Publicity Potential & Growth
The Right Stough
The Day the Wind Quit
The Day the Wind Quit
Aircraft and Cows
Big Christmas Extravaganza
From the Washington Metro Area:
From the Southeast
Take I-66 west; turn NORTH on US 17; turn left at light onto US 50; turn north onto I-81 to Exit 315 (see directions "from the Southwest" below).
From the Southwest
Take I-81 North to Exit 315; exit East on Rt. 7; go ca. 1.8 miles to third traffic light; turn right on Rt. 626/Greenwood Road. From all three above:
Go to top of short steep hill, take first left into Pioneer Heights onto Battlefield; first left (at stop sign) onto Asbury; second right onto Settlers Circle. 103 is first house on left. Park anywhere you can, try to not block neighbor's driveways.
Massanutten Ridge Race (...next time!)
There's Gold in them there Hills...The Massanutten Silver Mining
Company takes pleasure in announcing the documentation for Kolie
Lombard's Silver Distance Flight of November 6 is being completed and
will be submitted for a claim and Kevin Fleet's documentation is also
being completed for a claim: Silver Distance, Gold Altitude (gain of
11,400 feet), Silver / Gold Endurance (5 hrs 31 minutes.
But wait, there's MORE!
My sincerest thanks to Bob Michael for helping out (somewhere
in between his towing) with and observing my Silver Distance flight
on Saturday 6th. I would also like to thank the Sprite tailweel crew
(Bill, Ralph, and Kevin) and Ralph for being such an organized DO
First of all, I think it's very generous of you to make this offer. It's a great idea. Three suggestions w.r.t. your proposal:
P.S. Yes, you do need a Bronze badge for this. The knowledge and skill gained in training for and achieving the various Bronze badge requirements will significantly reduce the stress and increase the safety of the flight.
Excerpts from the Duty Officer report for
At midnight, I decide that the forecast is looking good for Sunday, so I call Bob Michael to crew/tow early for me. He didn't answer the phone after 12-15 rings, so I hung up. I'll try again in the a.m. (later he tells me he picked it up as I was hanging up). At 5:45 a.m. I call him again. This time he answers on the second ring. I tell him of my plans and he says he is on the way.
By the time Bob gets to the airport, I've got most everything set up for the day. Shane arrives as the duty instructor, and is coerced into taking the "wind dummy" flight. He climbs into the ASK-21 with _______? (please forgive me, I forgot the name), and heads for the ridge. He calls back with, "The ridge is working!!". That's all I need!! Ready to go!!
I launch a few minutes 'till 11:00 a.m., and after a fairly benign tow to the ridge, release north of Signal Knob at 11:00 a.m. sharp. Right away I'm in good lift, so I take about a 300' dive to notch the baro, gain back to 4000' right away and take my start photo, and head south along the ridge. By the time I get to the Woodstock Tower, I'm at almost 5000'. No hang gliders in the air or setting up, so on South to make the jump upwind to Short Mtn. As I penetrate upwind, I lose 300-400'. Over Short Mtn., I find the ridge lift to be a lot weaker, and steadily lose altitude going South. Just before reaching Mt. Jackson, I run into a booming thermal, and some awesome sink. I regain some of it and make the turn down-wind to the main ridge. The sink was serious. When I got to the main ridge, I was at the low point of the flight, and was looking for Franwood. Having it with in range, I proceeded South to Gogos Gap. There I found the 'Old Faithful' lift that always seems to be there, and I was going up again!! As I continued South the lift picked up and I picked up the airspeed. I got down to the Ski area and did my turnpoint photo at about 7700' msl.
As I headed back up the ridge to the North, into more of a head wind, I lost 2000' getting back out to the main ridge. Once out in front, I got back into the smoothest air you could imagine, going up at 400-500 fpm, to 10,500' between the microwave tower and the antenna site. Leaving 10,500' at nearly 100 mph, I crossed Gogos Gap gaining back to 8500' before penetrating upwind to Mt. Jackson.
