Things Worth Repeating
Skyline/CAP Flying Event
Meet the Member
And while we're on the subject...
Reflections on Learning
Saturday Morning Fever
Things Worth Repeating
But on the way back from FRR to Lovettsville (a course line roughly NE from FRR), I flew in a straight line in splendidly clear conditions for about a half-hour, slowly descending from about 8500' MSL to about 5500' MSL. In that half hour, two USAir jets passed in front of me, heading toward IAD, and descending. There was never any hazard because of the clarity of the weather and the fact that I was SCANNING constantly, but one of them passed less than a mile off my nose (moving from my left to right) at my altitude.
As I cruised back to Jan's, I mused over the fact that the day
before I had the experience of flying in "747 gaggles" (a little humor
here) over Frederick, MD. There, one of the home bases of M-ASA, one
frequently finds heavy metal making a final turn toward a landing on one of
IAD's runway 19s, and passing through about 5000-7000' MSL. The M
This is not news. This is not a report of increased traffic. This is not a commentary on the different traffic at FRR vice 8W2. It IS a commentary on a disturbing observation the Chief Flight Instructor Weenie has made in the last few months about how poorly so many of our members-and not just student pilot members-scan. We all KNOW how to do it (or can recite how to an examiner), so I'm not going to waste ink going over that again-but not enough of us PERFORM it properly and consistently and continuously.
There are TWO excellent reasons why we should all KEEP OUR EYES OUTSIDE THE COCKPIT! 1. It will help avoid having an airliner spoil your day, big time, and 2. It will improve thermalling tremendously.
So here's a practice that is not only going to improve your life expectancy, but it'll improve your ability to stay up and go somewhere. Not everyone knows (or appreciates) this second point-but if you really ARE attitude flying, you're constantly scanning the horizon, the sky in the direction you're turning, and watching the bank angle and pitch angle out of your PERIPHERAL vision. If you work HARD at this, you will in a few hours discover that your airspeed remains constant, your bank angle remains constant, AND YOU WILL SEE OTHER AIRPLANES!!
There's a little test you can do to see if you've mastered the art of attitude flying with your peripheral vision. It's NOT a required or even important maneuver, and certainly is not one that you'd do except just to prove you can do it (sort of like boxing the wake). In fact, it's not even the kind of flying you should be doing if you're scanning properly! But it's a way to see if your coordination and visual training is up to par, meaning you can fly consistently and coordinated WHILE LOOKING ANYWHERE YOU SHOULD BE LOOKING. Can you make a 360 turn while watching the point on the ground around which your inboard wing is rotating? And maintain an airspeed +/- 5 kts and a bank angle +/- 10 degrees? Now when you can do THAT, you know you can use your eyes for something useful-and that does NOT mean watching the altimeter or variometer!
Scan. Consistently. Constantly. You'll fly better, enjoy it more,
and live longer.
Skyline/CAP Flying Event
Many thanks are due to Jim Kellett for flying Cadets, to Tony Bigbee and Bill Wark for a well run ground operation (training Cadets), to Jim McCulley for his good tows and, to Bob Michael for all around help on the ground. Everybody is to be commended for making an 8 AM starting time work. On the CAP side we need to thank Fred Hayman for making the event happen.
Saturday was an experiment but there are Squadrons all over
Virginia that are eligible to participate in the next SSC-CAP event. We
will need dedicated SSCers to carry the program on. Some should even join
the CAP to help assurer the program continues.
Meet the Member
While in South Carolina, I met my wife Cathy, and we moved to Annandale, Virginia in 1986. I've been working in the Defense Industry as a Systems Engineer and have been involved in the acquisition and integration of avionics equipment on A-6, EA-6, F-14, and F-18 aircraft. I'm currently working with a team that is evaluating the avionics designs for the proposed Boeing (X-32), and Lockheed Martin (X-35) Joint Strike Fighter.
Additional Military experience includes ten years with the 113th Tactical Fighter Wing, Air National Guard at Andrews AFB where I served as a crew chief and avionics technician on F-4D and F-16C aircraft. One of our more interesting assignments included a camping trip in the high desert of Turkey with our squadron of F-16s to support the no fly zone over Iraq. Fourteen years of association with Tactical aircraft in the Air Force, and Air Guard allowed me many opportunities for temporary duty throughout the world and to pursue my second favorite pastime - traveling. During this time, I managed to visit about 30 countries including some neat places like Guatemala, Iceland, Morocco, Honduras, Holland, Belize, Greece, and Ireland.
After ten years in the Air National Guard, I decided to spend my weekends learning how to fly planes instead of just watching them take off. So, 33 years after my first plane ride, I'm finally doing something I dreamed of for a long time and I can't imagine a more enjoyable flying experience than soaring over the mountain ridges of Virginia.
When I'm not learning how to fly at SSC, my 8 year old son, John, keeps me busy with soccer, baseball, cub scouts, model rockets, and a new 7 week old dog. (Bill is a member of the "Badge Busting" 081 Group. Ed.)
