The new outrigger brackets are in place in both wings, we should have the skin sealed up an painted and the outriggers installed (hopefully) this week with assembly this coming weekend. If not, should all be complete by the following week. Can't wait to see our old friend back in the air!
This Saturday, Merlin folks went to visit with a couple of our VASA counterparts. Eric and JD met up with Tidewater Soaring Society and enjoyed a day of their warm hospitality. They were met later in the day by Vince. Eric and JD were able to attend the TSS member meeting, where there was some great information on tow rope material and dangers of knots in poly line. The soaring day was windy, with 10-13Kt pretty steady, but generally right down the runway. It was great practice for JD and Vince to fly with Eric in such conditions. JD provided the picture of the 'TSS Grid' - we enjoy our slow pace at Merin, but it is great to spend time with the well oiled machinery of TSS!
Dave and Pete met up at Shenandoah Valley Soaring. Pete did some spin training in SVS's ASK-21. He emailed the following report: "I did the weight and balance for Paul and myself to get the CG aft enough to spin the ASK-21, screwed the 9 steel plates to the tail and up we went to 6500 ft MSL. The first spin is the most intense. The plane literally does a cartwheel as it drops a wing. This feels feels similar to cresting over the top of the first big drop on a rollercoaster. Once it settles into the spin it oscillates from nose up to nose down orientation. I had to hold the spin for 3 full rotations before attempting to recover. Slow opposite rudder to get out of it (that takes about 3/4 turns to slow the rotation down) and then a little forward stick pressure and she recovers. We repeated the exercise 3 times and then did some spin entry as if we were turning base to final." We definitely need to arrange an MSA field trip for some spin training at SVS!
We got good news on our 2-33, it looks like the wing outriggers are repairable and parts will be enroute this week. We should have our 2-33 up in the air behind our new 150-180 within the next couple of weeks! Weather permitting, we expect to be flying the 1-26 this weekend - a member ship too??? Who knows!
It seems natural enough: we share the sky and our thermals with our feathered friends, we should speak their language! MSA has joined the twitterverse as @MerlinSoaring. This is more of an experiment at this point, likely our ground ops folks will be tweeting the notable flights of the day. Or maybe not. We'll see how it goes. Follow us @MerlinSoaring and make sure to let us know if you like the tweets so we know whether or not to keep
Merlin (very) happily welcomed our new Cessna 150-180 tow plane to the Aerodrome yesterday! Eric, Dave, Stephan, Greg, Pete and JD were on hand for the arrival of N19094. Dave got the first tow in the 1-26, said it was a great ride up to 3,000.
In other news, the 1-26 tire was replaced with a new tube and tire. The old tire was starting to show signs of wear noted during the glider annual this past May. Dave field tested the tire during his 'first tow'.
The 2-33 is down for repair. We had some ground vehicle contact with the glider (not related to MSA operations) that ended up damaging the wing tip and the outrigger. Our A&P, Tom, was onsite yesterday working on accessing the inner parts of the wing to determine the repair process. We're keeping our fingers crossed for fast and simple repair needs!
Dave, Pete, and JD have been flying online Condor Multiplayer contests. Pete has been active in this for some time, JD and Dave are just getting started. If you aren't familiar with Condor, it is a downloadable glider simulator with a very active and dedicated world wide following. You can find scenery landscapes, tasks, virtual badge challenges, and online multi-player contests - complete with glider crashes in thermals, gliders falling apart due to far exceeding the never-exceed speed (Vne), and the occasional meet up between glider and tree, and land-outs when you just can't get that next lift.
Condor is fast becoming an established part of the glider training regimen. It provides accurate input response and helps the student pilot perform tasks similar to real life flight helping develop and refine the skills required to fly safely and well.
The SSA's monthly magazine Soaring has a column written in alternating months by Scott Manly and Frank Paynter. There are plenty of good tips for how to use Condor in a variety of training situations - not only student training, but also annual safety refreshers, working on skills that may have atrophied over the winter, etc. If you are considering glider training, getting a copy of Condor may be a good way to get some 'flight experience' before you take that first lesson or FAST flight. Knowing the basics of aircraft control means you can focus more time on your control of the aircraft, instead of how the aircraft is controlled.
Here are some resource sites for Condor. Feel free to ask questions in the comments section or use one of the contact forms on our web site if you want more information about Condor, system setup, etc.
Condor site (purchase and download program, patches, plane packs, etc.) - www.condorsoaring.com/
Great resource site for scenery files, virtual badge flights, etc. - www.condor-club.eu
One of many good sites for online multi-player contests - they have some kind of race every night of the week. www.gliderracing.com
Eric, Dave, Pete, and JD went to visit Tidewater Soaring Society. They are a larger gliding club flying out of Garner. Great day with a lot of lift, good people and a nice dinner with some of the TSS folks to close out the day.
