Air Currents September 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


October 3, 7pm Board Meeting Barros Pizza - Coral Gables & 7th Street, Phoenix

The October General Membership meeting has been cancelled.

Annual Awards Banquet

Bruce Carmichael's Barnaby Lecture topic will be "A Half Century of Soaring Technology".

At: Orange Tree Resort

10601 N 56th Street Scottsdale, AZ 85254 ; 480-948-6100

Saturday October 14, 2000, At 7:00 p.m., Cocktails at 6:00 p.m.

ASA Statistical Data for September 2000 Web site: Current Membership Count 101, Reciprocal Newsletters 10, Air Currents Circulation for September, 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,

A Smile

By Jeff Turner

Subject: Morgan Turner

I have to admit that these notes are getting easier (on my heart) to write. Earlier this week, I took a day off and spent it with Morgan while she went through her daily hours of therapy sessions. She now has 4 types of therapy each day: Physical, Occupational, Speech, and Music. In Physical therapy they worked on sitting, kneeling, standing, and rolling over. While she can do little of this without help, she is beginning to assist in rolling. In Occupational therapy she practiced pushing a button to cause music to play. She can do this with both arms now, as long as the button is placed such that gravity helps her move her arm. He right arm has gotten much stronger recently, and she has gained better control of it. She can lift it, grasp small objects, and release them when asked. In Speech therapy they worked on better control of her tongue and lips to assist in swallowing food. They also work on communication (blinks, nods, etc.). They also worked on comprehension of a story that was being read to her. Her eating has progressed to the point where we are feeding her twice a day by mouth. It is not nearly enough for nutritional purposes yet, but that is we are headed (then we can get rid of the feeding tube!) In Music therapy she is aided in playing a drum, shaking jingle bells and maracas. It is done to music and she seems to enjoy it.

The crowning achievement this week was.............. she smiled!

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

Report 1

NTSB Identification: NYC00LA251 Accident occurred SEP-04-00 at WURTSBORO, NY Aircraft: Let BLANIK L-13, registration: N48037 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 September 4, 2000, about 1225 Eastern Daylight Time, a Let Blanik L13 glider, N48037, was substantially damaged while landing at the Wurtsboro-Sullivan County Airport (N82) Wurtsboro, New York. The certificated private pilot was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan had been filed for the personal flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91. In a telephone interview, the pilot stated the glider was towed to an altitude of 2,500 feet and released. After a 10 minute flight, the glider was on final approach for landing to Runway 23, when it began to rain heavily. The glider crossed the runway threshold, drifted to the left, and its left wing contacted a pine tree about 200 to 300 feet beyond the runway threshold. The pilot did not reported any mechanical problems with the glider. The pilot received his private pilot glider rating on May 20, 2000. The pilot reported 40 hours of total flight experience, all in gliders. The accident flight was the pilots' first flight in the make and model of the accident glider. The weather reported at an airport about 10 miles east-southeast of the accident airport, at 1219 was: Wind from 20 degrees at 5 knots; Visibility 10 miles, Few Clouds at 2,100 feet, Scattered Clouds at 2,800 and 3,500 feet, Temperature 79 Dewpoint 70 degrees F; Altimeter 29.81 in/hg.

Report 2

NTSB Identification: LAX00LA312 Accident occurred AUG-26-00 at TEHACHAPI, CA Aircraft: BG-12BD, registration: N4458 Injuries: 1 Fatal. 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 August 26, 2000, about 1600 hours Pacific daylight time, an experimental homebuilt glider BG-12BD, N4458, was destroyed when a wing separated in-flight while returning to land at the Mountain Valley Airport, Tehachapi, California. The owner operated the airplane under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91. The private pilot sustained fatal injuries. The personal flight departed Mountain Valley about 1545. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed. Witnesses told the Federal Aviation Administration accident coordinator the glider was returning to the airport. It was about 1 mile north of the airport and preparing to enter the landing pattern for runway 27. The witnesses said this glider did not have speed brakes; they said the flaps were used to slow it down. They said the flaps appeared to be activated about 2,000 feet above the ground, then the left flap and wing separated. The wing was located about 0.25 miles from the main wreckage and the flap was about 300 feet from the wing. The accident coordinator noted the inboard section of the rear spar fractured and separated from the wing.

