Sunday, September 30, 2012


  It seems appropriate to have Terence sign me off for solo, since he was the first person who I met at NCSA.  When I showed up for my first NCSA flight on New Year's Eve, Terence was in the clubhouse.  My recollection is that I asked him if he was the instructor that day -- which of course he wasn't at that point.  I was also the field manager on the day that Terence did his NCSA checkride to be a club CFI-G.

When Terence told me I was ready to solo, I wasn't quite sure.  Paul got in on the action and said it was obvious from his end of the rope that I was ready, so I just needed to get up in the air.  Dick slyly told me that it would be convenient to solo because then Terence could help push without having to jump in to the glider on the runway, so it would be easier for the ground crew.  (He also said later that having a first solo made it worth his time to come out!)

After lining up behind Paul in 16Y, we started the takeoff roll for a high tow.  It was probably my best liftoff of the day, though I was a bit surprised at how much easier it is to get airborne with only one pilot in the glider.  The tow was smooth because the air was calm and stable.  Easy to fly the tow, but you know you're not going to be staying up for very long once you release!  Even so, the glider bounced around a bit more than I was accustomed to because of the lower wing loading.  After getting off tow at 3500 feet between Discovery Bay and the Byron Highway, I looked around for some lift, but the best that I found was a field that seemed to have zero sink instead of 1-2 kt down.  After slowly burning off altitude, I checked with AWOS to make sure that I could land on 30, flew the pattern, and came in.  I was up for only 25 minutes, but it felt longer than that.

And yes, I'm glad that I got the water treatment instead of having my shirt tail cut off, since I didn't have a second shirt with me!


On Sat, Sep 29, 2012 at 6:01 PM, Terence Wilson <> wrote:
[Attachment(s) from Terence Wilson included below]

Today I had only one student scheduled, Matthew Gast. Matthew has been
flying with NCSA since the start of the year and diligently working
his way towards solo in recent months. In the five flights we took
together Matthew's air work was excellent and his landings consistent
and safe. After some emergency practice, including a simulated low
rope-break, it was time to cut Matt loose. I did the paperwork and
Matt set up for a RWY 30 departure and high tow upwind to Discovery
Bay. I'll leave it to Matt to fill in the blanks, but everything
looked good from where I was standing.

We had a total of 6 tows today, 1 high tow and 4 patterns with me in
the backseat, followed by Matt's initial solo. After the solo we
didn't cut Matt's shirt-tails (too nice a shirt), but Dick wouldn't
let him escape without a water dowsing, which probably felt quite good
in the heat.

Thanks to Dick Horn for being FM and Paul McDonald for the tows. We
had fun! And big congratulations to Matt!!! (photos attached)


Matthew Gast
Author, 802.11 Wireless Networks: The Definitive Guide (2nd Edition)
and 802.11n: A Survival Guide