August 1999 Air Currents


The Arizona Soaring Association is a chapter of the Soaring Society of America. It is a non-profit corporation in the State of Arizona for the purpose of fostering the sport and science of soaring and educating the public on motorless flight in Arizona.

Officers and Directors, 1999

President John Goodman 395-9334 
Vice President Peter Van Camp 842-2953
Secretary Bob Blakemore 483-6482 
Treasurer Cliff Hilty 374-5387
Director Carol Patterson 561-5454 
Director Rick Rubscha 878-6750
Director Kirk Stant 933-1572 
Director Jason Stephens 545-0965
Director Mike McNulty 994-9658


Ship Manager Kirk Stant 933-1572 
Contest Manager Tony Smolder 942-6519
Equipment Rick Rubscha 878-6750 
Legal Advisor Peter Van Camp 842-2953
Membership Arnie Jurn 279-7840 
Newsletter Ed Carol Patterson 561-5454
Airspace Mike McNulty 994-9658 
Safety Jason Stephens 545-0965
Historian Ruth Petry 274-3968 
Social Director Patti Johnson 374-5387


Tuesday, August 24, 7pm General Membership Meeting Barros Pizza - Coral Gables & 7th Street, Phoenix
Tuesday, September 7, 7pm Board Meeting Barros Pizza - Coral Gables & 7th Street, Phoenix


Date Location CD

March 6 Estrella (Practice) None (Practice Day)
March 7 Estrella (Practice) None (Practice Day)

March 20 Turf (Practice) None (Practice Day)
March 21 Turf (Practice) None (Practice Day)

April 3 Estrella Cliff Hilty
April 4 Estrella Neal Olshan

April 17 Turf Bob Blakemore
April 18 Turf Bob von Hellens

May 1 El-Tiro Oliver Spatscheck
May 2 El-Tiro Rick Rubscha

May 15 Estrella Bill Poore
May 16 Estrella Andy Durbin

May 29 Willcox Neil McLeod
May 30 Willcox Bill Prokes
May 31 Willcox Kirk Stant

July 24 Turf Mike Parker
July 25 Turf Ralph Bergh

August 7 Estrella Barbara MacLean
August 8 Estrella Casey Lenox

August 21 Turf Mike McNulty
August 22 Turf Hans Heydrich

September 11 Estrella Tony Smolder
September 12 Estrella Alan Reeter

September 25 El-Tiro Nilton Renno
September 26 El-Tiro John Leibacher

Other Contest Dates

June 7 - 11 Region 9 - Penrose, Colorado

June 15 - 24 Standard Class Nationals - Minden, Nevada

July 6 - 15 15 Meter Nationals - Hobbs, New Mexico

"As Good As It Gets"
Memoirs of Parowan
By Bob Blakmore

It is Friday July 9, 1999 in Parowan, Utah. The brilliant array of light cast by the setting sun is fading on the horizon leaving only the faintly lit shadows of the red rock mountains and the canyons that they form. Seven days have passed since the first of the Aqua Fria River Racers (AFRR) arrived from Phoenix with fiber-glass in tow. The time has been full of laughter, of stories, and experiences bountiful enough to hold for another year. The remaining warriors who have dared to challenge Mother Nature in these raw and unforgiving elements are quietly pondering this great expanse of space, their time and its passage.

On Saturday July 3, 1999 the launch was nasty due to strong winds, but once aloft the fleet was able to cover some spectacular distances with cloud bases at 18k. The radio waves were full of chatter as the group swirled and each, in turn, flung himself high above the glacial lakes; snow covered peaks, and green valley floors. CH covered the greatest distance going some 378 miles, which included Bryce Canyon as a turn-point. Bryce, in case you don't know, is two mountain ridges east of Parowan-mighty lonely out there with lots of high peaks in between. Several of the takeoffs were entertaining-but none provided the circus thrills of one VC.

Prior to liftoff (behind an Ag Cat it is, indeed, liftoff) VC's eyes were as big as silver dollars and his pulse and respiration rates were erratic. As the 650 hp of the Ag Cat (450 at 6k) released the brakes, the dance began. VC politely shuffled left, then right, tail up, tail down and then, with flare, yanked her into the prop wash and held his position. It was a wonderful demonstration of piloting skills as he hung in low tow for the length of the runway weaving and bobbing along with wings sharply up and then down just to give the crowd some extra thrills. It wasn't until later in the week at the "Big Party" that we came to understand that he is indeed an accomplished ballroom dancer.

