December 20, 2003
Maybe Starting an MDM-1 Fox Club

When I went to fly the DG-1000 on Friday, I was talking to Drew about the sorts of gliders to shop around for if a couple of us decide to partner up and buy something. We're thinking of looking for something with a 40:1 glide and in the $30,000 ballpark. He suggested looking at any of: LS-4, DG-300, or Pegasus. His advice confirmed what we already knew.

He then told me of the MDM-1 Fox he found for sale in Texas. It's apparently in new condition, with only 100 hours on it so far. He'd like to put together a club of 10-20 people who'd like to chip in to buy it. The Fox is an amazing acro glider. It's capable of +9/-7 Gs and is a two-seater. It consistently wins or comes in second place in the international aerobatic glider competitions.

After doing a bit more with loops (and a hammerhead that Brett demonstrated) in the DG-1000, I'm thinking that I just might be up for it. It sounds like a blast to fly.

More on the Fox:

Must decide soon...

Posted by jzawodn at 10:41 PM
Late Fall Wave Flying in the DG-1000

Here's a copy of the report I sent to the HGC list on Friday after I got home from flying...

I had the day off work today (yeay for office moves) and headed to
Hollister intending to fly in the DG-1000 with Drew to get a bit more
practice with loops.  Instead, I ended up flying with Brett because
Drew was gonna fly with someone (forgot who) in the Duo, hoping to go
X-C in the wave.  No problem!

Sure enough, there were wave clouds in the sky.

Brett and I launched around 12:20pm and towed toward the southeast.
There was NO wind at the surface but we started encountering some
bumps as low as 800 feet.  Keeping an eye on the vario, we towed up to
6,700 and released when we were sure there was lift.  A few times
before, we watched the vario go as low and 2 knots and as high as 8.
Seeing that it averaged 5-6, we released in 8 and turned into 2 knot
lift toward the southwest.

After hanging out a bit, I suggested that Brett grab my GPS so we
could figure out what the winds were doing.  We did a few shallow 360s
to measure our ground speed and ground track.  When heading directly
into the wind (roughly 180-160 degrees true) at 50 knots IAS the GPS
said we were going about 18 knots.  We seemed to find a good 30-40
knot wind at 7,000-8,000 feet.

We managed to climb as high as 8,500 and tried to make it back that
high a few times.  But after the first 45 minutes to an hour the lift
got weaker and harder to find.  Instead of an easy 2 knots up (with
occasional 3 or 3.5) the best we got was 0.5 to 1.

Just past the 1 hour mark, we got the radio call that told use the
glider was due back.  (Whoops.  Guess who didn't think to check the
schedule before chasing wave?!)  We were at roughly 7,200 feet, so we
headed back toward the airport and finished up my loop work on the way

We never went terribly far away.  The spot we hung out in was roughly
2-3 miles north of Bikle.  A few times we drifted farther north into
the valley while trying to map the lift.  It was quite helpful to have
Brett acting as navigator, occasionally setting waypoints to mark good
lift, while we wandered the area to get a feel for where it was.

All in all, it was a good way to spend a Friday.  We flew for 1.5
hours and had to burn off a lot of altitude on the way back.  The
flight was good practice for working weak wave lift, and the DG-1000
is so quiet and peaceful when you're flying at 45-50 knots--gradually
climbing. :-)

Anyway, my goal of getting signed off to fly loops is complete. :-)

Oh, and I finally got a chance to pee in a glider. It's a lot easier when you've got a co-pilot on board! That's a good skill to work on for longer flights.

Oh, also, the guys who took the DG-1000 up after us made it to 10,000 feet. Damn them! I'll just need to go up again on the next good wave day...

Posted by jzawodn at 10:13 PM
December 17, 2003
100 Years of Flight

On the 100th anniversary of the Wright Brothers flying for the first time, I took a couple hours out of the day to fly again with my friend John. (See also: this story.) We took up a Piper Archer from West Valley Flying Club (which I joined earlier in the week so I can start power training) and flew over to Half Moon Bay.

After landing there, we flew up and down the coast a bit before heading back to Palo Alto. We flew a bit over an hour and it was a great (very clear and calm) day for it. I took some pictures of the sights.

It was a good day to break up the day. And, somehow, it wouldn't have felt right not to fly today.

Posted by jzawodn at 10:25 PM
So Now We're Ship Captains

After a good day of soring on Sunday, Harry Fox came by to drop off the covers for the DG-1000. Lance, Drew, and I helped unload the stuff and got to chatting a bit. In the course of conversation, Harry asked me and Lance if we'd like to become ship captains for 9JH and 2BA.

This makes sense. We're out there flying a lot so we might as well look after the gliders we're flying most of the time. Besides, I knew it was just a matter of time before someone said, "you know, these guys fly a lot and seem to have spare time. Maybe we should give 'em some work to do.

And wouldn't you know it... The newsletter came the other day and we're the new ship captains. I've got 9JH and Lance has 2BA. That's a little funny, since he flies 9JH most of the time and I fly 2BA. But not big deal.

Posted by jzawodn at 10:02 PM
December 14, 2003
Post-Fontal Sunday Madness

Here's a copy of the note I sent to the HGC list after flying on Sunday. It was a hell of a day.

Every glider was in the air this afternoon and they weren't coming
down.  Even Ramy came out to play.

It's too bad more private guys didn't come out.  There were many
multi-hour flights from 2,500-3,500 foot tows and a shortage of

We had cloud bases at ~3,500 with a nice big cloud street just west of
the airport, running toward northwest--probably into the Santa Cruz
Mountains.  It headed south over Bikle and appeared to go all the way
to Panoche (or farther?) where there was another cloud street visible.
There was also a line of clouds over the east hills--maybe just past
the 2nd ridge, but the bases looked a bit low and not as solid.
Everyone seemed to fly west of the airport today.

