The thermal index for this day was good with lift indicated to about 7000msl with CU forming at 5300msl. With this type of sounding, CU can form at lower levels, as it grows and hits the inversion at 7000ft msl, it spreads out in to a semi overcast layer. This is what was happening when I arrived at the field. Since I was late getting there (fixing an underground sprinkler) all aircraft were already out and staged for a 31 operation. Before I arrived, Jim Clark started the flying off with a solo flight in the L-23. He was able to find lift and soar for 42 minutes before the clouds temporarily blocked the sun. Steve Stevens was up next for a soaring flight of 28 minutes. Bob Dyer launched next in his Russia and flew for 30 minutes before landing and joining the “gear up club”. Luckily, there was only minor damage to one of his landing gear doors. I got my Russia out so we had four Russia’s on the field and took some pictures. In the meantime, Anders took the L-23 up for a flight. Whitt had been towing but got into the glider to give an introductory ride and Jaime took over towing duties. Dan Peterson followed with another introductory ride. The skies had cleared somewhat by this time and Mike took his Russia up to test the new canopy. All worked well and he soared for one hour and 56 minutes. Jerry launched next in his Russia but got off tow during another shady period and was back down in 27 minutes. Steve Stevens also slipped into the towplane during this time. I was up next, towed by Paul Jelinek. He let me loose under a cloud and was able to immediately climb to 5300msl (cloud base had risen to near 6000ft msl). While I was up, Bob Arent and Jaime took an instructional flight and then Perry Mitchell launched in his Russia and was up for 56 minutes. Steve Stevens got back into the tow plane and Paul took the L-23 up for a flight of 33 minutes. Jerry Adams launched again in his Russia for a 58 minute flight. Dan Peterson took a friend up in the L-23 followed by Dan Peterson and Bert Aagesen in the L-23 for the hanger flight. I landed after a two hour and 19 minute flight.
I had one scary moment in my flight. I had been flying N.E. of the field for a while and decided to head back over the airport around 5000ft. Monitoring radio traffic told me several gliders were in the area over the field and I was watching out for them. However, after looking down for a moment I looked ahead and there was a glider not 600ft in front of me at my level turning away. How could I have missed him (Mike Boska in his Russia)? The lesson learned for me is to ask the location of other gliders when approaching the airport – don’t just listen. Also, the FLARM system sounds more like a worthwhile investment ( it is an anti-collision system used in European sailplanes – except maybe the mid-air over England recently).
We, ended up with 15 flights for the day – not bad for a weekday.