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Thread: Coming Weekend Outlook: Mar 28-29

  1. #1
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    Coming Weekend Outlook: Mar 28-29

    Saturday looks interesting as there's moisture forecast with a weak upper level low:
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    The upper level low is a very small feature, so as we learned from the cutoff low wave day March1, this can come & go in the forecast up to 24-36 hours beforehand.

    If this holds, this could be a good setup for a flight to the Golden Gate & back from WSC. That's about a 300km O&R, a good task for early in the season. If it goes away, then the moisture is reduced on the Mendos and could be good for a run along the foothills to the north.

    For the Byron & Hollister crowd, I can't say yet what it looks like south of the Bay Area, so you keep an eye on that.....
    Last edited by Kempton; 03-23-2015 at 05:26 PM.
    Kemp
    ASH-25 (FNX)

  2. #2
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    988

    Re: Coming Weekend Outlook: Mar 28-29

    Still tracking to an upper level low on Saturday, will update come this eve's RASP.
    Kemp
    ASH-25 (FNX)

  3. #3
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    650

    Re: Coming Weekend Outlook: Mar 28-29

    NAM blipmap looks very bearish for Thermals on Saturday, but maybe Offshore wave?
    Friday looks interesting for cu.

    Ramy

  4. #4
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    Re: Coming Weekend Outlook: Mar 28-29

    Saturday's forecast pooped out with dry thermals to 9–10 K on the range. Sunday looks better with a few scraps on the range. I'm committed already so will be up for the weekend.
    Kemp
    ASH-25 (FNX)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
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    641

    Re: Coming Weekend Outlook: Mar 28-29

    Robert is hiding from the North Wind in FNX's trailer....or hoping to catch a ride later with Kempton and Jerry.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    As of 09:50 winds are from the NNW 15-20mph gusting to 25mph

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
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    WSC, San Anselmo
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    447

    Re: Coming Weekend Outlook: Mar 28-29

    Robert - you get the creative cat award!
    Any flight reports?
    Ginny Farnsworth G3
    Past President
    Valley Soaring Association

  7. #7
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    988

    Re: Coming Weekend Outlook: Mar 28-29

    Considering how poor the forecast looked, the soaring turned out decent. But that was not the "best" part of the day for me. Read on....

    At the airport by 10:15a, Jerry & I prepped FNX for it's first flight since October. North wind blowing, but it's warming up and there's little wind forecast on the ridge, so I'm thinking that it might just be sustainable. I told Jerry it's going to be a lot of grinding around, is he up for that? Of course!

    Launch at 1:40p, we note the light to medium cirrus moving in from the NW. Scott Doctor is off an hour ahead of us in MG, and Ray follows shortly after. Jerry & I tow to Stonyford & glide into St. John, where the ridge works with 3-4 knots to 9,500. Head over to the west for another climb to 10K+ and then north. It's pretty buoyant air, so we bounce along on a line from Snow to Black Butte, well west of the East ridge line. We'd like to get to the big burn area S of Black Butte before the cirrus shades it. The burn area is in the shade and doesn't work, so we retreat to previous lift on the way to Goat.

    Ray made it to Black Butte ahead of us, while Scott needs to land at Cooks. We head back to watch the aero retrieve from Cooks, orbiting at 3,000 ft. Uneventful aerotow, with Rex flying over in the Cub to run the wing. Everyone lands back at WSC ahead of us.

    Winds still are NNW on the ground, Noelle reporting 13-14 but I think it might be underreported as the anemometer is in the lee of the new hangar. So I mentally add another 5-8 knots to my usual approach speed of 60 knots. On final for the north wind landing, at 65-68 knots, it's clear I am way too fast.

    In my haste once on the ground to slow down, I start hauling on the brake BEFORE going to negative flap, so the tail is light and we start to nose over. Crap! I ease off the brake to gently get the tail down, go to minus flap, then come to a stop in the middle of the runway.

    So let's see, 1) misjudged winds leading to 2) getting spooked with the unexpected ground speed, which 3) invoked the lizard brain that 4) short circuited procedure, leading to (almost) banging the tail, but recovering, then 5) forgetting to clear the runway. Anything else?! Good thing I'm clearing those winter cobwebs, if only at the risk of busting our tail boom.....

    Of course, Rex watches this whole show. He suggests that perhaps improvements can be made by a slower approach. Like at the yellow triangle on the airspeed indicator. But that is 49 knots!!!! What about the wind? He notes that the stall for the ASH-25 is under 40 knots, and even slower with full landing flap. So on final, the yellow triangle give plenty of buffer unless it's gusty and/or the ground wind is >25 knots or so. I can't recall ever having tested FNX stall, only thinking of stall in thermaling turns, which of course is much higher at 50 knots or so.

    Now for the "best" part mentioned above.

    I decide to practice now (5p). After all, there are not that many modest N wind days where I'm not feeling on a schedule and have a co-pilot on hand. Jerry is up for it, so we take a pattern tow. Off tow, we do straight ahead slow flight and indeed get it down to 38 knots with no stall. Wallowing, but no stall. I still can't get myself to a 49 knot approach speed, so I say to Jerry "let's do 55 knots". The approach is of course, shallower than at 65 knots, so I'm a bit nervous and cut the corner to final. We stop in a bit shorter distance, but I forgot to clear the runway. Rex notes the improvement, but still can do shorter.

    Launch again. This time I tell Jerry, "ok, 52 knots". I square up the base to final turn to give more time to stabilize the approach. Just as nervous with this even "shallower" approach, but we touch properly tail first and get off the runway by the last hangar. Better....

    Launch again. *big breath* "we will do 50 knots." Even shallower, and still nervous, ready to dump the nose. This time we stop before the last hangar. Amazing. I've been flying FNX for 8 years, and never *really* focused on my short field technique. Just because I have the landing flap, I thought that was enough.

    So the point is, long held beliefs that are not quite correct, reinforced by years of no negative consequence, can be a high risk esp. in a particular situation. In my case, an Open class ship with landing flaps gives more safety margin on the low speed end than I was using.

    This was an eye-opener for me and Jerry, and I'm very thankful for Rex's sharing of his views. I've never landed FNX that short before, and will be practicing that on every flight. Always something to learn, esp. with the deep knowledge amongst WSC pilots!
    Last edited by Kempton; 03-29-2015 at 10:05 PM.
    Kemp
    ASH-25 (FNX)

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