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Monday, May 30, 2011

Windy de-rigging

Well Leah and I are home now. I had an interesting flight yesterday.  The wind was supposed to pick up in the afternoon and along with that the lift was supposed to get really good, like up into the mid teens.  I took the first launch about 1 PM.  I had waited for the wind to get over 20 mph.  I couldn't find much, struggled in a few torn up thermals and had to land just as Bruce was launching in the Grob.  I took the next tow figuring things were heating up and would be better and was rewarded.  Bruce had found some lift too and I caught a good thermal southwest of the airport and worked it up to 10,400 feet!  I was feeling good, radioed Leah in the truck, and headed north.

I had some concerns that I was going to out run the weather to the north.  The NAM forecast had showed a definite northern edge in west central Kansas while either the RUC or GFS, maybe both, had shown the good stuff extending further north.  I knew there was no way I was going to be able to hold position upwind of the airport with the powerful winds aloft so figured my only option was to go downwind anyway. 

As I turned north I took a look at the Oudie.  Indicated airspeed of approx 65 mph gave a groundspeed of 105-110 mph.  While doing a little dolphining I was able to get the achieved glide angle over the ground up in the 40-50:1 range.  This was awesome!  Any hope Leah had of keeping up with me quickly vanished as I sailed past Lakin and headed for Leoti.  I wasn't finding a lot of good lift as I pressed on but occasionally would take a few turns in something and gain a few hundred or maybe a thousand feet.  I figured I had quickly outrun the good stuff and would have to take what I could get and maintain as long as possible.  I inched lower and lower as I passed Leoti.  Not even the huge stockyard north of town was able to kick off a powerful enough thermal to boost me back up.  I could sure smell the cattle though!

Eventually it was time to land, after an hour and a half in the air.  The approach was short and steep into a dirt field with corn stalks left over from last year.  I tied the glider down, hit the OK button on the SPOT, and was able to get a faint cell signal to get a call in to Leah.  After about an hour she had found me and we started to de-rig. In between the landing and her showing up, the front had passed.  I noted it by an approximate 5-10 minute lull in the wind.  It dropped from probably 20 or 25 mph down to 5 or 10.  Then it came back. Except when it came back it was more like 30 or 35 with gusts higher and dust devils everywhere!  We were not looking forward to having to take the glider apart in this weather. 

We did manage to get 3Y back in the trailer with no additional damage beyond the scratches, bumps, and scrapes that it already had. That was a relief.  I think we both ate at least a tablespoon of west kansas dust during the process. 

The report from the other guys at Ulysses was that after Steve launched in the Nimbus after me the wind went from strong to stupid strong.  They saw gusts of 55 mph on Ed's weather station.  At that point Ed was having issues taxiing the Call Air and no one else was really interested in flying anyway.  Steve managed to push upwind to Guymon, OK and caught a thermal over Hugoton, KS to 17,700 feet! wow!  Bruce also managed to do well in the Grob, sealing his Silver Altitude with a climb to 14,000 and perhaps getting Gold Altitude as well. 

Leah and I were all packed up and came straight back to Wichita from the field.  The wind was supposed to be 40-50 mph all day today out there and we didn't feel like pulling the trailer in that.  It was bad enough in the wind last night.

Total distance for my flight was right at 80 miles.  Here is the OLC trace.  Unfortunately the Oudie battery died so it did not record the entire flight.

Here are a few lousy cell phone pictures from the weekend, we didn't have the fancy camera with us this time.

Landout on Saturday, this was a former wheat field:

Tied down on Sunday

View from the cockpit on Sunday:

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Flight Report

 Well the day was slow to start and I launched a little early today.  Ended up maxing out at 6500 MSL (3500 AGL) and managed to work upwind 11 or 12 miles before having to land.  The guys who launched later all managed 2ish hour flights with altitudes from 7800 to 9500.  Leah came and got me though and we made it back in time for supper which is always nice. 

