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In This issue...

President's Prerogative

Open House

Excerpts from the March 20th Board Meeting

Hang Gliders


Bela's Recoverye

A Short Wave Camp Overview

Other Wave Observations -- Attitude vs Altitude

Feature Story:
"You were flying too high for my little ole sky and I'm moving on..."*

Cross Country Course Update

Log this...

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April, 1999

President's Prerogative
Spring Safety Meeting- The spring safety meeting is scheduled for 10:30 AM on April 10 at "Dad's" restaurant in Front Royal. The safety meeting will immediately follow the cross country course being conducted in the same venue. I don't have to tell all of you that a new field requires all of us to be extra vigilant as we dust off the winter doldrums and get ready to take to the skies. Moreover I can tell you (from experience) that a paved runway is not as forgiving as a sod strip and both takeoff and landing require extra diligence. The open house is scheduled for April 3 with a rain date of April 10. If there is rain on the 3rd, we will hold the safety meeting on that date in lieu of the open house. The safety meeting takes on special significance in the first year at Front Royal and failure to attend will mean a longer than usual field check as the instructors will have to cover the same ground on a one on one basis. Please make every effort to attend.

Your Tax Dollars at Work- On a personal note, and for those of you I have not had a chance to talk to, I was appointed by the White House as the trade ombudsman for the U.S. Customs Service. If anyone has an interest in what a trade ombudsman actually does, I would be delighted to give you a full explanation on a non flying day. The fact that I will be traveling a fair amount an generally working harder for less money is offset by the knowledge that some of your tax dollars are being transferred to my checking account. Thank you. Your faithful president.
-Joe Rees

Open House
The Club is playing host to the other Front Royal pilots and aircraft owners at an Open House on Saturday, April 3 (rain date, April 10). We've offered reduced cost introductory glider flights to other FRR pilots (a 15 minute or so 2000 foot tow for $20).

Although how much instruction and/or how much "playing" gets done on that date will depend on how many (if any) of our guests want to take a flight. However, it's a good idea to shake off the snow and come on down (wear your Skyline shirt!!), and look over the new field. And talk to our guests, and answer any questions they might have!

Excerpts from the March 20th Board Meeting

Airport Improvements (Switch Box): The Board received a bid submitted to the FBO by a private contractor for the burial of the switch box at midfield. The estimate, well over $2,000, was considered excessive for our participation by splitting the cost with the FBO who had indicated that soliciting additional bids should result in a lower bid. Joe Rees will approach the FBO with the Board's desire to solicit more bids. Airport Improvements (Removable Runway Lights): The board reviewed the FBO's proposal to split the $65/light modification to make them removable.

... the Board directed the Club to ask the FBO to consider removing as many of the lights as possible on the north side of the runway between the threshold and the mid-field taxiway. Joe Rees agreed to approach the FBO and/or the Commission as appropriate to determine the maximum number of lights they would consider removing.

Airport Improvements (Grading): The Board discussed the status of the emergency landing area, particularly with regard to the addition of fill dirt to the north edge of the runway to make turnoffs smoother. It was the Board's consensus that such grading comprised a major airport improvement which was, generally, the airport's responsibility. The Board also expressed a willingness to "participate" in an effort to add this grading, but that such participation should ideally be limited to "sweat equity", and with little or no cost to the Club. Joe Rees will discuss with Reggie Cassignol.

Telephone: After a short discussion, ...the Board agreed that we should purchase a long-range cordless telephone (e.g., a 2.4 Gz machine) and test its range with the transmitter at different locations at the FBO. Should the unit prove to have a reliable range to at least midfield (e.g., between the FBO and the midfield hangar), the Board agreed that it should purchase a limitedexchange telephone line from the local telephone company and install the phone (with a donated answering machine). Jim Kellett will purchase the phone and carry out the test.

Nutmeg Soaring Club Trek: Joe Rees reported on the interest expressed by a representative of Nutmeg Soaring Club to fly at FRR during their Spring, 1999 annual pilgrimage. About 6-8 gliders plan to leave their home base on or about April 1, 1999, and be on the road for about two weeks. It was the consensus of the Board that we welcome the Club... . Joe Rees will follow through.

Civil Air Patrol: The Board reviewed the written proposal from the Virginia CAP Glider Coordinator, Fred Hayman, for various cooperative arrangements with Skyline Soaring Club. ...The Board enthusiastically endorsed a cooperative arrangement with the Virginia Civil Air Patrol. ...Joe Rees accepted the task of discussing the Board's consensus and commitment to the Club's CAP coordinator, Spencer Annear.

