Sunday, December 5, 2010
Just thought I should share my 2010 Soaring Summary. 25% of those flights originated from Byron.
The above traces are from 62 Cross Country flights I had in 2010, totaling 18,673 miles and 348 hours, averaging 300 miles per flight. The flights spanning 8 states (California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming).
Photos from these flights are available in the following links:
Raw unedited video clips are available at
Ramy Yanetz (TG)
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
"Mike Voie described our flight last Sunday to the southwest side of Mt
Diablo to find and ride a Wave up to 15,800'. This was my first
experience with Wave Soaring and I really enjoyed it. We did a series
of figure eight turns west of Mt Diablo to stay in the wave and make the
most of it. We contacted NORCAL Control to advise them of our position
just outside the Class B airspace. The ride to Stockton and back to
Byron was also great with visibility CAVU the whole trip. Thanks to
Mike for the Wave instruction and Rick Robbins for the tow to the Wave.
Monday, November 15, 2010
Sunday, October 17, 2010
It all started on a Tuesday morning when I read an email from Ramy to the NorCalSoaring email list pointing to the very favorable soaring forecast for the coming days. Quickly navigating over to the blipmap forecast page I found the following plot, which helped explain Ramy’s excitement.
Rolf was available to tow (thanks Rolf!) and Ramy suggested that it would be a great opportunity for a student to experience cross-country soaring (assuming we could find a CFI-G). Luckily for me, Mike Voie kindly volunteered his services and promptly sent an email with some cross-country planning instructions. The night before our flight I drew circles of varying radii around Byron and Hollister, each was annotated with the altitude required to make a conservative glide to pattern altitude. The next morning I arrived at Byron to find a hive of activity, trailers were open and gliders were being assembled. I helped Yuliy, Peter and Morteza assemble and they returned the favor helping Mike and I get the wings on the club’s Grob 103 twin acro, N41KP. Soaring is a team sport!
After a couple of hours the gliders were lined up at the first intersection of rwy 30 and ready to go.
Ramy was first to depart, then Dick, followed by Yuliy, Morteza, Matt, Mike and I in KP, then Peter. The long tows to rel 1 meant that it took a couple of hours to get everyone airborne, but we all made it. Rel 1 is south of Byron over the Diablo range. The planned release altitude for KP was 7000, but we got off tow early after finding lift at 6000. We gained about 1K before moving slightly east and thermalling to 9000. After Mike found the lift, he turned over the controls to me and gave instruction on how to turn efficiently in the lift. I asked a few dumb questions like “How long do we stay here?” - the answer “until the lift runs out!”
We continued to move south under the long street of cumulus until we found a big thermal that lifted KP at a consistent 600-1000 fpm (even with yours truly at the controls). Close to an indicated altitude of 12K and within glide distance of Hollister we stopped turning in the thermal and pointed KP south towards Hollister. As we sped south at our best L/D KP continued to climb! With the base of the cumulus fast approaching, Mike pushed over to keep us VFR. Post flight GPS data indicated that our peak altitude was just over 13K.
After gliding within 10nm of Hollister we turned around and headed for home. Heading back to the north there was no lift to be found. As we descended through 6000 just south of Lick Observatory Mike identified possible land-out areas and explained the decision making process.
For benefit of those who don’t know, members of the glider community have compiled a GPS database of landing points in a format that can be loaded into a portable GPS unit. As we continued to look for lift, Mike periodically gave bearing and distance information to our best land-out location at South County.
As we sank through 5500 indicated (~2500 AGL) I started to think that a landing at South County was a real possibility. But then Mike found a whisper of lift and patiently worked it, methodically searching for the core. After a few minutes the vario started to show a 200 fpm climb, then 400, then 600, 800! Soon we were back in the game climbing to 10,000 feet before it petered out. Below us another glider (Peter I believe) worked the same thermal.
