Pre-2003- The Soaring Diary

Back in the days

  • before Tom Jue started creating professional looking News Letters (See March ’03 to June 2010)
  • before PDF files were common place
  • before we embedded graphics on every page
  • when we were realizing that our typewriters had become obsolete
  • before any one had a smart phone
  • before we had our own VSA Domain Name
  • even before apple corp was selling  i anything….

Before all of that, the VSA had a presence on the internet.  Our presence was in the form of posting by Peter Kelly, reporting the local soaring news, garnered from emails, conversations and rumors heard at the gliderport.  These “Soaring Diary” posting were started in 1994, just after we moved to Williams from the area of Vacaville – Dixon, along I-80.  This particular page is a copy of one of those pages, entitled “The Soaring Diary”, and it was hosted/ published on the servers that provided Peter’s email service.  This edition, with postings in reverse chronological order, begins in August 2000 and ends three months later, in November.


The Soaring Diary

This edition begins in August 2000 and ends in November 2000.
Editor and publisher – Peter Kelly
Reports in each Diary are provided by soaring enthusiasts from all over the world (In reverse chronological order)

(Click here to jump to the bottom of this page – to see links to other pages)

Begin entry for 8 PM Friday 17 November 2000

Dear Pilot, (from Peter K)
I haven’t received anything in the last 15 days that could be posted, and haven’t had much time to write. Hopefully, things will settle down now that the soaring season has ended, etc..  I’ve been reading weather bulletins from Doug Armstrong on a daily basis – they’ve been good. Had a few reports of good flights, but no details. Had a few bulletins from Russel of Hollister, and also info about Hollister insurance and Hollister participation programs. sign up for their email if you want to learn more.

On a sad note, I heard that Jan Montagne has passed away. I wasn’t able to get the word out when I heard about it due to technical problems. I hope that most of you got the word.   A memorial service will be held in Sacramento tomorrow, 17 November, the service will undoubtedly be over by the time you read this. Jan was truly a wonderful person, and very supportive to all of us who enjoy the sport of soaring. She enjoyed the sport as much as any of us. It was always a pleasure to visit with Jan. Just as her late husband Stan has done, Jan will remain in my thoughts. We have lost another wonderful friend. God bless you Jan. I am sure you are at peace. I hope you and Stan will watch over me, and travel with me on some of the long flights I will be taking in the coming years.

Tomorrow is the PASCO Banquet, and more importantly, the safety seminars. If you aren’t investing your energy into attending these seminars, you are making a mistake. In the military, and in most civilian flying clubs, safety meetings are mandatory. If you don’t attend them, you are non-current, you are grounded, and you don’t fly. We should have the same standards here in our glider community. – but how could such a “rule” be enforced. Besides we don’t have much in the way of rules, that’s why we all like soaring and gliding. But, we need to take personal responsibility. Those of you that don’t have the advantage of having completed formal training – other than private instruction, need to pay attention. You don’t need to listen to me, but talk to pilots who have been through formal schools, get a feel for why they read about and talk to others about accidents, causes of accidents, accidents that almost happened, etc. there is a real need for understanding and discussing concepts that are part of good training, safe procedures, achieving and maintaining flying skills, proficiency, etc. etc, etc..

I admire those of you that continue to manage safely without ever having had the benefit of more advanced training in aviation. Those of you that are safe, are only safe because you work at it – undoubtedly you read a lot, talk to others a lot, and attend seminars. Those of you that have not had accidents or incidents, and yet do not attend safety briefings when they are offered, and just dam lucky. Do us all a favor, and try to interact with other pilots who are current and proficient. Try to maintain a sense of what it takes to be a safe pilot. In any case, good luck. Hope to see you at the safety seminars.

Soaring looks good for Sunday (the 19th). I plan to launch from Williams at about noon, fly for a couple of hours, and return with at least 100 miles more in my log book. see you there.

By the way – I have already received a glider pilot experience log entry for this year. I will up-date the “tips” page that deals with glider pilot experience as soon as I receive a few more. Please tell me – how many hours did you fly this past year,, how many flights, how many miles did you fly,, etc, give me some info!! Others have responded positively to that new page. I’ll update it soon.

This is the last entry for this volume.