Safety Audit: Joe Parrish reported on his being invited to be an Advisor to the Soaring Safety Foundation. Furthermore, Joe briefed the Board on a new SSF initiative called "Safety Audits", in which a group of advisors such as himself would visit and review the overall operations of a club or commercial operator and provide an audit of their operations with regard to safety. The first such audit is scheduled for Caesar Creek in the near future, although Joe's schedule will preclude his participating in it. Joe recommended that the Board consider volunteering for such an audit for SSC.

The Board agreed that the concept of an independent safety audit was an excellent one. There was some concern about how the results of the audits would be used. ...

The Board's consensus was that the Club take an intermediate approach-that of being extremely interested in participating in such a program, but reserving the right to review much more detailed data before making a commitment. Joe Parrish agreed to serve as liaison to the SSF on the Board's decisions.

SSA Instructor Symposium: Joe Parrish also reported on the SSF's initiative of a soaring symposium for SSA Instructors at which instructors would fly with other instructors and engage in a dialog of teaching experiences and ideas. The first such symposium will be conducted at Keystone Gliderport. Hangars: Joe Parrish noted that we're full...(with possibly 2 new gliders this summer and) Jim Kellett noted that we were already nearly three months into the year in which the Club had expressed its intention to build our own hangar...

The Board agreed:

  1. That the facilities manager, Kevin Fleet, would work closely with Joe Parrish of the Strategic Planning Committee to assure that we had the best possible recommendation for a hangar size and design.
  2. ...and Joe Rees agreed to discuss with Charlie Brown (and other Commission members and the FBO as appropriate) just what requirements would be established by the Commission in "building a hangar for us".
  3. The Board's guidance to these point people was that it believed the "market" within the Club required a monthly rental on the order of $100 - $150 per glider. Duty Officers: Ralph Vawter reported that of the Board's recommendations for new DOs, Dave Brunner and Ed Lehr had accepted their assignments; that Mike Cordova had conditionally accepted, expressing his concern about his airline pilot schedule being often unpredictable and expressing his interest in weekday service. John Lewis and Gary Shepherd both declined, citing in the first case his desire to wait until he had earned the PPL and in the latter case very busy weekends. Ralph also noted that Dave Weaver has notified him that he plans to go inactive.

Credit Card: There was a short discussion of the value of having a corporate credit card that could be used for routine Club purchases. The possible value of such a card would be to eliminate "loans" by Club members who pay for materials out of their own pocket with oftentimes very slow reimbursement. Joe Rees agreed to examine the requirements from several banks for such cards.

Note from the Treasurer: Your reimbursements will be sent out same-day if you mark "reimbursement due" on the outside of the envelope.

The next Board meeting will be 10:00 AM on Sat., May 1, in the lounge at FRR.
-J. C. Kellett, Secretary

Hang Gliders
Skyliner Kevin Fleet, himself an extraordinary skilled and experienced hang glider pilot, met recently with the combined membership of several hang glider clubs who use the launch tower on the crest of the Massanutten Ridge just east of Woodstock, VA. Their launch point is clearly visible as a tower with a square green roof sitting near the crest of the ridge.

You may have already had the joy of watching these lovely machines flitting along the ridge, not only at treetop level but often at "our" levels up to 10,000' MSL! It turns out that they, too have enjoyed the occasional soaring flight with a glider. (One of them recently made a cross-country flight to land at Front Royal during our of our days of operation!)

As you might expect, hang glider pilots (like soaring pilots) seem to have a genetically wired sensitivity to "see and be seen". Fortunately, their experience appears to make them very comfortable flying with gliders, as we are wont to do among ourselves.

BUT-there is one area of potential conflict that we all need to be absolutely knowledgeable about. When they actually launch, they run down a short ramp that is actually LOWER than the nearby surrounding trees; that means, for the first few seconds of launch, it is impossible for them to see approaching aircraft at treetop level! Furthermore, until they can get established in some kind of decent lift, they are ridge soaring, very slowly, and VERY low on the ridge near their launch point.

THEREFORE, glider pilots running the Massanutten ridge should ALWAYS slow down and climb well above ridge height AT LEAST 1/2 mile from the launch tower, and stay there until you are AT LEAST 1/2 mile beyond it. And, of course, be particularly vigilant for our lower-L/D soaring colleagues near the tower!

