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January Masthead



President..............Dick Townsend, 776-9588

V. President......John McCutcheon, 778-9426

Secretary......................Joe Rogers, 775-4463

Treasurer.................Jim Anderson, 771-0011

Maintenance ...….(Any Volunteers)

Instructor................A.C. Goodwin, 445-1889

Prescott Soaring Society's Web site (created and maintained by Bill Thrift)



Charter member and Club founder Bob Sparling retires from the Prescott Soaring Society effective early December 1999. Bob, shown in this recent file photo giving winch instruction to D. Barnes, has been an active soaring pilot most of his life (first flight in Spring of 1936, in a Mehlos Utility) and an active PSS member for over 25 years.

Bob & Daudi

As for his reason for resigning, Bob cites liability issues to club members should an accident happen 

while flying in violation to the F.A.R.’s. It was his impression, in talking to the club’s present insurance carrier, that the club’s insurance would not provide liability coverage in such a situation.
Bob’s contributions to the club will be sorely missed as he has expertise and skills not often found in any one member.It is hoped that he will reconsider and rejoin the group.
(Editor’s note:Maybe, if the club as a whole moves forward in prompting safer flying, Bob will consider rejoining.)


When I joined the Prescott soaring group in 1988, the winch had two interesting characteristics. First, during wire retrieval the speed had to be limited to 11 mph or resultant surges threw the wire off the drum and made spectacular messes. Second, during every third or fourth tow the wire would pile up against one of the flanges or in a pile in the middle. Then the pile collapsed, creating slack in several coils momentarily, but all the slack went into one elongated coil, which would lash around in a frenzy. Then the oncoming wire would mash down the long loop in a kinky mess. This happened very quickly and usually the tow was completed satisfactorily. Only when the wire was reeled out was the extent of the damage revealed. Occasionally the wire came off ready for the next tow. More often, there were breaks or the wire would break at a kink when unwound, or there were kinks or mutilations which would break at the next tow. Sometimes an hour or two would be required to bring order to chaos. 
Building of the level wind and snubber assembly was handled in the usual manner. measurements were taken of frame, drum, drive shaft, etc. Then a general idea was formulated while a search began for materials and components. The plan was then modified to fit the materials and parts that were found (usually in Bob Sparling's collection) and drawings prepared. Bob made most parts, too, in his shop. Assembly required drilling lots of holes in the winch frame, dropping the drive shaft, installing bolts. The level wind stroke had to be adjusted, and sloppy mounting holes provided to allow tightening of the v-belts. But when our modified winch was fired up for a real tow and its operational test, it worked! 

The winch modifications certainly have been a big success. The winch is reliable and operational limitations are no problem. Durability has been a pleasant surprise; few things have gone bad and though some wear is apparent, we have had years of good service.

Apparently some of our members have, all their lives, driven cars with automatic transmissions. Now such persons, wishing to be helpful, drive the retrieve truck. In the interest of extending the life of our truck's clutch, the following instructions are presented: 
a.Engage (let out) the clutch at low engine RPM 
b.Engage clutch smoothly, but quickly,
3. Keep foot off the clutch pedal. 
Financial Summary(As of 12/29/99)
Checking Account$1014.56
Savings Account$2997.36
Blanik Loan Balance$4164.48
(for additional detail, see the statement posted on the trailer bulletin board)

PSS needs someone to volunteer to be Maintenance Chairman (a Board Member position) until a permanent chairman can be elected at the March 2000 General Meeting.According to the Club By-laws, the Maintenance Chairmans duties are:

1. The Maintenance Chairman shall make reports to the Board of Directors at board and regular membership meetings.

2. The Maintenance Chairman may appoint Members to serve on the Maintenance Committee

3. The Maintenance Chairman shall have the duty to see that the Corporation's equipment is properly maintained at all times and that the maintenance complies with the regulations set forth by the Federal Aviation Agency. 

4. The Maintenance Chairman shall be responsible for coordinating all maintenance work, for supervising general preventative maintenance and shall notify the Board of Directors as to the operational status of the equipment. The Maintenance Chairman may authorize any repairs not exceeding the budgeted amount; all repairs in excess of this amount must firsthave the approval of the Board of Directors.

