The 2023 Soaring Season is underway! We flew eight flights today, on what turned out to be a beautiful spring afternoon. The winds were steady but light, the temps ranged from the mid 60’s to the low 70’s, and the cumulus clouds started popping at around 2:00pm. There was lift on day one! Steve R. and I flew the first two flights. Then, we started flying the annual safety flights. I flew one with Steve, followed by Jim D and Steve. Jim and Steve found steady lift under the clouds and stayed up for almost 30 minutes. Next up were Bud S, Bob A, Jacob M, and Jeff F. Bob D. did the towing today.
For a Monday afternoon, there was a lot of activity at the airport. Two helicopters were practicing hovering and auto-rotations, and multiple corporate and private aircraft were in and out of Blair today. A safety note – at one point, there were several garbled/unintelligible radio calls. A student pilot flying a Cessna 172 and practicing touch and go’s responded to the third such radio call and stated that the calls could not be understood. The student had just turned onto his base leg when he made that call. He was on his base leg when a Piper making a straight-in approach was seen climbing hard and banking away from the Cessna. The Piper must have been who was making the garbled radio calls, probably stating his location and intentions to make a straight-in approach for landing on Runway 13. It’s hard to know if he heard the Cessna making his pattern calls, but they were both trying to land on Runway 13 at almost the same time. I think this illustrates the importance of communicating. If a garbled radio call is made, it may be a good idea to respond stating that the previous call was garbled and could not be understood. It could also be helpful to announce your current position, altitude, and intentions.