"Miss Down Among the Daisies"
A Fair Trade, I Would Say!
Lessons from Geese
When the student is ready, the teacher appears
Old Pro Wave Camp Testimonial
Rookie Wave Camp Testimonial
Molt Taylor Lives...
"Aux Vaches" in Club Gliders
Ah, spring is in the air, the ridge is working, and a member makes an outlanding in a club glider. Bill Bentley visited his favorite grass field, the Texas-shaped one less than two miles away from FRR. The French would say that he went "to the cows", but perhaps we should modify this to say "to the Longhorns".
All kidding aside, Bill's decision to land off-field upon realizing that he did not have safe altitude for a return to FRR was a good one. In so doing, he protected the very valuable cargo of the glider (I'm talking about Bill's daughter, of course) and the glider itself. And in so doing, he also offered a number of club members an opportunity to become intimately familiar with Schweizer sailplane disassembly/assembly procedures.
As an instructor, I worry about how to transmit the message to my students that an precautionary off-field landing is infinitely more desirable than a stretched final glide back to the field. And as a board member, I worry about balancing the desire to limit unauthorized cross-country flights (with their risk of damage and denial of a valuable resource to other members) while making it clear that a member should-if the conditions warrant-accept the fact that they are too far away for a safe return and should consider the safest alternative-even if that means a landout and possible inconvenience to other members.
The most important thing is to have fun. If your current course of action carries a significant risk of damage to yourself or the glider, that's not fun. So, do something else. We'll come get you. Really.
When Nothing Bad Happens
And so on and so on and so on. When things go well on a consistent basis, it's easy to get complacent and unappreciative. Remember, we all work for each other.
See you at the field.
"Miss Down Among the Daisies"
When my daughter and her fiancé announced that they would visit for a few days, I promised to take them for a glider ride.
We arrived at FRR on Saturday afternoon to reports that the ridge was "working", and two 1-26s were up to 4000 feet near Signal Knob. The reports of turbulence on tow didn't deter my daughter's interest, so we got the 2-33 out of the hanger and prepared for takeoff. The tow was indeed quite bumpy, and exhibited no altitude gain while crossing the hills toward Signal Knob at 3500 feet ASL. Approaching the ridge we started climbing again, so I released at 3700 feet.
While working the ridge from Signal Knob toward the reservoir hunting for the reported lift we found mostly zero sink or real sink. After hunting for about 10 minutes, we found ourselves back over Signal Knob at 3000 feet and headed for home. Not having mastered the skill of heading North when I want to go East (I've been told that you can often find lift over Route 55), I pointed our nose at the airport and as the variometer needle pointed straight down I pushed the speed up to 80 MPH.
After continuing out over the valley, the sink returned to a more acceptable 200 f/m down and the airport could be seen up ahead. That is "up" as in above me on the horizon since I was more than two miles away and only 1000 feet above it. If I didn't encounter any more sink, and there weren't any trees on this side of the field, I might make it straight in. But I sure would hate to crash with my daughter in the front seat and make things worse than they already are. Reality sucks, but I needed a safe field (first) with a road near by (second). Below us on the left was MY field that I landed in a year ago in my 1-26. There were now giant round hay bales scattered about the field, but a clear pathway could be seen between them. We did a tear-drop across the field and a right base and final over the trees followed by a no spoiler glide in ground effect to get close to the road. When I saw sun light reflecting off water in the grass between us and the road, we plopped down on a dryer spot in the field. The Pawnee soon passed overhead returning from the ridge, so I radioed up to Fred Hayman and had him relay my position to Skyline Ground.
Soon carloads of laughing people arrived from the airport and
in short order the glider was on the trailer (somehow) and we were
headed for the Mill after a stop to put the "Old Girl" back together
Sunday March 25th started out clear with light winds. I knew that Bill Bentley was coming out to tow, thus saving the day. I agreed to tow in the morning until Bill arrived. Well, might as well bring the LAK-12, if for nothing else but to practice trailering it.
By 10:30 am. the lift was fantastic. Strong thermals everywhere and a west wind to-boot. I thought it would be neat to fly to Fairfield and claim the Boomerang. Dave Weaver said, "Go ahead, I'll come and get you." That was it, I made the decision, it's a go. While preparing for launch, Geoff asked, "Do you want to take the rubber chicken? I'll go get it for you." I said, "Sure, why not." I also asked him to please put my dolly in the truck because I was on a one way trip.
