Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Good March soaring

The weather services could not agree on the max forecast temp for Saturday at Lake Elsinore: 67, 76, or 86 depending on who you believed. The temperatures aloft and the forecast sounding looked good though, forecasting lift up to 10,000' MSL if the ground temp got into the 80's.

It was a busy day. I washed and preflighted one of the Blaniks. One of our instructors was conducting BFR's for two pilots, and I'm working toward my instructor rating, so I was asked to help conduct the ground part, which takes about an hour. Then we had our monthly club meeting. Then I flew with an instructor. Then I went over to Hemet-Ryan Airport where some of our club gear is stored to pick up some aircraft log books and other. All part of being in a club!

I need three flights with an instructor within 60 days of the practical test, so this was #1. Our club requires an annual checkride to fly club ships, so this flight served that purpose as well. We took off about 1:30, and I knew that some other ships had stayed up. I was planning to box the wake but the tow pilot headed straight for the hills - did not give me a long straight run. Next time I'll know to advise him when I need to box.

It was a nice clear day, with just a little high cirrus at times. We got into some good thermal lift of up to 600-800 feet per minute. The lift seemed to be in a rough line that followed the southeast side of the Santa Ana Mountains. We speculate that the thermal lift from the sunny southeast side and an onshore flow from the ocean converge at the edge of the hills. We could go back and forth over the edge of the hills, but if we strayed too far west we got out of it. We got as high as 6400' MSL, and the other Blanik got up to 7200' at the same time. Good stuff! I practiced incipient stalls and slow-flight shallow turns. We came back down after 48 minutes. We could have stayed up all day with that lift, but I had places to go and the instructor had other students.

I love it when the lift is working!!

No comments: