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Thread: The Real Slide Show - New VSA page for your review

  1. #1
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    The Real Slide Show - New VSA page for your review

    For those of you that were at the VSA Dinner on Jan 11, you saw a sampling of the old photos I had assembled, but unfortunately I did not perform a good preflight of my slide show. Besides not being in the proper order you only saw half of them.

    I invite all to see the full slide show, with all the photos in the proper order, on the VSA web page.

    See Jim-1B when he was in training to be a pilot and when he was flying on the USS Ranger in the Vietnam war.

    See the Ridge Flying and the Formation photos, etc...

    Go to....
    http://www.valleysoaring.net/?page_id=2378
    Peter Kelly

  2. #2
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    Re: The Real Slide Show - New VSA page for your review

    Peter,

    Thanks for sharing those photos. Makes me wish that I started coming to Williams back then! I really liked the photos of you and Jim in your training days to become glider pilots!

    And I particularly enjoyed the ridge flying photos! I got my first taste of ridge flying at Williams at the conclusion of the first wave flight I shared with Kempton on September 29. Flying along the Cortinas at ridge top level at 120 knots was exhilarating! Your photos have served to further whet my appetite to someday try that myself. To that end, I was wondering if there exists some sort of primer, if you will, for ridge flying at Williams? You know something that describes the ideal conditions, the techniques required, the hazards involved, etc., etc. I looked around the VSA website but couldn't find anything. Does such a thing exist?

    Pat

  3. #3
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    Re: The Real Slide Show - New VSA page for your review

    Quote Originally Posted by Pat Alford View Post
    Peter,

    Thanks for sharing ...
    ...photos.
    ...to become glider pilots!

    And I particularly enjoyed the ridge flying photos! I got my first taste of ridge flying at Williams at the conclusion of the first wave flight I shared with Kempton on September 29. Flying along the Cortinas at ridge top level at 120 knots was exhilarating! Your photos have served to further whet my appetite to someday try that myself. To that end, I was wondering if there exists some sort of primer, if you will, for ridge flying at Williams? You know something that describes the ideal conditions, the techniques required, the hazards involved, etc., etc. I looked around the VSA website but couldn't find anything. Does such a thing exist?

    Pat
    Standby. I'll have a longer answer tomorrow.

    Primer?
    ideal conditions?
    Techniques?
    Hazards?

    The ideal conditions are just as any new glider pilot has read - wind 90 degrees to the hill and strong enough.
    Techniques are many.
    Hazards - lots and lots, but for our ridge - mostly know that there is no where to land on the west side of the ridge. Don't go there unless it is sustainable.

    Like I said: standby. I'll look at these questions again tomorrow.

    In the meantime, I am sure there are many with knowledge and experience that can offer info.
    If we get to discussing ridge, I can put people's comments into a VSA web page or VSA Blog.

    anyone have comments for Pat?

    Keeping the comments focused on our ridge would be most meaningful in this discussion. See the slides for reference to the ridge that we are discussing.
    Peter Kelly

  4. #4
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    Re: The Real Slide Show - New VSA page for your review

    I look forward to Peter's post as he has good depth to the replies. In the meantime, I'll offer my $0.02, which I used on my Saturday flight with Keith in his Duo.

    Towards the end of our wave flying I spoke of running the ridge. Now I'm flying in Keith's plane, and I have to be back for the dinner and talk. So, I'm a bit more conservative than normal, so I explained that the most conservative thing to do is to:
    1) Go to the Hiway 20 gap. We go there at 3,000ft.
    2) Gather any evidence of wind direction that is on or near the ground. We saw smoke blowing ENE from a point about 2 miles east of the gap, plus saw a hawk below hovering into the west wind
    3) Descend to the ridge line running NORTH with the Hiway 20 gap about 1/2 mile ahead. We did this.
    4) Aim to close dive brakes and be at 70 knots about 2-300 ft above the ridge running North. We did this.
    5) In case the ridge isn't working, (i.e. if you can't hold altitude), you pull-up by the gap, and head to WSC.
    6) If the ridge is working, you then head south, being sensitive to the turbulence, as often there is lift from both thermalized ridge and wind.

    In our case, on the start of a run south close to the ridge, the down parts of the ridge turbulence gave us enough pause that we didn't run the ridge and instead pulled up, went back to the gap and headed to WSC.
    Last edited by Kempton; 01-15-2014 at 10:59 AM.
    Kemp
    ASH-25 (FNX)

  5. #5
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    Re: The Real Slide Show - New VSA page for your review

    Others probably have specific opinions about the ridge as well..
    I remember other pilots on that ridge including: Jim-1B, John Carr, Gary Kemp, Luke and of course Sergio.
    It would be good to hear comments from each of them - since they have been there.

