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In This issue...

The Winter of our Discontent

Open House April 3

Suspicions Confirmed

From Our Remote Correspondent

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March, 1999

The Winter of Our Discontent
Your faithful correspondent is trying hard to put up a positive front but gray skies are winning. Somedays I lust for a Bougainvilla covered cottage somewhere like, say, Laguna Beach, with a nice redwood sign that says "Carry me back to old Virginia...when my body is as cold and dead as it felt on Feb. 28, 1999". February is a cruel month in this Northern Hemisphere.

But it is coming, the warm winds, the thermals, April 15th. (Dam! February makes me default to cold, unfeeling metaphors.) Real time soaring will be with us before you know it.

Not by choice but by necessity, this is going to be a rather slim newsletter. However this is but a lull before a large mass of information must be dissimulated to the membership. In every area of operations we face new procedures. Some of which haven't been worked out at this time. As one member wisely put it: "It'd be nice to have a clear fully understood group of rules BEFORE we start coming out en masse and fumbling about." Amen!

Bob Michael will be coming at us soon with new procedures from patterns to ground ops. Jim Kellett will be leading many sermons on these new commandments. Spencer Annear will have our towing methodology dispensed to all the towpilots. Bill Vickland will have a half-new and more powerful Pawnee purring in action and his plastic surgery on Ms Daisy will awe us all. Kevin Fleet has the facilities arranged to our needs and ground handling methods mostly worked out. Ralph Vawter will insure a cadre of well-informed Duty Officers to lead us in all the new considerations of operations at an entirely different airfield. John Lewis is exploring new members. The relentless quest by the Big Bee, Tony Bigbee will insure no date is left unnamed. And finally, the Club's "Ready Kilowat" Dave Brunner is making sure all battery ops fire up when needed. Incidently, our new tow vehicle is really something...to see Brunner chugging along on it will make grown men cry or wish for our old red "whatever" back-time stands still.

Obviously these guys have not been working in a vacuum. They've had a lot of help from a lot of dedicated members that will go unmentioned here for fear of leaving someone out and incurring another knot on the editor's head.

Because the flying season will be on us a lot faster than these newsletters will, pay careful attention to your email as it remains the fastest way to reach the majority of club members with this vital new information. Don't have email? Tell you what I'm going to do, Bunky. I have a Macintosh Centris 650 (500mb hard drive, 64mb ram) Apple 13" color monitor and a SupraFax Modem 28,000 bps. It ain't going to set any speed records but would make a good machine to get someone online. (Stop laughing, Brunner!) Free to a good home...or even a bad one.
-Phil Jordan

Open House April 3
(Rain Date, April 10)
Skyline Soaring is hosting an Open House for all pilots and airplane owners based at Front Royal Airport on Saturday, April 3. We've invited these people to come visit our hangar and operations, look over our equipment, meet our members, and, to the extent that time permits, take advantage of a one-time offer of a short (15 minute) ride in our of our gliders at a bargain rate-the price of a tow.

There are some really interesting airplanes (and their owners/pilots) at Front Royal, so come on down to meet them and help share your own soaring experiences with them. Afterwards, you can test the Front Royal's culinary competition with New Market!!

Depending on the response to our offer for rides for these guests, there might not be too much instruction given (or other member use of our two place machines) that day, since we'd like to give priority to rides for our new neighbors. And, who knows, maybe pick up a new member or two!
- Jim Kellett

Suspicions Confirmed
I was flying from San Francisco to Los Angeles. By the time we took off, there had been a 45-minute delay and everybody on board was ticked. Unexpectedly, we stopped in Sacramento on the way. The flight attendant explained that there would be another 45-minute delay, and if we wanted to get off the aircraft, we would reboard in 30 minutes. Everybody got off the plane except one gentleman who was blind. I noticed him as I walked by and could tell he had flown before because his Seeing Eye dog lay quietly underneath the seats in front of him throughout the entire flight.

I could also tell he had flown this very flight before because the pilot approached him and, calling him by name, said, "Keith, we're in Sacramento for almost an hour. Would you like to get off and stretch your legs?" Keith replied, "No thanks, but maybe my dog would like to stretch his legs."

