Air Currents November 2000

News Bulletin Board


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 Gary Hedges 480-314-9427
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 Jeff Reynolds 602-482-9723
Director Owen Jones 480-951-8724
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 602-938-9550


Tuesday November 28, 7pm General Membership Meeting Barros Pizza - Coral Gables & 7th Street, Phoenix Tuesday

December 5, 7pm Board Meeting Barros Pizza - Coral Gables & 7th Street, Phoenix

At our next general meeting Jim Swauger He will cover aerial search and rescue in Arizona and how a downed sailplane pilot can help in his discovery and rescue. He has 15 years experience with the Civil Air Patrol in conducting these searches.

ASA Statistical Data for November 2000 Web site: Current Membership Count 101, Reciprocal Newsletters 10, Air Currents Circulation for November 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 sub- missions 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 623 561-5454. 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,

Morgan Turner

From: Turner, Jeff

Subject: Morgan Turner

It has been a while since I last updated everyone. Morgan continues to improve, her strength increases daily. She now has pretty good control of her right arm and leg, the left side is not as good but is improving just at a slower rate. The biggest change I have noticed is her desire to eat. She now insists on feeding herself, and while her in- take is not up to nutritional requirements the desire is a very positive sign. She is taking steps in therapy, while requiring support she holds up her weight and moves both legs without much additional help. I have a couple of drawings she has made on the wall of the office, she works with abandon when using markers (I have become part of the canvas when I get too close!).

On Thursday she will have a surgery to place a feeding tube, so I will be out of the office on Thurs and Fri. Please keep up those thoughts and prayers Jeffrey A. Turner Principal Engineer Powerplant Installations Analysis

Honeywell Engines & Systems PO Box 52181, MS 554-15 Phoenix, AZ 85072-2181 Tel: (602) 231-7801 Fax: (602) 231-3918 E-mail:

Safety Corner

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

NTSB Identification: LAX01LA038 Accident occurred NOV-11-00 at LAKE ELSINORE, CA Aircraft: Schweizer SGS 1-36, registration: N3621R Injuries: 1 Serious. This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be cor- rected when the final report has been completed.

On November 11, 2000, about 1508 hours Pacific standard time, a Schweizer SGS 1-36, N3621R, operated by the Lake Ellsinore Soaring Club, collided with trees approach- ing the Skylark Field in Lake Ellsinore, California. The glider was substantially damaged, and the student pilot was seriously injured. The flight was performed under 14 CFR Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed. No flight plan was filed for the student pilot's solo instruc- tional flight, which originated from the airstrip about 1358. According to the student's flight instructor, the student was authorized to solo in the local area. After about 1 hour the student planned to return for landing at the uncontrolled glider airstrip. Approaching the airstrip, the student mis- read his altimeter and initiated a circle to lose altitude. Midway through the turn the student realized his error and headed directly back toward the airstrip. The glider con- tinued to lose lift, and the student did not initiate emer- gency procedures to make an off-site landing in nearby available fields. While attempting to stretch the glide, the glider collided with tree branches and impacted the ground hard about 1/2 mile from the airstrip. The glider came to rest in the front yard of a trailer park.

Arizona Soaring Association Board Minutes: November 7, 2000

The Meeting was held at Barro's Pizza, Coral Gables and 7th Street, Phoenix, Arizona.


Rick Rubscha Gary Hedges Mike McNulty Carol Patterson Owen Jones Jim Tagliani


Jeff Reynolds Jim Swauger Peter VanCamp Kirk Stant Bob Thompson

President Rick Rubscha called the meeting to order at 7:05 p.m.

Treasurer Mike McNulty reported that, although final re- sults are not completed for the annual banquet, ASA's loss was approximately $300. It was noted that feedback from the National Soaring Museum participants was very posi- tive concerning the banquet.

The Equipment Manager's report pointed out that the an- ticipated sale of the Lark did not occur. The reason was primarily due to the paperwork concerning the Lark's ser- vice life extension. Because paperwork extending the ser- vice life beyond the original factory limits is not adequate, the board took the action to ground the Lark until further notice. Efforts to get the situation resolved as soon as pos- sible will be undertaken.

