From the Editor

In my zeal to make sure Air Currents was published on time last month, I neglected to include some information I had received. First, Bob von Hellens included a map showing his route of flight during the El Tiro Dash. Since nearly all the submissions I receive now days are electronic format, I forgot about the map he included in the hard copy of the article. Secondly, Tony Smolder sent me a summary of the 1996 contest series in October. There wasn’t room for this article in the November issue, and I forgot to roll it over into the December issue. Both of these items have been included in this issue.

I want to apologize to both these gentlemen for the oversight. The last thing the editor of Air Currents wants to do is discourage submissions! So, my New Years resolution is to be more diligent in keeping track of submissions and making sure they get published promptly.

Two Place Ship Resolved (finally)

December saw a flurry of activity regarding the resolution of what has become known to the ASA Board as "the two place ship issue". On Wednesday, December 18 there was a special board meeting called to talk with John Neel regarding the Janus. In addition to three board members, several interested ASA members also attended. John was the successful bidder for the Janus, and was in town after taking possession earlier that day.

John provided a review of the condition of the ship, his plans for fixing it, his financing requirements, and the documentation he had received with the aircraft. Due to the short notice of the meeting, a quorum of the board was not present so no definitive offer could be made at that time. The meeting was adjourned with a promise to John to let him know the ASA response by the first of the next week (December 22).

Another board meeting was held the following Saturday, December 21. A quorum was present at this meeting and the Janus proposal was discussed extensively. After considering all aspects of the purchase of the Janus, the board unanimously decided not to make John a offer for the ship. Although there were a number of factors that influenced this decision, the primary factor was that the purchase financing as well as the ongoing financial support needed for the Janus would be too great a burden.

Following this decision, other ideas for replacing the Blanik were discussed. Finally, the board decided to abandon the two place ship idea and look into a single place ship. The feeling was that a single place 15 meter glass ship would get flown enough to support itself, and provide a means for club members to move up to higher performance aircraft. In addition, it was felt that since there are two FBO’s nearby, two place ships are available for giving rides and flight checks.

A call was made to Bob Blakemore to see if he would consider selling his Grob 102 to the club. (For those of you who haven’t heard, Bob recently purchased a beautiful Nimbus 3.) Bob was open to the idea, and after some short negotiations, the board voted unanimously to extend an offer to Bob, which he subsequently accepted.

The ship (KG) is currently at Appleby’s being fitted with a new canopy and having a little trailer rash cleaned up. It should be back in town by mid-January. The board is working up the flight qualifications necessary to fly this ship and this will certainly be a key agenda item at the January 17th board meeting. The results will be presented at the January general membership meeting on the 28th. The current plan is to base the ship at Estrella so it can be stored assembled in the hangar.

Please contact a board member if you have any suggestions or comments about how to get the greatest use out of this ship for all club members.

Lee Imlay Illness

by Bill Ordway

Many of us have come to know and appreciate ASA members Lee and Boots Imlay as good friends over the many years these two long-time soaring enthusiasts have unselfishly volunteered at various jobs during our contests and weekend activities.

Lee has been undergoing chemotherapy treatments for liver cancer for the last several months. It’s a tough battle, and if you have a chance, you might want to give him a call (961-1195) or arrange a visit at his Stellar Airpark home. Both Lee and Boots would enjoy hearing from their soaring friends.

January Meeting Program

by Jim Burch

I have invited Luke AFB controllers Monty Harshner and Mark Springer to our January 28 meeting. Monty is the controller who helped with the radar reflector tests and Mark will be his replacement when Monty leaves next year. Monty will be prepared to make a brief presentation, to be followed by an open discussion of how we can work together for everyone’s benefit.

For those whose mental image of a controller is an uncompromising authority figure whose main objective is to thwart glider pilot’s objectives, Monty will be a big surprise. I have found him anxious to understand all aspects of a problem before reaching any conclusions. He has made a sincere effort to learn the capabilities and limitations of glider flight, and I expect the discussion at the meeting to be a continuation of that education. I urge all members to come and hear what Monty has to say and to participate in those discussions.

