Monday, September 22, 2008

All work and no fly

Saturday had the potential for good lift according to the weather forecasts, but the wind seemed to break up all the thermals. Very few gliders stayed up for more than a few minutes, so I decided not to fly. There was lots to do at the field, though:
  • Deliver a new spare tire for the PW5 trailer. On the trip back from Tehachapi to Hemet, one of the trailer tires lost its tread. Fortunately it wasn't a blowout, and we had a good spare, so it wasn't too bad.
  • Assemble the Grob 103 after it returned from Tehachapi. Boy, are those wings heavy.
  • Find the calibration certificate for the Volkslogger, to file with the SSA along with my Silver badge application.
  • Move trailers and gliders around for maintenance.
  • Brag about my Dust Devil Dash flight at the club general meeting.
  • Run the wing for and push back several gliders.
Some days are like that in a club...

One of the very experienced cross-country pilots in the club quizzed me pretty intensely about my DDD flight, navigation, and landout. (I think he has his CFI-G rating but is not an active instructor.) He never came out and said so, but it seemed like he thought my choice of landing at the Olancha dirt strip was not a good one. I think his concern was over two points:
  1. The strip is not very wide, with tall bushes on either side that could damage wings. But I walked it last year, and it is fine for a short-span glider like the PW5. I think there were 6 to 8 feet of clearance on both sides. You certainly can't put a 15-meter or greater ship down there.
  2. If there was a strong crosswind, putting it down safely would be tough because you could get blown to the side. Well, maybe. In the case of my flight, the wind at altitude was only about 3 knots, and my crewman reported very light wind at ground level where he was. I had no trouble at all landing on that narrow strip.
Still, it would be good to have another spot to land between there and Lone Pine, which is 20 miles away.


Megan said...

Hello Roger,

My name is Megan Peterson, and I work at PublicEarth, an Internet map-content start-up company in Boulder, Colorado. I just perused your blog. In general, we're trying to bring information about aeronautical location-relevant information (among other interests like camping, art, etc.) onto the Internet (Google maps, for example) as well as onto GPS devices and in-car navigation units. Our initial focus is on the US & UK. Our site will be structured and dynamic, driven by our users who will create and edit content (like a Wikipedia page). Also, our site will be free to all users, registered or not.

I'm very interested in having you participate in our closed site review occurring in several weeks. Essentially, we'd give you login information, have you create a user profile, peruse the site (i.e. the aeronautical locations), and give us detailed feedback. Also, we will enable you to invite others who may be interested in our site.

Ideally, you enjoy and contribute to our site, and blog about it. We're hoping this is something you'd be interested in.

Thanks for your time. Please feel free to email me with any questions. I look forward to your response.


Megan Peterson
Marketing Specialist

Roger Worden said...

I've discussed with some other soaring pilots the idea of having a site where cross-country pilots could contribute their knowledge about land-out sites, and update each page with current information as it becomes available. Your Wikipedia-like approach might be just what we're looking for. Please contact me at with more details.