Picture this. All the people in the gate area came to a complete standstill when they looked up and saw the pilot walk off the plane with the Seeing Eye dog! The pilot was even wearing sunglasses.

People scattered. They not only tried to change planes, they also were trying to change airlines!
-Jonathan Kans

From our remote correspondent ...

YES, We ARE having a wonderful time...

Lots of good seminars, good discussions about things and plenty of good ways to spend money (on soaring stuff of course). Karl Striedieck had a fascinating discussion on falconry, including a computer simulation on Dynamic Soaring-as demonstrated by the Condor lots of interesting "in flight" pictures of the real masters of the sky.

We also had a very good seminar on fixing dings in fiberglass Kellett's ding turned out very well, we all had two or three cracks and/or dings to repair with filler and gel-coat.

Bill Vickland had an appropriate comment that cross-country flying should only be done in ships of 30:1 (L/D) or greater we've had some fun with that "statement" (he was quoted out of context.-editor)

Members observed to be present
Brunner, Michael, Winter, Bane (w99), Freytag, Buell, Gardner, Neitzey. Pondering my first SAA Convention or all the news that fits print. Arriving on Thursday mid-day with Bob Michael, we wasted no time in getting to the afternoon sessions:

Pondering my first SAA Convention or all the news that fits print.
Arriving at the center you are in awe and wonder at the sexiest, slipperiest most glorious array of flying machinery on the earth! The 88' wingspan of the ASW 22 or the 5" diameter boom of the "Diana", the sexy swept-back wings of the Discus (drool...) Gel-Coats without a blemish, Instrument panels to die for... Shane failed to recognize a 1-26 that looked almost new, along with some Vintage Sailplanes and R/C models as well. It was interesting to note that this year the convention was held with the hang-gliders association, and they brought a wonderful sense of color and vibrancy to the exhibition floor. Stands from all the major suppliers and associations (I even joined the 1-26 lot), every book you could ever want and them some anyway I dragged myself away from all this stuff to go to some of the presentations (wondering "I wonder if they'd miss one?") I had missed the morning sessions so I wanted to make up for lost time.

First came Dave Nadler's sessions on understanding (and maybe fixing) your Vario, it was OK but aimed at the person with the super-duper, super expensive rigs. The advice was basically that that Bill had given me earlier about securing plumbing, vacuum testing and so on. He skipped over the stuff that would have been valuable like the differences in transducer technology and so forth. Basically, if it was over 5 years old throw it away, its obsolete.

The next session was a presentation by Tom Knauff all I can say is the guy is a real pro, he had fascinating footage from the re-make of the "Thomas Crown Affair" as well as the original movie. At one stage the producers were willing to saw the wings of a Duo Discus in half in order to get the ground shots they wanted, and Knauff said they were willing to do it but for the fact that they couldn't get a new set of wings in time! Wait for the movie!!! (Hmm now if they offered us $40k they could saw the wings of 081 in half any day!!!!!)

The evening was followed by a great meal with most of the Skyliner's at the convention there-that remindsme Jim, I owe you for 1/2 a bottle of wine ) hic Note: I wouldn't like to get into an imbibing competition with that guy! Back to the Motel for a good nights sleep.

Next day began bright and early with the 1-26 breakfast, followed by Tilo Holinghouse on the design philosophies of Schempp-Hirth. One lasting memory will be of the Ventus pilot who got the landing a little wrong-he landed at 90 degrees to the runway, sliced off a wing, went through a fence and into the side of a parked Mercedes (I guess if you are going to get it wrong, get it wrong with STYLE). Guess what, he walked away and although the plane was totalled, the canopy only cracked and the pilot was protected by the "cell". Totalling a Ventus-that is a shame.

Chuck O'Mahony had some great tips on how to shoot a glider pilot, I thought I had to own at least a Glock, but he said a Nikon would do, and no, I didn't need to subscribe to Guns and Ammo or Trailer Weekly. I just needed a Polarizing Filter and some good slide film. Great presentation with some glorious pictures.