The Christmas Party is set for December 9. Motion was passed establishing a budget of $800.

A discussion took place concerning the need for Board Member nominations for the 2001 Board of Directors. The membership will be encouraged to identify additional peo- ple to participate on the Board.

The general meeting is November 21.

The board meeting was adjourned at 7:50 p.m.

Respectfully Submitted,

Gary Hedges for Secretary Mike Stringfellow

For Sale

LAK-12, 1995, SN-6191

"LAK-12, 1995, SN-6191, 200 hours. Includes

trailer, UV/Tinted canopy,

Jaxida covers, Borgelt B-40 vario and Cam- bridge mechanical vario,

Schroth safety harness, vertical compass, and

ELT. May be seen at Moriarty

until June or at Turf Soaring after June. $20,000

or best serious offer.

(480) 816-0071 or email

Hilty Humor

Subject: things we can learn from a dog


Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.

Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy.

When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.

When it's in your best interest, practice obedience.

Let others know when they've invaded your territory.

Take naps and stretch before rising.

Eat with gusto and enthusiasm.

Be loyal.

Never pretend to be something you're not.

When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by and nuzzle them gently.

Thrive on attention and let people touch you.

Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.

On hot days, drink lots of water and lay under a shady tree.

When you're happy, dance around and wag your entire body.

No matter how often you're scolded, don't buy into the guilt thing and pout -- run right back and make friends.

Bond with your pack.

Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.

To Wickenburg and A First Cross Country

By Jim Swauger

For just over a year I have been tethered to the airport. After a glider Commercial add on and instructor rating came commercial rides and students. While I enjoyed giving the rides and teaching my Civil Air Patrol cadets to fly, something was missing. As I watched the Arizona Soaring Association (ASA) mem- bers disappearing off to the west with the building lift and not returning until late afternoon, I knew what it was. Listening to their embellishments of these flights confirmed it. I needed to put the security of the Turf Soaring strip behind my rudder and head out cross country.

First things first. While I have many hours of powered cross country, all I knew about taking a sailplane cross country was what I had read and heard. It was time to join the ASA and get to know those folks. This part was quickly accomplished, but did I have the right stuff to keep a sailplane in the air. One way to find out. After watching the weather for a couple of days, I picked what appeared to be promising condi- tions and abandoned my desk for our trusty CAP Schweizer 1-26. Five and a half hours later I literally pried myself from the cockpit with my Silver endurance in hand. There were a couple of scares during the afternoon but I did it. Maybe I had it after all.

The ASA has a sleek Grob 102 that would be ideal for my first venture. My commercial flights in the ASK-21 and Grob 103 met the qualifications to fly the club Grob, so a cockpit check and I was off on a local familiarization flight. Prior to take off I was told to keep an eye on weather building to the East. This is normal fare for an Arizona afternoon during monsoon season. I had planned on a tow to 3000 ft to give me a chance to do some stalls and get a feel for the aircraft. As we were towing I kept an eye on the storm, which was off to the northeast. But directly to the east was a small dust cloud. It didn't look like the nor- mal dust storms that we often see, but the tow pilot and I kept an eye on it. At 2000 ft it appeared to be moving toward the field so we called it off and the tow quickly departed. One stall and a check of the dust front said it was time to do something different. It appeared I had time to get back to the field if I didn't mess around. Full airbrakes and straight to downwind seemed to be the best course of action. With the existing winds, my downwind was directly into the coming dust cloud, but it still looked like I had time to get down.

There is a saying that starts out "the best laid plans…". You can guess what happened next. As I turned base I saw dust kick up between me and the runway, well ahead of the main dust cloud. A little extra air- speed because of the winds and a 30 knot tail wind add up to one very hot landing. The brakes on the Grob are somewhat anemic so I saw a lot of the runway passing by at great speed. The next experience was a real life demonstration of how the controls lose effectiveness when your ground speed equals the tailwind. No longer the pilot, I became a passenger until I finally stopped in the brush between the runways. Fortu- nately help was sprinting across the runway to help me control the glider and get it tied down before the wind could reduce it to scattered pieces of fiberglass. The ASA gives monthly eagle and turkey awards. I felt I qualified for both, the eagle award for successfully accomplishing the landing, and the turkey award for allowing myself to get in that position.

