Sunday, December 20, 2015

December Soaring

Who says we're done flying gliders this season?

Today Tim flew AT and Walter & I flew I1 around Mt. Ascutney for two hours until the lift gave out. 

Nice day for flying. 


Friday, November 27, 2015

Secret new site

It isn't official, I guess, since there is no trace of it on their website, but there is a new glider operation in Sanford, Maine.

You'd think if you added a 2-33, a towplane, three towpilots, and three flight instructors, to your FBO and flight school, you'd let the world know about it.  But no.

Speaking of add-ons, what do you call it when a guy with an Airline Transport Pilot Certificate with single/multi/instrument/land/sea airplane ratings adds a glider rating to his CFI?

An "upgrade," of course.  Congratulations to CFI-G John Gary!

John is the latest graduate of the SoarVT program (no, not that one). Thanks to the visionary leadership of our club President, PMSC has five new flight instructors, with two more "in the wings."

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Too many instructors

Just kidding.  There's no such thing.

We just received word that we have two more glider-rated CFIs.

Congratulations to Bill Swartz and Sue Tholen!

While it is true that these two already had flight instructor certificates, it is still quite an achievement to add the glider category.

And now PMSC can say that we have a satellite operation in Sanford.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

2015 Season Ends

The 2015 Soaring season ended on Sunday with JD flying off into the sunset.

 Greg (JD), Karl (PM) and Tim (AT) had nice wave flights to 10,000' in winds up to 50 kts.  Bill O (3BA), Don (3BA), and Dakai (67) finished the season off with local flights.  Thank you Andy for Towing.  And thank you Karl for the great photos.


Thursday, November 12, 2015

Some Pictures for Last Saturday

Here are some pictures Don took last Saturday.


Tuesday, November 10, 2015


The TV station from Manchester, New Hampshire sent a reporter to wave camp, and this was the result.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Weekend Report November 7 - 8

The second-to-last weekend of the season featured low temperatures, weak lift, and lots of wind.

Nevertheless, we accomplished some good lessons and got a good bit of crosswind practice.

On Saturday, Tim (AT) took a wave tow that didn't pan out, but he was able to stay up for a little while in the turbulent thermals down below cloudbase.  Don, Bill, and Dakai each had took pattern tows in order to enjoy the experience of landing in a 15 knot crosswind.

Sunday started out with an excess of wind, but it eventually died down and allowed us to make six flights before sunset. Karl and Henry refreshed their familiarity with the 1-23, and Dakai and Don took two more pattern tows.  On the last flight of the day, Don made his first glider solo in the Blanik (Congratulations, Don!)

Thanks, Evan for doing all the towing this weekend.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Sorry, Ed

Ed Seymour held the New Hampshire open class altitude gain record from 1969 - 2015.  I feel a little bad about taking that record because Ed isn't around to defend it anymore.  He still holds the NH open class absolute altitude record.

You can read a little about Ed's long life in soaring here.



The record book was updated last month, with a pair of outstanding altitude flights by two of our club members at the MWSA wave camp.

Both flights took place on October 15.

Evan (T8) took a tow to Mount Hayes and grabbed a good low point just over the trees there. After 40 minutes of struggling, he finally got a good enough climb to allow him to sneak into the wave at Mount Madison. Eventually he topped out just under 28000 feet, for an altitude gain of 26271 feet, a New Hampshire state record.

Next to take off that day was Tim (AT), who took a 6000 foot tow downwind to just across the Maine state border, where he released.  He turned around and glided back to Gorham, and joined Evan's thermal at Mount Hayes. He contacted the secondary at Mount Carter and transitioned to the Washington primary.  His highest altitude was 23739 feet and his altitude gain was 19177 feet, both of which qualified for Maine state records.

Now that we know that the state in which you release is what counts, who will be the first to go after the Vermont state altitude record (currently 27270) out of Post Mills?

Congratulations Evan and Tim!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015


Our club is very lucky to be made up of so many dedicated volunteers, and the secret to our success is the willingness of everyone to help everyone else get in the air.

Yesterday and today, this volunteerism was exemplified in spades by two of our members, who successfully made the transition from "Expert Pilot" to "Rookie Flight Instructor."