Board Election Results

You may have noticed a few name changes on the inside front cover of Air Currents as a result of the new board members being elected at the December general membership meeting (AKA the Christmas Party). With more candidates than positions available, we actually had to distribute ballots and choose four out of six nominees.

It turned out to be a very close race, with only a few votes separating all six candidates. When the final numbers were tallied, the following members (listed alphabetically) were elected to the board:

Bill Bartell

Jim Burch

Tony Smolder

Jeff Turner

The following board members will continue to serve for the second year of their two year term:

Hans Heydrich

Jim Dickson

Ken Olson

Sally Sisson

Please be sure to contact these members to share your opinions and concerns so they my adequately represent all the members of the Arizona Soaring Association.

*Note: Officers will be elected by the Board at the January board meeting.

ASA Contest Series - 1996 Summary

by Tony Smolder

What a great contest season we had in 1996, with record participation and good weather enabling us to go fast and far. Looking over the previous 6 years of the contest series the 1996 season proved to be one of the best and a record breaker in several categories, such as:

As you can see 1996 was not just a good year but a great one! Let’s all hope that 1997 is as good because with the increase we are seeing in the number of contest pilots we are sure to bust some of the 1996 contest season records wide open.

Annual Annual Event

by Doug Bell

I was hoping to have the date finalized by this point, but have been unable to contact Larry Clark (our resident IA) to confirm. I am trying to see if we can schedule it on Saturday, February 22nd and possibly Sunday the 23rd if there is sufficient interest. Check the February issue of Air Currents for the latest info.

Last Issue of Air Currents?

If you have not renewed you membership in ASA, this will be your last issue of Air Currents. Plus you’ll miss out on all the other membership benefits. So contact Arnie Jurn to make sure you’ve renewed for 1997.

News, Gossip, Etc.

"Here comes Blakemore, everybody run!" That could be what’s heard on the line as Bob pulls in trailering his new ship - a Nimbus 3! Yep, Bob’s moved up to the big time, all 25 meters worth. The 4 piece wing is essentially a Ventus wing with a 5 meter extension at each wing root. Rigging this beast takes a while longer than a 15 meter ship, but it is a thing of beauty when it’s fully assembled. Bob has made a few flights in this ship and reports that the thing just doesn’t want to come down.

KG, Bob’s previous ship - a Grob 102, has been purchased by ASA. Don’t know what the contest numbers for the new ship, but several suggestions have been made:

That’s right Bob, no more excuses. No more B class, no more "over the dam at ten thousand", no more incomplete tasks, and certainly no more landouts. Get high, fly far (really far), fly fast. And if you see Bob pull up to the line trailering what looks like a 15 meter trailer, just remember the beast within.

Soaring at the El Tiro Dash

by Bob von Hellens

(This is a reprint of last month’s article, but this time I’ve included the barograph trace and GPS plot Bob provided that I neglected to include in the last issue - ed)

Each of us flies for very personal and private reasons that are seldom voiced. One of the goals I sought to achieve at the El Tiro Dash was to truly soar. This contest is a particularly well suited forum because we can fly via any turnpoint we choose for as long as we want yet there is a competitive edge to push one's personal envelope as every other pilot is doing the same thing.

