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In This issue...

Say Again?


Random excerpts from the last Board Meeting:

Notice to Weekday Warriors

Primary Rule:

Friday Ops

Safety Committee

Small Camera Bumps Big Jet

Silver duration and altitude

The Club expects every member to do their duty

Log This...

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August, 1999

Say again...
The entire aviation industry lost a true friend, advocate and lover of things that fly last week. Former FAA Administrator and current director of the Smithsonian's National Air & Space Museum Donald D. Engen, 75, died along with his close friend William S. Ivans, 79, when the Nimbus-4DM motorglider they were flying crashed into the Nevada desert near Minden on July 13. Although Ivans was a legend himself, especially among soaring enthusiasts, Engen's loss was an especially strong blow. General Aviation Manufacturers Association President Ed Bolen said it best: "Over the years Admiral Engen has made lasting contributions to aviation. He was the consummate aviator and public servant, having served as a highly decorated admiral in the Navy, as a member of the National Transportation Safety Board, as an FAA Administrator and recently as the director of the Air & Space Museum. Respected among his peers, Admiral Engen was a friend and supporter of general aviation. He was a gentleman in every sense of the word and will be missed by the entire aviation community. Every day, Admiral Engen promoted aviation to thousands. We now mourn the loss of a true aviation hero."

By now I guess we're all are suffering from "Post Continuous Coverage Syndrome". It goes without saying that the Kennedy and Bessette families have suffered an extrodinary tragedy and naturally all our sympathy is with them.

But the constant exhalations of the TV media talking heads has filled the public with such as "...our skies are crowded with low-time private pilots..." etc., as we cringe with the steady stream of inaccuracies and half-truths. Lost in the frenzy was the story of two exceptionally gifted pilots who left us doing exactly what they had loved for many decades-and many more unaswered whys.

My August issue of AOPA Pilot contains an obit of Don Engen that refers to Bill Ivans as "Bill Evans". It's especially annoying to me that a pilot far more accomplished than the vast majority of AOPA members can't even have his name spelled right even though he was a long-time member. (I guess member Bill Evans is dashing off a letter to the editor right now!)

Perhaps it is good for soaring that the Kennedy tragedy moved the focus away from our sport.

The risk we run in soaring: Isn't it better to be a soaring pilot, concerned about the potential dangers we face, rather than spend the entire weekend watching movies & sports TV? More fulfilling to be a participant, a player in life "on the field" than a spectator watching others from "up in the bleachers." Being a player means running some risks. The reward for running these risks is a depth and richness of life that lifes "spectators" don't experience. These "spectators" watch us in action and talk about it to each other, we "players" experience the fullness, the depth and dimensionality of life's possibilities.
-Greg Ellis

Random excerpts from the last Board Meeting:

  • John Lewis distributed a two part proposal drafted by himself and Piet Barber to deal with the continuing confusion about accurate member lists and their timeliness in getting into the hands of the DO and Member Relations Weenie.
  • Briefly, the proposal involves

    1. Printing new "self-duplicating" membership application forms to be used for ALL members (e.g., temporary and new probationary) at a one time cost of about $75. One copy would be transmitted by the DO, with the applicant's check, directly to the Club's treasurer, and the other would be transmitted by the new member to the Member Relations Weenie. E-mail coordination between these two key people and others needing accurate lists (e.g., newlsetter editor, Secretary, etc.) would follow.
    2. Creating a new private password-protected page on the Club's website, available ONLY to members and edited ONLY by the Member Relations Weenie, Secretary, Treasurer, and/or President. The Club's website would also be ported to a new server with its own registered domain name at an estimated cost of $450/year. This page would serve as "the" central repository for recording member status, and would include badge and license data, snail mail addresses, phone numbers, and other data deemed useful.

  • Serg Kohudic reported on his on-site inspection of the "Dial-A-Plane" hangar designed and built at the Albuquerque Soaring Society's site in Moriarity, NM. The unit holds up to 8 sailplanes on a rotating platform in a building about 85' x 85'; planes can be removed one at a time without moving any others. Sailplane owners pay about $80/month at that facility. Costs for plans and photos is $2500; for a kit containing everything except the 8 channel beams, $7,120; and for an installed unit in our building, $24,000. Serg provided photos and details of the installation.

