Monday, July 11, 2011

Rick's first flights in Minden

Had a great week end at Minden flying KP.
I want to start by thanking Mike Schneider for spending more than four
hours while I bobbed and twisted in KP.

On Sat 7/9 I had the second flight of the day. Maja had the first
flight and she came back her usual smiling self. I knew it was going to
be good, we took off at about 3:45 for a 2.1hr intro flight to the world
of more than 1 to 4 knots of lift. I wasn't ready for the tooth jarring
ride to 6,500ft where we found 10kts+ of lift. Spent the time learning
more about thermaling. We got to 14,200ft once. Traveled up and down
the Pine Nuts(SP?) as far north as Virginia City and south short of
Topaz Lake. Moderate to very good lift the whole flight. I am kind of
hooked on this. I can see why the rules say you need a check out here.

Sun 7/10: I took the first flight and it was again a bump and grind ride
to 7,200 ft where Mike cut us loose in 10kts of lift. Today was a
different day. It was up and down the whole 2.1hrs (weird, 2hrs and
8min on both days). We wound up to 10K and then it was 8-10kis down to
9K and back. Hit 11K then 12K off and on, 13,100 for a brief second.
Lost altitude quickly and gained slowly. We headed back to MEV a couple
of times but found lift. We were at the south end of the valley at 10K
and headed back. After all the work we kept running into lift. Back to
12K. Enough of this I worked at loosing altitude. At 8K found lift and
tried to ignore it, I looked and we were at 8,600ft. Flew out of lift,
put KP in a steep turn and came down. I had to leave as Maja and Mike
took off.

Hope Maja posts her adventures soon (HINT).
Again thank you Mike you are a patient teacher.

Rick Robbins


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Friday, July 8, 2011

Air Sailing Cross-Country Camp 2011 - John Scott

XC Camp 2011 by John Scott
The ASI camps are always a great experience and are highly recommended.  Classroom work was very educational, as usual. The weather this week did not cooperate (not so good thermals) so some of us newbies had trouble getting out of the valley.
My first XC was to Stead and I made it, but I didn’t make it back.  I ended up landing out at Spanish Springs.  When I came over the ridge looking for the airport I was expecting to see an asphalt runway and I didn’t have a lot of time (altitude) to look around.  I kept circling over the dirt runway of a private construction site next to residential housing.  Unable to locate the airport I landed on the dirt strip.  After landing, while sitting on the wing of 2SS and studying my Sectional, I noticed for the first time the hollow circle designating Spanish Springs as a dirt strip.  This was also the first time that I noticed the words “Hazardous” as an airport description.
 LESSON #1  Study your alternate airports before you land at them, not after.  It works better that way.
 ASI does not tow out of Spanish Springs (too dangerous) so I had to wait for the trailer and got more practice de-rigging 2SS.  Special acknowledgement to Buzz Graves for all his help and mentoring on 2SS.
My second XC (the first successful one) was on the last day (Friday).  These photos were taken just minutes before I launched.
After releasing at 3,000 AGL I had difficulty maintaining lift over the Red Rocks and the side of Tule Ridge.  I worked my way back trying for lift and thought I was going to have to land and re-light.  Just over the “knoll” to the north of ASI I was saved by a house thermal that took me from 6,300 MSL to 13,000 MSL.  From there I proceeded on course for Tiger passing over Nex-Rad and Pond peak.  It is easier to stay high than to get high.  Thermals are larger (wider) and easier to find and work up high.
 LESSON #2  If you’re new to XC, get high and stay high.  “Tank up” often.
 Any time I got below 11,000 I took the next thermal to get back up.
After passing over Tiger I proceeded to Silver Springs, both of which I easily recognized having now done my homework.  From there I headed back.  I “tanked up” to 12,500 MSL before crossing the foothills.  I was practically at final glide altitude for ASI before proceeding.  Passing over Pond Peak and Nex Rad there was a constant lift in the form of bumpy “zero air”.  I came off First Lift still at 12,500, I hadn’t lost an inch!  During my spiral descent to ASI everything electronic stopped working; radio, transponder, vario.  After 3+ hours my battery was dead.  I made the landing using my handheld.
 LESSON #3  Consider carrying a handheld.
 LESSON #4  If you don’t own an Oudie, or something like it, consider getting one.  Not having to read charts and do glide slope mental math made things more enjoyable for me.
 Flight Statistics:
Duration: 3.2 hours
Maximum Altitude:  13,000 feet
XC Distance: 103 miles
 Every glider pilot should try to attend the two ASI camps “Thermal” and “Cross Country”.
We had people from as far away as Kentucky, Florida, and Canada.
Many people come to these camps more than once.