Have Fun, and Fly Safe!
-Jim Kellett, Chief Flight Instructor Weenie

And our Resident Hang Glider Guider adds... I would like to add a couple of points-(1) when flying in close with the Hang Gliders, be aware of the differences in airspeeds between them and us, they fly a lot slower--(2) they are a lot more maneuverable. So...they can place themselves in places we're not accustomed to looking for others, like in thermals, gaggling-up with a couple of slow flying hang gliders can be busy!!

Keep in mind the launch site is from the ground, on a steep slope, in a small clearing cut in the trees directly below the lookout tower. Visibility window, left or right, from center of clearing looking over 50' trees, is very narrow.
-Kevin Fleet

Here's a question from the old pre-solo test used at 8W2:
The correct control position for a takeoff in a crosswind from the left is:
  1.   Right stick, left rudder
  2.   Left stick, left rudder
  3.   Right stick, right rudder
  4.   Left stick, right rudder

Right. "d". Everyone knows that. For sure anyone recommended for solo at 8W2 in the last couple of years knows that!! Even so, at 8W2 we didn't have the opportunity to see why that's important in action nearly so much as we do at FRR.

At 8W2 we had, shall we say, "interesting" wind situations, and frequently right scary ones as the wind from the west or north curled around the hill to the west of the airport. That same hill, however, often shielded the actual takeoff and landing, and affected us much more as a rather violent shear on the approaches. At FRR, we get as a rule relatively less violent shear, but more common significant crosswinds right down on the runway as we take off and land. It's different, but not difficult. Don't get surprised by the difference!

For sure we get to experience first hand WHY "d" is the correct answer. Let's briefly review exactly what's happening first takeoff at FRR in crosswinds. Go back to the question scenario again. The wind is from your LEFT. It is always going to be trying to weathercock your glider TO THE LEFT, that is, it's blowing on the vertical fin from the left, with the huge moment of the fuselage, twisting your nose INTO THE WIND. Thus as a very practical matter, as soon as you signal readiness for the launch, put in full right rudder. Also, as you first start rolling, the wind from the left will seek out any opportunity it can find to get under your left wing. So at launch, it's critical to make sure the upwind wind is kept as low as possible without scraping the runway. So it's gonna be right rudder and left stick. In addition, it's OK in fairly strong crosswinds to orient your glider with the nose SLIGHTLY oriented away from the wind, in the knowledge that the crosswind on initial roll will push the tail so that the nose swings back into the wind. Talk to an instructor if you're not sure the conditions merit this orientation.

Even so, many ships (especially those with anything other than a nose hook!) will start turning into the wind in the first few feet of takeoff roll in spite of having full opposite rudder in! Having the control inputs already in, and being quick to respond, you can gain control authority very quickly and the roll will straighten out.

Another trick to make this easier is to make certain that you've coordinated with the towpilot and your wing runner that you want to make certain the slack is completely out before signalling to launch. Ask the towpilot to begin the engine runup with the towplane's brakes set, so that he/she releases the brake the towplane accelerates SMARTLY (getting enough airspeed to give you control authority quickly). (In my cg-only Cirrus, I also hold the glider's wheel brake-which is NOT in the spoiler control, by the way-until I can sense significant tension on the towrope. Then when I release, I'm accelerating quite rapidly.) Finally, make sure the wing runner, always on the UPWIND wing, understands the dynamics of a crosswind takeoff and doesn't lift or hold back on the wing during initial roll. You may be surprised how well this works.

Now lets talk briefly about landings. Before getting into the details of crosswinds, notice that first off, the approach to runway 27 drops down into a little valley, and the terrain rises as you get closer to the threshold of runway 27. The Airman's Information Manual (AIM) says: " upsloping terrain can create the illusion that the aircraft is at a higher altitude than it is. The pilot who does not recognize this illusion will fly a lower approach." So even though the runway itself has a very gentle DOWNSLOPE to it, the rising terrain on final will definitely give you an illusion that results in an unsafely low approach. The "cure" is to pay attention to your AIMING POINT! TLAR works. Use it!

Second, let's assume the same wind scenario that the question uses-wind from the south (your left on final for 27). Remember, you may be using a crab or a side slip or a forward slip or some combination or sequence of these to make certain that you've established a ground track on short final that's right on the runway centerline. Make sure you practice getting comfortable with ALL of these approaches. Bottom line is that you need to make sure that on short final you are tracking the centerline. Whichever set of maneuvers you're using to manage the crosswind component, you will, of course, straighten out the longitudinal axis of the plane at flare to assure that you don't actually touch down with side loads on the landing gear.