Byron was now within glide, but Mike thought it would be useful to head slightly east and fly over South County to identify the landing strip for future reference. After doing so, we continued north and entered our last thermal of the day to 10,500 feet. With plenty of altitude in the bank and Livermore in our sights we decided to overfly the summit of Mount Diablo and then head back to Byron. After checking in with NorCal on 125.35 we started to get traffic reports-
“Glider one kilo papa, Boeing 737 2’o’clock, 4 miles, 6000 descending”
And there it was, a Southwest 737 1000 feet *below* us passing right to left inbound to Oakland. I started to imagine the Boeing captain announcing our presence to the passengers.
We banked about 1000 foot over the summit of Mount Diablo for a quick photo opportunity, then headed to C83 for an uneventful pattern entry and landing.
We had been airborne for 3.3 hours, travelled 263km with a peak altitude of 13,000 feet. Although impressive (at least to me and my power pilot friends), it was the shortest flight of the day. Ramy made it all the way down the coast to Hearst Castle and several of the guys flew the Big Sur coastline. Yuliy and Ramy both travelled over 600km, which is pretty mind-boggling!
I’ll close by offering thanks to everyone who participated, particularly Mike Voie for introducing me to the arcane and exciting world of cross-country soaring and Rolf for sacrificing a great day of soaring to tow us all.
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Soaring Glacier Divide from Bishop
Geologists first settled California. They didn’t know they were geologists. They called themselves prospectors and later we named them 49ers. Nonetheless they discovered that gold always occurred with quartz underground. More than a hundred years later college educated geologists explained the science behind the miner’s observations. In the molted soup created by the friction of plate tectonics, the first rocks to crystalize at the highest temperatures where iron, aluminum, copper and other metal bearing silicates.
Unlike other metals, gold does not incorporate into the crystal lattice of silicon. When the molten mixtures has cooled sufficiently, only gold and pure silicone dioxide (quartz) remain to solidify in the cracks of the existing granites forming veins of gold bearing quartz.
These early prospectors also discovered and mapped the diried-up, millions-of-years-old so called Eocene rivers of California. They had enough data for many a dissertation. But is wasn’t degrees they were after; it was the gold: placer gold just like in the modern rivers.
About 12 years after the discovery of gold, the California Legislature decided it needed to know the breath of California’s mineral wealth. They hired college educated, Josiah Whitney, author of the acclaimed book, Mineral Wealth of the United States, as Director of the California Geological Survey.
When Whitney was doing his geology, John Muir was doing his natural history studies of the Sierra Nevada. In 1869, the same year that saw the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad, and the arrival of John Muir in California, Whitney published his travel guide to Yosemite Valley, The Yosemite Book and claimed that the Yosemite Valley was formed by the sinking of the valley floor. John Muir contended that the valley was formed by the action of glaciers.
To discredit Muir, Whitney claimed that it was impossible for glaciers to have created the valley because the Sierra didn’t then and never did contain glaciers. John Muir demonstrated the existence of Sierra glaciers by demonstrating the movement of permanent blocks of ice, completely undermining Whitney’s theory. The public, to this day, accepts the theory that glaciers carved Yosemite Valley, even though there is scant evidence that glaciers can do the massive carving required to create such monumental features.
Soaring from Bishop, you can view the namesakes of these historic figures. Josiah Whitney got the highest peak in the contiguous 48 states named after him, while Muir was honored with a hiking trail, a mountain pass, and a peak next to Whitney’s 479 feet lower.
About 20 miles south west of Bishop, Glacier Divide houses about six glaciers in a series of cirques -- huge steep-walled amphitheater-like features. As you fly down the ridge,
you encounter several more glaciers – Goethe, Darwin, Palisade, Norman Clyde, until you reach the mountain peaks named for the opponent and champion of Sierra Glaciers.
Sunday, July 11, 2010
landing were excellent and he had the longest and highest soaring flight
of the day - almost an hour, climbing to 4,200'. Fritz was ready with a
'surprise' cooling shower to initiate Biff into the 'post solo'
community. Maja was Field Manager and was waiting to Biff to land so she
could have the last flight of the day. Thanks to Tow Pilot Steve Yoder
and to all those who helped push gliders. We had 4 solo pilots who flew
yesterday. Both Biff and Maja will be participating in the WSPA soaring
week at Air Sailing next week.