Once out in front of Mt. Jackson, I fell out of the wave. Down into decent ridge lift, I flew North and made the jump from Short Mtn. back to the Northern main ridge without much problem. Coming back past the Woodstock Tower, I saw 7-8 hang gliders setting up, so....I just had to tease them a little. So I did some mild wingovers and S-turns out in front of their launch site. When I got tired of playing, I just relaxed some stick pressure and climbed from 2200' msl to 11,700' msl at 300-600 fpm, in absolutely smooth air!!
I decided, that with all that altitude, I could afford to do some exploring. So...I penetrated upwind, to the next ridge to the west. Along the way, I was thinking, "will I find lift?, will I encounter rotor??" As I approached the ridge, my vario started going off again. I was going up again, as I approached the ridge from the East, and I found no rotor!! I lost only 1300' crossing the valley, before gaining back 1000'. Then I turned downwind, screaming across the valley, gaining altitude the whole way. Back over the Woodstock ridge, I turned into the wind, and gained to 14,000' msl (indicated). I tied to get an extra foot out of it, but 14 balls was all I could get!! By this time I was getting cold, and Bob Michaels was playing mind games with me-asking me to do math problems-checking me out for hypoxia and hypothermia. (ask him-I don't need no calculator). To warm up, I start doing wingovers, getting progressively more aggressive. I lose a 1000', relax a little and start going up immediately. More wingovers to lose some more-gotta get down into warmer air.
I turn downwind and leave Signal Knob at roughly 10,700'. Headed downwind, I start to lose altitude in smooth air. At my low point in this downwind run, I lost only about 2000'. As I approached Blue Mtn. at almost 90*, I started to go up again, gaining back to 11,500'. I fly north over the Blue Ridge, in smooth air for a few minutes. But, I'm still cold, AND by now have completed 5 hrs. So...I speed up to 100 mph, and turn toward FRR. After losing about 2000', I relax a little stick pressure, and I'm going up again!!! Gotta go home!!! I pull out full spoilers at 9500', speed up to 90+mph, and it still takes 40 minutes to get down!!!
Pattern was more or less normal, not too much turbulence, but with significant x-wind from the North. I wasn't counting on it, but recognized it pretty quick-you know the TLAR that we use a lot?? Well, it sure looks a lot different after almost 6 hrs of high altitude flight, and I had to make myself pay attention to the important parts (all) of the pattern and descent to final touchdown and roll-out.
After all is over-the numbers: T.O. 10:50 a.m.; release 11:00 a.m.; time above 10,000', approx. 2 hrs.(accumulated); time above 12,500', approx. 30 min.; landing, 4:32 p.m. Total time-T.O.-to-Landing-5 hrs. 42 min. Silver Distance, Silver Altitude, Gold Altitude, Duration. Are we having fun, yet??? You bet we are!!!
Thanks to Bob Michael for putting up with my untimely phone
calls, and for agreeing to be my crew, if needed. Thanks to Shane and
Bob for the math quizzes, and for having the knowledge that they were
appropriate, at the time, and for caring about it at all. It's nice
to know that others are looking out for you.
Highlights of the November 6 Board
We will be presenting a two part program: First-A general overview of the Sounding Charts and information available from the Computer Model data provided by NOAA
Jim Garrison will then present the elements of Wave including the conditions that produce Wave, as well as a survey of the Shenandoah Valley-observed conditions. We will also hear from Kevin Fleet-comments about his recent Gold Altitude flight (documented to 14,000 msl).
So far I have received responses from the following: Bill Gaylord, Bill Bentley, Bill Malick, Richard Freytag, Kolie Lombard, Dick Feieirbend, Janice Farr, Judah Milgram, Jim Kellett, The Hazelriggs and Dave Brunner.
We like to know who will be coming so that we can properly
prepare hand out materials, etc. Others have indicated interest, but
not sure about making this particular date. If your not sure, plan to
come anyway-preregistration is not required.