End entry for 8 PM Friday 17 November 2000

Begin entry for 7 AM Wednesday 1 November 2000

So how’ve you been? I haven’t heard from you, and I was hoping you would write. Twenty or so days ago – which seems like last year, as Oktoberfest was approaching, I was taking as much time as I could to make diary entries. Several of you had written flying reports, and I was chatting via email with people about the upcoming event. A lot has happened since then – mostly personal, but lots of stuff to do with soaring. Let me ramble a bit, and then I’ll go back and get those couple of emails I received about flying.

Small World. Last night, after I landed here in St Louis, I went out to the curb to locate the van to my hotel. And who do I meet waiting for
transportation to downtown but Ian McFall – What’s the chance of that? We chatted a few minutes, and my crew came out of the terminal and I was on my way. I hadn’t seen him since Oktoberfest, and before that, I hadn’t seen him but twice in the past two years. It may be another couple of years, as he said he may not be able to make it to the PASCO banquet. I recall that when we last met at Oktoberfest, that he said he may see me at Williams this fall, because he is a partner in the motorglider “SUN”, and he planned to fly at WSC a bit after Oktoberfest, but alas, I haven’t been there since then, and he probably hasn’t been either. Life certainly keeps us busy. So, as we drive away from the St Louis airport, I am telling my First Officer that it was quite a coincidence to meet Ian. (The FO has been a Capt in the DC-9/ MD-80 for the past 12 years or so at Midway and then Reno Airlines, but is now back to FO here at AA, and he lives in Reno, NV). I say how I came to know Ian and that I’ve known him, and his son Andrew for over ten years now. After I mention Minden and Gliders, this FO proceeds to tell me how he was flying overhead Reno this past June, and he hears the conversation between the FEDEX pilot and a glider pilot who had just landed in a dry lake bed that was now all mud, and how they had to get him out with a helicopter. I met that same glider pilot at the banquet at the Gerlach Dash in August. Imagine all of that late at night in St Louis, Missouri.    Like I said – small world.

I had done pencil drafts of different aspects of what I was going to type
here on the diary regarding the Oktoberfest, but I have since misplaced them. I was hoping some of you would write about it. This is as good a time as any to try to recall all that has happened since last entry. I could just list the events, but we all have events in our lives that distract us from the important things – such as keeping in touch with the world of soaring. new laptop that I had ordered – not yet out of the box. Hopefully I’ll be able to keep up a little better with my email, and the diary pages once I get that up and running. I reformatted this old laptop, and now I have it working OK again. I’ll probably keep this one for the glider info. I’d love to have this screen in the cockpit of my glider. I plan to transition to the new pocket pc/ Cambridge GPS system, and have the moving map in the cockpit. Jim D says he saw the pc for about $250, and the software is now free to download from Cambridge, but you need to buy adapter cables, etc. I plan to start configuring the local databases so they work in the pocket-nav system, or whatever Cambridge is calling it. With that system you just select the data base, so there is less scrolling through 200 plus turnpoints. In fact, I’ll need to set up several databases for each gliderport. I’ll have to work with it, but I guess I’ll have a database for local flying, and then break out the 300 and 500 kilometer flight tracks into others, depending on the direction you are going to fly that day. We’ll see. Non-soaring personal stuff – dental work, flight physical again, appeal in Superior Court on the minor law suit with a contractor, visited with Key D at NASA in Moffitt, talked to Carl H. about his plans to sytemize the cross-country glider pilot training and checkout program, saw, listened, and talked to lots of people at the Oktoberfest, planted 15 Aspen trees, and set up a watering system for them, put a drill almost through my thumb working in my garage, test drove a new Acura SUV – it has a beautiful GPS display on the dashboard, and it drives very nicely. All it takes is money. I also received a few other emails – but like I say, I’m way behind in correspondence. My desk top computer was crapping out on me also. I finally changed the fan in the power supply. At least when the computer is on now, you can still hear the phone ring – it was getting bad. I am trying to transition to a new Compaq on my desk, but that sure is alot of work to move the files and set up all the programs. And I’m having trouble with some of my files. The file look good in the directory, but when I try to open them, it says it is an empty file ERROR- ZERO LENGTH. Probably a virus? Any one familiar with what causes that?

