Air Currents April 2000




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. 

2000 ASA Officers and Directors
President Rick Rubscha 623-878-6750
Vice President Skip Atwell 480-473-1337
Treasurer Mike McNulty 480-473-4480
Secretary Mike Stringfellow 480-595-5450
Director Bob Thompson 602-938-9550
Director Jim Tagliani 602-437-1382
Director Carol Patterson 623-561-5454
Director Steve Oldham 623-214-7424
Director Gary Hedges 480-314-9427
ASA Committees
Aircraft Manager Jeff Reynolds 602-482-9723
Contest Manager Tony Smolder 602-942-6519
Membership Arnie Jurn 602-279-7840
Social Director Bob Blakemore 480-563-0740
Saftey Director Gary Hedges 480-314-9427
Airspace Advisor Mike McNulty 480-473-4480
Newsletter Editor Carol Patterson 623-561-5454
WebSite Administrator Jim Tagliani 602-437-1382
Legal Advisor Peter VanCamp 623-896-9413 n/a
Historian Ruth Petry 602-274-3968 n/a
Program Directors Bob Thompson
Steve Oldham


Tuesday, April 25, 7pm General Membership Meeting Barros Pizza - Coral Gables & 7th Street, Phoenix

Tuesday, May 2, 7pm Board Meeting Barros Pizza - Coral Gables & 7th Street, Phoenix

General Membership Meeting

April 25, 2000

"Orient Gliding Club"

At the April ASA general membership meeting on 4/25/00 Mike Stringfellow will bring his video of a 300K flight he made in January in a Nimbus 3-DM provided by the Orient Gliding Club while visiting in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Bob Thompson..

ASA Statistical Data for April 2000 Web site: Current Membership Count 97, Reciprocal Newsletters 10, Air Currents Circulation for April, 2000 AIR CURRENTS is published monthly but the Arizona Soaring Association to disseminate news, opinion, education and items of interest to members. The subscription rate for non-members is $20/yr. Complimentary copies are mailed to: editors of sister publications on an exchange basis, regular members, advertisers, and non-members who have contributed materials for publication. Articles on any subject pertaining to soaring are welcome. Electronic submissions by Email, modem or IBM compatible floppy disk are preferred. Typed or clearly hand written submissions are also acceptable. Please submit to: Air Currents, c/o Carol Patterson 8903 W. Salter; Peoria, AZ 85283 561-5454. ADVERTISING POLICY: Non-commercial advertising from ASA members will be printed without charge. Other advertising will be printed, on a space available basis, at the following rates: full page, $10; half page, $5; less than half page, $3.

ASA Race Series Calendar


Date  Location  Contest Director 
April 1  Turf Mike Parker
April 2  Turf Mike McNulty
April 15  Estrella Bob von Hellens
April 16  Estrella Bill Prokes
April 29  Turf Andy Durbin
April 30  Turf Cliff Hilty
May 13  El-Tiro Bill Poore
May 14  El-Tiro John Goodman
May 20  Willcox Hans Heydrich
May 21  Willcox John Leibacher
June 10  Bisbee Casey Lenox
June 11  Bisbee Neil McLeod
July 15  Estrella Mark Hardesty
July 16  Estrella Ralph Bergh
July 29  Turf Kirk Stant
July 30  Turf Ron Mastaler
August 26  Estrella Alan Reeter
August 27   Estrella Rick Rubscha

Other Arizona Contest's

Contest Date Location
Region 9 West May 28 - June 3 Turf
SW Soaring Championships September 2, 3, 4 Estrella
SW Soaring Championships September 9, 10  - Turf Turf

Safety Corner

I have inserted 2 accident reports from the NTSB at Suggestions are always welcome!

Report 1 NTSB Identification: NYC00LA108

Accident occurred APR-01-00 at GILLESPIE, PA Aircraft: Sportavia Putzer RF-5B, registration: N55GS Injuries: 1 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 April 1, 2000, about 1500 Eastern Standard Time, a homebuilt RF-5B, a motorglider, N55GS, was substantially damaged during takeoff from a grass field near Gillespie, Pennsylvania. The certificated commercial glider pilot was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight destined for the Garrett County Airport, Oakland, Maryland. The flight was conducted under 14 CFR Part 91. According to the pilot, while at an altitude of 2,500 feet above mean sea level, he opted tochange the propeller pitch from climb to cruise. While doing so, the pilot noticed a sudden power loss, and the engine shut off. The pilot attempted to restart the engine with no success and performed a forced landing to a farm field. During the landing an outrigger rod broke. The pilot also found the engine ignition switch in the off position, "indicating the possibility that I had inadvertently touched it while operating the mechanical lever for the pitch change." After the outrigger rod was replaced and it was confirmed that there were no problems with the engine, the pilot decided the otorglider was airworthy. The pilot determined that that the wind was coming from his right, and positioned the motorglider for a takeoff. After liftoff, the pilot noticed that the glider began to drift to the right, and struck a small tree located on the edge of the field. The motorglider veered further to the right, touched down on the ground, struck two embankments lined with fence posts, and came to rest in an adjacent farm field.