You might say the conditions were kinda challenging, a 20+ headwind straight down the runway with some gusts that later in the day went to 30! However, for those souls brave enough (or stupid enough) this offered a chance to play on the ridge with some possibility of wave. My first flight of the day was as a psuedo-instructor for Malcolm who for some unknown reason thought I could show him how to fly the ridge, so I shrugged and said OK. Hey, free flight, why should I complain anyway, we went screaming down the ridge to Mt. Jackson and back and Malcolm seemed to enjoy it-(I even let him fly a bit).
Mid-afternoon and back on the ground the wind was picking up and the gliders were trying to become airborne-on their own! The tent had been taken down and it made a good wing weight for 081-it too (081 that is) wanted to fly by itself. I think 081 has a slightly better L/D than our tent but then again. Anyways, Bill helped me launch (I can still see the grin on his face as I prepared to go-it said "pucker" all the way!) Boy, was he right or what! I then had one of the hairiest tows to Signal Knob that I had ever had, Kolie flew past on his way back, and thought I was wagging my wings at him wag my wings, Wag My Wings!!!! Huh, I hadn't even seen him, I was too busy just trying to stay more or less in position-this was on a par with Petersburg, even the tow took a staggering 20 minutes just to reach the ridge, there were even points where I thought I would have to pull the release before we got there. But, after what seemed an age, and with a huge sigh of relief I got off tow and thanked Serge and proceeded very slowly down the ridge; huge crab angle to keep from being blown over the top and it felt like I was stationary. The flight itself was fun, and nothing out of the ordinary-the late afternoon sun providing a spectacular backdrop as it streamed through the clouds.
I reached the tower and found a thermal, two turns and I gain 400' but I'm blown so far over the ridge that I lose way more than that just getting back into position! S-turns provide the answer, and soon I'm up to 5000', altitude is a good thing to have! Its now 4:15 pm and I've been in the air for an hour, sunset is at 4:50 so I start the journey back, very aware that I will hit some heavy duty sink on the return leg. That was to be, as it turns out, the least of my troubles, I maintained 5k all the way to the Knob and flew directly over the ridge to the airfield losing 1000 feet. Radio call no reply. Switch frequency,radio call no reply. Huh. OK, some steep turns and a wing over to lose altitude, and watch the orange sun setting over the ridge, look at the airport and it's kinda deserted. Look at my watch, still 10 minutes before official sunset, still lots of light, oh well, guess they must think it's Miller Time.
Now, this is where the story takes a very interesting turn-one circle to watch my wind drift down the runway, wow, almost the entire length in one, so I decide to give myself plenty of margin, 1000' IP instead of the usual 800-900 and a landing speed of 65mph. Short downwind, in preparation for the expected headwind on base and final. WRONG, very wrong. I decide to turn base close into the runway, and am surprised to find I have to continue the turn to line up with 27 (grass), but wait now I'm being blown DOWN the runway, where's the expected headwind?! I'm at 400' over the numbers, the wind down here is blowing in the other direction and I am being tossed about like a cork. I am running out of grass, if I stay on this track I'm going to hit that ****ing electrical box. OK, move over to the pavement. I'm not even going to attempt to slip, the gusts and turbulence are way too severe, I know that I have another 500' of grass after 27 if it comes down to it.
It doesn't, I touch down opposite the taxiway and stop 50' later, phew, a definite pucker-moment. No Bill, you don't need forceps to extract the cushion, pretty damn close though! Push 081 back onto the paved taxi-way and then all the way back to the dirt taxiway when the welcome sight of a tow car appears, 20 minutes later, we are all put away.
In hindsight, what could I have done differently? I should have been more aware of the NW wind drifting me into the runway, That didn't Look About Right as I turned, as a result I lost my base leg and reduced my options. I didn't look carefully enough at the windsocks-they were actually pointing in opposite directions! I could have radioed in and asked for ground conditions. However, I do think we should make sure that the DO or an appointee is down there on the ground to with a radio at the end of the day. Still, when all is said and done I could smile and say "Phew, that was a helluva ride-and I'm glad I'm down here." As Jim always says, "What doesn't kill ya, makes ya stronger!".