Tuesday July 6, 1999 was the land out day. Only the local fliers were able to beat the thunderstorms back to the airport as they rushed down from the mountain ranges above, spilling into the valley floor north of the field. The high winds and heavy rains cut off the fleet returning from Payson and other points north forcing all but 6K into the Beaver Muni Airport. 6K landed at Sulfur-Dale without incident but was fortunate to have dodged a bullet with the heavy under-growth and desert like landscape. 2B also landed out just short of Parowan, but more on that later. As word came back to the command center at Parowan it begin to look like a logistical nightmare: AJ, PT, CH, TS1, BP, KC, and S4 all down at Beaver.

With A5 working the command center all other AFRRs poured into vehicles and headed north in a driving rainstorm. The approach to the field was accomplished in superb fashion (only minor navigational errors) and much to the delight of the ground crews all the fiberglass appeared to be intact. As the pilots began to "re-hydrate" (have-coolers will-travel) the retelling of this historical event began to unfold. It seems that KC was the last to arrive in the area and was uncertain as to the exact location of the airport and his fellow fliers resorted to an ingenious plan to aid with the navigation. As the story goes they first stood at attention and then in unison turned, dropped pants, and bent over. The idea was that the low light would be reflected skyward-sending out a beacon of sorts. It worked fine and as KC swooped in for the look-see he was able to cross the field near redline (broke the finish altitude rule) zoom skyward (as only he can) and land safely. That, of course, helps ex-plain what happened next.

The last ground crew to arrive was Ms. CH. To help with the confusion (oxymoron) CH was directing her route with the use of a handheld. Ms. CH was remarking that she was not in need of assistance by virtue of her escort. "Escort?" says CH. "Escort." says Ms. CH. At that moment, appearing from behind the hangars was Ms. CH and two Sheriff's deputies. They had received a report that there was "drinking and display" going on at the airport-an unusual moment for these parts. As CH rushed to the defense (beer in cup holder) he confirmed that only a small amount of drinking by a select few had occurred and then only in the context of the moment-or something to that effect. Being a professional public servant whose experience in these matters is beyond reproach he was able to dialogue our collective way out of Beaver and back to the command post. To the little ole' lady in the mobile home-have a nice day!

Now for 2B. "Parowan ground, 2B over". "2B, Parowan ground, go ahead". "Parowan ground, 2B, 15k and 15 miles inbound; what's the weather like?" "2B, winds are confused and gusting, rain showers all over the area." We can only wish that this had occurred as it turns out he was 15k and 15 miles but no one heard the call and as a consequence 2B pressed for home. Shortly after this transmission the really nice dark cloud that he was flying under decided that it was time for the show of the day. First light rain, then heavier, a little lightening, then heavier; and for the finale' all kinds of rain with a microburst thrown in for fun. In heavy rain, no forward visibility, and one mile from the airport, 2B in a quick scan of the panel, noted that his speed was 100kts and altitude 6k-ground level. As he squinted out through the plexiglas he saw something approaching directly in his flight path-a billboard sign. Murphy was about to take over. He veered to the right, intent on landing straight ahead-then came the barbed wire fence. Calmly he eased back on the control in-put, crossing over the fence and then just as methodically slowed the aircraft for a belly landing. The PIK skidded to a stop 300 yards west of the freeway and a half-mile from the approach end of runway 22 Parowan. 2B was un-hurt; aircraft badly damaged.

The week was also full of other exciting events such as JT1's (a.k.a. Rocket Man) demonstration of his jet-powered three wheeler. Hand built and crafted with custom design galore he frequently lit the fire, and with a sound rivaling that of a flight of F16's, motored around the airport. The flame throwing and noise deafening site and sounds will be remembered by all. Also for the delight of the crowd was 2B's aerial demonstration and aerobatics with, of all things, a RC helicopter. His skills were impressive as inverted flight, rolls, outside loops, or autorotations seemed mundane to this experienced pilot. We were also treated to the traditional fireworks display by 6K and the grandkids. It was particularly impressive the night BP helped with the use of a cigar.