At 1:38 Bill Bentley towed me towards the knob and at 3000' I released. Not much lift at first then, up up up, 600 fpm, steady to "near" cloud base. The LAK was performing admirably, 80 kts between thermals with flaps minus 2. I was juiced by a discussion I had with Tim McNamara, the gentlemen from whom I purchased the LAK. Tim was fortunate enough to fly as second pilot in a DG 505 with Karl Streideick in the Senior Nationals and passed some of the secrets he had learned on to me.
Since I did not have time to program the GPS, I wanted to use Winchester, Martinsburg and Hagerstown as land marks for pilotage navigation. They would also serve as good alternative landing airports. This route would keep US 81 on my left and the Blue Ridge to my right. Also, I would constantly remain upwind of the Blue Ridge for a possible downwind dash to fly the ridge if the thermals failed. And, this route would help me avoid Camp David. The Secret Service will know who you are and you will be 709'd by an FAA Inspector, if you violate that airspace.
The lift band was between 6000 and 7000 msl with lowering bases to the North. At times, I found solid 10 kts up in smooth well formed lift. There were areas of CU's obviously scoured out by wave activity. I avoided the upwind side of those and tried to surf the down wind side of a couple. Wave was reported by Jim Garrison at Mt Jackson and other pilots out of Frederick, MD.
It seemed like it took no time and I was over Hagerstown. I could see the High Rock tower on the N.W. edge of Camp David. It cost me 2000 feet to fly 17 nm to Fairfield-tailwind, ya know.
I arrived over the gliderport at 5k and was trying to contact someone/anyone on or around the field. No contact. The frequency was right, but it appears they won't talk to you if your not on-task.
At 1500 agl, I threw that ugly chicken out the window. I could not for the life of me see that thing falling. Another rule they have is, you get your own glider off the runway. Unless you're in the way. I made sure I was. In about 30 seconds I had three people helping be push the LAK across the soft ground to a safe spot. Thanks guys. Hey, BTW, I have this rubber chicken I wish to present to your club. They didn't want it. I asked about the Boomerang, they had never heard of it. Humph.
I walked around and found the chicken in some nearby woods and every person I tried to give it to raised their hands and said, "I'm not taking that." I kindly hung that chicken in their club house. Can't miss it. After a while I found Jay Dickoff, who led me to someone who knew about the Boomerang. It was reported to me that Gregg Leslie drove down from Blairstown, NJ, assembled at Fairfield and flew to New Castle, VA. to claim the trophy. New Castle is refurbishing the trophy, they will add my name to it and mail it so we can place it in our hanger.
Oh yeah, remember Dave Weaver-he was on his way. By 8 p.m. the last car was leaving while I was standing by the entrance to signal Dave. Almost everyone stopped to talk and to make sure I was OK. One kind lady gave me a sandwich and a cold drink. They left the clubhouse door unlocked and outside hanger lights on for the disassembly. They trusted I would close the place down. MASA may do things a bit differently up there, but they sure are nice.
A great day-flight time to W73 about 1 hour and 15 minutes. We have the Boomerang, they have that ugly chicken. A fair trade, I would say.
I want to thank Dave for the push, Bill for the tow, the
Hazelrigg's for their help and Dave again for the retrieve. He drove
though four states to come and get me.
Lessons from Geese
Fact 1: As each goose flaps its wings it creates an "uplift" for the birds that follow. By flying in a "V" formation, the whole flock adds 71% greater flying range than if each bird flew alone.
Lesson: People who share a common direction and sense of community can get where they are going more quickly and easily because they are traveling on the combined -and greater-energy of all.
Fact 2: When a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of flying alone. It quickly moves back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird immediately in front of it.
Lesson: If we have as much sense as a goose we stay in formation with those headed where we want to go. We are willing to accept their help and give our help to others.
Fact 3: When the lead goose tires, it rotates back into the formation and another goose flies to the point position.
Lesson: It pays to take turns doing the hard tasks and sharing leadership. As with geese, people are interdependent on each other's skills, capabilities and unique arrangements of gifts, talents or resources.
Fact 4: The geese flying in formation honk to encourage those up front to keep up their speed.
Lesson: We need to make sure our honking is encouraging. In groups where there is encouragement, the production is much greater. The power of encouragement (to stand by one's heart or core values and encourage the heart and core of others) is the quality of honking we seek.
