Thursday, March 31, 2016

Off to a good start

Of the thousand or so winter-weary glider pilots who showed up at the biennial SSA Convention in Greenville, South Carolina, four of them were members of our club. One of them was Bill O'Donnell, who, for reasons unknown, seems to prefer hanging out in Florida during our cool season.

In Greenville, Bill met Frank and Jayne Reid, proprietors of the nearby Bermuda High Soaring School. On his way back to Florida, Bill checked in at BHSS and arranged for some flight instruction later in March.  Upon his return a week ago, Bill so impressed Frank with his aeronautical skill that Frank had no choice but to give him a new rating.

Congratulations to Bill O'Donnell on his new Private Pilot Glider rating!

The Club's 2016 season is off to a good start, thanks to Bill.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Wave Flights - March 12

Saturday was a warm, cloudless, wave day.  Tim (AT), Tom (2W), Dan (EA), Evan (T8), and Jerry and Larry (i1) flew out of Springfield VT (VSF) with the assistance of Andy L. in the Pawnee.  Evan found the highest climb to 16,000'.

I (Tim) took the first tow around 11 AM followed by Tom.  We found week wave to 8,500'.  I was in the primary and Tom in the secondary.  At 12:40 the wave shut off and sent us scrambling to find lift.  I hung out by ridge soaring the west face of Okemo until the wave lift returned about 20 minutes later.  Tom never fully recovered and landed about an hour later.

I found the Okemo wave to have a very short wavelength.  My climb was only 2.5 nm from the summit and I found lift as close as 1.6 nm (over the base of the ski lifts) from the summit.  Evan and Dan's climbs were about 3.5 nm from the summit.  Once I topped out at 9,000' I headed for Killington.  Thinking the wavelength for the day was short I stayed to the west of Rt 100.  I was rewarded with sink all the way.  At 6,000' I was just about to head back to VSF when I found the Killington wave.  Evan and Dan followed a line further west to Killington and did much better.

Dan topped out at Killington at 12,500' and lead the way to Sugarbush.  Evan stuck around a little longer and got to 16,000'.  Dan, Evan and I found our climbs 4 nm - 4.5 nm from the summit, so it looked like the wavelength was longer than Okemo.

At Sugarbush we all found climbs right over the airport at 5-5.5 nm from the summit to about 15,000'.  We all continued north but Dan was the only one brave enough to hop the I89 gap at Waterbury.  Dan made it up to Mt. Mansfield but could not find the lift and had to land at Morrisville.  Evan and I stuck our tails between our legs and headed for home.

The wind was a bit out of the north and made the return to VSF easy.  From Sugarbush to Killington I gained about 500'.  From Killington to VSF I flew as fast as 120 kts IAS which worked out to 153 kts TAS or 176 mph.  With the quartering tail wind the ground speed hit 216 mph!  Evan and I landed about a half hour after Dan.  We packed everything up quickly and I was off to get Dan.

My new theory about wave in the Green Mountains is that the best lift is at the major ski areas (Okemo, Killington, Sugarbush and Stowe).  The best terrain for skiing (tallest peak, moderate steep slope, bowl shape) is also the best terrain for wave.  As an added bonus 3 of the 4 ski areas have airports near by.


Saturday, March 5, 2016

Midwinter classic

Once again, a fine pancake breakfast at Eaton's Sugarhouse.