Third, now we get to enjoy the same experiences as we did on takeoff, but this time, BACKWARDS! In other words, as you slow down, you will LOSE control authority and in many instances, your glider WILL turn into the wind no matter how much control input you make as you slow below about 20 mph. This it is critically important that you establish, while you are still rolling fast enough to have control authority, an attitude that keeps the upwind wing DOWN and the fuselage tracking down the centerline with increasing rudder. This will NOT involve coordinated control inputs! (Think about it.)

Finally, in a crosswind, you will want to bring the plane to a stop as quickly as possible WITHOUT LOCKING THE WHEEL!! At touchdown, immediately begin moderate braking, and as you lose control authority, increase the b raking. CAUTION: Do NOT under ANY circumstances, land with the wheel brake locked!! This will cost you money (ONE wheel-locked landing on pavement in the K-21 will ruin the tire!) and LOTS of ruthless ribbing by your fellow Club members!

Once again, it is NOT difficult, it IS different. Try to find a day when there's a significant (but still flyable) crosswind component and shoot a couple of patterns with an instructor. Nothing beats experience at building your skills and confidence.
-Jim Kellett

Bela's Recovery
Dear Skyline Fellow Members, I would like to give you a brief summary of the events of the last three weeks and an up-to-date status report on my condition and outlook for the future. As you know I have been in hospitals for almost three weeks. I landed in P.W. Hospital with pneumonia. Before releasing me the next day, my physician ordered a doppler test to check my carotid arteries. This test showed that in left internal carotid artery there is a blockage in the 81-99% range. This needed immediate attention. We made an appointment with a local surgeon for Friday. My cardiologist suggested doing a thallium stress test before I see the surgeon. At 11 minutes into this test the treadmill went haywire. The speed almost doubled and my heartbeat went over 150 beats per minute. My attending physical did not want to stop the machine until he injected the thallium. After this he made me rest. Three minutes later my heartbeat went to 177. Because of this he kept me in the hospital for observation. On the same day I was transferred to Fairfax Hospital and arrangements were made for my neck operation. My neck operation was on Tuesday and was successful. On Thursday they conducted Electrophysiology studies to determine what is the best means to control my arrhythmia problem. Eventually I ended up with a new pacemaker/defibrillator implanted and programmed to my needs. It is the "Cadillac" of today's technology! I was released from the hospital on the day after the snowstorm. I had a follow-up visit with my Fairfax cardiologist on March 17. During this visit he conducted a stress test. After the test he told me that my physical condition is in the upper 5% of my age group and I may resume all activities I had before this incident. I am getting stronger every day and I will overcome all the effects of these nasty things they have done to me. (Today I already jogged three miles!) Thanks all of you for your support, visits, phone calls, flowers, cards, offering your help during this trying period. I will see you all soon at the Front Royal Airport!
-Sincerely Bela

Susan adds: "I truly appreciated all your calls and offers for help-it was great emotional support!"

A Short Wave Camp Overview
Here is a short recap of the final days of the Wave Camp at Grant County Airport at Petersburg, W.V. I had left on Sunday as the conditions did not look all that favorable for a few days with snow in the forecast. On Monday several of the guys flew but thermals only. The next two days were spent flying in the hangar mostly as snow was coming from the sky. However by Thursday things were looking up and I headed back in my car to W.V. and getting off the ground in the afternoon up to about 8500 ft. Others were doing better than me though over 10,000ft. The next day was to be the great day of the camp with 5 badges earned,two gold and three diamonds. Ron Schwarz in his 1-26 made it to 22,000ft,while Bob Templin made it to 18,800 or so from 750 ft above the ground. I had watched him in the afternoon, after he had borrowed a 1-26 from Kevin Ford from S.C. As I was gaining altitude with Bruce Burkholder in the backseat, Bob was down on the ridge north of the field and close to the trees. After an hour or so he tired of that and went back to the field, where he planned to land but instead found a thermal and started climbing away towards his 5000meter gain and the diamond. In the morning that day I had taken off at 9:53 and found some good lift north of the field, which soon put me 9300 using secondary wave for the last 3000ft. Then it was time to head for the primary, which always costs you some altitude, this time 2500ft or so. But then the audio started singing like a canary in 5 to 7 kt climb. This brought me to 15,500 and here was this 1-26 off of my left wing. It was 081 with Dave Brunner in control and enjoying his first wave flying experience. I called him to see if I could take his picture, which he said he would like . Unfortunately it did not work out as after a few minutes I lost sight of him. I figured he was in soaring heaven already and continuing to climb.