Several less eventful flights completed my familiarization with the Grob, but the opportunity to go cross country did not happen before winter set in. While many of the club members continue to fly cross country through the winter, I wasn't ready yet. Then one meeting it happened. Tony Smolder announced that there was going to be a cross country mentoring program in the spring. An experienced pilot would be paired with an inexperienced pilot and they would fly off to the far horizons together. Actually there would be morning training sessions followed by flight planning and then the pair of gliders would fly together on the planned flight. This was just what I needed. The problem was that there was only one club Grob and I didn't know how many other club members might have the same idea. Within the week I received our monthly newsletter, Air Currents, and there was the request for interested members. Five minutes later my e-mail reply was enroute and there was nothing to do but wait. The next morning I checked my e-mail and there was no response. It was the same for the next two days. Maybe I was too late. That Saturday at the airfield one of our members, Jeff Reynolds, came to me and said we were sharing the Grob for the ses- sions. I was in!!

At this point in late February I had only three or four flights in the Grob and that had been a couple months ago. After adjusting my student schedule, I was able to schedule an afternoon flight. I took a tow to 2000 ft but was not able to stay up. I figured to take another one to 3000 ft and maybe that would work. Ready to go, pre-takeoff checklist complete, radio call to the tow pilot and I'm off - accompanied by a loud scraping noise. A stupid beginners mistake! I had not given the wing up signal to the wing runner. An alert Matt Coulliette rescued me by quickly picking up the wing and I was able to make a normal take off. I didn't have to make the decision on whether to continue the tow unassisted or release and start over. I owe him one. This time my launch was right after two ASA members, and I was able join them in a ther- mal. They obviously knew something I didn't as they slowly climbed away from me while I struggled to maintain altitude. After they disappeared, I started looking for better lift. The thermal I left was it as I was back on the ground shortly. Two weeks later I had another opportunity to fly the Grob. A 3000 ft tow produced the same results, I'm on the ground in 30 minutes. I have not been able to keep the high per- formance Grob in the air in weak lift. Its now two weeks until the first cross country flight. It's going to very embarrassing if I have to watch my mentor from the ground. I attended every session at the SSA con- vention in Albuquerque that talked about cross country flight in the hopes that would help. Another try the day before the seminar starts and I am finally able to keep the Grob in the air. Its time to go XC.

The first day begins with the assembly of a dozen sailplanes. Spirits are up and everyone is ready to go. Off to the classroom where we begin with introductions and backgrounds of the mentors and mentees. While the experience levels were varied among the students, I was the only one who had never been cross country. Next up is a briefing on land outs by Bob von Hellens who has forsaken his 1-26 to mentor in his Discus. Tony then reviewed general routes we would fly and went over a list of all the land out fields and discussed the recommended approaches and hazards of each. Our portion of Arizona has large areas that are just not landable. Between the mountains and the Saguaro cacti (think green telephone poles) are a number of scattered private or abandoned dirt strips that are the only safe havens for a sailplane, if you can get to one. But then, nobody is going to land out. Right?

Jeff will fly the Grob on Saturdays so he has the first turn. Barb MacLean, an experienced Standard Cirrus pilot, is our mentor. The day turns out to be a real success. All the ships get out on course and return with no land outs. Several, including Jeff and Barb, get to Salome and back, a total distance of 170 NM. Not a bad first day at all.

Sunday is my turn. Our briefing today is cross country preparations by Cliff Hilty. Barb and I are the last to take off due to a scheduling conflict. The rest of the pack is already gone. Today's conditions are not as strong as yesterday. I would like to say we flew 150 miles, but that was not to be. After a couple false starts we returned to the airport area. My first cross country day was two ventures 10 miles out from the airport. Not a very auspicious start. Still, I learned a lot and doubled the distance I had ever been from the field. The rest of the club members fared better although there were four land outs, all on airports or pri- vate dirt strips.