That’s just to mention a few things in the past few weeks. It’s no wonder I haven’t been in touch. But we all have other lives. Time just keeps moving. Next thing you know, you’re too old to do the things you were looking forward to doing after you had more time. They write lots of songs about this phenomenon. Religions seem to focus on it, etc. All I know is that there is never enough time. Gotta prioritize – continuously! I just rearranged my schedule for November. I still have Thanksgiving off to have dinner with the family, I have still reserved that weekend of the 18th to attend the PASCO Seminars and Banquet. Of course, I still need to find time to get up to Tahoe and keep moving on the projects there – electric radiators for the front entry way, motion detector lights installed on the front porch, need to put up some tarps to keep the snow off the firewood on the lower deck, install the outlet for those new heaters, and get those flagstone on to the floor of the entrance way, etc.

It was interesting to visit Key in his office. He sure has a great job.
Studying human factors in aviation – He’s out traveling and doing all kinds of interesting studies, reading about and conferring with all kinds of aviation expertise.

I was talking to Carl H. and he was telling me of his efforts in trying to make new cross-country pilots more crash-proof. My description, not his. We do need to have a “system” for teaching new pilots cross-country. It’s so complex – that whole idea of going cross-country in a glider. I discuss it with, or try to describe it to commercial jet pilots, and I get a lot of blank stares. It is nearly inconceivable to some of these guys that we actually do what we do.
You have to admit, that unless a person has done a bit of it themselves, you always have a hard time describing it in a way so that it sounds like a rational activity. You mean to tell me you strap yourself into a glider, hook up to a power plane using a rope, and after takeoff release the rope, fly very far from the airport, off into the hills and cross several mountains and valleys, and then try, or expect to land back at the same place you started from? And all the time you are in the air, flying over unlandable forests, and rocky areas, you are searching for sources of lift to keep you aloft? And you do this for fun? It reminds me of Bruce Laxalt telling the story about how he had landed in a field, and was leaning on the fence, conversing with the migrant farm worker about his flight. And the farm worker asked Bruce the question – “How much do they pay you to do this?”… You gotta hear Bruce tell the story, but you probably get the point. Flying gliders is nothing but fun. Non-flyers have a hard time appreciating it.

Life is too short not to at least keep trying to enjoy it as much as possible. It just takes so much freakin effort sometimes to keep it all moving in the right direction, keeping it all organized. But that’s life. I’d better terminate this entry and get out and get some exercise. It’s nearly lunchtime, and I have to go to work in a few hours. Maybe get this on the diary page tomorrow, and cut the grass, clean up the Halloween decorations, etc. Maybe get in some winter flying one of these days, but gotta check the weather first, see if it will be good. That’s another thing. I can’t believe how many of you haven’t taken the time to learn to read weather charts. Those of you with internet access… all you need to do is ask Doug to put you on his daily weather briefing email list, read the Reno forecast, and look at the weather charts on a regular basis. Soon you will be able to do it at a glance, and you will know that as you see certain patterns approaching, you ought to get your stuff together, finish you work, prioritize, and get out to the gliderport for some winter soaring. I find those winter days very special. They’re hard as heck to catch. But I hope I can do it a few times this winter. We’ll see.

Send me your thoughts in an email. I’ll paste it here. Everyone enjoys
reading about soaring – at least that’s what I keep hearing. I have received several nice emails about soaring related subjects, but no permission was given to put them on the Diary, so I couldn’t share them – sorry. See you at the PASCO Seminars. – the 18th of Nov. banquet reservations with Charlie and Rosemary at :

Here are some recent emails that are released for distribution on the diary page.

Note from Gary K about Mt Shasta Soaring meeting at PASCO Seminars. —-
Subject: Meeting

We have scheduled a MSSC meeting for November 18, 2000, in the seminar meeting room at 1:00 PM……we will have 30 minutes so we need to be prompt. Please send any agenda items to me. I have some revisions for the bylaws that I will post on the web page as soon as I can.


Received a “pilot” joke

> Subject: Pilot joke
> A young and foolish pilot wanted to sound cool and show who
> was boss on the aviation frequencies. So, this was his first
> time approaching a field during the nighttime. Instead of
> making any official requests to the tower,
> he said: “Guess who?”
> The controller switched the field lights off and replied:
> “Guess where!”

> “Guess where!”

Here’s a note from Guy A. about Oktoberfest..

Date: Tue, 17 Oct 2000 00:49:24 EDT
Subject: Oktoberfest – How I did it.

I am still in a bit of shock about the Oktoberfest. It was the first
“competition” I ever participated in. It was the first time I ever loaded a task into my Cambridge and flew it. It was only the second time I ever flew that area. And then I end up getting the beer stein for being the only person to complete the sports class course. Of course I am proud to have been a representative of the Minden gang and to have taken home the bacon.