Arizona Soaring Association Board Minutes: August 1, 2000

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

Attending Board Members: Rick Rubscha, Mike McNulty, Gary Hedges, Mike Stringfellow, Jim Tagliani, Owen Jones and Carol Patterson

Guests: Andy Durbin, Peter Van Camp, Lala Van Camp, Kirk Stant, Tony Smolder

President Rick Rubscha called the meeting to order at 7:10 p.m.

After a brief discussion, the board agreed that the club Lark should be sold. The glider was originally bought for $14,000, and another $2,000 were spent on repairs and maintenance. A sales price of $15,000 was agreed by the board. Kirk Stant said that the Lark's trailer would need some work before it could be used. Jim Tagliani volunteered to draw up an advertisement and to post it on web classified sites, such as Wings & Wheels and Landings.

The annual banquet has been scheduled for Saturday October 14th at the Orange Tree Resort, the only date that was available. It was expected that 15 to 20 persons from the SSA would attend in addition to the normal membership. The resort enabled menu choices to be made and, after a discussion, it was agreed to offer attendees three choices - prime rib, salmon or vegetarian pasta. Meal choice would have to be made on booking and well in advance of the banquet. It was suggested that people booking after October 1st should pay more than those booking early. It was agreed to charge $35 for early and $40 for late bookings.

Treasurer McNulty reported that the current account had a balance of $2,718 and the money market account had a balance of $11,300. The funds were lower than expected because of losses from the Region 9 West contest and a deposit for the banquet.

Web Site administrator Tagliani said that 7 new pages had been uploaded, including July's Air Currents and an improved roster, although there were still some display problems with Internet Explorer 5. The proposal for a new airport at Turf by consultants to the City of Peoria had been added to Hot Items.

Newsletter editor Patterson reported that the change of directors had been published in the latest edition and that changes had been made to the humor page.

Under new business, Contest director Smolder reported that the cross-country mentoring scheduled for fall had 12 participants signed up. He suggested that ASA sponsor the program by providing a barbecue and beverages for those attending on the last weekend out of general funds. Carol Patterson suggested that a barbecue at Estrella over the Labor Day weekend during the ASA contest series would be better, and this was agreed.

It was also reported that the site selection committee for the SSA US Nationals in 2002 were looking for a location in the west, preferably Arizona. Andy Durbin said that the facilities at both Turf and Estrella were inadequate for a major competition, so sites in the Tucson area were likely to be preferred.

A discussion of the future of the ASA oxygen system was held, prompted by concerns by a number of members of lack of easy access. President Rubscha emphasized the board's concern over safety and liability. Andy Durbin pointed out that there had been no accidents in 16 years of operation of the system . After a lively discussion of a number of options, it was agreed that the oxygen system would be available to all who had paid for access and who received training in its proper operation and who signed a liability waiver. Andy Durbin volunteered to draft an operations manual for the oxygen system and to run a class to train members in system operation

The meeting was adjourned at 8:45 p.m.

