The Official Newsletter of the Prescott Soaring Society
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Ed Powney………………..…………….Vice President
Eli Espino……………..……Maintenance Chairman
A.C Goodwin…………..…………….Flight Chairman
I have completed yet another newsletter. The more I do it the easier this gets. I would like our illustrious president to add some words to every newsletter. He seems an articulate sort and I’m sure the club would love to hear from him and hear about all the positive things he has done for the club since taking office about 6 months ago. It gives me great pleasure to know that he is in the drivers seat.
In other news, Rick (Mr. Blanik) Hazen soloed the Blanik and now is one of the elite. I was present when he did the big solo. He flew a beautiful pattern and his approach and landing were very pretty. Excellent work wild man. And I know he is itching to learn some aerobatics.
Speaking of Rick Hazen and aerobatics, Rick has also joined a soaring club down in Tuscon that he states is very pro aerobatics and has a fine selection of airships. Rick States that flying with a pro aerobatic club gives him a whole new perspective on aerobatics and the problems we have had in our club in the past. As I said earlier, Rick is now expressing a strong interest not only in aerobatics but in cross country also. Love the enthusiasm Rick. Stick with it, aerobatics will make you a finer pilot.
Also, I keep in close touch with Itai Nemovetcher who moved to Neveda up by Mindon. He soloed just before he left us last year. He has been getting aerobatic instruction and now solos loops, barrel rolls and wing overs and is still learning more. He calls me about once a week to report his aerobatic adventures. My boy is doing well and I am proud of him.
For The Students
With increasing frequency I find myself going up in the back seat of airplanes with students to either give instruction or give rides to those learning to fly. Watching a person learn to fly is a very interesting experience. After a bit of time students seem to achieve take-offs, thermals and a variety of maneuvers from turns to stalls. Eventually what seems to be the sticking point is the ability to shoot a stable approach, landing and roll-out. And in looking back in retrospect, I had the same sticking point when I was learning. There are millions of explainations in text for the student to read, but all the reading in the world doesn’t seem to do the trick. It all gets down to that magical moment one day after months of practice when a light goes off in a students head and he or she just gets it. I highly doubt that I will be able to give any real insight to the problems of landing an airplane that one hasn’t already heard but hey…ya never know. I guess the first thing I’d like to say is be patient with yourself. With enough practice it will happen. Nervousness and exasperation will only make things more difficult. Relax, take a deep breath and do your best. A lot of times talking to yourself or talking outloud helps. It helped me. It reduced my stress level and kept me on top of things. For instance, Over your I.P say to yourself, "Over I.P downwind, 800 feet, 60 miles an hour". Halfway down your downwind maybe say "Right downwind, mid-field , 700 feet at 60 miles an hour, checking spoilers". Then when turning base say, "Turning base, 400 feet, 60 miles an hour, spoilers open". Do this down to touch-down.
Also, keep your scan going. Landing an airplane is a "big picture" experience. Keep yourself from locking in and focusing on any one thing for too long. Imagine that your view out the front of the canopy is actually a video screen on a video game. Do what it takes to keep your landing point in the middle of your screen. If you are too high, your landing sight is going to go towards the bottom of your screen and vice-versa if you are too low.
And finally, don’t stress if you land long or short. At first attempts you probably will. That’s O.K. Pinpoint landings and stops will come in time. But I promise you, the first time you land an airplane all by yourself, and you know that A.C wasn’t back there jockeying things around for you will be an exhilarating experience that you will remember for the rest of your days. But for now, relax. Before you shoot an approach shake your head and hands, get the jitters out, take a deep breath and after you land if you can tell yourself that you did the very best you could do, then you did a fine job.
Pilot meets wind sheer
From the beginning there was some concern about the weather. Some nice Q’s were developing but there were some storms and lightning off in the distance. Some idle talk was going around the club members about whether the development would stay nice or O.D. The first flight went up and came down, no real joy. Then A.C went up in the Blanik. He caught a good groove and rode the lift he found to 11,000 feet. On the way down he enjoyed some aerobatics. As he was spinning down the weather turned kind of sour very fast and he landed in a light rain. Every now and then lightning popped up here and there but nothing really over us. It was now Rick Hazens turn in the Blanik but both he and the club decided to wait out the rain. Then the winds came, strong winds. Still we waited. There was talk about calling it a day but there seemed to be a break in the clouds and the wind and the rain seemed to stop, at least for a while. Rick got into the Blanik, bolted himself in and then it started again with the rain and wind. Rick got out of the Blanik and we waited again. It got to the point where we decided to call it a day even though it was calming down again. I suggested to Rick to take the Blanik up, fly it around the patch and park it. He declined because he wasn’t comfortable with the weather and had only soloed the Blanik twice before.
Things seemed stable for the moment, showery precipitation and a 15 knot headwind. There were still a lot of clouds around and lighting off in the distance but nothing of any consequence over us or in the immediate area. So I decided to get in the Blanik, take it up, bring it down and park it. No biggy. I loaded a passenger who had come out to watch ops into the back seat and took-off.
