I've been remiss in updating my flying blog. :-(

After a little date mixup, I headed down to Hollister for Russell's Bronze Badge class. When I arrived, I was surprised to find that the office size had doubled and than there was a Piper Pawnee among the towplanes. How things have changed in the 2 weeks since I last flew!

Anyway, Russell covered all the necessary information for the SSA Bronze Badge test. There were 6 of us in the class.

After the test, I wiped down the wings of the Grob and took it for a short flight. Mike had flown earlier and told me that it was pretty calm. Any lift would be low and near the airport. Grr.

I found that conditions had changed by the time I launched. My tow was pretty bumpy. When I reached the foothills east of the field, I just run into two good thermals, so I released at 3,200 feet to go after 'em. Well, I couldn't find 'em. So I headed back in the direction of the airport and found a lot of 400ft/min sink and bumpy conditions. But the bumps were all quite small and impossible to work.

Before I knew it, it was time to land. I headed into the pattern and landed. I was able to get the glider all the way off the runway to roughly the spot I had planned, so at last my landing was good.

I waited a few hours before going up again. The sea breeze had begun, so conditions weren't likely to change. I was in no hurry.

I had a good 10 knot headwind for my second flight. And I was towing behind the Pawnee for the first time. Damn, can that thing climb!

Before I knew it, I was near the Three Sisters and climbing through 5,000 feet. I got the towplane to perform a gentle left 180 and released heading west. Unlike my earlier flight, it was quite calm. So I headed north along the ridge for a bit. Finding nothing, I headed west across the valley and over the hills west of the field. I played around there for a while before entering the pattern to land. About 30 seconds after making my pattern entry call (downwind for 24), a plane flew right over my. I saw him maybe 200 feet away off my left wing and dove immediately. As far as I could tell, he wasn't on the radio and hadn't heard my call. I'm sure he didn't see me because I was below him. And he was visually blocked by my wing while he approached.

Yes, aircraft have blind spots too.

Anyway, I landed without incident. I came in a bit high but used spoilers on downwind, base, and final to land normally.

It wasn't a great soaring day, but I had fun. It was good to get back in the cockpit again.

Posted by jzawodn at June 14, 2003 11:33 PM

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