  • Jim Kellett briefly discussed two other options which required rectangular buildings with doors on multiple sides (the Dial-A-Plane uses a square building, with a door on one side).

    The Board's consensus was to seek airport authority assistance for the construction of a hangar large enough to install two carousels. Jim Kellett agreed to explore funding options with the FBO and the airport commission.

  • Chief Towpilot. After much discussion, haranguing, and pleading, Serg Kohudic agreed to accept the post of Chief Towpilot Weenie.

  • Treasurer. The Board reviewed the current situation which, briefly, involves the resignation of Stacy Barber, the expression of willingness of Gary Shepherd to assume the position, and the various discussions between individual Board members and affected parties.
  • Gary Shepherd was elected Treasurer of the Club
    -Duty Officers

    should send bills and logsheets to Gary at 4200 Oakley's Ct., Richmond, VA 23223

    The Board agreed with Gary's suggestion that we hold an "extraordinary" Board meeting to allow him to present his initial observations upon taking over the task. That meeting is set for 7 PM on Thursday, August 5, 1999.

  • Joe Parrish reviewed the complex Maintenance Officer situation, and noted that he had approached Jim Miles about assuming the role of Chief Maintenance Weenie, to supervise and coordinate the work of others (e.g., Jim McCulley for the towplane and Bill Vickland for the gliders). Failing that, the Board agreed to seek McCulley's acceptance of responsibility for the Pawnee and Vickland for the gliders. Failing that, the Board agreed to approach John Muia with a proposal to essentially "contract out" the aircraft maintance.

  • Linn Buell formally resigned as a member of the Board. The Board will act to name a replacement for her term (which runs through 2001) at the August 5 Board Meeting.

  • The Club's phone is installed and operating. It's not clear if the phone is getting used enough to justify its substantial costs. The Board was reminded that the installation was a six month experiment, and that by the end of the summer we should make a decision as to whether or not to continue it.

  • Kevin Fleet reported on several ideas on how to implement some kind of storage system for Club equipment in the hangar. The Board approved up to $250 for shelving or other storage devices to be selected and installed by Bill Malick and/or Dave Brunner.

  • There is still a lot of pressure from some members to have a Club credit card to expedite timely payment for services and materials bought by the Club. The Board is still reluctant to obtain such credit, but deferred a final decision until new Treasurer Gary Shepherd can advise the Board.

  • Piet Barber has been approached by a member of SVS seeking substantial assistance from SSC for the conduct of the DuPont Regatta this fall, to be held at Waynesboro. The Board's consensus is that the Club should NOT suspend FRR operations (e.g., by sending a towplane or a Club glider). However, Joe Parrish agreed to poll the members to ascertain who would be willing, on an individual basis, to help SVS manage this event.

  • John Lewis reported on several initiatives to get publicity for the Club, particularly timed to take advantage of the August 11 planned release of the new "Thomas Crown Affair" film. Activities such as display of gliders in public places, posters in theatres, andnews and/or TV "spots" were discussed at length. John provided a copy of a recent newspaper story in the local (Warren County) paper which he'd initiated, and also a copy of a Women's Soaring Association article in the Richmond Times Dispatch which is useful as a "model" of a good newspaper story.

Notice to Weekday Warriors
Bill Bentley's generous contribution of time and talent in Jim Kellett's absence means you should direct any and all questions about scheduling weekday operations between August 6 and August 30 to him at -especially you towpilots-let's keep the operation going!

And to the Thursday students, particularly those who have only flown with one instructor so far-here is an excellent opportunity to get some quality time in with another Club instructor! That's a valuable part of the learning program, so take advantage of this while you can during the week!

Same general "rules"-first priority on equipment is to pre-solo students, generally limiting number of students to three max (to make sure each gets an intensive session). First come, first served-and be prepared to do anything and everything that needs doing with a minimum of supervision (keeping the logsheets, running wings, getting things out, putting things away, etc. etc. etc.)
-Jim Kellett

Primary Rule:
Let's talk about "rules" for a moment to put some priority on them, and help lighten the decision load on people. We have a LOT of days when the wind varies considerably-it can change rather dramatically in just a few minutes.

