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Flying logbook May and June 2007
To go back to main 2007 logs page click here.

May 11, 2007 - Cedar Valley, Utah in my ASW20BL, One 1,500 ft tow, 3.4 hour flight.

The forecast for today was so good I had to take off work (it's Friday).  The lift index was showing negative numbers up to close to 21,000 feet.  In other words, a big lift day!  It also wasn't predicted to blow up and become thunderstorms.  The only negative was a strong south wind to slow things down a bit.  It did on my way down south but oh boy!  On the way back home the tailwind made my groundspeed on my final leg close to 165 mph!  I am getting ahead of myself.

I took the glider out the night before and a close friend met me at the airport and we got the 20 together.  One more time let me tell you how wonderful it is to have a hangar available!  The wear and tear and time it takes assembling gliders is best to be avoided in my opinion.  I would fly probably only a third of the time if I had to put my ship together every flight.  It was great to see Brent again.  The man never ages any more.  I have never seen him any other mood than cheerful, helpful and just downright nice.  If you go out to Cedar Valley to check the place out you will see what I mean.

I ended up being Cedar Valley's first commercial tow of the year.  Brent's wife Judy ran the wing since no one else was around.  She did a great job and I was happy with my performance on takeoff.  It also helped that the wind was 20+ knots straight down the runway and also that Brent had done a great job prepping the runway for the season.  The lift was wonderfully strong and predictable under the clouds which were forming streets in the direction I wanted to head.  I ended up stopping at Salina Gunnison for two reasons.  First, there was quite a bit of virga more to the south but still very flyable.  And second, and most importantly, I didn't want to go too far this first flight and not have something to look forward to for the rest of the year.  The second part is a lie.  I needed to be home before 6pm to go out with the wife.  :)  That is the real reason.

I headed north and asked Salt Lake Center for traffic advisories when I was near Nephi at about 16,000 ft.  I didn't want an airliner sneaking up from behind.  ATC was very friendly and quite patient with me.  I only had one battery this flight and I think my signal was fairly weak because they only tracked my part of the time but it was greatly assuring to fly over Provo at high altitude and know where the jets were and weren't.  Again, my PCAS worked great.  Love that little gadget!  I ended up flying over Timp and then over to  the Snowbird tram and decided to call it a day.

I was amazed when I downloaded the file to SeeYou and looked at the stats.  425 km flown with an average speed of 90 knots (104 mph)!  Landing in the high winds was not my smoothest but I didn't bend anything.  What a great first flight of the season at Cedar Valley!  Man I love that place.

May 12, 2007 - Cedar Valley, Utah in my ASW20BL, One 1,500 ft tow, 2.8 hour flight.

I had so much fun yesterday that I had to come back for more.  The forecast was close to as good as yesterday's but with even stronger wind from the south and more overcast.  Kirk came out and flew in his 20.  Tow was crazy with wild lift then sink.  I got off again at 1,500 in a boomer and rode it all the up to 17,500.  Here is a pic showing it.  Fantasticly huge lift as all glider pilots dream of!  Sorry the picture turned out small but if you look close you get a good idea of the height gain as well as the drift to the north (right) due to the strong 25+ knot south winds.

I headed south again and ended up getting close to the same southern point as my flight yesterday.  The lift was so strong but also blown apart due to the strong winds.  I found that I had to stay above 14,000 ft to stay in the smoothest part of the lift.  Below this the lift was very ruff and not as predicable.  I ended up doing a 77 mile final glide back home.  Incredibly I never left gliding range of home since the tail wind was so strong.  My final glide took just 34 minutes to go those 77 miles averaging an amazing (for me) 136 miles an hour.  At some points my ground speed read close to 170 mph.  Amazing!  The asw20 is an incredible machine and just a joy to fly!

May 18, 2007 - Cedar Valley, Utah in SGS 2-33, One 1,400 ft tow, 1.4 hour flight.

Today (Friday) I took the afternoon off to get in a little bit of flying and also work on the glider.  I was afraid of it getting over developed and windy and nasty so I decided to just take up the 2-33 trainer I learned how to fly in.  It was also nice to fly it again before taking any passengers.  It quickly reminded me after 10 seconds of flight just how incredibly easy this thing is to fly compared to the higher performance ships (especially the Phoebus!).  The lift was incredibly strong with many of the thermals maxing out the vario at 1000 fpm going up and down.

I am ashamed to say but for the first 5 minutes I kept imagining hearing a vario beeping as I was going up but this wonderful old glider only has a mechanical one.  I have gotten so used to all of the electronics and gadgets that it was nice to just go for a leasurly flight without even a radio.  I could have flown all day the weather way so good but I really wanted to get back and work on the 20 graphics I have been working on for the last little while.

I really like the new graphics of the ASG29 which is the latest and greatest 18-meter super ship out there this year.  I know it is a little bit cheesy but I made a copy to read ASW 20B in the same style.  The graphics place did a good job but they also didn't do it like I asked requiring a lot of exacto cutting and trimming to get it just right.  After more hours than I would like to admit the new graphics are on and I am very pleased.  I am sure that with the new look the glider has to be at least 2-3 knots faster.  ;)

May 16, 2007 - Cedar Valley, Utah in my ASW20BL, One 1,600 ft tow, 2.2 hour flight.

Yesterday, Friday looked like are great day for soaring so I was excited to get out today.  The winds were predicted to be fairly strong out of the southwest.  They ended up being VERY strong out of the south, southwest to the tune of 35 mph+.  I still decided to go even with the high winds because I was anxious to fly since I hadn't flown the glider in a month and the wind was going right down the runway.  My takeoff was perfect!  I wish all were just like that one.  Even though the winds were so strong there were still broken strong thermals and I was able to get up to 16,000 ft.  There was a large fire 5 miles to the south of the airport that started just a few minutes before I took off and it was fun to thermal over the hundred foot flames.

I ended up only going about 35 miles to the south of the airport because the winds were so strong and got bored.  It was only 3:30 in the afternoon and I could fly another 3 hours but with such strong winds I had no hope of going anywhere further than I had already been this year.  I cut my losses and headed home downwind.  I was amazed to see that at 110 mph airspeed I was still at 70:1 glide ratio on my computer and my ground speed was 145 mph!  I got back to the airport quick!!!

I had promised myself that I would try landing with full landing flaps for the first time.  I allowed myself to be extra high just in case and I was glad.  I turn a very high base to final with about 500 ft and put in the landing flaps.  I knew I would need to push the stick forward to keep my speed up.  I was amazed at how quickly I started losing altitude and even though I was pretty close to the runway with the very strong head winds I saw that with these flaps I might not make it!  Amazing!  I was still a couple of hundred feet high so I was able to carefully adjust the flaps to thermalling position and with this new setting had room to spare.  At about 5 feet off the runway I was showing 50 knots of speed and hit some wind sheer.  I dropped like a rock with no warning.  I instinctively closed spoilers and pulled back.  I hit the main wheel and tilted forward and must have come inches from scratching the underbelly of my baby but the quick reaction in pulling back saved it and I didn't scratch a thing.  Wow!  Ugly landing!  If I did too many of those I would bend something for sure.  In hind sight I should have had another 10 knots on my airspeed all the way to the ground.  The wind was so strong and gusting it makes sense I would hit a pocket of dead air.  I was glad it was only at 5 feet and not 20!  Lesson learned, hopefully.  Glad to get up in the air again.  My guess is that the next time I will fly gliders is sometime mid next week.  I might fly power this weekend.

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