Report 2 NTSB Identification: IAD00LA025

Accident occurred MAR-04-00 at BLAIRSTOWN, NJ Aircraft: I.C.A. Brasov IS-28B2, registration: N97VT Injuries: 1 Serious, 1 Minor.

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 March 4, 2000, at 1352 eastern standard time, a I.C.A. Brasov IS-28B2, a glider, N97VT, was destroyed after colliding with trees during an off airport landing near Blairstown, New Jersey. The certificated commercial pilot was seriously injured and the passenger sustained minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the local pleasure flight that originated at the Blairstown Airport (1N7), at 1300. No flight plan was filed for the flight conducted under 14 CFR part 91. In a telephone interview with the pilot, he stated: "At first we were thermaling, and then flew to the ridge. After arriving at the ridge, we realized the ridge was not working. We were at 2,000 feet when we departed the ridge to head back to the airport. On the way back to the airport we hit a real bad sink. I said to [the passenger] that I did not think we were going to make it to the airport. [My passenger] located an open field and we headed for it. I knew it would be close and we ended up colliding with the top five foot sections of the trees bordering the field. We stopped dead in the trees, then dropped to the ground." The glider landed on private property approximately 3 miles southwest of the Blairstown Airport. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Inspectors examined the glider on-site. The FAA Inspectors reported that the glider hit the tops of the trees, dropped approximately 70 feet to the ground, and hit flat on it's belly. The cockpit was destroyed, both wings were bent upwards, and the base of the vertical stabilizer was wrinkled. There were dents along the leading edge of the right and left wings. The aircraft was owned and operated by Aero Club Albatross. According to the club's President, the glider was launched around 1300, for a local pleasure flight. In a telephone interview, the club president reported there may have been a wind shift during the flight. Blairstown Airport did not have weather reporting capability. At 1254, at Andover Airport (12N), Andover, New Jersey, approximately 12 miles east of 1N7, winds were variable at 6 knots. At 1354, winds were at 360 degrees, variable to 040 degrees, at 10 knots gusting to 16 knots. The pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land and gliders. He was also a certificated flight instructor in gliders. The pilot reported a total flight time of approximately 1,250 hours, of which 380 hours were in gliders and 10 hours in make and model.


By Jim Swauger

ASA member Jim Swauger sent Jim Tagliani this story to be put in the next newsletter. He has submitted the story to the SSA for the magazine however it has not been printed yet.

This is a story of two solos that took place simultaneously, the first was my student's first solo, and the second was mine - watching my first student take to the sky by herself.

The story actually begins in the early 60's. My first exposure to soaring occurred in my last year of high school. I was a member of an Air Explorer Scout unit sponsored by the Arizona Soaring Association. Every weekend we went to the old dirt strip behind the Turf Paradise Racetrack in north Phoenix and crewed for the club. In exchange, we were treated to rides in the sailplanes. My first was in a TG-3. We ran wing for Joe Lincoln in his Cirro Q and later for John Ryan in a long winged 1-23. I remember them once throwing out a roll of paper then cutting it to shreds with a series of loops and tight turns as it descended. Other interesting aircraft that frequented the field were a Baby Bowlus, a Pratt-Read, and an LK-10.

I especially remember going to a Tory Pines meet with several members of the club and camping out at the airstrip. Gliders were launched directly off the cliff from a runway that had to be seen to be believed. We sat on the edge of the cliff and watched the gliders go back and forth. Occasionally one would start to drop below the level of the cliff and make a tight turn directly into the cliff, just barely clear the front edge, and flop down with almost no roll out. Some continued to descend and landed on the beach below. When this happened, a tow plane would go down and retrieve them. It was a memorable weekend.

Next came college, Air Force ROTC, a private power license, and entry into the Air Force pilot training program. A long standing dream came true. But - this was not to be. A medical issue arose and I lost. Considering this was 1964 and knowing where I would be going, maybe I was one of the lucky ones. I wanted single seat fighters and the F105 was probably where I was destined. Many of them still reside on Thud Ridge near Hanoi.