Lesson learned... Amen Brother.
My office at the University of Maryland recently moved, and my office window now looks out onto the approach end of Rwy. 15 at College Park Airport (CGS). I enjoy looking out on the GA traffic (would prefer gliders, but perfection is elusive) and have started to think that it might be nice to aero-commute a couple of times a week from "home" (Leesburg) to CGS. (The fact that it will take longer to drive from Reston to JYO and preflight than it takes to drive to College Park is of no consequence; I am not doing this for practical reasons.) I am thinking of buying something like a Cherokee or perhaps a taildragger like a Scout. I want it to be reliable and the purchase cost should not exceed $30K.
I am seldom able to make it to FRR to soar during the week and I am away or instructing many weekends, so 3Y is often left sitting idle. I own the ship outright; it is worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $34K. I would be willing to accept a half-equity position in 3Y and use the proceeds for a half-equity position in an airplane.
Wouldn't it be neat if another pilot had the inverse of my schedule (i.e., could fly gliders during the week, but wanted to fly airplanes on the weekends)? The person would also ideally live in the NOVA area so that Leesburg is a logical basing point for the airplane.
Anyway, I am looking for someone who might fit that bill. I doubt that I will find someone who fits the profile exactly, but it is a starting point for discussion. At this juncture, I am not looking for a half-partner in 3Y without the airplane tie-in, but I may change my mind after trying to find a match for the glider/airplane partnership idea.
One last thing. I don't want a bank lien on either ship, so
please keep that in mind if you need financing to make this
If you would like to come to Kosova to help coordinate the installation of roofs please send me an email at email@example.com. We need two categories of people.
We can use a volunteer for two or three weeks. Unfortunately, the organization cannot afford either transport or salary. A small stipend will be paid and housing and other expenses will be paid. It might lead to a full time job, but that is not assured. It would provide the opportunity for someone to shop around the massive international community for a longer term assignment.
Secondly, we need someone who can handle train/truck logistics, procurement and security. Former military types or engineers would work out well. This job pays about $2500 per month and would include transportation.
If anyone is interested please send an email to
Do not send to my aol address as I am not always
able to reach it.
So you want to be a millionaire?
(C) err.. no (D), (D!) That's my final answer! After all, if I can't fly, the next best thing is talking about it and meeting fellow soaring enthusiasts. Apparently, a lot of other folks had the same idea that Saturday.
After congratulating myself for getting to the lecture on time, I settled back to listen to Mr. Schweizer all too brief history of his company, the beginning of SSA and the evolution of the soaring museum at Harris Hill in New York. Alas, he only hinted at the stunt capability of my favorite little plane, the SGS 2-33. I was hoping to learn how to do a barrel roll but Jim Kellett, Malcolm Gardner, Kit Carson and Lynn Buell must have gotten there before me and warned Mr. Schweizer. Rats!
At the reception afterward it was nice to meet Mr. Schweizer and his lively and talented wife, Ginny. Ginny has been encourage to write her own soaring book and I for one will be the first in line to buy it. I sense another good role model to entice more women into soaring.
Another nice thing about the reception was being able to network with other pilots. Kit Carson was excited to meet Skip Williams, a pilot who tows banners and is familiar with a Pawnee. I discovered from his sidekick, Lars Johannesen, that we might be able to bribe them to visit Front Royal by revealing the best places to eat crabs. (Quick, someone stock the pond at the end of the runway)
After the reception, the majority of the group headed toward
the Paul Garber Facility which is run by the Smithsonian. Our group
had the fortune to be led by Scott Willey, a dedicated soul who kept
us on our feet AND entertained for three and half-hours! I longed to
touch some of the mahogany gliders that dangle just beyond my reach
but Mr. Willey said that I would have to wait about four months
before they can lower and start to restore it. Everyone in the club
can appreciate the number (Approx. 160) of planes the Smithsonian
staff has to juggle, restore and move within four years. That's the
target date for the new building at Dulles Airport. At that point my
weary brain was matching my achy knees and I was just about ready to
curl up in the back seat of a Cessna 150 for a nap when Mr.Willey
cautioned this reporter not to get too comfortable. Seems like they
are looking for a better Cessna 150 and if so, that one would be
dismantled and ship elsewhere in a heartbeat. So, if anyone has a
spare Cessna 150 gathering dust in a hanger, donate it to the
Smithsonian and get a great tax break for 1999!