If that sounds rather daunting, remember, help is available, you just need to coerce, bribe, arm twist, whatever.

Some of the on-going maintenance items that have been observed include:

a.Ken forever cleaning and polishing “Ole Yella”. It may not work so great but it sure is pretty.

b.A.C. repairing the landing gear on the Blanik.A.C. spent several days during the Holidays, working by himself, in order to get the glider back on flying status.It flew again for the first time after the repair on Dec. 26, 1999. 

c.A.C. and Dick T. working off some of the gliches on “Ole Yella”.

d.Filling in some of the ruts on the tow road.

e.Rik F. dragging the strip and tow road.

f.Perfecting the boom on the tow truck to law the wire out in the grass. Do it enough times and you will finally get it right. 

g.Joe R. repair work on the glider battery charging system.

Thanks to all these merry workers for pitching in and helping out


A New Look at Maneuvering Speed

By Rod Machado

(The following are the first few paragraphs from an article by the subject Author.)

The first time you encounter turbulence I know what you’re going to do. You’ll peek out the right then the left window to make sure the wings are OK (as if you wouldn’t know). Fair enough. Even though the wings are subject to lots of stress, you needn’t worry about them breaking as long as you do one thing. Simply keep the airplane at or below its designed maneuvering speed in turbulence. Here’s how this works.

The design maneuvering speed (Va) is the speed at which the airplane will stall before exceeding its design limit-load factor in turbulent conditions or when the flight controls are suddenly and fully deflected in flight. Under these conditions the airframe experiences an increase in "G-force" or "load factor." 

The limit-load factor of U.S. certificated airplanes is based on the maximum amount of G-force the airframe can withstand before becoming damaged. Airplanes stressed up to but not beyond their limit-load factor should experience no structural damage. (This assumes the airplane is like new and not previously overstressed.) 


The meeting was held at the Prescott Airport Administration Building and was reasonably well attended, fifteen members and three or four proxies.

President Dick Townsend opened the meeting at 7:00 pm with an introduction of new members, Rick and Nick Hazen from Cave Creek, Tom Motsenbocker, Wayne McLellan, and Rik Fritz from Flagstaff, and Govinder Giare from Paulden.

Club minutes of the last general meeting were read by Secretary Joe Rogers.Jim Anderson passed out a current club financial statement.

A.C. summarized the status of the new motor for the “old” winch.Also, the “new” winch has three tows on it and seems to be working well.A.C.proposed a way of operating the “old” winch to result in more uniform tows, that is, with your foot on the brake and the throttle at idle, move the shift lever to drive release the brake and then advance the throttle smoothly as required for the tow.The method of having the throttle at a fast idle before engaging the gear sometimes results in problems.The “old” winch out-of-balance-drum has been discussed with ERAU Professors and a redesign may become a class project.

Dick Townsend gave a summary of the good points and “bad” points of the “new” winch.There were lots of suggestions as to how to improve it for our operation.(Lets see if there are as many offers to help implement these suggestions)Dick also summarized his activities on designing an angle of attack indicator to help pilots fly tows at the best angle to prevent over stressing the wire especially for the Blanik.

The on-going By-law revision activity was discussed.Of particular concern was the number of people required to expel a member from the club.Some think it should be 2/3 of the members at a meeting called for that purpose, others think it should be 2/3 of the entire club membership. More on this later.

Bill Nutting and A.C talked about their interesting trip to bring the “new” winch down from the Canadian border.

Not surprisingly, there was lots of discussion on aerobatics, particularly aerobatics done in violation of F.A.R.’s with non-club members in the glider.Many members are concerned about the liability issues should an accident occur.The following motion was made and was passed by an overwhelming majority of the members present.

“That the Prescott Soaring Society totally ban guest flights wherein the FAR Part 91 flight rules are violated”

Also the motion was passed “that the Prescott Soaring Society Board of Directors define and publish a set of flight guidelines that are applicable to, and binding upon, all PSS members.These guidelines shall, as a minimum, follow FAR Part 91 regulations and shall also define the allowable flight maneuvers for each club glider”.

