This is the home for everything related to Cherokee II Sailplanes. Email me at if you have anything to add.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

373Y Distribution

I got curious yesterday about everywhere that I have visited with 373Y.  I did determine that (I think) my Kowbell flight on the 10th was my 20th off airport landing in the Cherokee.   So I made up a google map of all of the places I have landed the glider.  This map shows every time I've landed somewhere that I didn't take off from.  Takeoff sites have been:

Ames, IA
Muscatine, IA
Wichita, KS
Yoder, KS
Ulysses, KS

Of course I've also flown 373Y at Marfa, TX but I always landed back at the airport there so it didn't add anything to the map.  So here it is:

View Cherokee Flights in a larger map

My GPS is out for repair at the moment, I haven't heard how long it will be before it returns.  This weekend I am instructing on Saturday and towing on Sunday so I don't plan to fly the Cherokee.  I do hope to get 4653T out for a few more flights before the end of the month as it will be in need of an annual starting in August.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Kowbell 2010 report

Leah and I were out to Sunflower early this morning and had 373Y ready to go with plenty of time to spare.  The Cu actually started to pop at 9:30 AM! but they were really really low.  I was hoping for an 11 AM launch.  However I had a bit of trouble when plugging in the Cambridge which lead to a bit of smoke coming out of the GPS. Not good!  I called Steve to see if he had another unit available and he said he'd bring one so with everything else ready I pulled out to towards the runway.  Steve showed up but the replacement GPS wouldn't power up either.  Something is wrong on the glider end, not sure what, so I launched about 11:45 AM. 

Flight started out strong with lift under every cloud and decent climbs in the 4-5 knot range.  After the first 30 or 40 miles though things started to weaken noticeably. I was having trouble keeping my altitude above 2000 AGL and lift was often 1-2 knots but occasionally I could find a tiny 4 or 5 knot core.  My main goal was to simply stay aloft. I knew that I wouldn't make any miles if i pushed too hard and landed so I took every bit of lift that I could get.

Leah and Summer did a great job following me and at one point were actually out in front of me.  I got down below 1000 AGL a few times but managed to blunder into a thermal and climb back out. Once I climbed from my low point for the flight directly to the high point, about 5500 MSL!  By 3:45 PM the clouds were starting to thin and there wasn't much lift to be had.  I continued to work everything I could find but struggled finding anything truly workable. 

I was also flying out of wheat country and into corn and soybean land.  I had just crossed over the nebraska border and was having to be careful about my route to ensure I had a safe place to land.  Thankfully there was still a cut wheat field every mile or so that proved me a haven.  I chose my field and set up an approach.  It was a bit tricky as the field was shaped like a bowl.  I approached to the south end of the field, landing uphill and into the wind.  There was a pretty big ditch that ran through the center of the field at the bottom of the bowl so I was sure to clear that.  Then I noticed that there were terrace bumps running along the field, 90 degrees to my direction of travel. Rats!  well nothing I could do now so I cleared the first bump and set it down immediately.  I still had a little speed as I bounced over the next bump but it wasn't too bad and I quickly came to a stop.

A friendly local farmer had seen me circling and was first on the scene.  We had a nice chat and got Leah and Summer some good directions and within a half hour they were there.  Within the next half hour 373Y was loaded on the trailer and ready to hit the road.  Nice! 

Here are a few pictures.  More can be found at my picasa album

4653T Pictures

Here are a few shots of 4653T on the approach and after landing. 

Friday, July 9, 2010

4653T flies

After work Leah and I assembled 4653T and gave it a good bath.  Between being in the hangar at Sunflower earlier this year and a few trips down the gravel to the Wichita Gliderport it was pretty dirty.  Looking much better after a bath I saddled up and took a 3000 foot tow at 7 PM.  It flew really nice!  In fact in some ways I think it flew better than 373Y. Very sprightly in roll.  Leah did take some pictures of my approach and landing and we got some pictures of the glider after the flight but I don't have time to upload them now.

Tomorrow is Kowbell and the weather is looking good for a run to the north. I'm hoping to at least get to Nebraska and possibly a lot further.  Also looking like it could be an early start to the day so i'm hoping for a launch by 11 AM.  We'll see what the weather looks like in the morning.  I'll have my SPOT tracker on, here is the link, enjoy following along:

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Try again

well thanks to some rain passing through yesterday the runway was too wet for flying so I'm going to try to get 4653T airborne on Friday.

In other news the 2 day forecast for Saturday is looking promising!  Reasonable South wind is forecast and the lift looks decent. Let's hope it stays that way!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

4653T to fly

Tonight Leah and I got 4653T out of the garage and back in its trailer.  Tomorrow after work I hope to get it assembled and do a few flights in it after work.  It will be good to get Leah's Cherokee up in the air, finally.  We'll be sure to get some pictures and post them. 

Dave Smith has been working on his 1/3 Scale model Cherokee and making progress.  I've been following along on the scale sailplane forums but thought I'd put an update here.  Dave made the 1/4 scale model that was eventually kitted by Tom Martin and now sold at  Looks like he is moving right along with the fuselage, looks like the real thing!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Kowbell Update

Between 20-30 knot wind gusts, 1500 foot ceilings, and no thermals, all of the pilots congregated at Sunflower today decided maybe we should wait until next weekend to fly Kowbell.  So July 10 is the new date, I for one am hoping for good weather!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Ready for Kowbell

Well I spent most evenings this week working on the trailer to get it ready for Kowbell. Neal was very helpful for a few evenings using a variety of steel beams, rachet straps, and really big C clamps to try to straighten the front frame.  We did a decent job of getting the verticals parallel but there was still some twist, so the front frame was more of a rhombus than a rectangle.  Harry lended a hand with a grinder and welder.  We made a little progress but eventually conceded that the trailer was twisted and wasn't going to be straight without pretty serious rebuilding.  Today Leah and I riveted the front piece back on and loaded 373Y on the trailer.  The glider is ready to roll.

So far the forecast has gone from pretty decent to impossible junk to possible again.  We shall see what the morning brings but right now it is looking like 2 or 3 knot climbs to about 2500 AGL in the area around Sunflower.  The wind will be out of the south at something like 20 knots.  Working a little to the west will be rewarded with higher cloudbases and stronger lift.  Of course the forecast will change about 3 times before the morning and then there will be the RUC to further confuse the situation.  I guess we'll just pull out to Sunflower in the morning and then see what happens.

Yesterday club member Keith Smith flew his PW-5 291 kilometers after launching at 2:30 PM!  This was pretty much his first real cross country flight.  Hopefully we get some of the same weather tomorrow.

I"ll have my spot tracker running for the flight.  Here is the link: