Saturday, September 26, 2020

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

New Private Pilot

After spending the whole summer flying around in the 1-26, David Lysy brushed up on his two-seater skills and took his flight test, finally.

DPE Jim Morzillo traveled from Saratoga yesterday, Evan towed, Tim, Don, and Pete crewed, and at the end of the day, PMSC gained a newly certificated Private Pilot!

Congratulations, David!

Photo by Don Graber

Saturday, August 8, 2020

Isaias Wave

Hurricane Isaias blew through Tuesday and left enough wind on Thursday to generate wave behind Mt. Washington, I wanted to try a flight to Mt. Washington.  After a late start (2:15) because VW was extracting money from the tow pilot to fix his car, I started thermaling northwards.  Thermals were consistent but cloud base was only 5,500-6,000' which is on the low side of my comfort level for a trip to W (Mt. Washington).  I took my time and arrived at W around 4:00.  Ridge lift was good on the Presidentials and I ridge soared the face contemplating my next move.  There were no clouds between the summit of W and the Carters to indicate wave or any other kind of lift.   I wasn't sure I wanted to commit to being down wind of and lower than the Presidentials if I couldn't find wave this late in the day.  But I came this far...  I jumped the ridge into Huntington Ravine.  In less about 90 seconds I felt the first indication of lift at 5,900'.  A quick 180 to point into the wind and I was in zero sink and then climbing at 1 kt.  I was surprised how close the wave was to the summit.  1 kt soon turned into 2 kts then 3 kts by the time I got to 10,000' I was climbing at 8 kts.

Huntington Ravine climbing at 1 kt.

View of Carters - no wave clouds

10,000' climbing at 7.8 kts

After 45 minutes I was just shy of 18,000' and climbing at 1.5 kts.  It was almost 5:00 so it was time to head home.  I dialed Post Mills into the Oudie and was happy to see that even with a 35 kt headwind I had Post Mills with 6,000' to spare - my kind of final glide!

17,500' - Start of final glide

After flying carefully to Franconia to make sure the Oudie wasn't lying to me,  I finished the final glide into PM at 95-100 kts and still arrived with 4,000' to spare.

It was a great flight in thermal, ridge and wave lift and I made it home for dinner.  Thank you Rick for towing and crewing.

Image preview

Thursday, July 23, 2020


Source (p26)

No circling needed

Here is Evan's account of his July 18 flight, grabbed from the PMSC Forum without his permission:

I took a swing at a 300 km O&R yesterday, Start/Finish at Dartmouth Skiway, turning at Elephant Mountain, which is up in the Mahoosic range. The advantage of this course is that it runs about as straight along the high ground as you can find in our area. The tricky bit is that you really need to be high at the far end. Berlin airport is a useful bailout, but if you can't keep that in range, the other options are generally east of the high ground, in the coastal plain, and if you have to divert, you have a reasonably high likelihood of getting stuck, then subjecting one of your buds to an O&R of a different sort. IIRC it was about 3:20 each way to Thomas airport in Roxbury (2016 or 2017. Thanks Tim).

It was clear pretty much immediately that this wasn't going to be the day. But I thought I'd take a stab at it and see how it went. I had to hang around until nearly 2pm to let the day heat up to make it even semi feasible.

Here's the first glide

The stats are fun, especially the 108:1 glide ratio (I got some orographic help at Moosilauke and Kinsman).

Here are the stats up to the point I abandoned the attempt due to 6000 foot bases nearing Old Speck. I'd already decided I wasn't going past Old Speck unless I had 6500 minimum... and except in really perfect conditions it's hard to see how I could be fast beyond Old Speck unless I had closer to 7500.

If I took the time to fiddle the settings in SeeYou, that "0.01s" thermal would go away, making it three glides with average distance 42.2 km. The reason for all the left turns is that I habitually start my turns upwind when on a cross wind leg. 67mph was a pretty good speed for Saturday, but it was clear it wasn't going to last. I'll try again some other day. Here's the whole flight.

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Breaking up the band

Thanks to everyone's least favorite microorganism, we've been forced to divide our efforts between Post Mills, Franconia, and Sterling recently.  It was more fun when we could all fly together.

On Monday, Evan (T8) made a great flight out of Franconia, shuttling back and forth between Moosilauke and Berlin, making a couple of wave climbs along the way.  It was too windy to fly at Post Mills.

Then yesterday, in winds that were only slightly more reasonable, a couple of big counterclockwise flights out of Post Mills were made by Tim (BU) and Greg (JD)

Finally, today, Dan (EA) and Evan (T8) took off at Sterling and flew west and north for 420 and 352 kilometers, respectively.

We're thinking about getting the band back together.

Friday, June 5, 2020

I guess I'll have to buy the White Album again

There's news from FAA for those of us seeking pilot certificates or additional ratings.

The FAA branch responsible for testing has just published an outline of updates and near-term changes in the Knowledge and Practical Tests and associated publications:

We learn from this handy reference that:
  • There will be new Knowledge Test questions.
  • There is a new way to schedule Knowledge Tests.
  • There is a new source of practice tests.
  • there are (or soon will be) new versions of

    • Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge
    • Aviation Instructor Handbook
    • Risk Management Handbook
    • Airplane Flying Handbook

  • There are no more "students."  We're all "learners" now.
  • There are no more "cockpits."  Now the proper term is "flight deck."
  • If you ain't got an FTN, you ain't nobody.
As for the practical side of things, you may recall that FAA plans to replace the Practical Test Standards (PTS) with the more modern Airman Certification Standards (ACS), one category at a time.  So far they have done this for airplanes and drones.  Next on the priority list are helicopters and balloons.  Gliders aren't even mentioned, so for now at least, we have the PTS.

PMSC Learners who are about to buy an FAA publication, make sure you get the latest edition!

I bought my first aviation handbook in 1965, and I still have it.

I suppose it's time to get the update.

Thursday, June 4, 2020

T8 goes for a thousand

Congratulations to Evan on a spectacular 1015 km flight on Sunday down at Mifflin!

His first leg took him down to Snowy Mountain on the Virginia/West Virginia border, 280 km from home.  Then he turned around and flew to Williamsport, Pennsylvania, 360 km.  Then back down to the Pennsylvania/Maryland border.  He made his final turn at 4:45pm, 145 km from home.

The flight took a little over 7 hours, and you can see from the barogram that he didn't waste too much time in thermals.

According to OLC, this was the second longest flight in the world on May 31, 2020.