I headed down to Hollister with Lance early on Sunday (yesterday). Saturday had been a truly excellent soaring day, so we had high hopes for today as well. However, on the way down we noticed that no clouds had formed yet. We figured it might be one of those late starting days. My flight reservation for the Grob was from 12:30 - 2:00pm so I wasn't too worried.
We got down, got tow numbers, and started shuffling some gliders around. Lance took 64E but we found the tailwheel was bad and needed to be replaced. So Drew dug up the necessary tools and spare wheel and we set about pulling the old one off and installing the new one.
Once we got Lance's ship ready, Mike had begun preflight checks on the ASK-21. By the time 11:15am had rolled around the guy who had the morning slot for the Grob hadn't arrived, so I took the glider. While doing my preflight, I checked the aircraft log book only to find that it hadn't been in the air since I flew it on Thursday. That really shocked me. Friday and Saturday were amazing days for soaring. If I had even thought there was a chance that the Grob would have been on the ground that long, I'd have reserved it and flown.
Oh, well. Next time I'll call.
Before long, I was pushed out to runway 24 and hoping to find some low lift so I could try for my "B" badge. I took a 2,500 foot tow and released thinking I knew where some lift was. But I didn't. So I ended up back on the ground roughly 12 minutes later with people giving me funny looks -- "Back already?"
I took a break and looked around a bit, trying to decide what to try next. I noticed some clouds forming over Fremont Peak, so I decided that flight #2 should be an attempt to stay aloft out there. Jim seemed to agree that the lift would be better there. The clouds over the east hills just weren't consistent looking.
The tow out to the peak wasn't bad. I finally felt really comfortable flying the Grob. When I arrived at roughly 5,000 feet, I was at the cloud base already, so I released and snuck under the clouds looking for lift. I found sink. Lots of 4-6kt sink and some very spotty and small patches of 2kt lift.
After loosing about 1,200 feet of altitude, I decided to head back closer to the airport. I nosed down to L/D speed and flew several miles closer to the field. I was flying roughly 60kts but the GPS told me I was going over 80mph, so I had a decent tail wind. And my computed glide ratio was hovering around 26:1.
I took a quick detour over a bit of the city to see if there was any lift. None. So I headed to the east side of the airport, hoping that the dark plowed fields would be working. I found a bit of 2kt lift and was able to gain maybe 300 feet before falling out of it. Grr. After a few more minutes, I headed in to land.
As usual, I found great lift in the pattern. Consistent 4-6kt lift for at least 30-45 seconds on downwind to base. That had me high on final, so I ended up using full spoilers almost the whole way down from there.
Back on the ground, I confirmed that nobody else was finding anything either. Only Russell, flying the Duo Discus, had any luck. He had been in the air over two hours and showed no sign of coming down.
I took a break, had some lunch and waited to see if someone else would show up to claim the Grob. 2:00pm came and went and I still had the glider, so Lance and I headed back up around 2:30. Since there wasn't much good lift, we decided to take advantage of the cloudless sky. We took a high tow (5,500 feet) toward Monterey Bay.
We found no lift out there, but we also found no sink either. It was a smooth ride of 200fpm down. I took a few pictures and so did Lance. He got to try flying the Grob from the back seat and found it to be quite easy.
Having flown another 1.5 hours in the Grob, I'm feeling a lot more comfortable in it. I suspect that with a few more flights it won't be any harder than flying the ASK-21 (in which I've logged 12-15 flights).
I also used my GPS to try logging each of my flights. Now I need to learn the software well enough to post images of my flight paths.
Hopefully the soaring conditions will be better next weekend. I really wanted to get that "B" badge. Oh, well. It was a fun day.
Posted by jzawodn at May 12, 2003 02:52 PM
Dang! Seeing those images makes me homesick! That area was my stomping grounds.