Since I have no oxygen in my Twin Astir yet I dove down to a more acceptable altitude like 12,000ft, and told him I was going north along the ridge to have some fun. Heading that way one can have an excellent view of the Allegheny Ridge, made so famous by Karl Striedieck and Tom and Doris Knauff, who sometimes took off from their home fields in Pennsylvania at 6 in the morning to fly at breathtaking speeds low above the trees, going 500 miles distant and returning in the early evening. But I wanted just a little sightseeing, knowing I had reached my gold altitude gain of 3000 meters (9842ft). When I reached Kaiser I had gained about 2000ft. and found myself at 14,000 again. Now I was ready to head home at 100mph.or so and have lunch. Possibly someone would want to ride in my backseat in the afternoon. After 3:02 hrs.I set down on the grass feeling very satisfied that may be now I could wear that gold badge sometime!

Dave Brunner flew for seven and a half hours, earning both the gold altitude and the diamond. This was indeed the highlight of the camp and everyone was extremely happy, celebrating the successes in the evening over dinner and a little brew.

Saturday conditions were not good for soaring but some local trips were made in the Twin Astir by Jim Garrison, giving Uhli Neuman from Pittsburgh a bit of a nostalgia ride, since he had not flown in the Twin Astir for 20 years or so. I myself was very happy to give a local friend of the FBO a demo to 6000ft, having him do most of the towing,then cruising in very smooth air. Close to the airport I took over and showed him a few wingovers and that finished up the wave camp.

Participants were: Dave Brunner, Shane Neitzey, Serge Kohudic, Richard Freytag, Kevin Fleet and Jim Kellet from Skyline. Don McKinlay of Nutmeg Soaring in Conn., Kevin Ford from Columbia, SC., Ron Schwarz and Bob Templin from the Albatross Club in N.J., Les Dutke, Uhli Neuman, Dave Behmer and his Dad from Pittsburgh, Bud Klaser, Dave Miller, Bruce Burkholder and Jim Garrison from Shen Valley Soaring. Also Bill Vickland flew with his well experienced 1-26, hopped in and flew to 13,000ft. in no time and another time to 15,500ft.or so.

We need to thank Fred and Don Bane so much for their hospitality. Don for his excellent food, Fred for his excellent tows. I myself decided to leave my Twin in Fred's hangar for a while to go back and fly the ridges a bit farther than I did now. Also the SVS 1-26 was left in the hangar so other SVS members can take advantage of it some time and fly from this exciting field. Participating ships: 8 of the 1-26's, 1 LS3, one Astir and one Twin Astir, ASK21, Libelle, Mosquito.
-Fred Daams

Other Wave Observations:
Attitude vs Altitude
For the record, 1-26 pilots made 5 diamond and gold altitude flights. Bobby Templin, after trying in his LS-3 for three days, gave up and got back in a previously owned 1-26, #157 now owned by Kevin Ford, the 1-26 record keeper. Actually Bobby didn't have any oxygen in his LS-3. Ron Schwartz (441) and Bobby Templin (157) became the 4th and 5th pilots east of the Mississippi to get all three diamonds in a 1-26. The others include Tom Knauff, Mike Ledet, and yours truly.

Spencer Annear made this observation: The 1-26 may be old but it is a sporting machine that you have to earn badges in. The low wing loading helps in light conditions, if you don't have to penetrate too far.

I agree that you have to "earn" your badges in a 1-26, but I disagree that the wing loading of the machine made a difference in this instance. It is a matter of attitude. Dave Brunner just decided that he wanted to fly the wave and he wanted to do it bad enough to spend the extra energy to get the ship up to Petersburg and go fly without even the notion that he would be able to make the diamond altitude. He has the personality that is required to achieve goals in a 1-26. That sort of attitude is not uncommon among 1-26 pilots because it is the only way you get the flight accomplishments that you want to achieve. You have to "just go do it." Quit waiting for the expert word that it is doable and just go do it.

There were several glass birds at Petersburg having a lower sink rates and better penetration. I submit that they didn't make it because they did not really believe that it was doable and really did not try hard enough. Ron Schwartz not only wanted to make his diamond altitude, he specifically wanted to do it from a low point of 1000 or 2000 feet above the ground. Why? Because it meant a greater achievement than a 5000 ft tow. There is more motivation to try harder in a 1-26 and that motivation is what makes the difference.