Dick Johnson gave a great presentation on sailplane test results and the way in which they measure flow and drag on wings. Bernd Scheffel showed off a new device called THEMI, which will basically get you into the core of a thermal by using a precise GPS, altimeter and a built in 32-bit microprocessor. The math is pretty straightforward and I have no doubts that it works, the display is simple and uses just 2 leds to tell you whether to turn, turn steeper or fly straight ahead. Hmm $850.

I also went to the Team USA presentation nuff said. Other highlights of the day were video presentations on the

Gossamer Albatross-the human powered plane that crossed the English Channel, and a video tracing an 1000km flight up the Appalachian Mountain range.

In the evening was a hands on practical workshop on repairing gel-coat. I must say that now I would feel happy at tackling small jobs provided I had the right materials and tools. This was a well attended session with 40 or 50 people all handling Bondo, Gel-Coat, Peroxide, Razor Blades, Gas Cylinders. We all got out in one piece-8:30pm, time for a meal and to crash.

Saturday-I spent the morning buying books and drooling over all the toys on display. The first session I went to was a great presentation on why we don't build sailplanes in the US. The "sweet spot" for glider purchases is around $32k and for that people would want a 40:1 equipped glass ship, for example a s/h LS4 (I think Joe thought the presenter was talking to him). Joe took more notes and I'm sure he can relay the stats better than me I hate stats.

Next came a presentation on Quetzalcoatlus Northroppi (QN) a pterosaur with a 36' wingspan and a glide ratio of 30:1, dammit, that's better than my 1-26!!! Still at least the 1-26 is not 65 million years old, well.. maybe The bones of this thing had to be seen to be believed! Interesting fact about the bones 1/16-1/8 wall thickness with internal braces that could relocate as the creature's body mass altered with diet. Later there was a video presentation on Paul MacCready's flying version, that man has achieved so much in the world of aviation.

Lunch time I got to see a bald eagle up close and personal (well 10 feet away) this on only had one wing, the other had been shot off some 16 years ago, well the great thing about this was that Osceola was taken up by his handler in a hang glider! The video footage was wonderful as the Eagle became airborne with a man ironic.

George Moffet gave a somewhat personal reflection on "Soaring as an Idea" followed by Michael Bird (a Brit with the pseudonym Platypus) who was side-splitting hilarious. I won't even try to recall his sense of humor-you had to have been there, as Jim K. said "Funnier than a rubber crutch".

One last drool over the gliders and the formal banquet and my first SSA convention was done. It was good to have a complete table and then some at the convention-food was OK (rubber chicken) and the speeches bearable, the company wonderful.

Journey back with Bob was fun, he got to play with his new GPS toys and software and his "cricket" (a matchbox sized audio-vario)-after about 200 miles of this thing chirping away as we went up and down the hills I was ready to throw it out of the window! I must admit it was amazing that it could detect the change in air pressure as we went up an incline. You could make it really sing by opening the car window and letting the air pressure drop.

So, what are my reflections? As somebody who makes use of technology every day in my work and sometimes play, I have a pang of regret that more and more technology is finding its way into the cockpit. I'm not envious of the guys who can put in $2000 instrument units or $3000 WinPilot packages in to help calculate their final glides. Technology can make gliding safer, the advent of GPS is undoubtedly good for the sport, but do we need moving maps? Should we rely on Motorola 32 Bit processors to tell us how to center a thermal? I am not a luddite, but I saw a bumper sticker that said "Gliding: Flight, Pure and Simple" that is what attracted me and what challenges me still. How far are we willing to let technology take over? Many of the sessions were aimed at the serious competition pilot, I felt there could have been more for the "average" club pilot. Basically guys, size does matter! The size of your wallet dictates the size of your wings and how long you can keep it up, and I'm not going to explore this analogy any further!

For those of you not there, I hope this gave you a sense of what it was like, for those of you there fill in any gaps-I was told it was one of the best SSA Conventions ever and I certainly enjoyed it.
-Dave Brunner

Return of a L A D Y !
Bill Vickland reports that if all goes well, the 2-33 will be ready to fly by Saturday. Be sure to monitor your e-mail for progress and calls for help.

Log This

  • Richard and Patricia Otis of Reston, Virginia, are proud to announce the selection of their daughter, Jessica Marie Otis, as a National Merit Scholarship Finalist.

