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In This issue...

Duty Roster Notes

Meet the Member

Pegasus Ponders

Towplane Crisis!

New Member

New Editor!!!

The Safety Corner

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September, 1996

Duty Roster Notes

The Roster for September-December is attached; please replace your old one with this current one!

Meet the Member

Ralph Vawter rvawter897@aol.com
Unlike most Skyline members, my interest in aviation is not a deep rooted childhood dream or based on military service. After reading a small newsclip in the Richmond Newspaper noting that a glider club was forming in the Richmond area and rides were going to be available, the temptation to check it out was too strong to resist. One ride in a Schweizer 2-22 with Peter Bacque at the controls was enough to convince me that this was something that I had to try.

After taking lessons with Southern Soaring in North Carolina and at Warrenton Air Park, I settled down with the Virginia Soaring Club, then based in Wakefield, VA. My involvement at first was spotty as it took me over two years to solo, finally doing so on my thirtieth flight. Flying around the relatively flat southeastern Virginia farmland was a good training exercise but left little opportunity for soaring. After losing our towplane, we moved our operations to the Emporia airport that boasted a 5000 foot runway and relatively light air traffic. Our club purchased an old Ford pickup truck with a V8 and put a tow release on the bumper and set up an auto tow operation. With a 1200 foot rope, one could expect a release altitude of 1000 feet. Unfortunately, in a Schweizer 2-22, being at 1000 feet at the downwind end of a 5000 foot runway left little altitude to search for thermals. Most flights were four minutes in duration, consisting of the tow, one 360 turn, entering the pattern, approach and landing. The first few takeoffs were really exciting. Climbing at a 60 degree angle at 60 miles per hour is really a thrilling experience. Rope breaks were common as the ground crew would have to drag the tow rope back to the other end of the runway over the rough asphalt. I logged 75 of these types of flights with only four resulting in flights greater than the minimum. The lack of soaring opportunities led me to Skyline Soaring. A club that owns it own towplane and has several instructors is a real treasure. I currently have the SSA B badge and look forward to future SSA badge attempts. I have already exceeded my personal record for one-hour flights in a calendar year with three so far in 1996. The soaring and conditions at New Market airport are excellent and I look forward to a long tenure as a member of Skyline Soaring.

My experience in gliders includes Schweizer 2-22, SGS 2-33, 1-26, SGS 1-36, Grob 103 and 109A (motorglider), Krozno KR03, Blanik L13 and L23 and ASK-21. Hopefully my breadth of experience will help as I focus on soaring with the members of Skyline Soaring.

Not bad for a person seeking a thrill through a $25 glider ride nine years ago, don't you think?

Pegasus Ponders

(It's hard to be nostalgic when you can't remember what happened!)

Twenty Years Ago (SOARING Magazine, September 1976):

"As we mentioned in a previous column, the Mid-Atlantic Soaring Association (MASA) has purchased its own soaring site at Fairfield, Delaware [sic]. Because the availability of satisfactory soaring sites is limited, we though it might be helpful for readers to learn how this purchase was accomplished."

Thirty Years Ago (SOARING Magazine, September, 1966):

"Ed Byars came out of the hills of West Virginia to the City of Brother Love and won the Mid-Atlantic Soaring Championship flying his Standard Austria…. This was the first major contest ever held in the area and as late afternoon approached the natives were alarmed at seeing sailplanes landing in various unlikely places… The gliders "falling from the sky" caused so much excitement that Hand Herr, PGC's president, was moved to make an announcement over the local radio station to inform and quiet the general public."

Towplane Crisis!!

The Club's Pawnee is out of compliance with an expensive AD! At the last Board meeting on August 29, five options (developed by Bill Vickland) were reviewed and it was decided to ferry the plane to Elmira (which was done on August 31) to have a permanent fix installed, using a kit developed by Schweizer Aircraft. Fortunately, we were able to obtain the services of another towplane, courtesy of Scott French at New Market, to operate while the Pawnee is being repaired.

New Member

Please welcome new member David Nichols aboard! David lives in Reston VA.

New Editor!!

As you probably know, Phil Jordan has been doing a fantastic job laying out the Newsletter and mailing it. Now, he's agreed to a much needed improvement in our operations to become the Editor of Skylines, beginning with the October issue. Not only will we benefit from his layout talent, but this change should improve the timeliness and quality of our newsletter by eliminating the "middleman".

As always, the newsletter content is a function of what members contribute! So send your ideas, "letters to the Editor", articles, etc. directly to Phil at 3420 Surrey Lane, Falls Church VA 22042, or (703) 560-3567 or e-mail at o2soar@aol.com.

The Safety Corner

This Month's Guest Author: Spence Annear

The Club needs an Airspace Chairman.

As glider pilots, we are proponents of the "See and Be Seen" principle. We don't always carry radios, and we don't have to carry transponders except in Class A or B airspace. At a recent meeting of the General Aviation Action Plan Coalition in Washington, the SSA was directly challenged by FAA Administrator Hinson to "Find a way to achieve a goal of NO MIDAIRS". Later, Hinson said "If you don't find a way to do this, we will find it for you". In 1996 that is a fact, not a threat.
While the primary concern is for conflicts between gliders and heavy and high speed (e.g., commercial, military or business) aircraft, it affects conflicts with light and slow (e.g., the kind of traffic we get at New Market) aircraft, and even between gliders!

Jim Short, Chair of the SSA Government Liaison Board, [(708) 963-9813, evenings, Central time] strongly recommends that each club or commercial operator designate an Airspace Chairman who will take the lead in plotting busy corridors around our airport, hold briefings for Club members and other area pilots on our operations, and other activities as needed to foster safe operations.
This is an important aspect of our flying, and can be a fun job - meeting with local pilots, FAA types, Club members, and others to help us all reach our mutual goal of NO MIDAIRS. If you're interested, give Jim Kellett (540) 678-4798 a call or write to jkellett@shentel.net.