Some important notes from June 19 - 20-Sunday morning it was noted that the radio in the ASK-21 was garbled and not understandable (Transmitter only, Receiver OK). The battery had been charged over night. Back at New Market we had discovered that the terminal strip under the Aft Instrument Panel (Mic interface) causes this problem. This was confirmed again as we removed the Instrument Panel Cover and carefully tightened the connections on the terminal strip. If you need some additional information of this let me know.
A friendly reminder-Until further notice, remain on runway center line during landing roll out. The risk of trying to quickly clear the runway far outweighs the benefit. Aircraft damage, as well as runway light damage, is costly and even worse, we could loose the use of a very precious sailplane for a time. Again, this is not an acceptable risk.
The runway lights along the east half of runway 27 (north edge) are still not removable, (will be soon). Runway 9 presents an unacceptable risk due to the south rim of the canyon. Runway lights on the west end are, therefore, not an issue.
The threshold of Runway 9 (west end) does present a bit of a "lip" that would not be a good thing to hit during landing-not to mention the end lights. All landings will, therefore, be planned with a stabilized approach and touch down on or beyond the first centerline stripe just past the "9". The approach end of Runway 27 does present a legally defined displaced threshold. The issue of falling short and coming into contact with an end light or runway edge is not even possible if again, flying a stabilized approach and setting your touchdown point appropriate to runway markings.
The grass area on the east end (north edge), though not a runway, is available when traffic conflicts present a need to stay clear of the pavement (plan your base leg accordingly). The Switch Box, at about midfield on the north side of the designated grass area, is currently protected with hay bales which very nicely camouflage this obstruction. A large 3 ft x 3 ft Red Flag marks its presence. Also carefully observe the designated aim point and threshold markings when operating on Runway 27. There are some ruts and holes that make for a rough roll if landing in the areas marked-observe the threshold. Another important reason for this defined threshold is to provide clearance from the operations and staging area. People and gliders are to remain north of the extended "hold line" as defined on the taxi way leading the approach end of the runway -this also holds true on runway 9.
In case you haven't heard we are now dropping the tow rope on the
runway (Runway 27 only)-so as to stay on center line with the Pawnee. BE
ALERT every time the Pawnee is on landing approach-to remove the rope in a
timely manner, but not so as to become a threat to landing traffic as you
lay unconscious on the runway after having tripped on the edge... !! Be
careful and be timely, but not to the expense of safety to yourself...
We certainly will be providing illustrations (available now upon request)
as soon as we publish the newly revised Operations Manual.
(The ASK radio will always be garbled on transmit if the selector switch is set on "Both" instead of front or rear seat. I don't know if this was the problem, but it has been a common problem in the past.-Bill Vickland)
And while we're on the subject...
The center line is 62 feet from the edge of the pavement, giving a clear area in the grass 124 feet wide. The 400 foot length is the desirable area to be able to land within. We have two additional length measurements 200 and 300 feet from the designated threshold. The "aim point" we have been using is a large Red Cloth nailed down at the corners -- again this is an "aim point" not a touch down point. Walking the area you will note some ruts and rough areas making landing short of the noted touch down point (150 feet from the aim point) less desirable. This configuration also gives good clearance from the operations area. The dotted line extending from the taxi way hold short line defines an area we are to keep clear during landing and departure operations.
This is not a runway -- rather a grass area adjacent to Runway 27, available for glider operations as needed. Remember that the switch box still exists at the far end marked by the large Red Flag. This will be worthy of your attention should you be making a down wind "emergency return / landing" and find the runway occupied by a taxiing or landing aircraft.
We are still working on the edge light and switch box situation.
We'll let you know when this problem has been properly dealt with -- Until
then Stay Alert -- and remember that a normal approach should be made in a
stabilized glide with 1/2 dive breaks -- to a specific aim point appropriate
to the given situation-down wind landing on Runway 9, grass, pavement, etc.
You can always slip from a slightly high position, but there really is no
excuse for falling short-stretching a final glide with dive breaks closed,
reducing speed, hoping to make it. !!
I hope that someday I will get a chance to meet the man behind the fulfillment of my dreams. Trying to tell you with words would only be a futile attempt in explaining how grateful I am for your generosity. I was thinking the other day and realized that only once in a lifetime, (if that) will I ever be given such a gift. You are an inspiration to the whole soaring community. Thank you once again.
Sincerely, Dillon Krapes 6/27/98
Reflections on Learning
ASK-21 Intro to Aerotow, Shallow turns, P & L - J Parrish CFI-G
That is the first entry in my log book, my first instructional flight with Joe Parrish.
It seems a long time ago that I was fighting the controls of the 'K' wondering how on earth anyone could stay behind the damn towplane! As for landing: "That looks about right" errr -- what does? Then there's boxing the wash -- some form of sadistic torture dreamt up by a CFI-G on a very bad day --
Do you remember? I do, for it was 1 year ago to the day that I first turned up at Skyline- seems longer huh? In that year I have managed to get my PPL(G) rating, be a part of the club's move from New Market to Front Royal, become part owner in a 1-26, seen the world from 19,200' and completed my Silver badge.