Primary Rule: The PIC is the ONLY one responsible for conducting safe flight. Say that again.

Of course, we don't follow that rule to the point of being gratuiously discourteous or to the point of creating a hazard for other pilots-that's why we have radios, that's why we have "standard" patterns, etc. etc. For example, if the winds are light and variable, and "everyone else" is using a particular runway, it makes sense to safely follow the traffic that is active so long as that landing can be conducted by the PIC in the equipment he/she is flying.

But when the winds are CLEARLY favoring a runway that is DIFFERENT from that being used by other traffic, then the PRIMARY RULE comes into play- the PIC is the ONLY one responsible for conducting his/her flight safely. Just because you see someone using a runway that you do not accept is safe is NOT a good reason to land there! And don't forget that different machines and different pilots have different thresholds for what they can do and still be safe-bottom line: YOU must decide what YOU need to do to be safe, and then execute that maneuver (e.g., landing) without causing hazard to other people.

Finally, think about situational awareness. Be aware that the wind is variable. Look at BOTH windsocks. Be aware that there WILL be days when one can safely land in either direction! Be aware that on some days, the ONLY safe runway will CHANGE several times in the course of few hours or a few minutes. Be aware of what other pilots are doing (look! listen!). And then make the right decision for your plane, your skills, and the environment. NEVER conduct a landing which is unsafe for you and/or your equipment just because you see other pilots doing it!
- Jim Kellett, Chief Flight Instructor

Friday Ops
As a reward for a summer of hard work, I plan to offer my project team at University of Maryland a fun day in the Shenandoah National Park on Friday August s 20. In addition to a cookout, volleyball, etc., I have approx. 10 people who have expressed interest in taking a glider flight. I have lined up a tow pilot (Dick Otis) and a DO (Patric Nolle), and believe that we can collectively manage a safe and efficient operation. All of the above has been coordinated with the board of directors.

I have enough riders lined up to keep the ASK-21 busy all day, but there's no reason why other club member(s) couldn't get a tow in their own ship or the 1-36 or 2-33. I'd rather not have to deal with walk-ons or instructional flights, though.

Please let me know if you're planning to come out.
-Joe Parrish

Safety Committee
This committee is exploring observations from relevant sources and will consist of Ralph Vawter (Chief Duty Officer), Jim Kellett (Chief Flight Instructor), and Sergius Kohudic-newly named Chief Tow Pilot. Joe Reese has asked me to Chair this committee and present a report as Chief of Operations.

It is very important that rumors and speculation NOT be circulated in public conversation and/or email messages. Relevant information and observations must be channeled through the members of the Safety Committee.

Again, please limit conversations and email to objective observations by contacting me personally or through one of the Safety Committee members. We will be presenting a timely and comprehensive response very soon.-Bob Michael (540) 891-6448

Small Camera Bumps Big Jet
Passengers taking pictures with digital cameras may affect the plane's performance. That's according to an El-Al captain who says whenever one of his passengers clicked, his brand-new Boeing 747-400 "bumped."

Captain Eliezer Cohen tells UPI he realized something was wrong last week when he flew from New York to Tel Aviv with some 500 passengers on board. He says shortly after he turned on the automatic pilot, he felt a bump. A check of all systems determined everything was fine...15 minutes later, another bump.

The pilots summoned the purser to check what was going on in the passenger compartment. The purser reported people were using lap-top computers and CD players-devices that are known to interfere with landings and take-offs but are not supposed to interfere during the horizontal flight.

The purser then reported that every 15 minutes, one passenger was taking pictures with a digital camera. The pilots asked the passenger to snap another shot -- and at that moment they sensed a bump.

Cohen says the camera sent a command to its system on the same channel that relays commands to the automatic pilot.
-Richard Otis

Silver duration and altitude
Thanks to encouragement, instruction, and officiation by Bob Michael; encouragement and assistance by Dave Brunner; a great tow by Serge Kohudic; a great course by Jim Garrison; instruction over the past year by Joe Parrish, Bill Bentley, Jim Ayers, Shany Neitzey; a great introduction to SSC with instruction by Jim Kellett; and the support and friendship of all the SSC members; I completed silver duration and altitude (assuming the SSA concurs.)