    The National Merit Scholarship Corporation notice states: "You have been advanced to Finalist standing in the 1999 National Merit Scholarship Program, a distinction that places you in a group representing less that one percent of U.S. high school graduating seniors.

    The Merit Program is privately financed, and the majority of scholarships offered are underwritten by some 600 independent sponsor organizations and institutions. Although this nationwide academic competition is the largest of its kind, scholarship funds are limited and only about half of the Finalists in 1999 will receive a Merit Scholarship award. The process of selecting about 7600 Merit Scholarship winners from the Finalist group is now under way."

    Jessica is applying to Dartmouth, Yale, Wesleyan University (CT), William and Mary and the University of Richmond. Skylines wishes to extend our congratulations to Jessica Marie and her proud parents.

  • Call for duty preferences - Please Respond
    This is a general solicitation for all club members to send me their duty preferences for this year. I do not know when formally scheduled operations will start-perhaps immediately after the wave camp; the wave camp is scheduled through the 14th, so Thursday the 18th may be the first day of scheduled ops..-Tony Bigbee [mail to:abigbee@ids2.idsonline.com]

  • Jim Kellett has an excellent article "The Cirrus: A Classic Case" in the March issue Soaring, page 34.

  • Wave Camp Update-
    (Editor's Note: this is old stuff, be sure to contact Tony asap if you're interested.) Spencer Annear won't be able to formally coordinate the wave camp this year. We need someone to step up and take this role so that our activities are coordinated, even if our club is not formally running the show this year. We'll need to decide who is ferrying what. As far as I know, the Pawnee will be staying overnight at Front Royal.
  • Below is a list of people who have expressed interest to me in the wave camp. If you feel I've left you off the list, please contact me.

    Role Notes- Brunner: Will be there Ellis ? Fleet Ferry Kohudic Towing, Ferrying Parrish Return ferry? Vickland Will be there Zugel Ferry would like to participate.-Tony Bigbee abigbee@ids2.idsonline.com

  • Skyline Soaring Equipment Takes a Great Leap Forward
    SSC finds itself starting the new season at a new airport, and with alot of new and renovated equipment. The Club 2-33 has been extensively overhauled and renovated, thanks in to Bill Vickland and many others who helped him. The K-21 was also overhauled. The Pawnee was overhauled, a new engine installed, dings fixed, and many pesty, persistent little problems were fixed. An beautiful LS-4 was purchased by Joe Parrish and now resides in the hangar at FFR. The 1-26 that was owned by inactive member Tom Bird was purchased by a group of 5 SSC members, and extensively overhauled and renovated. All in all we are looking at much new and improved equipment, nicer hangar accommodations and FBO facilities. If these are "omens" for the soaring year, 1999 should be fantastic!
    -Greg Ellis

  • And this just in...
    Ed Lehr and I plan to form a partnership to buy the Russia. Phil Jordan has asked us to write an article for the April newsletter.
    -Malcolm Gardner

    The new book, Sailplanes by Schweizer, by Paul A.Schweizer and Martin Simons is supposed to arrive next week. Orders will be taken any time, but I understand if you want to wait until I have them in my hot little hands.

    The price is a bit more than I expected earlier. The book costs $64.95 plus $3.00 for postage and handling. $67.95 total. Check or money order only please, to:

         Raul Blacksten
         PO Box 307
         Maywood, CA  90270  
      For information contact:  raulb@earthlink.net
  • New Member
    Welcome new member William H. Bentley. Bill is an expatriate of Bay Soaring. He is a retired airline Captain, a towpilot and a CFI (G). His e-mail address is: bentleyw@bellatlantic.net

  • On a personal note-
    [If you got the paper version of this newsletter] Please check out the stamp on this issue. [if not, check out this link to see what Phil's talking about. -web ed. ] Although I started out as an illustrator, my job evolved into primarily art direction and/or design. I usually hire someone better qualified to do the illustrations and seldom personally contribute.

    I volunteered to do this stamp and illustrate it because of the tremendous support my family received during the death of 4 of our immediate family. Hospice made those necessary final transistions much more bearable for everyone. I'm certain quite a few of you have had simular experiences and others will in the future.