The weather on October 5, 1996 produced clouds extending from south of Ajo Road (about 30 miles away) into Mexico, but few signs of lift from Ajo Road north to the El Tiro airport (2,100' MSL). At the time of my takeoff at noon, there were a few more northerly clouds to the southwest but they were over the landable but unretrievable valley north of Kitt Peak. After some agonizing and self-recrimination for taking off too early, an area of zero sink turned into an acceptable thermal (a - see GPS graph); a much stronger twin brother (b) was found a few hundred yards away. At about 5,000', I noticed wisps developing over the valley to the southeast and when I reached 6,000', a defined cloud had formed sufficiently to entice me to it and out on course. My first thermal (1 - see GPS track) took me to about 10,000' and I was tempted to head straight south but as I was over a non-distinct part of the valley that couldn't be used for a turnpoint to establish a dogleg going south (and get credit for more distance flown), I headed for Wassoon Peak (4,687') and then south. The clouds in the distance were difficult to evaluate for lift so I flew over Ryan Field as a turnpoint to give me freedom of choice of direction. Close to the edge of the clouds I hit a difficult to work thermal (2) and left it with a 1,500' gain. A teaser thermal 10 miles further was only worth one circle. In the foothills north of Keystone Peak, my third thermal (3) provided about a 2,000' gain sufficient to fly over and be disappointed by the lack of thermal activity at Keystone Peak. About three miles south, I hit a strong thermal (4) up to about 12,000' -- now, it was getting to be fun. The clouds to the south looked good and I followed them slowing down in lift and speeding up in sink, as reflected by the spacing of the 4 second interval dots on the accompanying GPS generated plan view. At a peak marked 4,565' just west of Nogales and shy of Mexico I turned north. As we can use any feature identifiable on a sectional map as a turnpoint, mountain peaks are particularly useful. Heading north, I deviated west from peak 4,974' (east of Tubac) to peak 5,319' (north of Arrivaca). From there the clouds curved to the northwest to peak 6,529' east of Kitt Peak; this run produced segments of strong lift and I had a 3,000' foot gain flying slowly straight ahead (see x on graph). A solid looking line of east-west clouds to Sells was too tempting to pass up in spite of the terrain. No matter how I weaved north and south, I could find no lift, only sink or stronger sink. After my turnpoint (hill 3,381') south of Sells, the clouds toward Baboquivari Peak (7,784') look good. Fooled again. Sink and more sink. I could see strong dust devils in the scrubland south toward Mexico but the lack of roads or habitation dissuaded me from diving for them (but, had I been higher?). About two-thirds of the way to Baboquivari Peak, I was no longer sure that I could cross the associated Baboquivari range. Hate the feeling of resignation when a plan seems not to work. A lighter looking cloud was just ahead and maybe it would work. It did and provided about a 2,500' gain (y) flying straight ahead so I easily cleared Baboquivari Peak. A line of clouds to the north took me east of Kitt Peak and to peak 6,529' as a turnpoint. The somewhat disorganized clouds to Keystone Peak looked pretty good and that became my next goal. The last part of this leg had uncooperative clouds or at least I could find no source of lift feeding them. I arrived about 200' over the antennas at Keystone Peak (6,188') and there was nothing despite the cloud cover. A large exploratory circle caused loss of altitude.

Looking up, I saw a bright white cloud just south of the cloud cover that looked promising but I had to find its source. Two diverging ridges extending south formed a box canyon that might be triggering a thermal as a result of the 6 mph wind from the south and I headed for it. Although I was above the ridges, there was not much room to maneuver but I found 300 fpm lift. It quickly increased to 500 fpm, then 800 fpm and the last 3,000' feet to 13,300' (500' below the cloud) was at 1,200' fpm on my averager. Between my fourth thermal and this one, my fifth thermal, I had flown a distance of 153 miles at an average speed of 96.8 mph. This distance without thermalling was my personal best by a large margin.

The clouds to the south still looked pretty good and I planned on retracing my earlier course. About halfway, a good line of clouds extended southeast and I followed it to peak 6,004' just north of Rio Rico. I had been watching the clouds along the Santa Rita range to the east, but they did not look very active. Nevertheless, they were tempting but a quick reality check reminded me of the unfriendly ground should I be low and the clouds not have lift under them. The Continental Strip seemed safe and I flew to it with small deviations to use the lift afforded by clouds along the way. To the west, the clouds were stratifying and a good looking cumulus close to Mt. Fagan (6,189') tempted me to fly east. Some serious sink along the way provided a close look at the peak. The good looking cumulus I had passed on my way in worked well for my sixth (6) thermal and lifted me at about 600 fpm.