I became an aircraft maintenance officer, but still had a valid private pilot license. First stop after training was Wurtsmith AFB, Michigan. There I met a young officer, Lee Clauser, who was building a 1-26. Next thing I know I am making weekly drives to Bay City where a glider club flew a Schweizer 2-22 off a winch. After four winch tows and a total of 12 minutes, I made my first solo in a sailplane. I bet that couldn't happen again in today's legal climate. We got about 900 feet off the winch. My best flight was 35 minutes and I was proud of that. One day, Al Hartley, asked if I had ever flown a Schweizer 1-26. Next thing I know, I am strapped in his personal glider and the paddle is waving and off I go. The 1-26 was a neat experience. Some say it is very sensitive compared to the 2-22 or 2-33 and you need to be wary of over controlling. I didn't have that problem. The main thing I noticed was that the aircraft actually did what I wanted, when I wanted. I still remember the full spoiler approach to land on the front edge of the strip to reduce the pull back. There was a convertible parked right at the fence that had several people sitting up on top of the seats. I can still see them diving to the floorboards as I passed 10 feet overhead. Al suggested I land a little longer next time. I dutifully complied. On a sad note, Al was killed the following summer in the second flight, first winch tow, of a new glass sailplane he had just purchased, a Standard Austria I believe. Al and his wife were great people and mainstays of the club. She was a power pilot and owned a Cessna 180. I did my first aerotows behind her. I saw an article about her in Readers Digest a number of years ago. I was ready to take the flight check for my private glider license at the end of the summer and scheduled the check ride. As luck would have it, the weather was miserable and that was it for the winter.

The Air Force prevailed again and it was off to a remote tour at King Salmon, Alaska. Not much soaring there. Not much of anything else there either except hunting and fishing. Actually it was a great, but different, experience. I hope to get back there for a return visit sometime in the future. After keeping the Russians at bay for a year, it was off to Tucson, Arizona. Back to soaring again? No, this time it was powered aircraft. I became the owner of a Luscombe and a Cessna 180 in succession and acquired my Commercial and Instrument tickets. I had a brief introduction to the Civil Air Patrol and search and rescue flying at this time. Then marriage and family put the brakes on my flying activities for a while.

Fifteen years later in Phoenix, Arizona, my son and I joined the Civil Air Patrol. It didn't work for him but I remained. A birthday gift from my wife of a current BFR and I was back in business again. No gliders yet though. While I love to fly, I have never been a fan of droning along and watching the scenery go by. I needed to do something with my flying. The CAP provided that for me. The program required dedicated, well trained pilots, to fly the demanding mountain searches and other missions. This was my flying life for 500 hours. But, across on the other side of Phoenix, the CAP glider program beckoned. As Arizona Wing Operations Officer, I helped to rejuvenate the program once when it was in the doldrums. Then it happened. The current commander of the glider flight had asked to step down from the position. I asked for and was given the position. I was back into soaring.

What does a search and rescue organization do with gliders? Actually the Civil Air Patrol has a very strong cadet program for young people from 12 to 18. The gliders are a big part of that program. We provide glider orientation flights for all the cadet members and a number of them progress through solo and licensing. Week long glider encampments are held across the US every summer for our cadets. We also provide a different perspective on flying for our power pilots that can do nothing but make their flying safer. The Arizona Wing has a Schweizer 2-33, a 1-26 and a Blanik L-23.

First thing for me was to get my license. This I completed as an add on Commercial rating. But to fly cadets the CAP required either 50 hours or 100 flights as PIC, or be a current CFIG. With my flying budget, that was at least a year away. The CFIG looked the quicker of the routes. Another six months and I was an instructor. While I originally did not plan to instruct, suddenly I was flying commercial flights and doing some instructing at Turf Soaring. This was actually fun. I even completed my Silver endurance in the 1-26.

A Civil Air Patrol Check Pilot school and check flight and I was now qualified to give flight instruction to our cadets. My first cadet student was 14 year old Chrissy Weiers. Then reality set in. I was to be entrusted with the lives of our young cadets. Their parents and the CAP expected me to safely convert them from ground denizens to pilots of non-powered aircraft. I knew how to train pilots to fly search and rescue. Teaching a teenager, not yet old enough to drive, to fly was another thing altogether. Back to the books.

My rating said I was qualified to do this. I felt I had a lot to learn. I was right. There is a lot more information available to the new power instructor than for the new glider instructor. I read everything I could get my hands on. Tom Knauf's references worked best for me. Thanks Tom! Chrissy was a willing and able student. Tows were tough for her in the beginning but she worked her way through that. A low trip around the field and wave off at 300 feet due a fouled plug in the tow plane engine was a great learning experience and confidence builder for her.

The first complete flight where I didn't touch the controls or tell her what to do was another. Slips came a little hard for her also. Getting her to slow down the slip entry for a more stabilized approach took some doing.

There were a couple of high points for her during the training. Landing the glider at Luke AFB where it was on display for the annual Luke Days airshow and open house was one. While there she was able to meet the Thunderbirds and discuss her flying ambitions with them. Another was a TV interview and some of her flying video that was aired at an evening newscast.