Fact 5: When a goose gets sick, wounded or shot down, two geese drop out of formation and follow it down to help and protect it. They stay with it until it dies or is able to fly again. Then, they launch out with another formation or catch up with the flock.
Lesson: If we have as much sense as geese, we will stand by each
other in difficult times as well as when we are strong.
Old Pro Wave Camp Testimonial
After battling a sore throat, causing a late departure, Stan and I finally made it to Petersburg Wednesday night. Flyable wave Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Sunday was the kicker. With the TV in the FBO inoperative, I was DT'ing from a lack of Weather Channel and had no clue for Sundays conditions. After three days of wave I went to bed expecting flat conditions for Sunday. Stan Pawlowski, Frank Banas and I bunked in the FBO. A good place to start at 5am for a 7am launch. Each day we'd wake at 5, look out the window, see wave sign, call FSS, call ATC to open the window at 7:30 then, prep for 7am launch. At 5am Sunday, looking out the window, I could not believe my eyes. The largest, highest and most organized lennie I had ever seen. It covered almost the entire Petersburg Valley. Since Stan got such a good wave flight Saturday, 1.6 hr and 10,300 msl, I opted to take Frank first in the L-23.
With benign conditions on the ground, we launched into rotor at 500 agl to 6000 feet into the primary wave. Frank learned alot about turn coordination and smooth control movement. 300 fpm steady through 14000, sometimes 500 fpm on the way up. Winds at the top of our climb were about 300 degrees at 50 knots. Perfect for you 1-26ers. I was nice and warm but had to keep using a credit card to scrape the ice off the inside of the canopy. The front canopy had enough ventilation to prevent buildup. We kept all vents open at all times. It helped. I had my eye on the O2 gauge and we constantly turned up the flow meter as we ascended. 18,000, 19,000, 20,000, at FL 210 we called it quits with 700 lbs of O2 left for the descent. The lennie was at FL200 and too large to cross over the top for a good ride down.
It was difficult to gauge how far ahead of the lennie we were and accidentally touched it. It was very thin and wispy on it's leading edge. Got a little foggy outside but we were able to out run it. Picked up some ice but it sublimated away by 10,000 feet using 70 kts and full divebrakes for a 1000 fpm descent. By 6000 feet and almost 2 hours, it was rock and roll all the way to the ground. Fred was reporting a Tow Factor of 9+ and could no longer tow anyone past the ridge and into the Valley of Doom. Of course, that's where the primary was. And that's why you launch at first light. In closing, I must say, this day alone was worth all the effort and attempts, over all the years, for one such flight as this one. FL250 would have been a piece of cake with an ATC clearance and more O2. I'm ready to do it again
Thank you Stan P., Frank B., Jim K., Jan S., Fred B., Sarah,
Kevin A., Paul R., Martin, Larry S. and everyone else; for being
there and helping me have so much fun.
I can only say that the Petersburg Wave Camp has been one of the better learning experiences of my life and I do not offer that comment gratuitously. I believe I got so much out of it for two main reasons: 1) I was there long enough to see many different conditions over a short period of time and their effect on glider operations and 2) since I didn't have the luxury of having my own glider or being qualified to solo, I was totally immersed in all aspects of the glider operations when I wasn't flying. I helped assemble and disassemble numerous sailplanes, I talked to many owners and they let me sit in their planes so I could see how I fit in a 1-26, 1-35, ASW-19, Capstan and L-23. I worked the ramp ground towing, launching and recovering, learned how to load and unload hangars, recharge golf carts, operate fueling stations, fill O2 bottles, do off-field retrieves and numerous other things-including watching frost build on the wing of a glass ship (that will remain nameless) right before my very eyes while holding the wing for launch and also having the tail dolly still connected.
Needless to say we aborted the launch and saved the
experienced but hasty glider pilot from potentially deadly
embarrassment. But the best part was the many nice people I met, some
of great stature and some who someday will be of great stature in the
soaring community and some who will not but that is OK too. Did I
mention that Jim Kellett also showed up with his Open Cirrus and
actually got it put together with the help of several of us and flew
it!!!! My thanks to Shane Neitzey for his guiding hand and patience
in answering many of my ignorant questions and to Kevin and Paul for
their encouragement and all those others who willing shared their
love of gliding with a fellow pilot. From all this, one thing is
crystal clear-we are all in this together and the camaraderie is
Molt Taylor Lives...
