washington, and Post Mills.

Sonny (LT) flew our stock 100 km FAI Triangle (Post Mills, Harvey's Lake, Dean) and was happy to get home after a low save over Mallory Farm, a place with which he is familiar.

Skip (JS), who took off exactly 3 hours after Evan, flew a somewhat smaller bow tie course which included a low save at Dean. Andy (PM), and Doug (PM) combined to put another 200 km on the 304's odometer.

The local guys had a good time too. Henry explored the area in 3J for 2 hours. Dakai made his first flight as sole manipulator of the controls and kept the 2-33 in the air for an hour. Karl flew the Blanik three times, including an introductory ride for Matt Hausler, and an end-of-day flight with Lane that went to 7300 feet. Tim and Christina went for a short flight and took that great picture of Lake Morey and the river.

We were very happy to see Carl Hausler on the field again after a long absence. Although he didn't actually get in the air this weekend, he has told us that he wants to become active again. Welcome back, Carl!

The weekend ended the way it began, with a trip to Springfield (this time in the Champ) to see Dennis (DC), who had another nice flight in the Ventus.

That's it.  A very successful weekend with lots of happy pilots. Thanks to Doug and Andy for towing, and to Bill for instructing both days.

Summer has started

Happy Summer Soaring Season, and Happy Birthday to all the Solstice Babies.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Monday, June 23, 2014

We never get tired of the view

WGC 2014

Here is some basic information about the World Gliding Championships (WGC), and about the US Soaring Team.

The WGC takes place every two years.  It is split into two separate competitions, with three classes of gliders in each. Sometimes, the interval between competitions is one-and-a-half or two-and-a half years, because they occasionally go to the Southern Hemisphere, where it's summertime in January.

Usually, about 20 countries participate in each Championships. Each country is allowed to send two pilots per class, not counting the reigning champions, who are automatically invited.  USA tries to send a full complement of pilots to each contest, which means 12 pilots total for the two contests.

This year one of the WGCs is in Finland in June (it has already started), and the other one is in Poland in July.

The contest in Finland is for the Standard, Club, and 2-seater classes.  Here is some information and links to help you follow along:
Contest site: Rayskala, Finland
Dates: June 22 - July 5
Contest website
US Team blog, Twitter
Karin's blog
We have some connections to this contest.  Both of our Standard Class pilots are members of GBSC and have flown out of Post Mills. The principal author of the US Team blog is PMSC member John Good.

Karin Schlosser, one of our pilots, is writing her own blog. Unfortunately, both bloggers are currently reporting that the weather in Finland is really lousy.

The other contest is in Poland, and it is for the Open, 18 Meter, and 15 Meter classes.  Here is the info:
Contest site: Leszno, Poland
Dates: July 27 - August 9
Contest website
US Team blog, Twitter
Rick (DB Crew) will be there, and will be one of the Team bloggers and tweeters.

Slacker Friday

Evan, Rick and Karl went flying on Friday, and Keith towed (Thanks, Keith).

The conditions were good but there was too much wind for a normal cross-country mission. Evan (T8) was the smartest: he flew up to Franconia and joined Jim David (US) on a wave hunt. They were successful, and Evan made a nice climb to 13800 feet. From there, he made it almost halfway to the North Pole.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Diamond Distance

Congratulations to PMSC blogger Greg Hanlon, whose Diamond Distance (500 km) flight was approved by SSA today!

All he has to do to complete his Diamond Badge is to make a climb of 16404 feet.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Franconia Dive

Here's an illustration of why Franconia is such a useful place.

Yesterday, Tim (AT) and Greg (JD) departed Post Mills a bit late, around 2pm. They soared up to Black Mountain and then made a beeline for South Kinsman mountain, which wasn't working. They followed the Kinsman ridge to Cannon Mountain, where they got back up.

This enabled them to get very high and stay in contact with the clouds for the rest of the flight, until final glide.

Plunging into the Franconia region is usually a good bet, especially with a westerly wind.  On the rare occasions when you can't stay in the air, there is a very nice gliderport at the bottom of the ridge.

The next time you see one of the FSA club members, be sure to tell him or her how much we appreciate their airfield, even when we don't land there.  You'll get a chance to do this in a couple of weeks.

The Franconia Dive

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Update from Tony

Tony Moehrke checked in this morning and sends his greetings to his Club-of-Origin.

Tony is taking a break from flying at Air Sailing Gliderport in Nevada, where they have apparently recently run out of towplanes.  His latest flight was a spectacular tour of western Nevada, taking in the Carson Range, Lake Tahoe, and Minden.

You'd think that with all that scenery, he would send us a picture once in a while.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Weekend report June 14 - 15

It was a pretty quiet week at old Post Mills, my home town.

The highlight of the weekend was the Saturday cookout, attended by
Andrew, Andy, Bob, Ella, Henry, Judy, Karl, Lane, Linda, Mary, Mike, Peter, Petey, Rich, Rick, Sam, Sue
and Jeff and Tom, who arrived after the food ran out. The meal was followed by a pleasant evening stroll down to the lake for some fishing.