Secretary Mike Stringfellow

Cross Country in AS FUN Day & Confidence Builder

By Bob Thompson

Saturday, September 16 brought back some great memories of how fun XC in a glider can be..... and renewed my XC soaring confidence. It was much easier when I had my 50:1 Ventus B 16.6. Having sold that fun glider, and been mostly flying the "big dog" Lark for the past several years, I've really missed good XC flying on all but the most booming of days... and even then, I never chanced really getting TOO far away from Turf. Well, I may have traded my Ventus for sending my daughter to college, but this month I decided enough was enough, and decided to get back into fiberglass again. The ASA club Grob 102 isn't exactly in the Ventus, LS-8, etc class, but it can be made to perform reasonably. Fill it with water and it CAN go over 60 knots without plummeting. Dump all the water and it CAN get a pretty low sink rate. Last Saturday the soaring forecast sounded fairly good up north. So, I signed up for AS for the day to try a northerly XC. About a dozen glass ships were gridded by noon, and I was 4th. Good move..... by the time I launched there were others already up to show any lift, and yet I was still well ahead of many others. A tow to 1.4 was all I needed to pin off into 3 knots up... which grew to 6 knots. Then over to the hills on the east side of Lake Pleasant and an even better thermal. By this time, 6K, TS1, and KC had joined in. We topped out and headed north to the Bradshaws. I pretty much kept up with them, cruising at about 80 knots, and coming into the next few thermals a bit behind and lower, but was able to catch up by the time we topped out. Hmmmmm..... not too bad. The longer glide to Prescott got me farther behind and lower, and there I missed the thermal cycle. I got under the others, but the lift was weak for me. I had 3 knots and they had 8. They left at 15,000+' and my lift quit at 12,000'. From there on I was solo, listening to their fun times on the radio. They zipped on to Grand Canyon Caverns, and I finally connected with a real boomer south of Seligman... up to 16,300' and base. They then decided to give the Grand Canyon a try, and I headed north to Seligman, then east, paralleling their course, but I was over the Interstate. A big blue hole dropped me down to 9500' at Ashfork, where I was able to work the clouds back to about 14,500', but no higher. During much of the flight I could not hear my vario as there was a screaming whistling air leak in the front of the canopy. And the mechanical vario was sticking a lot. Handily, my Ball GCI was performing great. After deciding the lift just wasn't for me there, and noticing my watch showed well after 3pm, I decided to head into the BIG blue hole to the south and headed towards Mingus... and home. It was blue for a good reason...... NO lift. I got to the west side of Mingus at about 6500', just a little above the small hills by the local sailport. There, I connected with a 3 knotter, along with a local 2-33. Hans soared by, well above, and connected with a cloud several miles south, and I zipped over to try my hand at it. By that time he was at 12,000' and on final glide. It frittered at 11,000' for me, followed by 6 miles of sink towards Mayer. The Cordes dirt strip was looking like all I would get to, but bumping some minor bug farts got me there at 6000'...... 40+ miles out of Turf, and in a medium-performance glider. 4000' of altitude to go 40 miles in a 36:1 glider was looking pretty thin. I searched the dropoff south of the airport, and managed to find a last buoyant thermal, which I worked up to over I-17 and 9,000'. And then I was off to see how far I could coax the 102. At the worst, I could land at the Black Canyon city dump if I hit much of a headwind or sink. Watching the L/D readout on my GCI I noticed that when I flew slower the L/D got better. Over Sunset Point I ended up dumping all the water and slowing to a crawl.... 30 knots indicated... barely above stall... BUT the L/D indicated 40-50. Could that be, in a Grob 102??? Well, I've always been taught to trust your instruments in a plane, so here goes... The sun dropped behind the Bradshaws, and I was SLOWLY bumping along in the very late afternoon buoyant lifting air. The vario was beeping about half of the time, indicating I wasn't losing much. The GCI computer was indicating I had it made. I figured if I hit any big sink, at least I can get to the New River Road and land on it if I had to. The intermittent beeping continued from the GCI, and soon it became VERY apparent the computer was right..... I WAS going to make it. Then, I picked up some speed, right on up to mid-yellow line, and STILL had a great glide.... Coming in over Turf at over 4000'..... altitude to spare The warm buoyant lifting evening air had provided me with a 44:1 final glide in the Grob!. Awesome! My flight lasted 5.5 hours and covered about 250 miles, including zig-zags. I took off a little after noon, and landed into the sunset. BEAUTIFUL DAY! The flight had gone from Turf to Towers to Prescott to 16 miles south of Seligman to Seligman to Ashfork to the Prescott sailport (just west of Mingus) to Cordes airport to Black Canyon City to Turf in a well-worn, not very well sealed, 38:1 (when brand new) ASA club Grob 102. YeeHaw!! My flight was nothing to compare to the flights the other guys had in their sleek 44:1 ships, but I was a happy camper, anyway! It had been a FUN day, and a good builder of my XC confidence. The Grob CAN be made to perform pretty well. Considering the poky last hour and a half, struggling just to stay aloft, I felt pretty good about my time. Everyone on the ground was discussing where they were going to have to drive to pick me up if I landed out. It sure was great for everyone to not have to. And MUCH easier on my wallet. Covering dinner for a dozen pilots would not have made it nearly as good a day for me.