On the Level
Giving the student tools to recognize when they are in proper aerotow position is, in my opinion, only half the battle. They need one or two rules that will lead them back into position when displaced, or that work for maintaining position when flying in turbulence.
When instructing new glider students, one has to break down what is almost second nature to experienced pilots into simple elements. This, of course, is the great educational benefit of instructing. In breaking the aerotow into more basic parts, I have offered two rules that seem to help students learning to fly the tow.
For longitudinal tracking I have used the well known rule; "keep your wings parallel to the tow plane's wings at all times." With the exception of when the tow plane is still on the ground during a crosswind takeoff, the glider's wings should NEVER be allowed to stray from being parallel with the tow plane's wings (wing tips on the Pawnee). When a student gets off to one side, they instinctively put a wing down to fly back, usually shooting across to the opposite side. When this happens, I will take the glider and lock the wings parallel to the tow plane's, then have the student watch the tow rope swing us slowly back onto the centerline. If the tow pilot doesn't exhibit buns of steel using his rudder, we may end on a slightly different course, but the lesson for the student is the same. That is, in straight flight, if the glider's wings are kept parallel to the towplane's, the glider in tow will seek the centerline by itself without further pilot input. In turns, of course, we still need to keep the glider's nose pointed outside of the towplane's wingtip to avoid sliding to the inside of the turn (taking the short cut).
A diagram of the glider on the end of a tow rope shows that when it is displaced to the side, the glider is forward of it's position if on the centerline, thus at a higher energy level.
The biggest problem for beginning students with the "parallel wings" rule is a lack of flat surfaces on the top of glare shields in our training gliders that can give a visual clue of the glider's wings. For vertical tracking I use a "sweet spot" rule. While flying the tow (in proper position) I tell the student to take special note of the towplane's location in the windscreen relative to the glareshield. This is the "sweet spot", and the towplane should always be kept in this location on the windscreen (or beside it for a turn). If we inadvertently get high on tow, we should put the towplane back in the "sweet spot" and keep it there. Then we will descend and gradually round out into the proper tow position. The same is true for climbing back from a low position. Students should keep in mind that any time the towplane is not viewed in the "sweet spot" we will soon drift out of position.
In turbulence the use of the "sweet spot" plus keeping "wings parallel" make the student's job of staying in position much easier. When the towplane first moves up or down, an immediate adjustment in the gliders nose attitude dictated by the "sweet spot" greatly smoothes the bumps.
This "sweet spot" is nothing more than a make believe Mark-8
gun sight that is adjusted for the glider's angle of attack. So the
two rules are; 1) Keep your wings parallel to the towplane's. 2) Keep
your nose pointed at the towplane.
Our newly elected Chief Towpilot learned to fly formation at Pensacola, FL in 1955, which made learning the aerotow in a glider much easier twenty-five years later. While at Nutmeg Soaring Club (CT), in 1983, he observed the improvements of his 13 year old son in flying the aerotow from the club's towplane. After retiring from the airlines in 1994, he instructed at (the late) Bay Soaring in Woodbine and Ridgely, MD for several years. He joined Skyline Soaring Club (VA) this year as an instructor and towpilot.
Judah reports over 400 hours in gliders and 600 in other aircraft. Previously, he's spent time with the MIT Soaring Ass'n and the Boeing Employees Club, as well as with a club in Germany. Perhaps best of all, he holds a CFI-G rating, though he'll have to get current again. Maybe we can help there. Currently, no glider owned, though he has owned a K-8 and a PA-16 previously. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Please take a moment to welcome Judah when he's next at the