Earlier that day, Dennis took his Dad up for a Father's Day ride, and Tim took PM out across the river for the only two soaring flights of the day. On Sunday, it was too windy to fly, but Willy, Henry, Skip (JS) and Bill went up anyway, just to make sure.

And that's the news from old Post Mills, where the grass is long, the dogs are good looking, and all the thermals are above average.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Name that club member

Weekend report June 7 - 8

One of the advantages of having over fifteen hours of daylight is that you don't really have to hurry to squeeze in a good flight.  If you do use the available time efficiently, however, you can accomplish some amazing things.

On Saturday, Evan was the first to take off, at 1130. Cloudbases eventually reached 6500 feet, but the thermals became strangely difficult to work below 4500.  With a limited height band, Evan stopped often, averaging less than 10 km per glide. But if you do that for seven hours, you wind up with a remarkable 508 km! He flew to a spot just south of Alton Bay, then to Mount Equinox and Mount Mansfield before coming home.

In all, we had six cross-country flights (T8, JD, 2W, EA, JS, US), for a total of 28.5 hours and almost 1500 km. This had to be a club record. On the way by Springfield, Greg spotted Dennis (DC), who was enjoying a nice three hour flight in the Ventus.

After towing the XC fleet, our towpilot Andy retreated to his hangar to work on the Champ. Henry, Moshe and Dakai coaxed him out to do three more tows of the Blanik and 2-33.

The only glider that stayed in the air later than T8 was the Blanik, with Moshe and Annie, who enjoyed a 1.6 hour flight.  Annie was the only person smart enough to send her photos to the editor.

Later, Evan broke into PMSC News to add this photo taken while tanking up at the Hungries (near Morrisville) for the ride home.  View of the sky is roughly down the course line to Post Mills, a little over 40 miles away.

If we set a cross-country record on Saturday, we broke it on Sunday!

At first the lift was weak, and after Tim (PM) fell down at noon, nobody was in a hurry to go next. Finally, at 1230, Dan (EA) took off and reported that the day had finally started.  Suddenly there was a rush, and five more took to the air (T8, JD, PM, RU, S1), and they were joined later by JS.  The seven of them flew 1845 km. Paul and Moshe flew up to Catamount, and Skip made it to Black Mountain and back, despite a late start.

The other four headed north together, initially:

Identification of the 4 tracklogs above are left as an exercise for the reader.

While all this was going on, Karl got his Blanik checkout, fixed a golf cart, and then flew the Blanik for an hour. Bill Swartz, who will have his CFI any day now, flew with Willy and Dakai and helped them get their logbooks up to date. Rich, who never seems to get rusty, showed up and gave Rick a ride in the Blanik for about an hour.  Lane, who never seems to fly, put his 1-26 together and took it apart again. Henry, who never downloads the flights recorded on his iPhone, reinstalled the variometers in 3J and took it for a test flight. Dennis (DC), who is welcome to come back to Post Mills any time, flew with NESA again. Doug, who finally got to fly PM last weekend, was trapped in the towplane all day and made 16 tows.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Weekend report May 31 - June 1

Saturday started out as forecast, which probably explains the low turnout. The first to arrive on the field was Sonny, who figured it would take an hour or two to replace the 1-23 skid.  He got to work right away and was later joined by Lane.  The project took all day!

Here is a picture of the two of them taking a break to pray toward Mecca.

Meanwhile, we were able to accomplish some instructional flights under the low ceiling, with Andy towing.  A passing rain shower shut down the operation for a bit, but we resumed and were able to finish Moshe's flight review and Dennis's Blanik checkout.  Late in the day, the sky opened up and Dennis was able to stay up for a while, on the only soaring flight of the day.

Sunday started off great.  Evan (T8), Greg (JD), Tom (2W), Dan (EA), Tim (PM) took off early.  Evan headed north to Stowe where he spent an hour communing with the trees when high cirrus clouds moved in (a good lesson in not giving up).  He still managed to put in 499 km by the end of the day.  The Flock (JD, 2W, EA, PM) made a quick trip to Killington via a cloud street with bases to 7K'.  At Killington Tim turned around to give Doug (PM) a chance with PM and the rest of the Flock continued south of Jamaica (that's VT) while avoiding the worst of the high clouds. Their round trip was about 240 km.   Moshe (RU) put in a nice flight "tip-toeing around areas shaded by thick cirrus" and visited Peacham and Williamstown.   Nice local flights were had by Henry in 3J, Dakai and Andy Lawrence in BA, Ben and Tim in BA, Andy Lawrence (PM), and Skip (JS).  Thanks for towing Doug!

Also on Sunday, Rick and Dennis visited NESA at Springfield where we hung out with Phil Stoddard, Alasdair Crawford, Lee Blair, Larry Perry, and Walter Striedieck, all of whom had opinions about how to fly a Ventus B.  After waiting for the advice and the wind to die down, Dennis hopped into his glider, gave the thumbs up, and took off.

After twenty minutes of flying around with his gear down (intentionally), he made a smooth touchdown on runway 23 and rolled to a stop. His towpilot and instructor had the pleasure of being the first to congratulate our newest high-performance sailplane pilot!