Bob T.

Cross Country Mentoring

Turf on 10/21 & 10/22 - John Goodman, Casey Lenox, Jeff Reynolds, Jim Swauger, Barbara Maclean, Mike Stringfellow, Tony Smolder, Nigel Cripps, Arnd Wussing, Alan Reeter, Gil Kirkpatrick, and John Weber

The format will be the same as the spring edition where we will have a 30 minute talk each morning by a mentor, followed by a briefing of the days weather and a suggested task. To prepare a more detailed agenda I would like to ask each mentor to e-mail me with his or her topic of discussion. The first 4 topics I receive win the daily prize of giving a 30 minute talk! What a deal! Of course it is a given that at the end of each day a thorough de-brief session will require mandatory attendance, accompanied by a wide selection of favorite beverages.

Looking forward to a great time,


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 Cambridge 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: Fwd: Holes in a Fence

NAIL IN THE FENCE Make sure you read all the way down to the last sentence.

There once was a little boy who had a bad temper. His Father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, he must hammer a nail into the back of the fence. The first day the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence. Over the next few weeks, as he learned to control his anger, the number of nails hammered daily gradually dwindled down. He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into he fence. Finally the day came when the boy didn't lose his temper at all. He told his father about it and the father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper.

The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone. The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence. He said, "You have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one. You can put a knife in a man and draw it out. It won't matter how many times you say I'm sorry, the wound is still there." A verbal wound is as bad as a physical one. Friends are very rare jewels, indeed. They make you smile and encourage you to succeed. They lend an ear, they share words of praise and they always want to open their hearts to us."

Subject: What time is it ?

On some air bases the Air Force is on one side of he field and civilian aircraft use the other side of the field, with the control tower in the middle. One day the tower received a call from an aircraft asking,

"What time is it?"

The tower responded, "Who is calling?" The aircraft replied, "What difference does it make?" The tower replied: "It makes a lot of difference.

If it is an American Airlines Flight, it is 3 o'clock.

if it is Air Force, it is 1500 hours.

If it is a Navy aircraft, it is 6 bells.

If it is an Army aircraft, the big hand is on the 12 and the little hand is on the 3.

If it is a Marine Corps aircraft, it's Thursday afternoon."

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"

270 miles due west in the Genesis

Date: Wed, 30 Aug 2000 09:00:05 -0700

From: "Steve Koerner"

To: "GenesisFlyers List" <>

Last Saturday was my third flight in the Genesis. This was a special flight for me because it marked a return to cross-country soaring after a long absence from the sport. It was an exciting flight.

Living in Mesa (near Phoenix, AZ), we needed to pick up some furniture items from San Diego; this is a family moving affair. Knowing that the pickup truck holds just as much junk whether or not its towing a glider trailer - we decided to get some flying time out of this trip. Warner Springs Gliderport is chosen as the destination.

We departed Estrella at straight-up noon on this particularly humid day (monsoon conditions in Phoenix weather parlance). Lift was fairly strong across Arizona with several thermals averaging 7 or 8 knots but more typically we circled at 4 or 5 knots under clouds. This was a day of over-development in Arizona with thunderstorms building up early over the mountains and desert cu's emitting rain and making excessive shadows. After the first hour of easy going chasing under clouds, the next hour was more about avoiding the nastier build-ups.