Congratulations to CFI Evan Ludeman and CFI Moshe Braner!

Becoming a Certificated Flight Instructor isn't easy or cheap. Knowledge, experience, and skill are only the beginning.  You have to have a Commercial Certificate and then pass two more written tests and a flight test administered by an FAA Flight Inspector.

Moshe and Evan spent a week at CFI Camp in September and completed their Commercial Certificates at the end of that month. Then they sat around and waited for a month for the FAA to find a qualified Inspector, eventually choosing the obvious guy, the only one within 1000 miles of here.

The two flight tests went very well, unsurprisingly, and Evan and Moshe can now transfer their expertise to you, complete with a signature in your logbook.

CFIs are not all alike, and we are fortunate to have these two in our club.

Evan and Moshe will make us all better pilots, and they will do way better than whoever soloed this guy:

Monday, October 26, 2015

Let it snow

A little bit of snow last weekend didn't stop Willy from making the transition to the 1-23.

The plan was to tow to 3000 feet AGL to give him plenty of time to get familiar with his new glider - but after a waveoff at 2000 due to an approaching flurry, he made a few turns over Tug Mountain, flew around the snow, entered the pattern, and made a perfect spot landing.

The hardest part of the whole thing was finding enough lead ballast to go with him.

Congratulatons, Willy!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Roughing it

Back when Pete was a 1-23 pilot, he was a man of leisure.  Now that he is flying the 304, he has returned to the basics.

Here he is trying to decide whether to sleep in the glider or in the back of his truck.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Wave Camp ends

After a successful day of flying on Thursday, including a flight by Tim (AT) to 20000 feet and a cross-country flight by Greg (JD) from Gorham to Post Mills, the wet weather moved in.

Without much hope for soarable conditions in the mountains this weekend, the MWSA called it off early.

The countdown to the next wave camp has started!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

More stories from Gorham

We've completed the first full weekend of the MWSA wave camp, and the results, so far have been outstanding.

Here are some more stories from club members:

Tim (AT) writes:
On Saturday, I fell off the Carters and got stuck on Pine Mountain for over an hour! Finally I found wave near Mount Hayes and climbed to 10000 feet. The most interesting part is that I could go to the bow wave over Durand Ridge and maintain 10K while everyone else went to the front side of Mount Washington or landed. After a while I went back to the primary and got to 20000 feet. 
On Sunday it was an easy climb to 23000 feet where I caught up to Daniel Sazhin in the red 1-26. Then I thought I was all alone at 24K when I saw another glider. It turned out to be Greg (JD). We flew together up to 25K for his Lennie and to complete his Diamond Badge (Greg doesn't like doing anything alone). 
I thought I could get the Maine state altitude record by flying into the sliver of Maine that is in the Glider Area at 24K but apparently it doesn't work that way [Read the rules, Tim -Ed.] 
I was towpilot on Monday. The highlight was watching an HP-14 make a landing while I was picking up gas in Berlin. I hooked him up and he was on his way home in about 6 minutes.
 Moshe (MP) writes about Monday:
My flight with John Good in the Duo was fabulous. We started with weak ridge lift on the front side of Mount Washington - polishing the rocks, just about knocked the hats off the hikers. We eventually climbed and transitioned to wave in front of the one lennie that showed up in the valley (southeast of the Horn). We made a slow climb to 17500 feet, and cruised down to Moosilauke searching, without luck, for more wave lift.  We turned around and followed the Carter range back home.

Gorham report October 12

Here is Rick Roelke's report from yesterday:
While not the day we had yesterday (I expect it will be another 10 years before we see that again) it was a fine day at camp.
Monday had very low winds on the surface, but enough wind up high to soar the front face of the Presidential Range. This is not a shabby place to be hanging out, and the early flights had no problem getting up and over the summit in smooth ridge lift. 
It was unclear if the wave would be working, but the thought was to soar up the front side, and then dive over the crest and see if we could connect with the lee wave.
I was not the first launch, but I was the first to attempt the transition, and I found 2-3 knots of wave lift in the Tuckerman ravine. But I quickly lost it. I then ventured around the Horn, and did find some week lift there, accompanied by MP. We gained back most of our lost height from traversing the sink to get there, but we decided to move back to the front side again. 
On the second attempt, we had better luck, with a slow initial climb in the ravine that gradually turned into 3 knots.  I could see to the west that a bit of moisture coming our way was producing some upwind lenticular clouds. Soon we had one over Mount Washington. I think the base was around 11k. We climbed up past that, and I topped out at 18500 feet, with MP and RC close behind. 
Unfortunately, the winds were dying, and the later launchers were stuck at "only" 15500 feet.
The day was bright and clear, and very warm on the ground.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Gorham report October 11

