Monday, February 23, 2009

Petersburg Wave Camp - Sunday

We all woke early and walked a few blocks to a small restaurant for breakfast. The sun hadn't risen yet but there was enough light for us to examine the cloud cover for signs of wave. We couldn't be sure, but there seemed to be a repeating pattern parallel to the ridge in the overcast. By the time we walked out it was certain, WAVE!

Preparing the Lambada for first flight of the day.

Phil and Jeff were first up. They had a fantastic flight encountering wave low and riding it up to 15,500.

Back inside Craig reviewed the forecasted winds and moisture aloft and gave us a very accurate prediction of what I would later encounter in my flight with Jeff.

Larry Stahl, Grant County Airport operator is a wealth of knowledge and experience in all aspects of aviation and wave soaring.

Others flew on Sunday also. Below the 1-26 is readied for flight. I missed photographing the Blanik L-23 on take off while helping rig the Discus, then again on landing while Jeff and I were up.

Warren attaching the tow rope to the Hawk XP tow plane.

Taking up slack on 1-26

After resting and warming up Jeff and I took to the air. Flying under and ahead of the rotor we had hoped to again catch the wave down low. Finding sink which at one point was close to 2,000 fpm we powered up and climbed closer to the leading edge of the secondary rotor cloud.

Just ahead of the rotor cloud we encountered choppy but strong lift that carried us up into the wave and a smooth climb to 13,500.

From the secondary wave we traded some altitude and advanced forward to the primary in hope of additional height but only climbed back to about 12,500'. As explained by Craig earlier the forecasts called for decreasing winds at this height which cut off wave development above.

Identifying landmarks below

Descending past clouds

Returning to W99 we played around with the ridge lift along Charlie's Knob before turning in towards the airport and this beautiful sight of clouds, snow and sunshine. We were up about 2.5 hours and used the engine only for take off and the initial climb into lift ahead of the rotor. The rest of the time it was left idling at zero thrust.

I would like to thank all the fine people I met at the W99 Wave Camp. You made me feel welcome. It was enjoyable listening to all the stories. I was impressed with the knowledge and helpful advice shared between all the sailplane pilots and our tow pilot who offered suggestions for the best way to get into the wave.

Next time I plan to bring both my Libelle and many questions. Wave soaring is a totally new experience for me.

Most of all, thank you to my good friend Jeff for inviting me down and making an unforgettable weekend possible.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Petersburg Wave Camp - Saturday

Lake effect snow carried in on strong NW winds prevented Jeff and Warren from flying down Friday. Phil and I drove and arrived at the Hermitage in Petersburg at midnight under starry skies. The better weather forecast for Saturday in NY blew in overnight and Jeff's Lambada made the flight in 2:45 landing here before 11:00.

Right away Warren, who volunteered to help during the week, was trained on procedures and safely issues by our towpilot.

Sunny skies and south winds gave us a beautiful day for sightseeing over the hills and valleys to the west. South winds blow parallel to the ridge and thus little ridge and no wave. However with the flexibility offered by a motor-glider we were able to explore through the hills. We found localized areas of lift on the windward faces. But more interestingly just southwest of Grant County airport downwind of the end of the ridge was an area of convergence where air divided to either side of the hills rejoined and pushed upward.

Phil flew out first with Jeff. Later Jeff and I flew up the Potomac river gorge then across the ridge to Seneca Rocks. Beautiful terrain and a place I am looking forward to exploring on foot sometime soon.

Over the Potomac River gorge.

Cliffs along the Potomac River gorge.

A room with a view.

Lower Hills Below Dolly Sod

Seneca Rocks

Petersburg, WV

Once flying was done for the day 7 of us drove back to the Hermitige Inn for dinner and flying talk.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Air to Air

Returning from a cruise around CNY where we visited Moravia, Cortland and Camillus, Jeff and I met up with one of his hangar-mates as he departed Skaneateles. Jeff established radio contact and we joined up for some photos.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Otisco Lake Fly-in

A lake frozen solid,

Warm southerly breezes,

Plenty of food,


Friends (old and new),



Piper J4

Aeronca Champ

Rides and Flying

Frank solo

Phil and Frank

Sharon and Frank

Sharon and Frank on take-off

J4 Fly-by

Champ Fly-by

The warm southwest breeze was a welcome break from the frigid air that we have had in the northeast for most days since December. The strong winds aloft did prevent a few planes from completing the flight westbound from the Cooperstown area forcing them to turn back as their ground speed dropped to unacceptable levels. The surface winds weren't too strong and the air was mostly smooth down low over the lake so later in the day Frank gave rides.

For those that made it, Kate and Frank had plenty of food and good times for all. Sausage sandwiches, chili, cornbread, baked macaroni & cheese, cookies and cupcakes, plus much more. There was plenty of flying talk and a lot of catching up with friends we normally only see during the soaring season.

Much thanks for a wonderful afternoon to our hosts - Frank and Kate