Friday, July 9, 2010
I spent 4 days excellent days last week at Bishop, CA with the Nevada Soaring Association. They bring down their tow plane to Bishop and invite members to come and fly at one of the world’s premier soaring sites. I went with Bill Levinson, another club member, with whom I planned to share a glider, which meant I would fly 2 of the 4 days we would be there. As you may know, Bishop (el 4100’) is located in the Owens Valley between the Sierra Nevada and White Mts. The backside of the Sierras rises very dramatically up to 12-14k ft peaks. It reminded a lot of the Grand Tetons. The Whites are nearly as high, with White Mountain ~12k ft. They slope up more gradually than the Sierras, but are still steep with deep canyons.
The first day Bill had the plane so I took a flight with an instructor, Rob Stone (Stoney), to get familiar with the area. It was a great lesson. The wind was coming from the south and was flowing over the White Mts. Stoney explained how thermals don’t work very well in these conditions, and the best strategy is to fly figure eights close to the ridges and then move further up and into the range. It’s quite a feeling to fly right at the ridge and feel the plane rise rapidly as the ridge passes below. We made it up to the top of the Whites to about 14k and flew just below the face of White Mountain Peak, back to the south end of the Whites, across the valley to the Sierras, and then back down to Bishop; total flight time ~ 2.5 hrs, most of it spent with me trying to climb up the ridge.
Second day was my turn with our sailplane (Grob 102, SS). I released at nearly the same place as the previous day’s flight with Stoney. So I just did all the same things I had done before and made to the top of the ridge & up to 16k ft. That’s a personal best max altitude for me; total flight time ~2.5 hrs.
Third day, my next scheduled day off, I was invited by another pilot to fly with him in a DG-1000, a high performance 2 place glider. Its glide ratio is about 46:1. He did most of the flying, especially climbing the ridge, but he let me fly as well. We went up the Whites to Boundary Peak, back to Bishop, across the valley over to the Sierras and down to Lone Pine. At that point we turned into the Sierras toward Mt Whitney (14,505’). At first we flew past Whitney, it doesn’t really stick up much higher than the surrounding mountains, but it is recognizable by the stone hut on the peak. We flew back and found Mt Whitney and could see hikers on the peak by the stone hut. We did a pass over Whitney and took pictures of the hikers while they took pictures of us as well. From there we crossed the valley again to the Inyos and flew back to Bishop. Total flight time ~5.5 hours. Cool.
Fourth day was my turn in SS again, so decided to try for the Silver badge requirement of a 5 hour flight. Again I released in the same area as my previous flights and managed to climb up the ridge to the top of the Whites. I flew along the top of the ridge trying to stay where most of the lift is found. After several runs up and down the crest I ran into sink and had to turn toward the valley and quickly descended. I flew along below the ridge looking for lift without luck until I was down to about 8600’, less than 1000’ higher than my initial release. Finally I found lift and climbed back up. I flew along the ridge again and tried taking some video from the cockpit, which is not easy. Mostly it consists of pointing the camera toward the window and pressing the record button for 30 seconds or so, and hoping it captures something good. At the southern most end of the ridge I hit sink and again fell off the ridge to about 9600’. I finally hit a strong thermal which I stayed in and climbed up to over 11,000’. For the remainder of the flight I managed to stay over 10,000’. Five hours came, but I wanted to make sure I had more than enough time, so I ended up flying for over 5.5 hours. Another personal best for me….
See photos from Mt Whitney flight at:
See flight recorder trace graphs in attached jpg files. The graph shows altitude vs time, with the dark mass below representing the ground altitude.
Great flying and hope to return next year.
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
is wearing Chandler's "Women Fly" cap!