Rick Roelke writes:
Hard to find the right words for today, as all the superlatives seem to fall short. It turned out to be one of the best, if not the best day of all the encampments I have been involved in. Our first launch was a 1-26 with Daniel Sazhin at the "wheel". Daniel had already completed his diamond distance and diamond goal in his 1-26, and today completed his diamond climb, and was just short of a single Lennie.
[Editor's note;  This is a tremendous achievement.  Daniel becomes the 39th pilot in history to complete all three Diamonds in a 1-26.  The first one was in 1965.]
The day had spectacular lennies, at times stacked 4 high over the primary. But they were evident nearly everywhere. I flew with MP up north for as far as we could (there was a lot of undercast to the north) but in the relative clear to the south, there were many clearly marked lennie routes to try. We had many diamond climbs, several single lennie climbs, but Evan Ludeman, took top honors at, wait for it, 31,000ft...

We had opened the airspace to 27000 feet, but later in the afternoon the conditions improved and we called for more space, and Boston responded quickly opening it to 35k. In the morning, good climbs were had -  6 to 8 knots down low, but still good, perhaps 4 knots at 18000 feet.  Later in the day, 12 to 13 knots could be found at the lower levels (8000 feet) and still 6+ knots at 18000 feet.

Winds and temperatures on the ground were reasonable to delightful. While there were some rough tows in the morning, and some bumps in the pattern, we experienced no real issues. Actually it was dead calm for the first few launches.

The clouds were just amazing. While it did stay clagged over up north, it seemed that the border between the overcast and the clear air was right along the White Mountains. I made a foray to the wave behind Moosilauke, stopping for lift at Lafayette, and Cannon along the way.

The view from 31000 feet

Evan encountered very little traffic up there.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Belated acknowledgements

PMSC News has fallen behind on the reporting of flying activities, due to the consequences of recent travels of the editor (that sounds better than "due to negligence," doesn't it?)

Anyway, here are overdue congratulations to Bill O'Donnell for his first solo in a glider! This took place last Sunday, and for reasons unknown, nobody took a picture.  Feel free to ask Bill how long it has been since his first solo in an airplane.

And the day before, we had a first solo in a glider by John Gary, and the first flight in the 304 by Sue Tholen.  Again, no pictures, alas.  Congratulations to both. Sue went up in PM to look for John, who had disappeared somewhere in the Blanik.  John finally landed after 40 minutes, during a period when no one else was staying in the air.

Finally, the accomplishment by Dan MacMonagle of flying cross-country on three consecutive mediocre days for a total of 500 km deserves a huzzah!

The editor promises to be less negligent in the future.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

First Solo

Congratulations to Willy Barnes for his first solo yesterday!

And big thanks to John Gary for issuing Willy's Student Pilot Certificate earlier in the day!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Off Time

And here is what Rich does in his off time:

Article starts on page 83.


Drones are Cool

Here's what Greg does in his off time:

- tim

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Postcards from Lithuania

9 Wilgas waiting for the Director to say "go."

49 sailplanes waiting for the Wilgas

18 Blaniks waiting for permission to fly

6 AN-2s waiting for whatever
A dozen crews waiting for their pilots

Diverted Flight

My flight on Saturday was diverted (not a land-out) because of weather.  There was a thunderstorm over Post Mills Airport so I landed at Smith Field in Lyme.  Both 2-legged and 4-legged natives were friendly.   Here is Terry (2-legged) helping to load up the glider with the others (4-legged) wishing they could help too.

Thanks Dan for coming to get me and Evan for towing (I guess).