I towed to 6000 and released over the north end of Walker Ridge. It would be almost 30 minutes of grinding on the slopes of Goat Mountain before I reached my tow height again. With repeated drives into the slopes of Goat and falling back down the slopes to find lift until finally getting close enough to peak height to catch the thermals coming up the southwest face. I remember sharing some thermals with Sergio and how frustrated I was that I couldn’t catch up with him in the thermals. I made it to 8000 feet and turned towards the starting point, Indian Ranch.

My barogram shows it was a smooth air, final glide to the starting point and then more of the same as I turned back to Snow Mountain. I didn’t find lift again until I was down to 4000 in the canyon between Goat and Snow. It was a repeat of Goat Mountain to crawl my way up to the top of Snow Mountain where I think I remember sharing some air with TG and NF. The highest I could get at Snow Mt was 7200 and I charged north, trying to stay on the southern and southwestern slopes.

St. John’s mountain was another challenge as the lift just wasn’t organized. I would charge into the sunny face and catch a bubble of lift but couldn’t center it. Find lift, turn, then sink. Over and over. I finally got over the eastern shoulder and found lift in the northeast side (in the shade) that took me to 8400, the high point of my flight. Going north to the second turnpoint, Black Butte was a sinking experience that ended with me finding some lift to about 7500 on the ridge just south of Black Butte and charging across the canyon and up the face of Black Butte. My GPS said I had made the turnpoint as I ran out of airspeed just below peak height. I turned back and ended up doing what I felt like slope soaring on the sunny slopes back to Snow Mt and actually gaining altitude in the process. I got back to Snow Mt at about 8000 and final glided to the second turnpoint, Walker Ridge.

It was dead air around Walker Ridge turnpoint at 5000 and it was 4000 at about the same spot on the base of Goat that I found lift off of tow that I again found something to work. Then it was just a repeat of the crawling, grinding climb up the southern shoulder of Goat until I reached the peak at 6200 and then a final glide back to Williams going around the Three Sisters turnpoint. The weird thing was I remember not seeing any gliders after St John’s Mt and feeling like I must be the slowest pilot on the planet.

Anyway, great beer, brats, and people at the end. It was a really fun, and well attended function. I look forward to more interaction between the Minden crowd and the Bay Area crowd.

MSSC Bylaws

Gary K rewrote the bylaws for Mt Shasta Soaring – so take a look at them on the MSSC home page – maybe print them out, and bring a copy with you to the seminars on the 18th of November. Gary will then have some input from you to work with at the meeting.

Crazy Creek Fire

We received a report from Chuck G. about the fire at Crazy Creek that was on Saturday Oct 21st. Here it is…..
Date: Sun, 22 Oct 2000 16:23:56 -0700
From: Charles Griffin <>
Subject: Crazy Creek Fire


As I am sure you are well aware, there was a fire that marched
through Crazy Creek on Saturday during the BBQ. The winds
were very strong from the North at about 30 to 40 mph and a
fire started near the gas station just past Grange road on 29.
It quickly jumped the road and within 5 to 10 minutes blew
through the airport. Although it looked as if nothing would
survive, all of the buildings and aircraft were spared. I understand
the airport is closed for several days.

The phone is out so I cannot get through to Jim but I wanted to
send a CD with the pictures I took during the fire to Charlie
Westerner (A5). If you would know his address or e mail to
get his address, I would appreciate it. If you would like a CD
with the pics (160 images) let me know. Warning! I am not
a professional photographer or come any where close.

Chuck Griffin (99)

End entry for Wednesday 1 November 2000

Begin entry for Friday 13 October 2000

Where were you? It was good. When I showed up, Sergio nearly already rigged. NK had a forecast that said lift to about 5,000 ft. Paul, Ray, and JJ were ready to go by noon. Sergio launched first – took a mountain tow and headed north. He went 25 miles past Ruth to Dinsmore!, and return – cloud base up north was 10,000 ft. Gary and I went to Bessa towers, then north. Gary turned Anthony, and I turned Black Butte – Gary logged 260 miles, I had about 225.  JJ and Ray got stuck in the valley – too bad. Paul had a good flight over the hills, as did Bob Trumbly, and Jim Herd. Kenny had a long fling in the Duo with a student.