I guess if you had asked me at the outset of this journey what I wanted to achieve in the next year, I would have said that going solo and maybe getting a couple of badges was a realistic goal.
I owe a big debt of gratitude to all the members of Skyline Soaring who have enabled and encouraged me every step along the way. As with every aspect of life what we get is a measure of what we give and I feel honored to be associated with the club and its members who give such a lot. As the club continues to grow and expand, we must ensure that the newcomers are made to feel as welcome and as valued as I have felt during this past year.
On the subject of Front Royal, we are fortunate and privileged to have such a wonderful soaring location. It is beautiful and challenging and I'm sure that it will make us all better pilots come the year's end. We have great thermals, easy access to the ridge and interesting wind patterns.
What will the next year hold? Who knows, but whatever it is I know
it will be a new and exciting challenge - and I hope that the Skyliners
will be up there with me. I'll continue to write and I hope that through my
words you may share some of the awe and wonder that I feel when I'm up
there soaring above FRR. Thank you one and all.
Saturday Morning Fever
Luckily there was a weak thermal near the ridge which I milked high enough to get comfortably across with some altitude left for a lift search when I got there. The sunlit ground finally paid off and pushed me up to 6K where the cloud bases still seemed quite a bit above this. Looking south the ground seemed sort of fuzzily illuminated; north it was worse -- a big nasty looking black cloud had stretched itself across the path to FRR, and the ground beyond to FRR looked about the same. I started toward FRR anyway. Overflew the Luray airstrip.
I forget what my altitude was through here, but let's say it was above 4K with gentle lift everywhere. I did a little equivocating here, turned around and headed toward Waynesboro again, over Luray airstrip once more, back to where US-211 comes across, looked south. Geez it looked flat! Tturned around again toward FRR(Do you have trouble making up your mind, Collier? Well, yes and no). I might have repeated reversing the course cycle another time while temporizing. Anyone down there at the Luray field noticing all these glider overflights might have been puzzled -- almost as much as I was. Well, the coin finally came down 'heads for FRR'.
So, with speed ring set for no expected lift, we went under the black cloud -- and got some pretty strong lift (4-600 ft/min)... maybe a local storm revving up. This put me up to cloud base for the first and only time, a couple hundred feet shy of 7K. Beyond the cloud it was pretty much overcast with 'almost' no lift. I say almost, because I wasn't sinking as much as would be expect in dead air (-200ft/min). Although not absolutely sure, I decided that I might be getting some east-of-the-ridge lift from the southerly air flow. Anyway I arrived FRR with plenty altitude, where the high overcast was broken enough to allow some ground heating. I noted the Skyline ops tent deployed at the '09' end of the runway, but called in just to be sure.
After another thermal got me back up to 5K, I decided to head up north of I-66 where lots of small cu shadows dotted the ground free of the overcast. I played around for another hour or so in fair lift, managing to get myself out of gliding distance from home. That broken overcast was pushing northward from FRR, and the southerly air flow was drifting me farther away. A little farther north a nice looking cu group suckered me further north down wind, and -- there was absolutely nothing there, that I could find, that is. After encountering some bad down areas, now about 4-5miles north of the truck weighing station on I-81, I began to look for a 'kind' field where I could once and for all stop losing altitude. Well, I DID stop losing altitude, but I still had about 500' left. Luckily 289 had plopped down on one of those thermals that hadn't left the ground yet. But since I was drifting further away from the field I'd picked out, I decided just to do a straight in approach for the field. Since I was a little high, I began some broad S-turns to set up a good reasonably steep glide slope.
At about 1300' MSL there was a pretty good thump that made the wings creak and oil-can. Almost involuntarily I had to force the right wing down and jam the peddle to the floor -- 200ft/m all the way around. Well, it's in the right direction -- up. A couple more turns... it was getting better 4-500fpm -- up to 6 sometimes 7! ...all the way up to 6K where I fell out and couldn't reaquire. I went into the porpoise mode with the ring set for about 100fpm to compensate the head wind. Lots of gentle sink and even some lift along the way. Made it back FRR easily with plenty to spare. After helping me out of ol' 289, Dave told me I had a lot of fun. Well, the save out there was fun, character-building, etc., but the Fellow Upstairs had to be looking out for me, I'm sure.-Bob Collier '289'
I flew one of the five hour endurance flights-in the Sprite. We,
Dave Brunner and I, had an interesting learning experience comparing the
performance of the 1-26 to that of the Sprite -- proving that the slightly
lower wing loading of the 1-26 allows it to stay aloft, and achiever higher
altitude-at least that's what he says, I think the cockpit was full of "hot
air" that day -- Serge received his confirmation letter from the SSA- I was
his O.O.-he documented an altitude gain of 5,263 feet, with a flight time
of five hours and four minutes. The high point of the flight was 8,360 ft.
msl-on the altimeter.