I will have another sermon next Sunday.
-Bill Vickland

A Rebuttal in the Name of Glass... (Hey, an editor must remain objective!) Reminds me of some of the stories they tell about the Minden wave. Barn doors flying by, Toto barking in Dorothy's arms ...
-Richard Freytag

Feature Story:
"You were flying too high for my little ole sky and I'm moving on..."*

I got into 081 and Shane tightened my straps. I mean really tightened them, I could hardly breath and my voice went up two octaves! Believe me, they needed to be that tight. 8:30am and we hooked up, I ran through my checklists, Shane wished me luck and I closed the canopy for what would become the ride of my life! I was first off and the roll out was fine for the first few hundred feet, then it began. I thought I had been on some rough tows, I thought the tows the day before had prepared me-I was wrong, very wrong. It began with a few bumps and then suddenly the tow plane went up. Then it went down, then left and right I knew that whatever happened to the tow plane happened to me a few seconds later, not that knowing made any difference. Then Fred turned away from the ridge and I thought I would get some relief-wrong! Suddenly we dropped 500 feet in what seemed like an instant, the tow plane was rotating left I was rotating right and I couldn't put in enough control deflection quick enough. Then up again and back toward the ridge, then down. I had to use every ounce of concentration to keep the tow plane in sight and to keep the line taut. Nothing could have ever prepared me for that tow ... .

Eventually the torture ended and I got off tow at 6000' msl and looked for the wave, my arm ached from the sheer effort of moving the stick so violently for close to 30 minutes.

So, where is this wave, its supposed to be just in front of the rotor. What wave? I found sink, more sink, turbulent sink and with every loss of 1000' my heart sank in unison. Within two minutes I was at 4000' and had to make the hop back across the ridge if I expected to get back to the runway. I made a run for the airport watching the altimeter drop like a stone. I arrived back there almost with the tow plane and at 1500' agl. There, as if the God's of Soaring had wanted to toy with me, I found some lift. I had already resigned myself to the fact that my gold altitude and silver duration were not to be, so I thought I would try and use it so that the day was not a total loss. More in hope than expectation I put in a 45 degree bank and started to circle in the lift, soon I found myself at 2000' and I relaxed a little, then I was at 3000' and still climbing at 300 fpm in rotor lift-maybe the day would not be a total loss. I am used to thermal lift and half expected it to peter out at any time, but I stayed with it to 6000' and decided to venture forth to see if I could find the wave which I knew must be out there somewhere, but just where?

The sky was perfectly clear and I had no clouds as markers, when should I go? I waited until the lift began to reduce and then I headed out into the wind. Flew straight and level and held my breath, it went quiet and I had 200 feet per minute up! I allowed myself the luxury of getting to 10,000' before I began to feel out the shape of the wave, gentle turns to different headings using my simple handheld GPS to monitor my ground speed which was typically between 10 mph into the wind through dead stop to 40 or 50 mph with the wind....

At 11k I decided to move on to the next wave. From what I had read and experienced I knew I would lose some altitude and so I set off at right angles to the ridge and encountered sink, then more sink, then turbulent sink then just plain turbulence then up again, having lost roughly 3500' I was now in what I believed to be the secondary wave and going up at 200 fpm again! Back up to 11k and then a hop across to the primary just like before. By now it was mid morning and I could be pretty certain of my gold altitude, and provided I didn't screw up-maybe my silver duration. Time for a drink and something to eat relax and enjoy the ride, despite all the effort and the concentration, the views were breathtaking there are hardly words adequate to describe the snow covered mountains set against the blue sky. I felt good at this point and spoke to other pilots, I could just tell that the cold was beginning to have some effect on my feet and the cockpit was at about 15 degrees. I continued this way up to 14k, feeling out the wave but never managing to get more than 200-300 fpm, and was about to encounter my first real problem. I decided it was time to get my oxygen mask ready, I reached down to get it only to find that it wasn't there! The turbulence in the tow had dislodged it! I released my straps and reached round reached the pipe and pulled. Now I had the flow indicator, the pipe and no mask! Further excruciating twisting and I reached the mask. What a relief, all the hard work, the save, would have been wasted. I donned the mask and breathed a big sigh of relief, and oxygen, as I reached 15k.