Tomorrow? – Oktoberfest 2000.
I just looked at the 300 down to the 1000 mb charts for 5 pm on sat. Winds will be light out of the nw at all altitudes, divergence lower levels, deepening trof off the coast at 5pm will bring high clouds late afternoon, probably killing the thermal heating early, but bringing in more of a westerly flow late in the day. High expected to be in the mid-70’s. I’d guess mountain tows will be required – or at least tows over to the three sisters. Cloud base ought to be about the same as today, since I see little change in the atmosphere, except for those high clouds coming in. I’ll have a weather brief prepared for the 10 AM pilot meeting at Williams – see you there.

End entry for Friday 13 October 2000

Begin entry for Thursday 12 October 2000

Looks like tomorrow (Friday) may be better than Saturday for soaring at Williams – see you there!

We received a flight report from Rick. Here it is (thank you Rick)….

Hello Peter,
I don’t know if Kenny has been very busy the last couple of days or he’s just being very modest. (The later seems unlikely.) Anyway, he and a student (I’m sorry I don’t remember his name) got up to 16,5000 ft in strong wave just West of Indian Valley Reservoir last Monday, October 9th. They could have gone much higher, but were unprepared for the high altitude conditions. Kenny reported that when they decided to descend, they were still going up at 8 kts! Monday was a fascinating weather day that offered just about any type of soaring. I released at 2,000 ft and enjoyed the unstable air in the valley. I bucked around for 2.5 hours in thermal and shear lift. At one point I did contact wave and climbed to 6,800 ft. (cloud base was 5,000 ft), but fell out of it when clouds surrounded me. Wave never did get very organized in the valley where I was (too much instability?) the mountains were a different story. Maybe we’ll hear Kenny’s story Saturday.

On another note, I discovered a neat feature on the WSC web site. If you click on “what’s new” you get an almost daily journal on what happened at the glider port. It’s not quite the soaring diary but it’s fun to see who’s been out there. Uh, am I the last person to know about this?

Thanks Rick. No, I didn’t know about the “what’s new” feature either. I’ll check it out at

End entry for Thursday 12 October 2000

Begin entry for Wednesday 11 October 2000

I received info from Gary K. three nationals will be at Siskiyou next summer – I have begun to update the Mt Shasta web contest pages.

Also, I started a web page under the “tips” that talks about Racing Tips. Go to it from the /~soaring home page.

Weather looks promising for Saturday. I reviewed the fcst charts from my wxlst.html page out to the 3 day forecast. i only looked at 300, 700, and 1000 mb pages. Wind will be from the NW both on the surface and aloft. Air will be warm and dry from that northeast flow that will prevail for the next day or two. The isobars are spreading as they pass over – so a divergence will exist aloft — winds aloft will drop off. I’d expect temp to get back up to mid to high 70’s on Saturday. I fully expect that there will be descent lift on the hills – just don’t know how high it will be going. I’ll take a chance and estimate that thermals ought to be at least 8,000 ft high over goat – considering the time of year, etc.. Can’t tell about the valley because of the chance of stagnant air setting up between now and then. There is potential for thermals along the hills to be much higher– since the flow is from the NW temps aloft ought to allow some good convection from the warm air below. I don’t see cirrus coming in because the high will be on the build up phase as the local atmospheric pressure increases, therefore the surface temps ought to get up there pretty good.

That’s all the armchair bs analysis I have at my disposal. Anyone else care to take a shot at a forecast? send it to me via email today. see you Saturday.

End entry for Wednesday 11 October 2000

Begin entry for Tuesday 10 October 2000

We received an email from Guy – and it is another version of what happened last Friday. It relates directly to the entries made last night. Here is Guy’s report …………..

Date: Tue, 10 Oct 2000 09:38:33 EDT
Subject: Williams October 6

I thought I would share my flight out of Williams on Friday, October 6. I usually fly at Minden however I brought my plane home for some work and to fly at the Oktoberfest. Friday was a day off from work and the wife didn’t have any honey dos. I haven’t learned how to do a forecast yet so it was just an opportunity to go to the airport.

The weather leading up to Friday was flat. At Williams, Kenny said the inversion has very strong the day before. However, while setting up, the hint of a Cu was detected over Snow Mountain. By 12:30 there were three solid Cus in the Snow Mountain area. I took a mountain tow to Snow Mountain and took 5 knots to 12,000 feet. The clouds were streeting north so off I went. I haven’t flown this area and intended to try and identify the GPS turnpoints and landpoints that you’ve created so I just poked along. Well, the clouds ended at Hayfork Ranch!