Monday, July 5, 2010
The Place Above Me
Freedom to explore. I want to explore and the best way I have found to do that is to fly. I want to see the world in any way I can and the experience I gained from flying a plane for my birthday has stayed with me for two years. The experience of seeing the world spread out below me and the feeling of myself being almost alone above a world with so many people in it is something I will never forget. By flying I feel like I am more than just an average girl looking at things at only one level, at only one height.
I have always thought that the fact that a tin can with wings and heavy metal motor and seats can fly was fascinating. But unlike some, who fear to get into those metal cans, I always thought that looks so cool. I still do. I want to see the world in a way that not many others can. I want to fly so that I can feel like I have something special. When I am flying I feel like everything is quieter and simpler. I don’t have to worry about the problems on the ground when I’m up in the air. The feeling is peaceful and I feel slightly powerful when I see the world spread out below me. I want to explore, feel free, at peace, and calm.I also have an absolute fascination with space. My dream is to become an astronaut and I figure what is a better way to start a dream of space than with the sky. If I can get into the air, I can get into space. I want to be off the ground in any way possible and this is a great way to start. When I look up into the sky at night I see stars, the moon, and everything that is bigger than us, but makes up everything we have. When I look into the sky in the day, I see the gateway to getting there. I see everything beyond just the fluffy clouds and the birds. I see a place I want to be in.
Friday, July 2, 2010
Thursday, July 1, 2010
FIRST SOLO and 'A' Badge for MAJA DJURISIC! WAY TO GO, MAJA !
Mike Voie wrote: "A well deserved solo. Maja worked very hard and earned
every bit of this solo. I'm very happy to have been the cfig to sign her
After three flawless landings in a row, I felt I had no choice but to
send her on her way. She was very nervous, but settled down and showed
us all what a landing is suppose to look like.
She was glowing when she left the airport."
'B' BADGES to FRITZ HENSHAW, LEN EDMONDSON and TRISTAN DUPLAN!!!
WELL DONE to ALL!
'C' BADGE TO TRISTAN DUPLAN, who also earned: SILVER ALTITUDE and
DURATION + GOLD ALTITUDE at AIR SAILING THERMAL CAMP!
SETH DUNHAM was also in THERMAL CAMP and reported "My thermal camp
flights worth sharing would be: my first contact with ATC, my first land
out on a dry lake, and my near miss with another glider"
'SILVER'DISTANCE (160 miles!)-landing at Tiger Field- and
SILVER ALTITUDE for TAYLOR NICHOLS at AIR SAILING CROSS-COUNTRY CAMP.
Well done Taylor!
'BRONZE' BADGE TO MARK VIOLET! +
SILVER 5 hr DURATION at BISHOP ENCAMPMENT!!
This completes requirements for SILVER BADGE for MARK !!! (
pending SSA approval)WELL DONE & CONGRATULATIONS TO MARK,!
SILVER DURATION AND SILVER DISTANCE, completing SILVER BADGE(pending SSA
approval)by PAUL MCDONALD!!!, Paul reported:
"XC Camp was good. It took about a day to reacquire some competence in
thermalling technique. Although weak, I was introduced to wave (at
about 12,000' over the north Dogskin range). I exceeded my previous
personal best performance in all three areas: duration, distance, and
height gain (achieving 15,700' MSL (a 9,000' gain) on one flight, 5.5
hours off-tow on another, and over 63km (Pond Peak to Flanigan Dry Lake)
on a third. I think I satisfied the requirements for Silver duration
and distance. I previously earned Silver height gain, so maybe I'll get
the Silver badge. I found that I'm conservative, and not that
interested in landing out. I'll have to grow into this concept of
glider XC slowly. On Monday, I ended up at 5,800' MSL 20NM north of Air
Sailing (elev. 4300'). I had Flanigan Dry Lake in glide, but was
woefully below the 12,500' MSL or so minimum required to start back to
Air Sailing. It was by the end of this flight that I improved coring
skill ... enough to claw my way out of the weeds up to 13,000'+, and a
return to ASG. I guess that's called a "low-save".