The lift was quite strong in places.  I had at least two really good
good 8-10 knot thermals, with 4-6 knots being quite common.  If you
were lazy, you could just fly straight under the clouds at 60-70 knots
and still gain a couple hundred feet every few miles.  And, if you
were in the right place (just west of the cloud street) it was even
possible to get a few hundred feet above the cloud bases.

Later in the day I ventured over the airport and then to Christiansen,
loosing maybe 200 feet to get there.  After a bit of playing I
discovered an invisible cloud street that seemed to be roughly half
way between the one to the west and the one over the east hills.  I
must have flown that triangular route 3 or 4 times, never getting
below 3,000.

There was lift all over the place.  We had some serious (8-10 knot)
sink in a few places.

Jamie had his first flight in a Pegasus and was treated to a nice 2+
hour flight.

Excellent December soaring!

Hopefully we'll get to hear how far Ramy ended up going...

The only thing I didn't mention was my first flight. I released at 2,000 feet thinking I had great lift, only to end up back on the ground 12 minutes later. Doh! Luckily, I more than made up for it on the second flight. :-) It was about 2.7 hours from a 3,500 foot release in Pegasus 2BA.

Ramy ended up going all the way to the beach near Santa Cruz and back!

Posted by jzawodn at 09:44 PM
December 13, 2003
DG-1000 Fun Flights

On Saturday, Lance and I headed to Hollister to fly the DG-1000 in the morning. The plan was to get a few dual flights in (trading off the front/back seat) and then each take a Pegasus after that to go looking for lift.

We flew two flights in the morning. I flew the first from the front seat and then we reversed for the second. Each flight was about 30 minutes, with tows to 5,000 feet or so. Nothing fancy.

Then, we took a bit of a break while others flew. I was hungry and wanted to grab some food. Lace got a Pegasus ready to fly. Just before I started to eat, Peter finished his back seat checkout in the DG-1000 and wanted to go up again. Charlie asked if I'd go with him, so of course I did!

I gobbled down my turkey burger and hopped in the back seat. Several other gliders were already up in mixed lift about a mile off the departure end of runway 31 near some clouds. We towed out that way but Peter wasn't anxious to play in the lift with them. So I kept an eye out for the other gliders while we wandered around.

After we landed, I noticed that most of the other glider were up. I could have flown the 1-34 but wasn't keen on the idea of doing the pre-flight checks for what was likely to be a short flight anyway. Instead, I checked the reservation schedule and noticed that nobody had the DG-1000 after Peter. So I took it. :-)

I convinced Peter to ride in the back seat and we went up again looking for lift. I didn't find much (it was late), but there was some 1 knot and zero sink in the normal evening convergence area (highway 156 (or 152?) and Pacheco Pass). We had a roughly a 30 minute flight.

I later realized that it was my first flight with a BASA flight committee member in about half a year. How time flies!

Posted by jzawodn at 09:34 PM
December 07, 2003
DG-1000 Checkout, part 2 (with loops)

On Sunday I headed down to Hollister to fly in the DG-1000 with Charlie Hayes, mainly to get finished up on my DG-1000 checkout. I had previously flown with him two weeks ago.

I already felt pretty comfortable in the glider, so when he asked what I'd like to do, I suggested that we take a high tow to practice some loops and other maneuvers, and then maybe one or two more short pattern tows. He agreed and off we went.

Flight #1: Loops

For the first flight, we towed west over the hills (and clouds) for some loops. The tow was fun because we got to fly above and around the clouds. Flying around the clouds actually gives you a sense of how fast you're really moving. Anyway, we got off tow at 6,200 feet and did a few clearing turns. Then Charlie took the controls to demonstrate a loop. He dove down quickly until we had 90 knots IAS and pulled back on the stick. He kept a constant 3G most of the way thru the loop (less over the top) and then recovered in a good 40 degree climb to get back some of our altitude.

He then asked me to simply do what he did. My first two worked pretty well, but we had a bit more float going over the top than his loops. For the third one he suggested I pull 3.5Gs instead, and that seemed to make all the difference. I was able to fly the whole loop with positive Gs

After that, we decided to head back closer to the airport before doing much more. But we had to get thru the clouds. He fist thought we could go over them, but as we got closer it became apparent that it wasn't going to work. We'd have to go under them. He left the route up to me, but there weren't many options. We cold either exit in the direction of Pacheco Pass or head south a few miles and punch through there. Seeing that there appeared to be more room toward the south, I took us that way.

As we got closer, Charlie told me to fly as fast as I had to in order to get under the clouds. In short order I had us going about 90 knots and loosing just enough altitude to get under between the clouds and the hills (or the power lines on top of the hills). It was fun to fly that fast for a few minutes. The ailerons are certainly heavier when you're going 80-90 knots in the DG-1000.

We punched through and headed back toward the airport. On the way there, he had me trim the glider for about 42 knots and take my hands off the stick. He wanted me to get comfortable flying with just the rudder pedals. It was a bit odd at first but I got the hang of it after a minute or so. All I needed was very small rudder inputs to get the glider to do what I wanted it to.

From there, I took us into the pattern for a normal landing on runway 24.

Flight #2: Pattern

We then launched again for a quick pattern tow to make sure I knew what I was doing on landing. No real surprises there. The DG-1000 is pretty easy to land. A bit harder then the Grob 103 and a bit easier than the Duo Discus, in my opinion.

After that flight, he asked if I felt comfortable. I told him I did, so he completed my logbook endorsement (with the 20 meter tips).

Posted by jzawodn at 09:09 PM