I flew up the east side of the clouds to Hayfork and down the west side over Ruth, Round Valley, to the Gold Mines. I was at 13,500 at the Gold Mines so I burned the altitude flying over Crazy Creek, Mt. St. Helena, Calistoga, and then returning to Williams for a nice 4 hour flight.

I stopped to circle six times. My average rate of climb was 4.8 to 8.5
knots. The views of Shasta and Mt Lassen were pretty special. Upon landing, Sergio assured me that the day was not a typical valley day.

See you at the Oktoberfest.

Guy Acheson “DDS”

End entry for Tuesday 10 October 2000

Begin entry for Monday 9 October 2000

Sorry folks – I haven’t been home to get this updated. Had to fly early in the month to get a couple of special days off. I’ve updated the Montague site a few more times, and also composed a page that gives you guidance in preparing inputs for these web pages – see it at It’s important NOT to put hard returns – (the enter key) at the end of each line when you are typing, because I just have to remove each one of them before I can put the info on the web page, and of course sometimes I don’t get them all, so the text sometimes looks funky. Read the input guidelines page.

We’ve received several emails. A racing tip from Gary Kemp – I’ll post that here at first for all to read, and eventually get that page started in the “tips” section of these web pages. We received several flight reports and a “glider for sale” ad. Here’s what we got…..


Racing tip from Gary —– (Thanks Gary, this is excellent insight, thanks for sharing it with us, pjk)…….
Date: Wed, 27 Sep 2000 11:41:36 -0700
From: Gary Kemp <>
To: Peter Kelly <>

Peter: For your tips column:

Years ago George Moffat talked about minutes and seconds in racing. I have become much more aware of this during the past year. I lost two contests over 11 days by a total of 6 minutes. The last day of the Regional competition I was flying with JJ and had final glide made at a Macready setting of 3, (we were at the same altitude)on the way in (about 30 miles out) I passed through a 5 kt thermal that turned into a 10 kt thermal for JJ. He took it, I didn’t and he beat me by 1 1/2 minutes or 11 pts. for the contest. The tip is if you have a setting of 3kts and hit a thermal in excess of that (5 kts) take the thermal to an altitude to come in at a higher setting i.e. 5 kts, you will then improve your overall speed. The trick is to maintain that 5 kt gain, when it drops off you should leave.


Glides for Sale

There are two gliders for sale in the local area.

Key Dismukes is still trying to sell the ASW20 – Papa Sierra. Initially it was offerred at about $28,000, but over this past year, he hasn’t sold it, and he is already flying his new ship, and I think you can now pick it up for closer to $21,000 – that’s a steal for a -20, but don’t quote me on the price. I just know he’s anxious to get it sold – give him a call at 408-243-0891.

Also, we received an email from Steve Smith – he’s getting a new ship also. Everyone is moving up. Here is Steve’s ad…
For Sale: LS-6 s/n 6057, 1986 w Komet trailer, Sage vario, Becker radio and boom mike, Peschges VP-3e computer, Nelson O2, pneumatic tail wheel. Asking $42,000 or $39,500 with basic instruments only. Steve Smith (408)996-2932

Flight Reports

We have received some flight reports – this frst one came in on Sunday from Chuck griffin, and the second one came in on Monday from Sergio. They are both talking about the same weather. Interesting.
Here is Chuck’s report……

Date: Sun, 08 Oct 2000 17:59:28 -0700
From: Charles Griffin <>
Subject: flight report CCS oct 7


Another flight report from Crazy Creek Saturday Oct 8, 2000.
Gliders flying, Chuck Griffin (99), Charlie Westerner (A5), John Bell
(JB) and Mark Ramsey (54). The tows started just after 12 and it was quite warm on the ground. I took a higher tow than usual at 4200 msl and I am glad that I did as the gliders that fell below 3500 msl or so were not able to climb.

It was one of those days at Crazy Creek that occasionally occurs where there is only one thermal, usually on the top spine of Boggs, but it seems to work all day. The single house thermal was above the golf course and I worked it four or five times over a three hour flight. I eventually was able to get 9500 and so could do quite a bit
of exploring. I checked Konocti and the gold mines twice and found
nothing. There were good Cu over Snow and I did take one glide in dead air across the lake just past High Valley grass strip and turned back at 6000 slightly over 20 miles from Crazy. My right brain said just push into the hills and you will almost surely get up however my
left brain said better not as High Valley has not been checked this
season and a field retrieve would drastically change my eta back to Redwood City. I appear to be left dominant.