Tomorrow might be a downwind day, we'll see.  Monday is looking like a blow out so far.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Headed for Ulysses

Leah and I will hit the road this afternoon for Ulysses, KS for the weekend.  Hopefully we'll be greeted with good thermals.  Right now the forecasts are all over the map but I think it will end up OK.

the SPOT will be running when we're on the road or in the sky:

Will be posting flights on the OLC and as long as I have time at least short reports here.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Leah flies 373Y

Last night after work we went out to Sunflower and put 3Y together.  We were hoping to get Leah a few flights in the glider before we take it to Ulysses for the weekend.  Ended up with a late start of course but got her in the air shortly after 7.  She had a good flight overall and *almost* managed a 30 minute soaring flight.  She never managed to get back above release altitude but there was a lot of zero sink and weak lift that she took advantage of.  All in all, a lot of fun.

3Y is back home now, hopefully this week I can do a little tinkering with it and the trailer in prep for Ulysses this weekend.

Haven't had a chance to do much on 3T this week although the hardware for the control cables are in the mail.

Monday, May 23, 2011

1/3 Scale Cherokee's Fly!

In the last few weeks several of the builders of 1/3 scale Cherokee's have done their maiden flights.  Here are some videos.

Creeve's glider is based on N8722E. The full size version is currently getting readied for flight by Gary Flandro. 

I believe this is Dave Smiths, has a canadian registration number with the indian headress like 22E and 871Z.

And here is Nigels, a copy of the New Zealand Cherokee II.

Monday, May 16, 2011

weekend progress

On Saturday the skies were overcast and the wind was howling so we spent some time in the garage in the morning and managed to remove all of the control cables and pulleys, with help from Shea.  I went down to the yard store and got 150 feet of 3/32" aircraft cable to replace it with. Hopefully tonight I can get pulleys, thimbles, and nicopresses ordered so we can start replacing them this week.

Sunday i did some sanding and more filling on the right wing root. it is almost done.  Leah also worked on wire brushing the hinges and other metal pieces that will need primed. 

I submitted an article for the Bungee Cord about our progress so far so hopefully it will make it into the next printing.

Friday, May 13, 2011


Last night I epoxied in the last part of the tail repair, the lower stringer. Tonight everything got a couple coats of epoxy varnish. Looking good! I guess the only thing left in this area is to finish priming the tailwheel bracket and drill a hole in the bracket for a castering wheel which is still TBD. I also varnished up the chewing damage in the left wing tonight. Next step is to figure out the new wheel/brake install and work on replacing the control cables. Leah is still working on sanding and filling in a few spots.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

tail repairs done!

tonight i cut the final piece of wood for the tail repairs on 53T.  It didn't take too much time to get a piece of spruce cut to finish up the lower stringer.  The epoxy job on the lower piece of plywood was satisfactory and after some touch up and sanding looked really nice.  I got the lower stringer in place without to much trouble.  Then I drilled some drain holes in the bottom plywood piece and drilled out the holes for the rudder attach hinge.  I temporarily re-attached the rudder to get everything lined up and didn't have too much trouble getting the hinge bolted down.

Leah did some sanding on the areas that she super-filled last night and then added some more super fil to places that needed it.  She's mainly working on the right wing root at the fuselage and a small spot on the left wingtip.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Weekend report

We had a good weekend here. Leah was out of town Saturday but I stayed up late Friday finishing up the panel on 373Y and getting it loaded into the trailer thanks to help from my friend Brad.  The panel went together OK although I had trouble with the leads on the voltmeter so it isn't currently working.  I also got some 1/4" birch plywood at Lowes and fashioned a seatback out of it. I don't think it will be the final iteration but it is a good start.