About 200 feet agl things started getting strange. There was a lot of buffeting. It was the roughest ride I have ever taken on a wire. My airspeed was all over the place. At one moment it was 45, the next second it was 70. It was like this up to release. Upon release I looked outside and could see that I didn’t get a real good tow. In fact I only went to 1300 feet. I turned the plane around 180 degrees and headed for the launch site. First glance at the instrument panel was ugly. Airspeed was 40 and my vario was pegged down. O.k no big deal. Just put the nose down and get some airspeed right? Wrong. No matter how low I dipped the nose I just couldn’t get any real airspeed and aside from the vario telling me I was going down like a brick, my altimeter was unwinding like a cheap wristwatch. Visual cues outside were no better. I could visually see that I was coming down fast. To make things worse, it was really rough and at low airspeeds, the plane was just all over the place. The next 60 seconds were a constant battle. I was coming down fast with no airspeed, my ground speed was very fast, the plane was very mushy, it was a very very bumpy ride and I had to make some really fast decisions about where to try and land. If I put the nose down for more airspeed it would increase my already high descent rate and as it was it didn’t seem like I would be able to make the launch site let alone get the plane turned around so I could land into the wind. As I got lower to the ground it was becoming apparent how high my ground speed was despite my anemic airspeed. As I approached the landing site I realized I was getting myself boxed in. I was really moving over the ground and I couldn’t turn to the left to shoot a landing because I would hit the corral. If I went straight I would hit the fence, there was absolutely no way I could do a 180 without hitting the ground. I had one option, Turn right, head for the north hill and take my chances landing with a very high ground speed and hope I can get the plane on the ground and stopped before hitting the north hill.
As I tried to get the plane on the ground, I was really moving. North hill was getting closer. I finally got the plane on the ground. I have never landed any aircraft that fast over rough ground. I almost wanted to just close my eye’s once I touched down. Unfortunately I couldn’t do that. I’m going to guess that my groundspeed was about 75 miles an hour…possibly more. By the time the plane stopped I was sitting right at the base of north hill.
My first thought once the plane stopped was "Wow, what a headrush". I realized my passenger was O.K and that I was O.K and so was the ship. The ground crew came driving up to the plane. They informed me that right behind me was a gush of 40 mile an hour wind that almost lifted the parked planes off the ground and broke the tie down rope to the 2-33.
In retrospect, what could I have done to avoid this problem? Probably waited a bit longer for the front to pass. Poor decision on my part. A.C said he had something quite similar happen to him once or twice so at least I didn’t feel alone. It was quite a lesson I wont forget. It is also a reminder that what ever your skill level is and no matter how long one has been flying, a bad situation or bad decision can make you really wish you had stayed on the ground.
Airline Pilots and Maintenance
Here are some actual maintenance complaints submitted by Quantas pilots to maintenance. After attending to the complaints, maintenance crews are required to log the details of the action taken to solve the complaints.
P: Evidence of leak on right main landing gear.
M: Evidence removed.
P: Something loose in cockpit.
M: Something tightened in cockpit.
P: Left inside main tire almost needs replaced.
M: Almost replaced left inside main tire.
P: Number three engine missing.
M: Engine found on right wing.
P: Test flight O.K, except auto-land very rough.
M: Auto-land not installed in this aircraft.
P: Autopilot in altitude hold mode shows 200 fpm descent.
M: Cannot reproduce problem on the ground.
P: Friction locks cause throttle levers to stick.
M: That’s what they are there for.
P: IFF inoperative.
M: IFF always inoperative in off mode.
P: Dead bugs on windshield.
M: Live bugs on backorder.
A.C. and Eli are still wrenching on the 1-26 and I believe are working on the nose cone right now. Once again I would like to say that these guys are spending an incredible amount of their personal time working on the 1-26 and they are doing a fantastic job. Thanks guys.
We are down to our last roll of wire. In the "old days" somebody would have to drive to Los Angeles to get all the wire but in recent times we have it shipped in by truck which is a lot easier. The wire on the winch right now only has about 200 tows on it so at the moment it isn’t an issue.
I would also like to say that canopy’s are expensive. When wiping down a canopy one should try to use furniture polish or some type of acrylic polish. Using Windex is just the worst thing to use. I always use furniture polish and a CLEAN soft cloth. I also whip the rag around the canopy and remove as much dirt as possible with just air movement. Pushing dirt around on the canopy with a rag is like wiping the canopy down with sandpaper.
Also, if I remember correctly, A.C was telling me that the 1-26 in the corral has been having indicated airspeed problems. Something in the system is giving erroneous indications so speak to A.C before flying the 1-26.
And finally, It has come to the attention of the Board that Ken Swanson would like to write a letter to club members stating why he wants to quit the club. However the Board has decided that he will not be supplied the information he seeks from Rick Hazen due to the personal privacy of members of this club. But to be fair, I will give him all the space he wants in this newsletter to write his letter and I will print it in it’s entirety and without censorship. Consider this a formal invitation.
Outside of that, the club is running fine, people are having fun and that’s what it’s all about.