In past years, I have driven to High Valley to check the runway in the
early fall and had I known that this was landable that would have changed the equation I think. I have been low several times over that area and it can be a little uncomfortable. I did land at High Valley several years ago when I knew it was cut and I was able to get a tow out before anyone knew I was there. A no risk field or landing spot in that general area would increase the amount of flights north from Crazy Creek and I would welcome any ideas from the readers of this journal.

A5 flew 3.5 hours and used the house thermal all day. JB and 54 had
shorter flights as they fell below the minimum altitude and could not utilize the one thermal. 54 said it was possible to maintain a little more than pattern altitude but he elected to land and hang out with his wife and very charming daughter Maya. (There is a pic on his web page,
I think, if you have any interest)

Chuck Griffin

And here is Sergio’s report from Williams…..

Date: Mon, 9 Oct 2000 15:28:07 -0700
From: Sergio Colacevich <>
Subject: Good soaring week end in Williams


I am off work every other Friday. Last October 6 I was at my computer at home when looking out of the window I saw low clouds coming from the Bay. This is a good sign and notwithstanding a dull weather forecast I went to Williams right away. At 11.30 AM Kenny spotted a cumulus over Snow Mountain. We could not believe our eyes. It was the most beautiful early-morning cumulus you may happen to see.

I was only able to take off at 1.30 PM. The valley had bumps up to 1700′, above that elevation the atmosphere was absolutely glass smooth. But there were many good looking clouds extending far to the north. Goat Mountain was in the blue. I released at 6600′ and glided to the beginning of the Goat Mountain ridge. I found a thermal on the way that took me to 8000′, enough to glide to the next clouds near Snow Mountain. I went past T-15 to T-14, which is about 10 miles north of Ruth. There was a fire on the east side of the Ruth Lake, with planes water bombing, helicopters, boaters watching.

>From there it was easy to come back to Williams. On the high mountains again, I left at 13500′ for a 50 miles final glide. The clouds were about 13000′ plus and the highest cloud gave me 13900′. Lift was frequently 3 to 4 knots but often 6 to 7 knots. The clouds continued north after T-15 but it was not possible to connect with other clouds visible much farther away. Guy Acheson took off 45 minutes before me with his LS8-18 meters and went about 15 miles north of T-15, from there to Mt. Saint Helena and back to Williams.

Saturday the first cloudlet formed at 11.00 AM. The towplane was busy giving rides so I used the time to put 75% water. I started at 11.30 and directed again to the beginning of the Goat Mountain ridge, releasing again at 6600′. Low on the ridge I found a climb that soon became 5 to 6 knots.

Ramy Yanetz (great guy) took off after me, not experienced of the area
released at 6000′, reached the Goat Mt. ridge at tree-top level and was not able to connect, short of the lift by a mile or two. There was no way to remedy: he slowly drifted to the valley, eventually landing in Charter.

>From Goat Mt. I was able to reach the clouds at Snow Mt. and continue to Dinsmore A/P, about 20 miles north of Ruth. I tried to reach Hayfork but it was not possible to cross in the east direction so I had to go back passing west of Ruth. The fire on Ruth Lake was still raging, the smoke cloud darker than the day before.

On the way back, in the Yolla Bolly Wilderness area the clouds had formed an almost continue cover. I put the McReady at 4 knots and did about 20 miles straight on, regaining altitude just slowing down in the lift areas, maintaining at the end of the run the 13000′ I had begun with. In the meantime, Rami had taken another tow and was coming in the north direction fast. I met with Ramy at Anthony Peak. He wanted to fly 300k so we went together to Chancelulla Wilderness Peak, just short of Hayfork. Here we found Key Dismukes in Papa Sierra. The three of us went back to the same high lift in the Yolla Bolly that we found before (a little more sporadic now). I arrived at the end of the clouds about 50 miles from Williams, where I stopped waiting for Ramy. But after a few minutes Ramy radioed that he was 10 miles behind me at 13000′ ad in final for Williams! So I started my own
final glide. Papa Sierra decided to try and reach Williams without making any turns from T-15 and he was able to do it!

For such a good day, there were only a few more flying. Bob Ireland flew, as well as Diana Bishey, Steve Irving and Pat Page.