Flying on Saturday was good. I was the duty instructor for the day and first order of business was to help Summer get back in the Ka-6.  We assembled both the Ka-6 and 3Y and started Summer to work with a couple of spot landings.  She did well so I put the logger in the glider and launched her up for some soaring.  I was planning to join her in 3Y for some lead/follow cross country flying, probably to Kingman and back.  A student showed up though so I flew with him in the 2-33 and got him solo'd agian.  We also did some thermalling on about a 40 minute flight which was his first exposure to actual soaring. I sent him back up solo to do it himself, which he did with a 45 minute solo flight.  Then I launched in 3Y and found Summer.  We had a great thermal to about 6400 feet.  The audio vario worked GREAT!  I am happy to report that the Cherokee II will outclimb the Ka-6.  By this time Summer's handheld radio battery had died but she followed me off to the southwest anyway.  We flew about 8 miles out but encountered no real lift so turned back.  We were shallow to the airport but I was optimistic.  Summer was behind and below me but I figured with the Ka-6's superior glide she would be OK.  I kept a beeline for the airport when I noticed summer was starting to fly an odd pattern below me, flying straight east and then north instead of northeast to the airport.  Then she turned SOUTH!.  Then she opened the airbrakes!  About that time I realized she was landing.

And she did!  She made a nice approach over the powerlines and slipped into a good dirt field.  I called up the guys on the ground and a few other gliders flying around to report that she had landed.  Let them know where she was at (Arlington Road and K-17) and decided that I would land with her.  I was marginal to make it back to the airport to begin with anyway and had spent some more altitude circling to watch her landing.  Plus, landing out is better with friends and I wanted to make sure she was OK.  So I came in over the powerlines and Summer got to watch me make a nice landing in the dirt too. 

We had a good time visiting with the neighbors and waiting for the crews to arrive (thanks Steve, Brian, and Steve)  We all got back to the airport and put everything away, then retired to supper where I looked at Summer's trace and let her know that not only had she achieved personal best duration and made her first landout, but had also gotten silver altitude!  It was a great day.

Today was a blowout, plus the dewpoints were high and what if any lift was probably not that great.  We helped annual the club trainers and then came home.  I worked out the analysis on 53T's left wing and the damage to the spar is OK, still have plenty of margin at an 8G Ultimate load.  So I am pretty happy about that.  We'll just have to smooth out the chewed up area and varnish it.  I also trimmed up a piece of birch plywood and epoxied it in place on the bottom of fuselage truss where we made the repairs.  All that will be left with that little project is to scarf in a new section of the lower stringer and then varnish everything.  So we're pretty excited to get that done with. 

Plan for this week is more progress on 53T. It is the only glider in the garage right now.  I've also got another rowing shell that needs some fiberglass work.

Unfortunately no lift was to be found

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


Tonight I finished putting the electrons back in 373Y.  The new electric setup features new connections at the battery (goodbye cheap radio shack connectors!) plus entirely replacing the rats nest behind the panel with a slightly more sane setup.  Everything is hooked up and powers up nicely when the ship is connected to the battery.  The LX 16 vario makes a nice steady tone.  The only thing left is to solder the voltmeter into the system but that needs to be done last.

Tomorrow I'll probably take everything out of the panel and get it varnished.  There are a few odd screws that I need to find some extras of so that everything is completely attached, plus I can work on finishing up the plumbing.

3Y passed its condition inspection also tonight with no issues so this weekend with any luck we'll fly!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Panel update

I finished cutting holes for 3Y's instrument panel tonight. Tomorrow I will get the electrons flowing and hopefully Chris will come over and do the condition inspection.

My friend Jerry had a really nice flight today in his Zuni. Check it out:

Hopefully some of that weather is still around this weekend. I'm instructing Saturday but hope to fly 3Y at least on Sunday.

Monday, May 2, 2011

373Y Instrument Panel

No real progress on 53T over the weekend although I did finish up that Maas 24 rowing shell.  Last night I started doing a little work on the new electrical system for 3Y.  Mainly last night I removed the old stuff.  Tonight I started working on the new stuff which includes a new instrument panel. Decided to see if i could use a piece of the birch plywood for the panel and it seems to do OK.  So far just have the winter vario and Oudie in place.  Tomorrow I've got to get a bunch of progress done, altimeter and airspeed will go on either side of the Winter and then the radio and audio vario will go below them, on either side of the oudie.  area towards the edges will be reserved for master switch, circuit breakers, and voltmeter.