Category Archives: Soaring

Towing a glider off a dry lakebed

1-34 at Cinder Cone Dry Lake

1-34 at Cinder Cone Dry Lake

Did my first aero-retrieve of a glider. Towed the 1-34 off Cinder Cone Dry Lake back to Inyokern Sunday evening. Fun flight and thankfully uneventful as everything went well.

The lakebed is flat, hard, and wasn’t difficult to land on as long as the gravel bar was avoided. I did kick up quite a bit of dust taking off. With 25 knots of wind from the south the 1-34 lifted off almost immediately and the 182 lifted off well before the middle of the dry lakebed where the windsock is.

The flight back was a bit slow with the headwind and required minimum power to maintain altitude with the glider on tow at normal towing airspeed. When we were back over Inyokern the 1-34 released into the pattern and we all came in to land as normal. All in all a good day.

Returning to KIYK with 1-34 in tow

Returning to KIYK with 1-34 in tow

New 2013 Glider Flying Handbook

The FAA recently published a new edition of the Glider Flying Handbook.  It looks like some nice changes were made to clarify a few points the old version didn’t do quite so well.  They also did some work reorganizing it a bit and I think that made for some improvement too.

If you have something comfortable for reading PDFs you can save a few bucks by going to http://www.faa.gov/regulations_policies/handbooks_manuals/aircraft/glider_handbook/ and downloading it.  If you’re a glider pilot, or just curious, it’s a worthwhile read.

Sierra Soaring Club @ CalUAS Day

CalUAS day was huge.  First off, the numbers don’t lie.  The organizers expected about 1,500 people or so… 4,500-5,000 came to visit.  That’s about one person out of every five in Ridgecrest!  There was a lot of flying going on, and many very interesting presenters showing their support for the CalUAS effort at Inyoken showing what they can do and planned to do.  There were a lot of UAV demonstrations in the big hangar.  Too many to list them all.  There was also a some manned aviation in the mix.  Chip Yates made a demo flight of his record setting electric airplane, Axel Alvarez and his friends in the SoCal Ravens Formation Flying Team showed their skill too with some very nice formations in some beautiful homebuilt Van’s aircraft, Matt Menza made a few passes too in his Yakolev 52 before bringing it out to the ramp so kids could get their photos taken in it, there was an L-39 Albatross jet trainer that also came to visit.

Sierra Soaring Club represented itself at the event with a booth.  We were intending to bring out a glider too, but forecasts for winds up to 50 convinced us not to test the forecast.  Too bad the forecast was wrong!  It was beautiful, sunny, and clear.  Thankfully we had everyone there to meet all the people asking about flying gliders!  Tom Wilkins, Tom Serkowski, Nick Stelmashenko, and I were answering questions, handing out brochures (Aleta, my wife, outdid herself on these and Tom Wilkins found a great printer to make them up for us), showing soaring videos, and having an outstanding time talking about flying to hundreds and hundreds of new friends!  Thankfully Karen Serkowski and Aleta were there to keep everything else going behind the scenes and bring us all lunch!  It was a great event and I think the club did very well for itself promoting gliding and hopefully convincing several people to come out and fly with us.

 

The crew, ready to go, just before the gate opened. Lots of great handouts and publications to give away and we showed a nice set of quick videos on soaring that got a lot of attention.

The crew, ready to go, just before the gate opened. Lots of great handouts and publications to give away and we showed a nice set of quick videos on soaring that got a lot of attention.

Chip Yates Record Setting Electric Airplane Fly-by

Chip Yates and his electric long-EZ on display while Chip does post-flight checks.

Chip Yates and his electric Long-EZ on display while Chip does post-flight checks.

 

The Ravens on their first formation fly-by.

The Ravens on their first formation fly-by.

Local aviatior Axel Alvarez in the lead on this formation (right after a planned formation break off) in his RV-4.

Local aviatior Axel Alvarez in the lead on this formation (right after a planned formation break off) in his RV-4.