Saturday, August 15, 2015

Sign of the Times

Nice work, by Anne Cavagnaro.  Thanks Anne!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Soar Vermont

A new organization, called Soar Vermont has been formed.  It consists of the four gliding operations in the state, and its purpose is to collaborate with two other organizations, the CAP and the Vermont State Aviation Program* for the purpose of helping glider pilots to become flight instructors.

The Soar Vermont leadership consists of (from north to south), Don Post, Rick Hanson, Rick Sheppe, and Walter Striedieck.

This fall, the State will spend some of its treasure on a formal training encampment for CFI applicants.  Sketchy details are available on the Soar Vermont website, which should become more informative over the course of the summer.

So far, Evan, Moshe, Bill, Keith, Lane, Sue, and ALaw have expressed interest in getting their CFI-Glider ratings.  Here's hoping they all do!

All of this is thanks to the enlightened thinking of our Designated Examiner, Bill Stinson, and the Vermont Aviation Program Administrator, Guy Rouelle.

*For some reason, it's a "Program," not a "Commission." There's probably a story there.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Weekend report June 20 - 21

Well it was only half a weekend.

Saturday weather was nice, but unsettled.  We had a couple of soarable periods separated by doldrums.  We tried hard however, Dan (EA), Evan (T8), Henry (3BA), and Willie (3BA) all flew twice, and Tom (2W) tried it three times.  In all cases the lift was weak and low, and nobody got out of gliding range of home.

Karl (3J) and Skip (JS) made good local flights, but the winner of the day was Tim (AT) who stayed aloft for a couple of hours, nobody quite sure how.

Steve requalified in the back seat of the Blanik, and Dennis experienced his first round trip trailer/staging/trailer day.  All in all, it was a fun day of local flying, with 16 total flights, all of which were towed by Andy.

We celebrated the summer solstice with the first organized cookout of the season, attended by
Andrew, Andy, Dakai, Dan, Evan, Judy, Karl, Lane, Laurie, Mary, Mike, Peter, Petey, Rick, Skip, SonnyTom
and we had plenty of good food, drink, and stories to ring in the new season.  The entertainment was provided by Dan, whose automotive systems demonstration act still needs a bit of work.

Evan brought his wide-angle lens (click to enlarge):

We were rained out on Sunday.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Picnic weather

Every once in a while you get a day that is so beautiful that it doesn't even matter that the soaring is actually quite difficult.

It was sunny and warm all day today, with light winds and nothing but blue skies from now on.

Despite this, the air was marginally unstable, and the thermals were completely unpredictable. Nevertheless, Dennis (DC), Jim (US), Tim (AT), Doug (3BA), and Dan (EA) gave it a shot.  The results were some long struggles, low saves, and nobody getting more than about 6 miles from home.

We call this "picnic weather."  Nobody in his right mind would complain about this weather.

But glider pilots aren't in their right minds, at least not immediately after landing on a day like this. After grumbling for a few minutes about the struggly soaring conditions, we all realized that we had just shared in the enjoyment of a beautiful day in a beautiful place.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Déja vu, RU

The last time we picked up RU at Dean, Dan took a fantastic picture of the takeoff.

This time, Andy snapped an even better one.

Thanks, Moshe, for providing all the photo ops.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Making the Airport a Little Safer One Tree at a Time

A work party on Saturday removed tall trees from the approach end of Runway 05 and a lot of brush from an area between the runways.  It was hard, dirty and a little dangerous work.  Thanks Bill O, Lane, Dennis, Willy, Sonny, Mark, Keith, Dakai, Pat and Tim.  Be sure to bring your shovels this weekend.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Sunday, May 31, 2015

It could happen to you!

It's always puzzled me that we call a landing in a field, as opposed to an airport, an "off field landing".  Perhaps our local semantic warrior and primary contributor to PMSC News has the answer to that.  In any case, off airport landings do happen, and it's best when they happen in a well chosen, well reconnoitered field (and not off it).  Here is a nice video on how to stack the odds in your favor.

Click through to view on YouTube and watch in HD.

Get it right and you too, can be out standing in your field (and smiling about it).

May31, 1999.  Weathersfield, VT.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Target in Sight

Today, T8 intercepted a flying saucer, climbed aboard and rode to 18,000 feet.

 The truth is out there.