Monday, December 14, 2009

New Members

Two new NCSA members, who started as Trial members this summer:

Biff Forbush is our most distant club member. He lives in New Haven, CT where he teaches and does research in Cell Physiology at Yale....and commutes to Mountain View (and Byron) to visit Maja. "Flying is something very different for me, and it is fun to have the new challenge"

Maja Djurisic is one of our very few women members. She moved west from the east coast a couple of years ago for a post doc research position in Neurobiology at Stanford. She had a wish to learn to fly and this seemed like a good moment in her life to tackle it. "So, I found NCSA, with very friendly and supportive instructors and members. It turned out that I like flying much more that I ever thought I would. It makes me happy".

On our recent Work Days' struggles to install the control surfaces on our Blanik 53AS, Maja was in great demand, due to her persistence and nimble fingers when attaching cotter pins etc



Monday, December 7, 2009

Scholarship Recipients' Solo

Sunday November 15th,2009 was a big day for John Pericich, who had his first solo in Blanik EV exactly one month after his 14th birthday. John is the first recipient of the Cunningham Youth Scholarship Fund, a memorial fund in memory of Dave Cunningham, who loved to encourage youth to fly.

Dave's widow, Kathleen Cunningham arranged to come to Byron for John's solo and also meet our new Scholarship recipient, Russell Reed.

Kathleen Cunningham with John and his parents

Kathleen wrote: " I was very glad to be there for John's solo. It gave me goose bumps to see him take off and land so successfully and I felt very good (for me and for Dave) to have been a small part of making his adventure in flying possible."

Kathleen was also able to meet Russell Reed, who has recently been accepted as a recipient of the Scholarship also; Russell soloed late last Spring and Kathleen also enjoyed seeing Russell fly on Sunday. She wrote: " I am just happy that these two fine young men are receiving benefit from Dave's fund! "

Pasted below is the essay Russell sent to the NCSA Scholarship Committee
when applying for the Scholarship:


September 23rd, 2009

Dear NCSA Scholarship Committee,

For those of you that do not know me, my name is Russell Reed. I have been taking lessons with the club for about a year now. Prior to flying out of Byron, I took lessons at a glider port in Morgan, Utah. I moved to the Bay Area just over two years ago to attend the California Maritime Academy. I am a full time student here, and am on track to graduate with a degree in Marine Engineering in 2011.

I am applying for the Cunningham Youth Scholarship. I feel I am a well-qualified candidate for the scholarship.

I have always loved flying. When I was about 13 I began paragliding, and before I was 14 I had my license. That is what instigated my love for flying. About a year later, my dad stopped paragliding, which made it nearly impossible for me to get out flying on a regular basis.

Once I got my drivers license I decided to upgrade from paragliding to soaring. I was able to make the trip for Salt Lake City to the Morgan Soaring Center on a regular basis. Had I waited till I had enough money to begin lessons, I believe I would already have my glider rating by now, but I didn’t. The sporadic nature of my lessons made for slow progress. Once I moved to the Bay Area, I stopped lessons completely for a year.

The reason I initially came to this school here, was to attempt to receive a commissioning in the Coast Guard as a pilot. Once I got here, I realized that I thoroughly enjoy marine engineering. I abandoned my goal to fly for the Coast Guard, and set out to simply fly for fun. Once I graduate, I will have large chunks of time off from work each year. I have been thinking that being a sailplane instructor, among other things, would be a rewarding use of my time.

I started flying again last year. The engineering program at the California Maritime Academy is very difficult. Sometimes, looking forward to a weekend of flying was all that got me through the week.

I have been paying for a majority of my flying from a portion of my student loans that, in past years, has been refunded to me from a small scholarship I am receiving. Due to the large budget cuts imposed on California schools, tuition has gone up 30% from last year. Needless to say, I am no longer receiving any leftover money from my student loans. This is making it more and more difficult to afford flying.

With financial assistance from this scholarship, I believe I can complete my glider rating by years end.

Thanks for your consideration!


Russell Reed