At this point one of the other pilots passed me having successfully obtained his gold altitude and said he'd like to take a picture, and would I do a 360 degree turn so he could see me. So I did, but he still couldn't see me and he asked if I could do another, so I obliged, and fell out of the wave. I couldn't believe it, how could I be so careless? It then took me 45 minutes of exploring to find it once again.

Note from web. ed., I'll have to remember to use that trick next time I'm in a competition, friendly or otherwise.

Back on up now with the prospect of a possible diamond, could I really do it? I had now been in the air some four hours and despite my preparation, I was approaching 18k and getting cold, very cold. With the lift being only 100 or so fpm and getting less by the minute I seriously doubted whether I could do it, I knew I needed at least 19k for diamond. Was I going to fail by 1000 feet?

At this point the only serious event of the flight happened-I began to feel muzzy and light headed. I knew that wasn't right and checked my regulator, still 1500 pounds pressure, green flow indicator showing flow, so not that, then as I turned my head to look around, horror! The pipe connected to the mask just fell to my lap, fortunately I had realized pretty quickly and rectified the situation, at least I think it was pretty quickly, how can you ever know? I will never let that happen again and if needs be I will glue the pipe on. By now I was getting colder, the indicated temperature in the cockpit was minus 10 and I had been at 18k and seemed to have reached as high as I was going to get. I tried to have a drink and discovered that my bottle had started to freeze and all I could do was suck at the icy bit in the neck to try and get some liquid. I eventually managed to get the water trickling through, had some food and appraised the situation. I had my gold altitude, I had my silver, yet damnit, I was only 1000 measly feet from diamond, there had to be some way, some way! I then looked at what happened as I moved back and forth through the wave, I was stuck in equilibrium, not losing or gaining. As I went faster to penetrate my sink rate increased, yet I had to do that to get back into the wave because the wind was blowing me out. I decided to try something.

Forward at 60 mph into the wind for one minute, sink rate 200 fpm, altitude lost 200 feet, pull up, slow to 45 mph and up for one minute at 250 fpm net gain of 50 feet, I had a plan! OK, it was slow and painful, but during the next hour I clawed my way up to 19k and a bit, until eventually, even that technique began to fail. Some 6 hours after starting I was at 19k and with a low point of 1500' I had done it. No margin, no room (even as I write I don't know for sure). By now I was tired, dehydrated and very very cold, my GPS had long since stopped and I had been at or above 14k for nearly 4 hours and it was time to come home.

Over the next 30 minutes I carefully descended to 12k to avoid any potential problems, removed the oxygen mask and began to warm up.Wiggling my feet and moving the rudder and relaxing after six and a half hours of flight.

Time enough to relax and enjoy the descent and use it to play in the wave, to build a mental picture of where it went up, where it went down and where it was doing nothing much. Descended to 3000' msl and checked the airport windsock, straight down the runway and went through my landing checklist relieved to find my spoilers had not frozen shut. No point in making a radio call, the battery had given up a couple of hours ago. Aware that the pressure may have changed I paid less heed to the altimeter than usual and set up a left hand pattern, chose an aim point half way down the runway in the snow held it off and had my best landing in the 1-26.

We were home and safe at 4pm, some seven and a half hours after take off, but no time to savor the moment as I had to rush, or should I say waddle to deal with nature's call, to get warm and to have something to eat. This had been my first ever solo wave flight and only my fourth in a 1-26. Shane, my official observer, unsealed the barograph and informed me that in his estimation the low point was 2550 msl and the high point 19,250' msl an altitude gain of 16,700', if the barograph calibration is correct! I grinned and accepted the many congratulations from all present.

Of course I will be disappointed if I don't get Diamond. I had planned for Gold, but Diamond would be wonderful. But I know that I can do it over again if need be, the challenge will always remain, and the memory of that first flight in wave and to altitude will be with me for all time-priceless! That is what makes our hearts, our imagination and eventually our lives soar.
-Dave Brunner

(Editor's note: *apologies to another Canadian, Hank Snow). This article was cruelly edited because of this issue's space requirements. You can read it in its entirety on the Skyline web site newsletter.
Web Editor's note to the Editor's note:
I hate it when he volunteers me for this kind of stuff. To that end, I'll be making a section called "Hangar Flying", so that all pilots can list their achievements, or brags, or stories, or flat-out lies, whatever. I'll put Dave Brunner's story in it's entirety, when I get that page online.