Our hats are off to PT. His hospitality was only exceeded by his generosity, as on at least three occasions he prepared the food and then served twenty-five people from the motor home. Spaghetti, chicken, hamburgers, and yes, steak and lobster on the "Big Party" night. Party central as it has become commonly known should be re-named to Goodman B&B Fine Dining. PT standing at the door of the motor home, sun shade out, carpet all around, music playing away, coolers strewn about, with the big smile asking, "Who wants more; still plenty to go around." Thank you PT.

Other honorable mention candidates for turkey or eagle awards might be A5, for example. His departure from the field in AS certainly was impressive, or BP for his triple-sow-cow on land-ing. There was LB1, who drove all night, put together, filled with H20, and then took off crossways. Don't suppose sleep deprivation had anything to do with that. Not to be forgotten was the "great parachute" drop by CH. 2B by this time had a busted airplane and a broken helicopter but was still looking skyward. Against the bookies advice in Vegas, CH rented a power machine and took 2B to cloud base and let'im go. A very impressive free fall was followed by deployment and a huge sigh of relief by the onlookers. Amazing. The end of this story be-gins at the beginning. On that last night in the twilight after all the adventures, the parties, the laughter, and the fine food the group quietly huddled around a 14 inch TV to watch a movie fitting for the occasion: Always. The human spirit and the bond that it creates is an amazing thing. No words were necessary, everyone was sensing the passion of life and the endurance of friendships, each in his or her own way, knowing that this is "as good as it gets".

Arizona Soaring Association Board Meeting Minutes: June 1, 1999

The meeting was held at Barros Pizza, Coral Gables & 7th St. Phoenix, Arizona.

The meeting was called to order at 7:30 PM, A quo-rum was present.

Attending: Bob Blakemore
Cliff Hilty
John Goodman
Kirk Stant
Carol Patterson
Rick Rubscha
Mike McNulty
Peter Van Camp

President John Goodman asked that the minutes of the May board meeting be submitted and approved. There being no amendments the minutes were approved as read.

President Goodman then proceeded with the commit-tee reports. Cliff Hilty gave the treasurers report, which showed that income exceeded expenses for the period beginning April 21, 1999 and ending June 2, 1999 by $862.55. The checking account balance was $4,316.60 and the savings account $12,642.48. There were no outstanding bills to report.

Kirk Stant gave the aircraft operating report and up-dated the board on the condition of both the Grob 102 and the Lark. The board then considered an ex-tension of the two-year rule for those members who had participated in the coupon offering for the acqui-sition of the Lark. It was decided that the two-year rule would begin once the Lark was fully operational thereby not penalizing those who had pre-purchased flying time. Kirk expected that the aircraft would be operational within the next week.

The board then considered the candidates for the air-craft manager's position. After some discussion the board approved Jeff Reynolds as the aircraft manager replacing Kirk Stant. President Goodman then ex-pressed to Mr. Stant the association's appreciation for Kirk's dedication and enthusiasm while serving as aircraft manager. John noted that under Kirk's watch the aircraft were maintained in an operational ready mode-with few problems-while operating in the black; quite an accomplishment given the Club's record in this area.

The board then considered and passed a motion waiving the annual aircraft fee for the aircraft manager's position. The aircraft manager will be subject to the same scheduling policies for the aircraft as any other ASA member. Kirk then discussed with the board the outstanding items and agreed to working with Jeff Reynolds during the transitional period.

The board then discussed the upcoming General Membership Meeting and Cliff Hilty's presentation regarding cross-country flight. Their being no further business the meeting adjourned at 9:00 PM.

Bob Blakemore
Safety Corner

I have inserted 2 accident reports from the NTSB at Suggestions are always welcome!
Report 1
NTSB Identification: LAX99MA251
Accident occurred JUL-13-99 at MINDEN, NV
Aircraft: Schempp-Hirth NIMBUS 4DM, registration: N807BB
Injuries: 2 Fatal.
This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be co-rected when the final report has been completed.