The meeting ended with a soaring video “Running On Empty” which was a documentation of a contest held at Estrella Glider Port.

All in all, a very interesting and productive meeting


Meeting was held at Dick T’s house, attendees included Dick T., Jim A., A.C. and Joe R.Minutes of the previous Board Meeting were read and Jim summarized the Club financial status as of Dec 9th:

Checking Account Bal.$926.57
Saving Account Bal.$2997.36
Blanik Loan Bal.$4164.48

There is enough monies in the treasury to payDick back for his $3000 loan to purchase the Canadian Winch.A member also volunteered to loan monies to refinance the current Blanik loan at a lower interest rate.

A.C. summarized some maintenance items, notably the repair of the Blanik landing gear pivot brackets which collapsed during a landing.Upon inspection, it was noted that one side of the bracket had a fatigue crack.While that is being repaired, other minor touch-ups on the mechanism will be performed.

A.C. also commented on the shortage of flyers at the field recently, especially winch certified flyers.

Some of the problems with the new winch were discussed, namely it seems to have a stuck tappet and may also need some carburetor work.The problem with the wire pull-out may be solvable by adapting the second brake on the wire drum.The gasket on the transmission leaks and may need to be replaced.The tongue jack broke and will be replaced. Also tire covers are needed to protect the new tires from the sun. A new seat cover is needed.The wire drum cover needs to be redesigned so that it can be hinged out of the way.The fact that wire can’t be pulled off the side of the drum when there is a tangle may be a real problem.(Is there any good news here?)

Joe R. reported that the glider battery charger is O.K. and the problem may be with the solar cells.He agreed to look further into the problem.

The “old winch” drum redesign is ongoing as is Dick T.’s angle of attack meter.

Bob Sparling’s letter of resignation was discussed and it was unanimously agreed that the Board would do our best to reverse his decision to quit the club.

Other business included trying to find someone to be Maintenance Chairman, using A.C.’s address as the clubs permanent address, contacting Jay about using the Mountain Club clubhouse for a late January potluck/party. By-law changes were also discussed.


Dr. Govinder Giare, Professor of Aerospace Engineering at ERAU joins the club Nov 19, 1999. Govinder is a soon-to-be retired Professor of Aerospace Engineering at ERAU. Retirement will give him more time for soaring and working on his “almost finished” motor glider.Welcome to the club.

Charter Member, Bob Sparling resigns from the club December, 1999.


What is the appropriate glider speed to fly in turbulent conditions?

a.At or below maneuvering speed

b.At or below redline

c.Just above stall speed

(answer on page 7)


On a picture perfect day, flying picture perfect flights, Tom Motsenbocker and Itia Nemovicher solo in SGS2-33 N5774S on Nov.21, 1999.


Pilots, under normal circumstances, do not release from towuntil the winch operator calls out “level off”and you have nosed down the glider to take the tension off the wire.When the wire is released under tension it snaps free and most often, causes a tangled mess on the winch drum usually resulting in a broken wire and an undesirable splice.It’s a shame to have to splice a new wire for whatever reason. However, a broken wire is better that a broken neck.If you, as pilot-in –command, feel a premature release is required for safety reason, then by all means release.

by Bill Brink

November 14 was certainly a doggie one. Five in fact, Three long-haired, two short. Four with tails, one without. One a real lap dog and one (oomph) a would be.

Moles were in evidence, Chemical ones that is. The three Thrifts were hard at work on homework problems including Nicole’s calculus
assignment. Says a lot for the academic rigor of our high school.

Ed (P) was nice to a guest, a loop, sort of a roll and what appeared to be a strafing run on a group of rocketeers. Something happened to
her shoes and she had to be carried back to her vehicle.

Speaking of ERAU rocketeers, they told the ranch’s caretaker our illustrious leader had given them permission (Dick?). Not only that
they were firing off rockets in the dry grass. This was also located under the south downwind leg for 26. It gave this pilot the willies to look down on a column of smoke and wonder where the rocket, a seven foot projectile, went.

The soaring wasn’t good. Flights ranged from 4 minutes, guess who, to 7 minutes.It was glass smooth. Ken still managed a 2,000 foot launch.