Looks like we could see a slight increase in air trafffic in the
future. This should really make soaring 'interesting'. (Note that the
Virginia Department of Aviation says that this "will make flying so
intuitive that any dummy will be able to do it"!!) Words fail me.
Flying will be as easy as driving a car by William Peakin, Sunday February 25, 2001 The Observer Flying a light aircraft will soon be as easy-and safer than-driving a car, according to aviation experts.
A consortium of aircraft companies, university researchers, the US government and Nasa is developing a system which will allow the public to fly planes after a few minutes of rudimentary training. The group is combining advances in aircraft design with computer-assisted flight and tracking devices to develop a prototype of a system they have named the 'Highway in the Sky'.
'These improvements will make flying so intuitive that any dummy will be able to do it,' said Keith McCrea, policy co-ordinator for the Virginia Department of Aviation. After a short briefing, a 12-year-old boy recently took off in and landed a light aircraft using the system.
Even for today's private pilots, flying is becoming more and more like driving; the cabin of the SR20 four-seater made by Cirrus Design in Minnesota, for example, is similar to the inside of a family saloon.
In place of the usual dizzying array of dials, the SR20 has a 26cm video display fed by global positioning system (GPS) data that provides a picture of the terrain beneath the aircraft, with airport, route and weather information superimposed on it. The number of controls has been pared down to a minimum. Another company, Moller International in California, is developing the Skycar, a vehicle capable of vertical take-off and landing. It will be able to fly as high as 30,000ft and carry four people at speeds of up to 400mph. Moller says that once it is in mass production the Skycar will cost the same as a mid-range BMW.
The company's president, Paul Moller, said: 'It's our intention that it will eventually evolve into a completely automated form of transportation, making you a passenger, not a pilot.'
A private pilot currently has to complete several hundred hours in the air to become fully trained for most conditions. Even preparing for a simple journey involves poring over maps, studying forecasts and calculating wind speeds and fuel consumption.
Each stage of the flight requires the manipulation of several controls, monitoring dozens of gauges, liaising with air traffic control and compensating for weather conditions. 'This could change dramatically over the next decade,' said David Freedman, author of a study to be published next month by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
'The general goal of these programmes will be to make small aircraft as easy and safe to operate as cars-maybe even more so-and almost as inexpensive.'
The NASA-funded 'Highway in the Sky' uses satellite positioning, digital maps and constantly updated information about air traffic movements to guide a pilot through a series of hoops, or along a dotted line displayed in simulated 3-D on a screen. 'I could take someone with no train ing and in five minutes have him flying a plane all the way through a landing,' said John Hansman, an MIT aeronautics researcher. While researching his article for MIT's Technology Review magazine, Freedman challenged Hansman to do just that, with his 12-year-old son Alex. When Alex was shown the direction to fly on the type of GPS screen used by private pilots, he called it 'the most confusing thing' he had ever seen.
Then Hansman switched on the 'Highway in the Sky'. Displayed in bright colors was an uncluttered image of the terrain with two parallel lines superimposed upon it, along with a blue cone off to the right. The lines defined the flight path and the cone was the destination airport.
'OK,' said Alex, as he sat at the controls. 'So I just need to aim at the cone, right?'
His father described the ease with which his son then put them on course: 'With the flair of a video game master homing his X-Wing fighter in on the Death Star's lone vulnerable hatch, Alex immediately banked the plane to bring the cone to the middle of the flight path.' On the final approach, Hansman needed only to issue a few verbal instructions for Alex to make a safe landing.
Along with 'Highway in the Sky', a joint project is under way to develop 'smartports' by providing computerized air traffic control at hundreds of small, underused airfields, so that light aircraft could be automatically kept precise distances apart and guided during take-off and landing.
The Skycar looks like a cross between a sports car and a tiny jet fighter. On take-off a blast of air from four large power pods, which contain counter-rotating engines attached to turbine blades, is directed downward by louvres, allowing the Skycar to lift straight up.
It can be driven on the road at about 35mph and is compact enough to be parked in a garage. The cabin can be pressurized for high-level flight and in an emergency parachutes would lower the craft and its occupants to safety. (The End)
Was that "Pieway in the Sky"? Can't believe anyone would want general aviation to be as safe as cars. Wonder if they scoped out the stats on auto accidents and fatalities recently?-Editor
That should fix the towpilot shortage