The flight began at 11:37 AM with Bob's barograph setup, Dave's wing run and Serge's tow. Dave had a long flight over the ridge the previous day (7/4) and encouraged me to release there. During the tow we flew through sink approaching the leeward side of the ridge strong enough to keep the vario near zero.

The most "exciting" part of this flight was the beginning. I released over the ridge and found no lift. Turned around and headed toward the north end of the ridge with the intention of going around it and heading toward the field while avoiding the sink on the immediate lee side. About 7 minutes after release I was just about even with the end of the closer ridge and at 1600' agl. I could see the field about 2.5 to 3 miles away, but it looked like it might not be reachable in the 1-26. The tension level rose and and I began scanning for outlanding sites between my position and the field. (Having never outlanded, the sudden prospect of needing to do so sent me up to a high tension level.)

At that moment the vario went up, the glider went up, and so did my spirits. Within a few seconds it became apparent that this would be a low level save. For the first couple of hours I worked a series of thermals under eastward moving clouds. As each one drifted over Skyline Drive I headed upwind to the next cloud & repeated the process. Sort of like a fish swimming against the current and remaining stationary with respect to the shore. Every cu seemed to have at least some lift under it, no matter how ragged it looked. The newer, more sharply defined ones were of course clearly superior with 300 to 500 fpm lift.

As the day progressed cloud base rose from 5500 to 7000 msl. I moved a few miles down the valley toward Luray, headed over the ridge, went across the town & over hiway 66, over Skyline Drive toward the Linden VOR, played leap frog with Serge in the Sprite, saw the K come up and join me several times. Early in the afternoon a large "blue hole" devoid of cu developed over the field, but it turned out that there were thermals here too.

There were small, strong lift cores under the cu's, but not always in the same place from cloud to cloud. Some had 2 or 3 cores, others only one. Some times the strong lift was on the south edge, at other times it was toward the upwind or down wind edge, or under the center. Flying under what looked like a barely visible haze attached to a smaller cu seemed to work. These must have been strongly convective areas approaching dew point altitude.

Around 4:45 PM Dave called to say that five hours were up and I had permission to return & land. One more thermal and a long glide down-with frequent use of spoilers required to continue the descent against numerous thermals-put me and 081 on the ground at 5:20 PM.

What an exhilirating day! Can't wait to do it again, and to take the final step to silver.

Thanks again to all my friends in SSC, without whom this would never have happend!
-Greg Ellis

The Club expects every member to do their duty
When joining the Club, all new members are SUPPOSED to be asked to contribute a short (500-1000 word) biographical sketch. They get published in Skylines, and we post it as a link on the Members page of the website.

Why? Because we come from all over the mid-Atlantic area and have only three formal "All Hands" meetings a year (the January Annual Meeting, the December Christmas Party, and the mandatory Spring Safety Meeting) it's quite possible to never meet some of your colleagues for months (years?). So it helps a LOT to "get to know" each other through a short biography.

Some people apparently are shy, or lazy, or both about doing this!! If you're one of these (and you know who you are, don't you?!?), I'll share the one worthy quote that the ex-Mayor of the District of Columbia (Marion Barry) ever made: "Get Over It!".

Style, format, content are entirely up to you-be creative! Check out the several biosketches on the Member page for examples of the variety of formats used. And WRITE ONE FOR YOURSELF!
-Jim Kellett

Log This...