By comparison, the new winch looks like a yellow sports car next to an old red pick-up.

A slight winch stall on Tom’s first take-off allowed the tail wheel to slam down and break off. This was followed by a wire break on pull-out. The truck was moving slowly but the wire snapped anyway. A loop formed on the drum at the end of the chute retrieve. The tail wheel was replaced by the original. The removal of twenty feet of wire solved the drum problem.

Tom started the day off at 11:00 am, Nancy got the last word at 4:10 pm. Ed P. got Bill T. to help pull out the Blanik. Bill T., Nicole and Jim put it away.

The winch reported that the operator did not hear Bob report his speeds. Guess Bob will have to use a louder mike. Bob was very nice to Nancy, pulling the wire all the way to the intersection gave her a nice long tow.

All our pre-solo students got in two flights. Nick got a practice landing on runway 3 as well as a real weak link break. Will he need any more
practice ones?Rick and Wayne made it around without any problems.
Both Ed. K and A.C. gave guests a nice ride.

Bill B had a short landing. Thanks to Ben, Nicole and Nancy for hauling him back in. It was to make up for a very long landing the week before, right?


This Frequent Flyer trophy for the months of Nov/Dec goes to the father and son team of Rick and Nick Hazen with a total of over 70 flights. Consistent flying is the way to get it done.A majority (52%) of the flights for October, November and December were student flights, either solo or with an instructor.Fourteen “active” members did not fly at all in December.(Even Santa got more flights in than they did).

October Glider Minutes Flights
1-26 881 45
2-33 1638 126
Blanik 367 20
Zug 0 0
Other 0 0
Total 2886 191
Average Minutes/Flight 15.1
November Glider Minutes Flights
1-26 326 12
2-33 1087 107
Blanik 211 15
Zug 0 0
Other 0 0
Total 1624 134
Average Minutes/Flight 12.1

December 1-26 85 12
2-33 701 80
Blanik 74 5
Zug 0 0
Other 0 0
Total 860 94
Average Minutes/Flight 9.2
The Prescott Soaring Society will have a new official address (and a mail box) which is required for the registration of club equipment.It will be:
The Prescott Soaring Society

9200 E. Morning Star Ranch Road

Coyote Springs

Prescott Valley, Ariz. 86314

The mailbox will be located along Coyote Springs Road, north of 89A, with all the other mail boxes.This will make it convenient to pick up the mail on the way to the field.


Board of Directors Meeting (TBD)

Weekend Soaring:Sat and Sunday, approx. 10:30 AM, weather permitting.





MORAN, KENNY/0/0.0/5


HAZEN, NICK/41/13.7/41

HAZEN, RICK/45/15.0/45



HANSON, FRED/0/0.0/2

ROGERS, JOE/0/0.0/14

GUIDA, MIKE/0/0.0/11



RIVA, DARYL/1/0.3/22

POWNEY, ED/1/0.3/23

THRIFT, BEN/2/0.7/17


AUSTIN, BRETT/3/1.0/45

DILLON, NANCY/4/1.3/20

LOESCHE, JAY/4/1.3/9


KIGER, ED/6/2.0/46

DHONDT, GEERT/7/2.3/11

BALSLEY, PHIL/7/2.3/26


ROJKO, RHONDA/9/3.0/38

THRIFT, BILL/9/3.0/53

McCUTCHEON, D./12/4.0/46

BRINK, BILL/12/4.0/23

SPARLING, BOB/13/4.3/41

McLELLAN, WAYNE/18/6.0/29

ANDERSON, JIM (2) /23 /7.790


SWANSON, KEN/27/9.0/109
FRITZ, RIK/32/10.7/58
GOODWIN, A.C. (1)/34/11.3/109


Remember, articles must be suitable for a family newsletter and must be submitted to the editor by February 20th, 10 days prior to the publishing date.

Quiz answer:a.At or below maneuvering speed.

The views expressed in this newsletter are those of the individual “authors”(I’ll put practically anything in this newsletter) and not necessarily those of the Prescott Soaring Society.Ifyou are offended by the Editor’ssick humor, he will be glad to cancel your subscription and give you your money back.

 Past Newsletters