The next opportunity was to be in two weeks. I still needed more thermalling practice in the Grob. I scheduled another half day off and launched to practice some of Barb's suggested techniques. The flight is a good one with lots of practice entering thermals and flying them with steeper banks than is customary for me. After two and a half hours I wasted 2500 feet to land before Turf Soaring closed for the day. I also ventured north over Lake Pleasant far enough to check out Turf North, a dirt strip sometimes used for land outs. Step by step I am loosening the bonds holding me to the airport. Four days to go before the next cross country weekend. I want a giant step this time.

As Saturday approaches I start checking the soaring forecasts. They are looking good. Jeff and I have switched this weekend so I am up first. There is an early morning haze in the air as I drive to Turf on Sat- urday morning. This can't be Arizona! Visibility is 5 - 10 miles and the crud is 5 or 6000 feet thick. There is also a high layer of clouds threatening. To someone from the east, this is good visibility. We are used to working with landmarks 50 – 75 miles ahead. This is the equivalent of fog to us. Not a good omen for my second try.

After ship assembly it's off to the classroom where Tony Smolder talks about task selection. This is not about racing tasks, but how to evaluate the conditions to determine which way and how far to plan your cross country flights. Because of the conditions Barb and I are going to try for Wickenburg and then de- termine if it is feasible to go further. Wickenburg is Silver distance, just over thirty miles.

I am one of the first ships launched and jump off at 1400 ft in a thermal by myself. As I climb I am joined by the other ships and am in an unfamiliar position. I am on top of the gaggle looking at the ships below me instead of the other way around. Maybe today won't be so bad after all. Barb and I link up and it's off to the west. I know its west because that's what my compass says. The visibility is so bad that none of the land marks or emergency fields we normally use is visible. We are at 6500 ft and are still not completely above it. The big question is whether we will get enough sun through to keep the thermals coming. About 10 miles out we work a thermal over the Red Mine and reclaim our altitude and continue on course. Ok so far. Six miles out of Wickenburg I am low. Rio Vista Hills, a small private airport community is below so we keep it in range while work some light lift and finally recover enough altitude to get to Wickenburg, over 30 miles from our starting point. Barb, like all good mentors, is hanging out above me and coaching as best she can.

At the Wickenburg Airport we decide to turn back to Turf. The return will be into a headwind. We have been listening to the other ships ahead of us on course and realize we won't get back if we continue much further. We worked one of the best thermals of the day over the airport and then started back to the east. Barb is a little above and ahead of me. As we cross over Wickenburg I stop to work a thermal. That was a mistake. After a few turns I have lost more than I liked and return to the airport area to find the good ther- mal. I find it but can't get back up to where Barb is. I don't want to quit here! At 5500 ft (3000 AGL) I head east again. I know I can make Rio Vista Hills and then we'll see what happens. At Rio Vista I am low again and can't proceed without some altitude. Barb is still hanging out above me encouraging my progress. There is some zero sink and patchy 1 kt lift but I can't get back up and begin to look very closely at the strip below. The briefing sheet says it is narrow and uphill to the north. The runway gradient is clearly visible from above. I found out later it was 75 ft over the 2500 ft length of the runway. The wind will be quartering from the right rear on landing. Another aircraft has joined me at low altitude now. It is Gil Kirkpatrick in his recently acquired Standard Jantar, K3. I will be first on the ground.