As usual, Eric was busy making sure Pete and I got flights in and got a late start to the day. That said, he recorded a couple of 8kt rides and got up to 8,000'! His OLC map is shown to the left. 150km over about 90 minutes of flight time. Not too shabby!
JD and Eric had a short and largely uneventful flight, which is good in and of itself. Pete and Eric took the TSS 2-33 up and were soon calling out '2-33 at 7,500'' on the radio with a quick response from one of the other pilots of 'Liar, that plane doesn't fly that high!'.
JD had a second flight with Mike Hess in the TSS PW-6. Mike worked the lower thermals for all they were worth, ending up getting into the good lift over about 4,000' and working that consistently between there and 6,000' taking in the sites from Windsor to Ivor and across the Western Branch Reservoir. They clocked in a little over 70km.
Dave also got a late start to the day, but ended up having a good time dragging 19LK across the Tidewater stomping grounds. Up a bit east of Smithfield, then west almost to Ivor, and then to points south, Dave traveled almost 60km with speeds over 130km/h on final glide back to Garner.
Thank you, TSS, for providing us with a great day of soaring and friendship!
Pete A's calmly executed practice rope break. Not sure how it was in the cockpit, but it looked great from the ground!
Hi all – Well the sun shone, the winds were calm and the thermals never cooked…
So we turned it into a great training and transition day. Yours truly played OD for the day. Eric road shotgun with new-b Peter A. on 5 flights. RC models and CONDOR have helped move Peter rapidly toward becoming a great glider pilot. Tows and landings looked very smooth… He also had his first practice rope break - watch the video on the post above this one. Well done, Pete!
And speaking of great glider-pilots, JD transitioned to the 1-26. With an extensive pre-briefing in the am followed by a quick pattern flight in the 33, JD executed a nicely controlled tow and perfect landing in the 26. He’s apparently smitten! He followed that with 2 more consecutive flights which included some thermaling along with the happy sound of an UP VARIO!
I’m guessing the 33 will now have one less suitor and should b the principle province of Vince and Peter!
It was a beautiful day in the neighborhood… for flying!
I and a ride took to the air a bit early around 1 in Her Heaviness the LARK. Robin (not Mr. Tenkate!) and I found some early lift and hung out for 45 minutes while my ride had a nice time both checking out the scenery and also putting up with my aeronautic narrative on how we managed to do it!
Down below, the 33 launched with newly soloed JD at the stick. Though we directed him to join us in a thermal off the south east end of the field, alas he could not connect and completed a 20 minute flight with another smooth landing under his belt.
After the LARK returned to earth, it was ace glider pilot Stefan who took the front seat… not to return to the earth again for almost 3 hours. His sortie included a climb to just over 6k I think?
A nice flight for Mr. F!
Greg N took the newly ruddered 26 into the air next. O those elusive thermals!!! It was not a day for the Schwietzers I guess. He too could not connect and returned to the runway in 15 or so minutes.
After bidding Eric good-bye, introducing Robin to Ron and then bidding her a safe trip back to DC, I lowered myself into that luvly 19 of mine for a return to the skies. But as I did so, I urged JD (now our ODO for the day) to tell freshly landed Greg to climb back into the 26 for one more go. I promised to stay in any lift I found and mark it for him, but alas he declined. So off I got at 2k to again c if I could pull off an Eric and climb out from there. Indeed, it was touch and go for about 15 minutes. But the 19 came thru and at 3k I called Ron to let him know he could bed-down the AGWAGON. After a run toward Crewe, a right-turn to Amelia and Roy Gunners private strip and then a run back to Merlin and a first citing (for me) of JR’s field (marked on XC Skies) I let the 19 do a long & lazy wide rectangle to the west of the farm and Scotts Fork and a final return to the field. Even after a 3 pm launch and a 4:40 touch-down… there was still good lift up there in which Mr. F remained!
And so went another Saturday at MSA… c u at the field!
Sunday turned out to be a good day and much better than Friday’s forecast.
David made 4 preparation flights for his commercial check including a simulated 300’ rope break and then managed to stay aloft in his 19 for the rest of the day.
Vince took two tows only to find out David had drained the skies of lift.
JD made 3 training flights including a 300’ simulated rope break.
The final flight of the day was JD’s 1st solo flight. Congratulations JD
Observing from the ground he made a beautiful takeoff and landing. He did say that the plane flew much better without the aft seat ballast, however he reported he could still hear the sound of “wings level wings level” emanating from the rear seat area on the final ground roll.
Ron, thanks for towing and putting up with the simulated rope brakes and wake boxing.
Wednesday night at chesterfield 6:00 – 9:00 pm Review test questions.
Click here to see some of our flight traces. We use various GPS enabled devices to record our flights and submit them to the OnLine Contest site.
MSA - Officer of the Day. The OD will generally post the highlights of the day's operations in the blog.