There are some pretty long stretches along Interstate 10 without landing places that we knew about. Although the lift was reasonably strong, we couldn't be sure that it was going to be there at the next place we needed it with the overdeveloping clouds threatening as they were. So we took it rather slow and tried to avoid the rainy spots.

We crossed the Colorado River into California at Blythe. The river creates a low elevation agricultural basin in that area with irrigated green crops for miles. This is almost always a dead area about ten or 15 miles wide. Fortunately we got a good thermal on the Arizona side of the river and glided slowly through that bad air without difficulty.

Then came some drier skies in California with strong thermals marked by singular short-lived puffies. There were tall dust devils rising off the dry lake beds around the area known as Desert Center.

Beyond Desert Center, though, it looked bad. Ahead is the Salton Sea basin - this is a sink area like the Colorado river basin only much bigger. The Salton Sea is a humungous dead lake that's brackish and smells bad; this 1905 miracle of bad judgment resides 100 feet below sea level. Our course line traversed near the north shore of this water body. The air appears hazy and stable there. It would be about 40 miles across this basin to the San Gregonio mountain range. Once over that range, Warner Springs should be within glide.

The only reasonable choice was to make a wide northerly sweep to try to avoid the bad air ahead. So with our ground crew continuing west on Interstate 10, we steered northwest over the no-mans-land between Desert Center and 29 Palms. This actually worked out pretty good, we were able to track along a band of shear lift where the stable Salton sea airmass met the drier desert air. There were spurious cloud wisps that marked the turbulent interface. This allowed us to swing a wide arc back towards the mountains while sustaining some respectable altitude.

We still had to cross the dead air. But having tracked the shear for most of the way - the crossing now was shorter and feasible. We traversed southwest directly over the city of Palm Springs. That put us low in the foothills 5 miles south of Palm Springs International airport. Luckily, there was lift there. The lift encountered was raged and seemed to be driven more by airmass shearing than by ground heating. We averaged only two knots with almost as much negative turning as positive turning. But, eventually the effort paid off and we were able to work our way closer to the main ridge of the mountain and then over the top.

I had spent several hours the night before extracting airport coordinates and plugging them into a pocket PC that was supposed to read my GPS logger and navigate me. Now, when we needed it most, the pocket PC was refusing to communicate with the logger (I suspect an intermittent cable problem). So we're dead reckoning through the mountains. And we're looking directly into the setting sun and haze. The mountains decline gradually on the west slope with multiple rows of smaller mountains and hills with associated valleys and hallows. From where we had crossed the ridge line, I was fairly sure that we had glide to the Warner Springs Gliderport -but this was unfamiliar territory and the terrain and visual conditions were intimidating.

Off to the right of our glide we noticed a dirt airstrip next to a small mountain lake. From the chart, this was obviously Lake Riverside airstrip. Warner would be only about 12 more miles to the south. We glided about three of those miles and peered into the haze. We're not sure exactly which valley ahead contained the Gliderport and we haven't enough altitude for a wrong guess. At the decision point, we turned 180 degrees to return to the certainty of the dirt airstrip at Lake Riverside.

This strip had expensive hangar homes along both sides of its entire length and it was well manicured; the dirt was as smooth as a concrete surface. Unusual for a dirt strip, it had runway lights which were turned on automatically in anticipation of the approaching dusk. Not having any particular motive to hit the wheel brake, we let the Genesis roll down nearly a mile of wide runway from one end to the other; with the dive brakes closed, drag is minimal and she just keeps rolling. No one there apparently noticed our quiet landing.

I connected with my ground crew by cell phone (roaming charges appropriately applied) and they caught up to me about an hour later. My crew on this trip was comprised of my nineteen year-old daughter, Stefani accompanied by my 8-year-old son, Tyler. They did great. This was almost all new to Stefani - the last she vaguely remembers of crewing, she was having her ninth birthday at the Minden 15-Meter Nationals.

We returned to Arizona with a load of furniture - some of which shared accommodations with the Glider. Should you ever need to know this: a 25 inch television does fit through the front hatch of a Cobra trailer.

Steve Koerner (GW)