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Saturday, June 26, 2010
My thermal camp flights worth sharing would be: my first contact with
ATC, my first land out on a dry lake, and my near miss with another
*Me:* Reno Approach Glider 132SS VFR Request. *Reno:* Glider 2SS
warble garble garble warble. *Me: *Unreadable. *Reno:* (sounding
angry) Say Request. *Me:* Reno Approach Glider 2SS 10,200' over
AirSailing, how 'bout a transponder check? *Reno:* Glider 2SS Ident.
*Me:* Glider 2SS Ident. ( I Press Ident ) Then about 5 minutes go by
with no response, and I really want to switch back to AirSailing.
*Me: *Reno Approach Glider 2SS switching back to 123.3 *Reno: *Glider
2SS is 10,200 your correct altitude. *Me: *Affirmative 10,200 *Reno:
*Have a nice flight.
The land out on Flanigan Dry Lake was a blast. I was a little
intimidated by the thought of leaving ASI and fighting a 10 to15 knot
headwind, and possible sink to the lake bed, but my eyes, sectional,
and gps all said I could make it. I left the Dog skins at 10,600' and
arrived over Flanigan at 8,000' (4,000' to spare). That feeling of
actually going somewhere in a glider is a real rush if your used to
just floating around over the airport (even if it was just a short 20
mile hop from ASI) I have photos on Face Book if anyone wants to
I have been trying to think of the best way to describe what almost
happened to another glider pilot and my self. We came about 50 feet
from a head on collision over Tule ridge. I was thermaling over Tule,
then headed north on the ridge (about 10,500 60 knots). As I scanned
for traffic on the ridge there was suddenly another glider blocking
my view, he was rapidly expanding in my field of view. The next thing
I knew I was doing about 100 knots with the stick full forward.
Everything that had been stowed in the side pockets was in my lap.
Later the other pilot told me he saw me push the stick forward.
We talked after landing. Both of us were looking out. We almost
didn't see each other in time. It happend so fast there was not even
time for adrenaline to be released.
I've been gliding 3 years and have had as many "to close for comfort"
calls with other aircraft. Each time it's been closer then the last.
The sky is not so big.
Keep the canopy clean. Talk on the radio (IF SOME PEOPLE DONT LIKE
ALOT OF CHATTER "TOUGH SHIT")
Friday, June 18, 2010
|Problems? We're doing maintenance, but things should be back to normal soon.|
| || |
Tuesday didn't look too promising at first. The sky had a lot of high cirrus and no obvious thermal activity, but we took a tow and the tow pilot headed for an area where he thought lift would be (you can't beat local knowledge). We scratched around for a while, eventually found a thermal and headed up. We maintained a good altitude of about 8-9,000 MSL for a couple of hours, exploring the area, and eventually ended up soaring along a ridge at 9-10,000' MSL. We did this for about an hour, as there was a report of wave in the area and we could see the lennies forming in front and behind us.
This really paid off for us. All the other gliders had returned to the field and we set off upwind. We contacted the smooth wave lift and almost before we knew it we were contacting Reno Approach, since we were now approaching 18,000' MSL. We came down with full spoilers at 80kts to around 9,000' and said "what the heck, let's do it again". So up we went in 10kts+ to 18,000' again. This time we flew downwind (through the sink) until we contacted the next wave, which we worked for a while. We didn't get quite so high in this wave since we were getting pretty close to cloudbase.
Since we now had plenty of altitude and knew where the lift was, we did more exploring, burning off altitude for distance, Tristan taking some sightseeing photos on the way. Since we had only been in the air five hours, Tristan made the decision to go into the wave again. So, off we went rocketing up to 18,000'. This time we came down with full spoiler at 80kts again, and landed back at AIR sailing after a total of six hours in the air. Did I say I needed a foam cushion?
Thermals, ridge lift and wave, all in one six-hour flight. Magic! I suppose Tuesday wasn't a bad day, after all.
Today (Wednesday) looks like it might be another wave day.
Oh dear. Where's the foam?
-photos by Tristan