  • Joe Parrish is attending Oshkosh with his trusty laptop.
  • Thanks to Jan Scott,<Flycow@aol.com> for pulling our buns out of the fire and flying his towplane for SSC on Sunday, July 25th.
  • I know everyone in print HATES to have to print retractions. BUT, the SSA actually did approve my 5 hour Silver Duration flight. (The source of the rumor that it was declined: me!) Also, my Silver Altitute gain hasn't been approved yet, but will be.
    -John Lewis
  • Congratulation to Bill Malick who flew with Bermuda High while on vacation in S.C.-and now has his Private Pilot (Glider) Certificate.
  • Marty & I want everyone to know that we now live in our own house on Lake Anna. It's been a long project but worth every bit of the time and sweat we've put into it. Even have a custom mailbox lettered by Shane replete with small silhouettes of sailboat and sailplane. E-mail remains:<marcar@louisa.net> but address is now [deleted from web page] y'all come hear!
    -Marty & Kit Carson
  • I wanted to let everyone know that my e-mail address has changed from <weaverd@cwix.com> <davidscottweaver@yahoo.com> This will thankfully be the last email change ever for me (as long as Yahoo is around at least!).
    -Dave Weaver
  • Welcome new members: George Jr, George III, and Geoffrey Hazelrigg (member and two family members, in that order) who are new members. They live at: [ deleted ] e-mail: <ghazelri@nsf.gov>
  • ...and new members Jim & Erich Carter e-mail: < jsekcarter@evestamail.com>. Jimmy is an American Airlines pilot.
  • Whole lot of show-casing going on So far this year the club has been featured in several publicity items. The Warren County Sentinel featured a piece done at John Lewis' instigation and a Winchester Star article is featuring the Club and the Thomas Crown Affair tie-in and a BIG piece on Bela Gogos! (Which if it hasn't run yet is in the works.)
  • By now everyone has seen the Washington Post article in the Virginia Metro section on 7/21, ostensibly a followup to the Engen/Ivans deaths. Nice photos and those of our members quoted came off very well. One could forgive such sentences as "Use the stick between your thighs to control the dip of the nose". So-that's what it's for!
  • And for those members reluctant to attend the "R" rated Thomas Crown Affair, the second segment of the ten part PBS TV Special Life of Birds with David Attenborough contains a wonderful 3 minute aerial sequence in a 2-32, demonstrating how birds and humans soar on thermals. (or as the Post puts it "...find joy in riding the winds".) Some violence-perigines vaporize small birds in a cloud of feathers, owls munch on small rodents, ospreys dangle struggling fish-no gratuitous sex tho', only a little avian-interface, no full frontal. Of course the sailplane IS an old Schweizer metal job but it does have a rather attractive WOMAN pilot.
  • And just when you thought it was safe to tell people you are a pilot... along comes William Scott who lands his Mooney on the intersection of Ox Road and Burke Lake Road during rush hour. Hell, it's worth your life to DRIVE through that intersection during rush hour. Lucky for him there was a policeman on the scene. Commuters may have lynched him for holding them up for 12 minutes.
  • Let's hope this piece of intrepid airmanship doesn't challenge Brunner to land 081 on White's Ferry!

  • In the event someone lands a Mooney in front of you, the following item, forwarded to us by Bill Bentley, will certainly come in handy. Personal CPR -Let's say it's 4:17 p.m. and you are driving home, (alone of course) after an unusually hard day on the job. Not only was the work load extraordinarily heavy, you also had a disagreement with your boss, and no matter how hard you tried he just wouldn't see your side of the situation. You're really upset and the more you think about it the more up tight you become. All of a sudden you start experiencing severe pain in your chest that starts to radiate out into your arm and up into your jaw. You are only about five miles from the hospital nearest your home, unfortunately you don't know if you'll be able to make it that far. What can you do? You've been trained in CPR but the guy that taught the course neglected to tell you how to perform it on yourself.
  • How to survive a heart attack when alone-(Since many people are alone when they suffer a heart attack, this article seemed in order.) Without help-the person whose heart stops beating properly and who begins to feel faint, has only about 10 seconds left before losing consciousness. However, these victims can help themselves by coughing repeatedly and very vigorously. A deep breath should be taken before each cough, and the cough must be deep and prolonged, as when producing sputum from deep inside the chest. A breath and a cough must be repeated about every two seconds without let up until help arrives, or until the heart is felt to be beating normally again. Deep breaths get oxygen into the lungs and coughing movements squeeze the heart and keep the blood circulating. The squeezing pressure on the heart also helps it regain normal rhythm. In this way, heart attack victims can get to a phone and, between breaths, call for help. Tell as many other people as possible about this, it could save their lives! -from Health Cares, Rochester General Hospital via Chapter 240's newsletter And the beat goes on -- (reprint from The Mended Hearts, Inc. publication.)

  • The plates below all belong to Skyline members. They come to us from the camera of Jim Kellett.