I am committed now to my first land out and advise Barb. She wishes me good luck and reminds me to not forget the gear. Gear is down on downwind and all I have to do is land the ship. I plan on an early touch- down knowing the brakes on the Grob are feeble at best. Runway length will not be a problem unless I miss-judge and land long. Over the threshold and I get a feel for how narrow the runway really is. One side is lined with mesquite trees and six foot high brush. The other side has a 12 inch rock berm. Not much clearance but not a problem as long as I stay on the centerline. Roll out is fine until I slow to near the tail wind speed and can't keep the wing up. As the wing touches I start a left turn – right into some- one's steeply pitched driveway that is lined with large rocks. I am very slow, but it doesn't look good. The wing tip catches on some brush and the Grob swings to the left and stops. Whew! A quick call to Barb to let her know that I am ok and then its time to exit the aircraft. Gil calls and asks if I can clear the runway and make room for him. Sorry Gil, there is now where to go and I don't have time to turn the ship and push it further up the hill. I move the Grob further into the drive and chocked the wheel so it didn't roll into the rock pile or fence. Gil is rolling out up to me now and uses his brakes to stop well short of my position. I'm glad he didn't land first. Another radio call starts the retrieve process and Barb continues back to Turf. Being the good mentor that she is, she is able to make the field. Now we wait. I took this time to take a good look at our temporary residence. The runway was narrow, but ok for a 15 meter ship. Runway length was not a problem. I would not want to bring anything larger than 15 meters in here. An aero tow retrieve, while possible, would not be a good idea. It would be dangerous without a wing runner.

We are in the middle of a beautiful, isolated, desert community with its own landing strip. The surprising thing is that two gliders have just landed on their strip and no one has come out to investigate. After a half hour we see a car come in to one of the houses. We soon have company and an offer for a phone or any thing else we might need. We spend a pleasant few minutes visiting and then continue our wait. The next arrival is a Mooney. A couple of low passes later we are sure he wants to land and we have two gliders in the middle of his strip. Ten minutes later we have pushed both ships to the end of the runway and watch the Mooney land. We joined the couple and found out that they are EAA members of the Wickenburg chapter and were anxious to help. We were invited into their home for some ice water and to get out of the sun. Our visit was cut short by the arrival of our retrieve crews. John Goodman and Barb were there to get me and Gil's crew was there also. One of my Civil Air Patrol members, Bill Medlock, had seen the glider trailers enroute and had joined in to help also. After disassembling and loading the gliders it was goodbye to our new friends and back to the field. As we pull away I am wondering when and if I will return to this hidden paradise.

Back at the airport we reassemble the Grob and go over the days events. Five ships landed out today, four students and one mentor. All things considered, it was a good day. For me it was a great day. My first cross country was better than Silver distance in marginal conditions. I had a couple of low saves and my thermalling in the Grob is improving. I have a long ways to go still as Barb flew with water and made it back. I want that skill level and it will come with lots of practice and experience. I also successfully com- pleted my first land out. Not a bad first cross country.

Sunday is Jeff's turn again. Today's presentation is mental training by Alan Reeter. He talks about being your own coach and the differences between activities that require emotional and physical intensity vs an activity like soaring that requires mental alertness and concentration. He also talks about the mindsets re- quired to be a successful cross country pilot. The day is a good one and the flights are long. Only one ship lands out. I spend the afternoon giving dual instruction to my CAP cadet students. I enjoy this, but today my mind is out on course with the club. Our last weekend of the mentoring program is a month away. That's a long time.

During the interval I take several local flights in the Grob and practice my thermalling techniques. One day is good and get about 15 miles from the airport and check out several of the recommended off field landing strips.

Finally its time for my last day of the seminar. I get off well before Barb and am able to climb to about 5000 AGL over Lake Pleasant, about five miles north of Turf. Two other ships have started out ahead of me so I decide to move out onto the course and wait for Barb to catch up. As I headed west several things were very obvious. The winds were over the 20 kts forecast. I was in strong sink and the lead ships were getting low and had turned back to the east toward the glider port. At the same time, Tony Smolder, the organizer of the seminar, was reporting low over Wickenburg 30 miles ahead and might be landing there. Not a good start for the final day. Based on the conditions, we elected to stay in the local area.

While I had visions of Gold distance, that will have to wait until next time. What I did accomplish was Silver distance under less than ideal conditions and a successful land out. I also whetted my appetite for more cross country and plan to try racing when I have a little more experience. A real bonus was the ca- maraderie with the ASA members who organized and mentored the seminar. This was a great way for a new member like me to experience cross country for the first time.