Cross Country Course Update
The planning and preparations for the Cross Country Course are nearly finished. Currently there are 18 participants including-William Bentley, Mike Cordova, Richard Freytag, Serge Kohudic, Bob Michael, Joe Rees, Dave Brunner, Greg Ellis, Malcolm Gardner, Ed Lear, Joe Parrish, Ken Zugel, Spencer Annear, Lynn Buell, Kevin Fleet, Jonathan Kans, John Lewis and Ralph Popp (hope I did not miss anyone). It is certainly possible for others to join the sessions if they wish (see following).

The Classroom Site- Current plans are to hold the sessions rain or shine at Dad's Restaurant in Front Royal beginning at 8:45 AM on Saturday Mornings. We will start SATURDAY, APRIL 3 and hold the next sessions on April 10, 17, 24 and perhaps May 1-if needed. Classes will conclude at about 11 AM so we can FLY. We will meet in Dad's "meeting room" and food and coffee will be available.

Really detailed directions to Dad's are here.

Handouts- We will provide a complete set of handouts for the course at the first session. They will be xeroxed on 3 hole notebook paper so you can place them in notebook (not provided) and keep the set together. I do not know the cost of the handout set, but would appreciate being reimbursed for my expenses.

Directions to Dad's- If you are coming by way of I-66, get off at Exit 13 and follow Highway 55 into town (westbound). As you get to the edge of town you will cross highway US-522. If you turn left, you will go SOUTH to Culpeper, if you turn right (NORTH on US 522) you will see a Quality Inn (less than 1/4 mile-on the right) Dad's Family Restaurant is part of the Quality Inn. The meeting room is upstairs. The phone number is (540) 622-2768.

Schedule for Classroom Sessions -The schedule is outlined below. The general plan is to only have one class each weekend so that we only have to travel to Front Royal once/weekend. If it is raining, we may be able to hold a morning and afternoon session to help get ahead of schedule.

Session-1 (April 3)
SOARING WEATHER (Bob Michael) 2 Hours
Session-2 (April 10)
Session-3 (April 17)
NAVIGATION(Jim Garrison)1.5 Hours
Session-4 (April 24)
SOARING PHYSIOLOGY (Jim Garrison) 0.5 Hours
FAI BADGE REQUIREMENTS (Jim Garrison) 0.5 Hours

Log this...

  • As many of you may know, Ed Lehr and I are teaming up to buy a new Russia AC-4 sailplane. We came to this decision at the SSA Convention in Knoxville last month, where we bumped into each other while circling the AC-4 that was on display. Both of us had been considering purchase of this sailplane for several months (if not years...), and forming a partnership seemed an excellent way to reduce the cost..
    -Malcolm Gardner

    (Editor's note: we just flat ran out of space. We'll have the whole story next issue. Apologies to Malcolm and Ed.)
  • Student Glider Pilot Bryan R. Otis received the Boy Scout Life award at the Troop 1970 awards ceremony Monday 22, 1999. Also awarded by the National Capital Area Council to Grandpa Life Scout, CDR Gordon R. Otis (Comm, Inst, CFII, Multi, gliders, seaplanes) USN Ret, was the Aviation Merit badge which he started in 1936 but didn't complete the requirement for building and flying a box kite unit this year.
  • Yes we are moving to Colorado to another soaring mecca. We will be living in Canon City and flying from Fremont County airport where Peak Soaring is located. That is 8 miles from our place. Our house should be finished in May sometime, so we may be moving then or after our house here is sold.
    -Fred Daams
  • Wave contact- While flying between Manassas and Richmond (March 12th) at 7500, I had several encounters with wave. It was smooth and I saw sustained +500 FPM with nearly idle power in a 4500 Lb Cessna Skymaster. Most impressive!
    -Ken Zugel

  • I am spreading the word that I am seeking a partner to purchase a Grob 103 Twin Astir. 20 years old looks nearly perfect, recent factory overhaul, new canopies, retractable gear, radio, 2 place-lounge chair seats, trailer, L/D 38:1, fully aerobatic and standard US Airworthiness Certificate. Any takers?
    -Shane Neitzey

  • You Might Be a Redneck if you can entertain yourself for more than an hour with a fly swatter. (Editor pleads guilty.)
  • Among the Top 25 Shortest Books: Amelia Earhart's Guide to the Pacific Ocean.
  • Very Practical, if somewhat cynical, observation: Lets just pave the old sod. That way when WalMart locates nearby they can buy FRR as a parking lot.
    -Richard Freytag