On July 13, 1999, at 1310 hours Pacific daylight time, a Schempp-Hirth Nimbus 4DM motorized glider, N807BB, experienced an in-flight breakup while maneuvering near Minden, Nevada. The commercial glider pilot and a passenger were fatally injured and the glider was destroyed. The personal flight was operated by the owner/pilot under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91. No flight plan was filed for the local flight. The glider is certificated in the United States in the experimental category for exhibition and racing. A production glider in Germany, a standard/utility category airworthiness certificate was issued by the German civil aviation authority. The glider departed from Minden airport at 1240. A glider pilot witness stated he was soaring about 1,000 feet below the accident glider. The witness observed the glider in a high-speed spiral with a 45-degree nose down attitude. After two full rotations, the rotation stopped, the flight stabilized on a north easterly heading, and the nose pitched further down to a near vertical attitude. The glider was observed to level its attitude, with the wings bending upward and the wing tips coning higher. The outboard wing tip panels departed from the glider, the wings disintegrated, and the fuselage dove into the ground. Other witnesses have subsequently stated the glider was in a tight turn, as if climbing in a thermal, when it entered the spiral. The glider appeared to be recovering from a spin. A second witness was in another glider between 9,000 and 10,000 feet and observed portions of the accident sequence. He immediately headed for the airport to report the accident and encountered "very turbulent" conditions with a sudden 40-knot airspeed increase. He characterized the conditions as "more choppy than normal" and further stated that "controllability was not unmanageable but was rough." The glider is composite construction. Reconstruction of the glider revealed that all primary and secondary flight control surfaces, including mass balance weights, were within the wreckage distribution path. Control system continuity was established.

Report 2
NTSB Identification: MIA99LA197
Accident occurred JUL-15-99 at JACKSONVILLE, FL
Aircraft: Let L-23, registration: N254BA
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.
This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.

On July 15, 1999, about 1400 eastern daylight time, a Let Blanik L-23 glider, N254BA, registered to the North Florida Soaring Society Inc., collided with a tree while on approach to the Herlong Airport, Jacksonville, Florida. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time, and no flight plan was filed for the 14 CFR Part 91 local personal flight. The glider was substantially damaged. The commercial rated pilot and one passenger reported no injuries. The flight had departed from the same airport at an unknown time. The glider was on approach to the airport, and landed short of the intended touchdown point, in a tree, about 3 1/2 miles north of the airport. According to the pilot, the glider encountered an unexpected sink before "pancaking" in a tree.


Subject: Row Row Row Your Boat
Date: Thu, 22 Jul

The Navy and the Air Force decided to have a canoe
race on the Potomac River. Both teams practiced hard
and long to reach their peak performance before the
race. On the big day, the Navy won by a mile.

Afterwards, the Air Force team became very discouraged
and depressed. The officers of the Air Force team
decided that the reason for the crushing defeat had to
be found. A "Metrics Team," made up of senior officers
was formed to investigate and recommend appropriate
action. Their conclusion was that the Navy had 8
seamen rowing and 1 officer steering, while the Air
Force had 1 airman rowing and 8 officers and NCOs
steering. So the senior officers of the Air Force team
hired a consulting company and paid them incredible
amounts of money. They advised that too many people
were steering the boat and not enough people were

To prevent losing to the Navy again the next year, the
Air Force Chief of Staff made historic and sweeping
changes: the rowing team's organizational structure
was totally realigned to 4 steering officers, 3 area
steering superintendents and 1 assistant superintendent
steering NCO. They also implemented a new performance
system that would give the 1 airman rowing the boat
greater incentive to work harder. It was called the
"Air Force Rowing Team Quality Program", with
meetings, dinners, and a three-day pass for the rower. "We must
give the rower empowerment and enrichment through this
quality program".

The next year the Navy won by 2 miles. Humiliated, the
Air Force leadership gave a letter of reprimand to the
rower for poor performance. Initiated a $4 billion
program for development of a new joint-service canoe,
blamed the loss on a design defect in the paddles, and
issued career continuation bonuses and leather rowing
jackets to the beleaguered steering officers in the
hopes they would stay for next year's race.

. . . meanwhile, the Army team is still trying to
figure out why the oars keep making divots in the
grass when they're rowing. .

Cliff Hilty (CH) Ventus B
If we are all just dust in the wind, then I want to be at the top of a "Huge Dust Devil"