As it was getting late and time to get closer to El Tiro, I flew back to Continental and then west-north-west. Over the mines west of Green Valley, I realized that the line of clouds north from Keystone Peak had very little depth. Nevertheless, I thought I might find some lines of lift under them if I headed for Robles Junction. Long stretches of 300-500 fpm sink took their toll and I was well below the max L/D glide path to El Tiro. In fact, the Taylor strip was in doubt as a place to land. Halfway to the Taylor strip, I felt some burbles of lift but nothing workable; I just traded kinetic energy for potential energy and back to kinetic energy for a net loss.

A cloud southeast of Taylor strip looked promising if I could find the source of lift quickly without hitting too much sink. I lucked out and cored a 400 fpm thermal (my seventh) that took me up high enough for a final glide at a 3 knot McCready setting to El Tiro. With a conventional contest finish, my Discus landed at 4:41 PM.

Some readers may wonder why I left the seventh thermal well before cloud base as it would have let me fly many more miles. The answer is very simple -- inadequate preparation before the flight. My bladder had not been evacuated before takeoff and I had no means for doing so in flight without embarrassing myself.

Some statistics: distance: 331 miles; time: 4:41 hrs; average speed from takeoff to landing: 70.68 mph; number of thermals worked on course: 7; miles per thermal: 47.3 (also a personal best). All in all, a wonderful satisfying soaring flight on my birthday.

Pre-season Contest Warm-up

by Tony Smolder

Listed below are some days that have been designated as pre-contest series practice days. The purpose is to get out and fly, have fun, and enjoy some friendly, informal competition, and provide a purpose in your flying. Tasks will be called, and flown on the honor system. Scores will be calculated for informational purposes only and will not be part of the regular contest series. If you can’t make them all, try to make a couple of them and shake out the cobwebs. Hope to see you there.

Saturday Feb 15 Estrella

Saturday Mar 1 Turf

Sat-Sun Mar 15-16 Estrella

Sat-Sun Mar 29-30 Turf

  • Classified

  • For Sale

    Borgelt B-20 computer system. Cambridge M-Nav. Scheumann Vario with averager (model CVA). Oxygen system - E cylinder, A-8 regulator, Scott Mask.

    Call Larry - 971-2467

    A Review of ASA Contest Series Winners

    A-Class Yearly Winners

    Year Pilot Plane

    1978 Wally Raisanen Std. Cirrus

    1979 Wayne Roberts PIK-20D

    1980 John Baird Mini-Nimbus

    1981 Wes Morris Janus

    1982 Bob von Hellens LS-3

    1983 Wally Raisanen Std. Cirrus

    1984 Bob von Hellens LS-3

    1985 Bob von Hellens LS-3

    1986 Wally Raisanen Ventus

    1987 Paul Dickerson Ventus

    1988 Paul Dickerson Ventus

    1989 Steve Fahrner Ventus

    1990 Bob von Hellens Ventus

    1991 Wally Raisanen LS-6b

    1992 Neil McLeod Ventus

    1993 Neil McLeod Ventus

    1994 Mike Parker Ventus

    1995 Alan Reeter LS-6b

    1996 Neil McLeod Ventus

    B-Class Yearly Winners

    Year Pilot Plane

    1978 George Kulesza Tucson Club 1-26

    1979 Curtis Campbell ASA 1-26

    1980 No Award Given This Year

    No one flying B Class ????

    1981 Orcen Irick Medina

    1982 Charles Morris ASA Blanik

    1983 Bob Hurni 1-26

    1984 Bob Hurni 1-26

    1985 Orcen Irick PIK-20

    1986 Jeff Turner Std. Cirrus

    1987 Andy Durbin Std. Jantar

    1988 Bob Hurni 1-26

    1989 Andy Durbin ASW-19

    1990 John Lincoln Nimbus 3

    1991 Arnie Jurn ASW-20

    1992 Arnie Jurn ASW-20

    1993 Doug Bell Duster

    1994 Tony Smolder Std. Cirrus

    1995 Larry Brockman Pegasus

    1996 Hans Heydrich ASW-19

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