    Kempton's post prompts me to post the following...
    I'll get back to the Ridge discussion on another day, but first this:

    I've been beating myself up since Saturday, trying to come to terms with why things went so poorly for me.
    I think that I finally have things resolved it in my own mind - to my own satisfaction, and I plan to write about that today. I'll be putting pen to paper today (or more correctly - fingers to the keyboard) and provide my personal analysis of Saturday.

    It is my conviction that pilots should feel obligated to write about their flight if it involves a landout or other near disastrous events.

    (My opinion: tuition in the "school of experience" is very costly. You learned from the experience of others, so share your knowledge, so that others don't have to pay the high tuition costs).

    Over the years, I have grounded myself (for more than a week) numerous times after getting away with bone headed stunts. I stay on the ground until I can clearly "see" what went wrong and how I got into the position of having to use my superior skills.
    As the saying goes:
    "Truly superior pilots are those who use their superior judgment to avoid those situations where they might have to use their superior skills."
    I was not a "Truly Superior" pilot on Saturday!
    I used good judgment in not going to the ridge when I was in the "recovery phase" of trying to get back to WSC on Saturday. For me, the ridge was not a safe place to be, so I took my chances on finding a possible of line of lift to get me home. So I had a bit of good judgment but a bit too late in the game.

    In other news:
    (Pat's postings are keeping me busy)

    ------------------------
    FYI - I will update the link to the OLC pages on the VSA site today
    VSA OLC Page is
    http://www.valleysoaring.net/?page_id=302

    I'll be putting this link on the VSA OLC page
    http://www.onlinecontest.org/olc-2.0...&sp=2014#c:on;
    ----------------------------
    Peter Kelly

  6. #6
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    Re: The Real Slide Show - New VSA page for your review

    Kempton,

    Thanks for your input. The only question I have is about your target airspeed of 70 knots when you get down close to the ridge. It doesn't seem to me that you can gain a lot of altitude back at that speed if the ridge is not working and still have a good margin for return to Williams. I'm sure it's probably sufficient in the FNX, but is it enough for other gliders?

    Peter,

    You were going to get back us after your post-flight analysis with further thoughts about flying the ridge. Like Kempton stated, I also look forward to whatever words of wisdom you could share. Is there a primer?

    Anyone else have thoughts/experiences that they would be willing to share?

    Thanks!
    Pat

  7. #7
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    Re: The Real Slide Show - New VSA page for your review

    Pat,
    Good point, 70 knots was for a high performance ship, i.e. typical Standard class or higher. The CNVV (France) instructors say "110 kph" minimum = 59 knots. And that's a minimum, so like anything else having to do with turbulence, the more turbulence, the faster you need to go for safety. Re: safety for return to WSC, that's why I do this at the Hi-20 gap so I can abort and have the shortest distance back to WSC.

    Kemp
    Kemp
    ASH-25 (FNX)

  8. #8
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    Re: The Real Slide Show - New VSA page for your review

    Pat,

    My thoughts are similar to Kempton's but less specific. Since I was flying one of the subjects of the PK photography, perhaps I ought to share my thinking that led me down the ridge that day. It went something like this:


    1. Peter had been down the ridge and said it was working - not the sole deciding factor in itself but a pretty good indicator.
    2. The wind was from the right direction and seemed steady - again not a deciding factor in itself but a pretty good indicator.
    3. I had 4 or 5K in a soft, easy thermal over the south end of Bear Valley. Plenty of energy available to use.
    4. The little voice in my head that sometimes says, "This isn't a good idea" was NOT present.
    5. Items 1,2, 3 & 4 added up to a decision to descend (increasing speed of course) and fly south down the ridge at ridge-top height at 70kts or so - plenty of energy to pop up over the ridge and drift downwind towards Williams if things didn't work out.
    6. Item 5 worked well (consistent ridge lift with some thermal activity), so as I went south, I became comfortable with the consistent lift and only light turbulence.
    7. That made it easy to commit to descending below the ridge top. I had verified to myself that there would be consistent lift on the return run to the north.
    8. Eventually I decided that conditions were reliable enough for me to join and fly wing on John - as Peter's photos show. However, I would NOT recommend the ridge as a place to practice formation flying.


    Small incremental steps and the absence of the little voice saying "Not a good idea." That was the overall plan. A good time was had by all and the aircraft were reusable at the end of the day. What more could you ask for?
    Jim D. - 1B

  9. #9
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    Re: The Real Slide Show - New VSA page for your review

    Jim and Kempton,

    Thank you both for your responses! The common thing I noticed between both of your approaches was the incremental steps you took before committing to the ridge while keeping safe options available. I particularly like the "little voice in my head" test!

    Pat

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