As we neared solo, I became more critical of her performance and in the process, probably hurt her confidence level and slowed things down. What was ok before, suddenly was not acceptable. I would need to learn how to raise the performance bar without causing a setback. Two more Saturdays and she was ready. She had successfully completed the low altitude rope break training, but more importantly, she was now making the decisions and adjustments needed to successfully complete our flights. It was time!

Chrissy thinks she soloed that glider. She didn't. I may have been physically on the ground, but I was in the back seat in spirit, encouraging her, cheering her on. Agonizing with her over exactly when to turn base, when to pull spoilers, when to flare, and sharing the exultation when the glider gently touched down and stopped. Our first solos were complete except for the celebration. When we awarded her solo wings at her next squadron meeting, I could see the pride and sense of accomplishment in her eyes.

What are my feelings as I look back on our first solos? First of all, I learned as much about teaching someone to fly, as Chrissy learned about flying. I'm sure this is no surprise to anyone currently instructing. With no prior students, Chrissy was my guinea pig. My next student will probably solo quicker because of what I learned from her. I appreciated Chrissy and her parents bearing with me while we went through the process together. For anyone contemplating becoming an instructor, I strongly recommend it. Especially if you have the opportunity to work with our youth. Their enthusiasm and desire to fly can be overwhelming. The feeling you have after launching your young student off by herself just can't be described. My second cadet student, a 15 year old, is now nearing solo also. I am looking forward to teaching many more to fly. This is really addicting!! Try it.

Hilty Humor

Subject: Fwd: Periodic Table Date: Sun, 19 Mar 2000 21:24:26 EST > The Americans and Russians at the height of the arms race realized that if they continued in the usual manner they were going to blow up the whole dispute with one dog fight. They gave each other five years to breed the biggest meanest fighting dogs the world had ever seen and whichever country lost would have to lay down it's arms.

The Russians found the biggest meanest Dobermans and Rottweilers in the world and bred them with the biggest meanest Siberian Wolves. They selected only the biggest and the strongest puppy from each litter, killed all his siblings and gave him all the milk. They used steroids and trainers and after five years came up with the biggest meanest dog the world had ever seen. It's cage needed steel bars five inches thick and nobody could ever get near it. When the day came for the dog fight, the Americans showed up with a strange animal. It was a 9-foot long dachshund. Everyone felt sorry for the Americans because they knew there was no way that this dog could possibly last 10 seconds with the Russian dog. When the cages opened up, the dachshund came out of his cage and slowly waddled over toward the Russian dog. The Russian dog snarled and leaped out of his cage but when it got close enough to bite the American dog's neck, the dachshund opened it's mouth and swallowed the Russian dog whole. There was nothing left at all of the Russian dog. The Russians came up to the Americans shaking their heads in disbelief. "We don't understand how this could have happened. We had our best people working for five years with the meanest Dobermans and Rottweilers in the world. "Really?" the Americans replied. "We had our best plastic surgeons working for five years to make an alligator look like a dachshund."

Subject: Fwd: Periodic Table Date: Sun, 19 Mar 2000 21:24:26 EST

"Two new additions to the periodic table of elements:

" Element Name: WOMAN Symbol: WO Atomic Weight: (don't even go there) Physical properties: Generally round in form. Boils at nothing and may freeze at anytime. Melts whenever treated properly. Very bitter if mishandled. Chemical properties: Very active. Highly unstable. Possesses strong affinity with gold, silver, platinum, and precious stones. Volatile when left alone. Able to absorb great amounts of exotic food. Turns slightly green when placed next to a shinier specimen. Usage: Highly ornamental. An extremely good catalyst for dispersion of wealth. Probably the most powerful income reducing agent known. Caution: Highly explosive in inexperienced hands.

Element Name: MAN Symbol: XY Atomic Weight: (180 +/-50) Physical properties: Solid at room temperature, but gets bent out of shape easily. Fairly dense and sometimes flaky. Difficult to find a pure sample. Due to rust, aging samples are unable to conduct electricity as easily as young samples. Chemical properties: Attempts to bond with WO any chance it can get. Also tends to form strong bonds with itself. Becomes explosive when mixed with KD (Element: Child) for prolonged period of time. Neutralize by saturating with alcohol. Usage: None known. Possibly good methane source. Good specimens are able to produce large quantities on command. Caution: In the absence of WO, this element rapidly decomposes and begins to smell.

-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"

For Sale

For Sale: Standard Cirrus B "AV" Cambridge M-nav Winter Mechanical vario Radair 360 Dual batteries Oxygen Factory ballast tanks Upholstered cockpit Pushrod seals Security 150 chute Eberle Trailer Wing stands Camera and mount Vehicle water tank with electric pump Manufactured 1972 1220 hours

$14,500 or best offer Jeff Turner (480) 940-4050 eves