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.

Why are there clouds?

This video should be a part of every ground school.

The only way to improve it would be to use fewer hot air balloons and more gliders.

Friday, May 22, 2015


Dan (EA) and Greg (JD) avoided the entire Kancamagus wilderness yesterday by flying around it. Good call.

They turned at Chocorua, Lancaster and somewhere over the trees on the way to Morrisville, where they got separated for a while.  We look forward to the video.

Meanwhile, Tom (2W) got low early, recovered, and elected to go south instead, making it to Mount Okemo.  The tower controllers at Lebanon had two chances to spot him.

Just to be different, Moshe (RU) took off and flew clockwise.  He went to Barnet, then over to Mount Jefferson where he peeked into the Great Gulf before turning around.  

He was so high on the way back that he was able to thumb his nose at the wilderness and proceed directly home from Twin Mountain.

All in all, a great day to go flying, with 864 kilometers credited to PMSC.  It would have been 1144 if if it weren't for some misplaced loyalty.  Even more if Paul (S1) and Jim D (US) had recorded their flights.

Thanks to Tim for towing!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Weekend report May 16 - 17

Ballooning and gliding were both rained out on Saturday morning.  The flying weather didn't improve much during the day, and neither did the pandemonium associated with the balloon festival, so we never got off the ground.

On Sunday, the weather was mostly blue, with decent lift to 6000 feet. We had ten flights, all towed by Susan. We operated from the south end of the field, so there was no conflict with the leftover ballooning crowd.

2W, JD, EA, and T8 all flew together, up to Morrisville and over to Franconia.  It looked something like this:

When they were in the Franconia area, they might have seen Tom Hopper (TH), out in his LS1.

The local flying at Post Mills was relaxed, with Willy, Dakai, and Bill enjoying flights of respectable duration in the trainers. Karl test flew the newly rebuilt mechanical vario in 3J.

Both golf carts are running!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Celebrate diversity

It has long been accepted that you can't teach a glider pilot how to tie a knot.  Just ask Andy or Rick.

It has also become clear that you can't teach everyone the language of our sport.  Everyone brings their own language to the melting pot that is PMSC, and people are reluctant to give up their native tongue.

We should not fight this.  We should embrace diversity, and do our best to understand each other, regardless of our various cultural backgrounds.  To this end, we offer this cross-discipline guide to gliding nomenclature:

Study this, and the next time someone advises you to take good care of your trainers, you'll know exactly what they're talking about.  Copy?

Weekday selfie

Monday, May 11, 2015

First responder

When Greg sent out the call for towpilot volunteers last week, Susan Simpson was the first to respond.

She said she could probably do some towing on Sunday, but she wanted to take some time off on Saturday to rest up after pulling a driver out of a burning race car the day before.

However, instead of resting on Saturday, she spent the afternoon extracting passengers from a wreck on I-93.  At least that one wasn't burning.

So, she didn't show up at the airfield on Sunday.  What's it take to get a reliable towpilot around here?

Weekend report May 9 - 10

The weather has been so good recently that we almost didn't feel like complaining this weekend when overcast skies limited our flying to instructional flights only.

Almost.  We complained anyway.

The good news is that we had two days of high quality flight and ground instruction, and some good self-imposed practice flying.  The other good news is that a bunch of us learned from our mistakes, both as pilots and as instructors.

At the end of last year, our club made the commitment to support the certification of new flight instructors.  This weekend, it was gratifying to see how dedicated to this initiative the instructor candidates, Andy, Evan, Lane, Bill, and Keith, are.  The people they fly with are lucky.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

A line in the sand

Here's a picture Moshe took on his ambitious flight on Thursday, showing him about to cross the finish line. You'd think that from that height, he would have made it!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

RU ambitious?

The latest fad in this club seems to be getting a glider to Old Speck Mountain and back.  Old Speck is about 80 miles away, in Maine.  Tim did it yesterday, a fine accomplishment in the PIK.

Today, for reasons unknown, Moshe tried it in the 12-meter Russia, and he came very close to making it! He landed on the way back in a farm in Fairlee, after a flight of 272 kilometers.

The farm is the one across the street from the Fairlee Drive-In.  His crew got there as the light was fading and the movie was just getting started.

Congratulations to Moshe for choosing such an ambitious task and for proving that you don't need a 17.4 meter wingspan to do the White Mountain run.

Five gentlemen in blue

We had a very civilized soaring day on Wednesday.  Five gentlemen of distinction helped each other assemble their gliders and stroll with them down to the south end of the field. No one appeared to be in a hurry, as there was no indication of lift in the deep blue sky.

Finally, Tim (AT) took off and soon reported 8 knots right over the field. The remaining gentlemen hurried to get into the air, taking lowish tows as a courtesy to those still waiting. Dan (EA) nearly regretted his decision to release low, but he was eventually able to get up to join the others.

Dennis (DC) was able to achieve his goal of summiting Mount Moosilauke and really enjoyed his long glide back home from there. Greg (JD), Tom (2W), and Dan (EA) chased each other up to Gorham and back.  All five pilots reported variable conditions, with good climbs interspersed with uncenterable thermals and sink.

Without clouds, it was not a day you wanted to be caught out when the lift quit.  The gentlemen were all back home by 5pm, and they took their time disassembling, telling their stories, and watching the sun set on another beautiful day in Post Mills.

Very civilized.

Weekend report May 2 - 3

We had two great days of flying this past weekend, the first one of the year in which the club turned out in full force.

On Saturday it looked like the launch grid of a competition at the north end of the runway.  Nine high-performance single seaters came out and kept Evan and Andy busy in the towplane starting at 11 am.

The first one to take off was Tim (AT), and the second one was Dan (EA).  If you measure by time instead of kilometers, they had the shortest and longest cross-country flights of the day.  Tim declared a long Task and made good time up to Mount Madison, where the rug got pulled out from under him, proving yet again that Gorham is a sinkhole in the thermal soaring season.  He landed in the mud at the still-closed airfield, and Rick retrieved him before anyone noticed.  In the meantime, Dan, Greg (JD), and Tom (2W) team-flew a terrific flight that went right over Tim and encompassed all of northern Vermont.

This is what team flying looks like:

JD in red, EA in blue, 2W in green
Dennis (DC) flew out toward Moosilauke a couple of times and made another nice landing at home base.

Moshe (RU) had a late start, but was able to fly a big quadrilateral around Post Mills for 200 kilometers.

Paul (S1), Mark (HG), and Jim (US) probably had a good time on Saturday, but they weren't brave enough to post their flights on OLC, so we'll never know.

When they weren't towing, Andy and Evan joined Lane to give some flight instruction.  They flew with Nancy, Sonny, Henry, and a new prospective member, Tommy.  All of them took the opportunity to shake off the rust on this beautiful day.  Tommy is already a glider pilot. We hope he joins.

Sunday was interesting, with only seven flights, as compared with the nineteen the day before.

It was mostly overcast the entire day at Post Mills, with very little lift. Occasionally, the sun would break through, and as soon as it did, a thermal formed immediately.  Nancy figured this out and timed her flight to coincide with a patch of sun, getting an hour in the Blanik.

Meanwhile, the Three Musketeers followed the good weather south to Mount Greylock, then followed it back north and made it home with plenty to spare (JD, EA, 2W). Those of us who were standing around in the shade all day long were very impressed.

The best news of all is that the green golf cart is back in service and running like a Swiss watch.