Saturday, November 29, 2008

A Very Special Flight

Below is a write up I did for the HGC on a very special flight I did out of Hollister last Sunday. Hope you can enjoy it. Sort of the magic moments that only soaring can offer that you can not plan, it just happens. And it happens only if your are there!!

Didn't expect much for the day, but thought flying was better than Sunday football.

I had a dream come true today that I wouldn't have missed for anything, I'll get to it in a minute.

If you looked at the tie down area today you would have thought owning a motor glider is nothing but a lot of work and you wouldn't be to far of the mark, but when it is working and you can trust it, it opens the door to some special moments. I had three possible things I was thinkiing about doing, 1) go south and see if I can stay up, 2) motor west towards Salinas to checkout if Dr. Jack was right on some wave action in the Salinas Valley, and 3) do a cross country sawtooth flight across the central valley to Mariposa. Why Mariposa? It is the stepping stone Brian Choate used getting into the Sierras. I and others are pondering on how to get to Minden and get the Egg when things are right, Mariposa may be the gateway. Today wasn't the Day, but it is all new territory and thought getting a first look would be good practice.

Well I decided to go south towards Panoche, signed all the papers with Quest in case I landed there and off I went. Very smooth cool still air with a great climb rate, density altitude does mean thrust, a new concept for me in my first power plane/ motor glider. Engine off at 7k and the long glide to Panoche, few bumps but nothing to core, then on to near EL2 and bingo some lift I could climb in. Now comes the special moment, barely holding my own I was joined by two Condors, together we cored the lift and climbed over a thousand feet. What a special moment, circling, diving and bobbing climbing higher and higher. They topped out about 150 feet above me and headed out south. I took another couple of turns and spotted them in the distance for a while, then they were gone, and then I got lower and lower, lite the engine near Panoche to head towards Salinas Valley, I'll save Mariposa for another day. Did find some friendly air at times, but nothing to climb on, Then near Salinas I lite the engine one more time and explored the eastern edge of the range leading to Big Sur. Just peaceful smooth air and nothing to do accept savor the moments.

I knew there were some Condors near Pinnacles and have hoped some day to fly with them, After having lousy week at work and having a second cousin die this year just last week, it did wonders for my head. They seem to accept me and didn't look disturbed by my presents. My ego says I found the thermal first and they joined me...... doesn't really matter...... it was just what I needed.

A good friend of mine who knows I was struggling some had this to say to me......

" Be good to you...find comfort in the life around you"

I'll try my best,


Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Congratulations to John Randazzo for achieving the requirements and completing the Basic Phase of the FAA Wings.

The goals of the updated FAA WINGS - proficiency program is to improve flying skills and make flying safer.

John will receive a Wings pin, now provided by Avemco.

Well done John!

Happy safe soaring to all,