    During the introduction ceremonies for the stamp, I met some of the dedicated and courageous staff, patients and volunteers of this vital organization. I have been moved by their deep sense humility and helpfulness.

    One hospice in Florida had a post mark that simply says it all: "When we enter this world we're surrounded by love, comfort and care. Don't we deserve the same when we leave?"

    Although I have done over 130 issues, the enthusiastic response to this simple little stamp has been the high water mark of my career. End of Sermon.

  • Jim Garrison's Cross Country Training
    The Cross Country Course-Things are coming along with the planning for the Cross Country Course. Currently there are 7 participants including William Bentley, Kevin Fleet, Serge Kohudic, Ralph Popp, Greg Ellis, Jonathan Kans, John Lewis. There is certainly still room (and time) for others to join the sessions if they wish (see below).

    The Classroom Site-
    Current plans are to hold the sessions rain or shine at the Front Royal Airport beginning at 8:30 AM on Saturday or Sunday Mornings. We will stop at 10:30-11 AM so we can fly. Kevin Fleet is working on getting permission to use their conference room. Schedule for Classroom Sessions -A tentative schedule outlined follows. The general plan is to only have one class each weekend so that we only have to travel to Front Royal once/weekend. (This is could be open for discussion)

    The Petersburg Wave Camp is scheduled from March 5-14, 1999 and I may be attending for some of that time. Thus, the first reasonable start date might be the Weekend of March 20 & 21, 1999 (This is still open for discussion but I would like to put some proposed times on the table for starters).


    Spring 1999
    Session-1 (March 20 or 21)
        WEATHER -- 2 Hours
    • Review of Meteorology
    • Sources of Weather Information
    • Reading the Weather
    • What Makes a Good Cross Country Soaring Day
    • The Thermal Index
    • Atmospheric Models
    • Ridge and Wave Weather
    • Bad Weather
    Session-2 (March 27 or 28)
    • Your Attitude Toward Cross Country Flying
    • Where to Find Thermals
    • Thermalling Techniques
    • Timing of the Thermal Day
    • Lift Bands
    • Speed to Fly Between Thermals
    • Making Good Decisions
    • Communications with your Crew
    • Cross Country Flights in Ridge or Wave Lift
    • Practice Triangles
    Session-3 (April 3 or 4)
      NAVIGATION -- 1.5 Hours
    • Reading the Chart
    • The Basics of Pilotage
    • Course Selection and Chart Preparation
    • Computer Resources for Navigation
    • Selection of Turnpoints
    • Entering and Leaving Turnpoints
    • Photographing Turnpoints
    • Barographs
    • GPS and Electronic Aids
    • Terrain and Field selection
    • Circuit Planning
    • Spot Landings
    • Problems and Common Mistakes
    • Pilot/Farmer Relations
    • Land Out Kits
    • Communications with your Crew
    • Glider Assembly & Disassembly and Trailers
    Session-4 (April 10 or 11)
      SOARING PHYSIOLOGY -- 0.5 Hours
    • Stress of Soaring
    • Physical Conditioning
    • Dehydration
    • Food and Water
    • Equipment for X-C Flying
    • How to Earn FAI Badges
    • Silver Badge Requirements
    • Suggestions for Silver Badge Flights
    • Gold Badge Requirements
    • FAI Badge Forms
    • Where to Find More Information

    Information to Return to Jim Garrison

    If you have NOT ALREADY CONTACTED ME AND WISH TO PARTICIPATE, could you please fill out the following form and return it to me.

    Send them by email to jcg8w@virginia.edu.... or via regular mail to:

            James C. Garrison,
            715 Lochridge Lane
            Earlysville, Virginia 22936.

    Please provide the following information --

    Name _____________________________________________


    Phone _____________________________________________

    Student or Instructor ?_________________________________

    If Instructor, Special expertise ?

    Pilot Certificate ______________________________________

    Bronze Badge ? ______________________________________

    FAI Badges ? ________________________________________

    Glider Hours ________________________________________

    Cross Country Experience ______________________________

    Other Information