The clouds this Saturday were 500′ lower than yesterday and just a little bit less strong but still giving 6 to 7 knots. The clouds initially were
good up to T-15, with a gap of about 30 miles before other good clouds farther away, and a little one in between. Later in the afternoon there were clouds everywhere going to the north. I could see Mt. Shasta with clouds on its top. Today it was possible to go to Mt. Shasta and to fly above it, but we just did not know it enough in advance to make an attempt.

One of the best days in Williams, and on these two days, it was the best place to fly in North California.

Jim Herd has been on the road with his DG-800. He’s provided an abbreviated flight report, and tells us we should expect more people from Minden at the Octoberfest. Steve Smith mentioned the Oktoberfest at Williams also. I think there will be a pretty good crowd in attendance. Here’s parts of Jim’s message……

Date: Mon, 09 Oct 2000 14:32:04 -0700
From: Jim Herd <>
To: Peter Kelly <>

Hi Pete,

I was hoping to run into you at Williams this past week or two. I spent
the last two Sundays there, just getting to know the local mountains up
close and personal! No doubt you will be at the Oktoberfest next week end. Me too. Plus a bunch of the Minden guys.

L.A. was a real bust last week. Hemmet, Elsinore, & Warner Springs – all were not soarable! Luckily I had family business in L.A.
I was struck that these L.A. locations seemed somewhat run-down and
relatively ill-equipped. Maybe I am spoiled by Minden and Williams. But
are those L.A. sites the best that there is? Certainly, the soarability
potential looked good, but I would like to see quality and comfort on
the ground also. They also seemed a long way from anything of interest
for the non-pilot.

Other than that, Williams has been quite good and I know that Minden has had some stellar days recently (we spoke to Minden air to air
yesterday). Though it is no doubt snowing/raining today.

See you at Oktoberfest – I plan to be there Friday morning with wife, son, and motor home in tow!

Jim Herd


I think we’ve hit it right. Looking at the forecast locations of the jet streams, this next weekend – the 14th, ought to be good. See you there.

Update Message

I’m sending out an update message to everyone on the mailing list. If you don’t get it, you aren’t on the current list. If you want to be on it, then send me your address. Your old email address may have been removed because of non-delivery. Send me an update if you don’t get the message by Tuesday nite.

End entry for Monday 9 October 2000

Begin entry for Sunday 1 October 2000

We received some email that I’ll share, and I just updated the mount Shasta soaring center home page with some new info – take a look at it.

I just came home from a trip that you’ll find interesting on two counts. First, I flew into Denver from LAX today at 9AM and left 30 minutes later back to SJC. On arrival there was a single, one mile east-west by 5 mile long (north-south), massive wave cloud at 20,000 ish with a few widely scattered scraps of cloud at 10ish. Sure enough – that was all rotor stuff below the wave. Bumby as Heck.
On departure we had to climb right under it as we headed west from the airport. With a light airplane that we had, the climb rate was about 2,500 feet per minutes as we climbed at 250 kts. As we headed west thru 10k, climbing to 23,000, it varied by increasing 1500 fpm above to 1500 below that 2,500 fpm rate. Pretty neat stuff.

The other part of the trip that was interesting was yesterday when I flew from SJC to RNO and then down to LAX. Going into RNO, I descended to cross a point 5 miles north of Donner Lake at 16,000, just like it says to do on the instrument arrival that I was cleared to fly. From there I received instructions to descend to 12,000 and vectors to a wide right base leg for 16 at RNO. The time was just past noon. There was no evidence of lift anywhere that I could see. The smoke north of Reno was laying flat at about 10,000 ft. no convection . I couldn’t imagine any gliders being able to stay up in that air. Just northeast of Peevine, crossing 395, below 10,000 the controller pointed out a United jet on final, and we saw him. He said “follow that traffic, cleared for a visual approach to 16”. Getting the flaps and gear down, doing checklists, keeping the united jet in sight, flying the required noise abatement ground track, was all very busy. I doubt we would have seen any gliders unless they were slightly above, and directly in front of us as we made that approach. It’s definitely tough to see what you are descending down onto (traffic slightly below you) during that type of approach, which is typical for jet traffic Scary stuff- especially for the gliders.

LAX was backed up, so we had to wait 15 minutes at the end of the runway at about 2:45 PM at RNO. I tuned up 123.3, and heard charlie two – Sergio, flying north out of Truckee. I said hello, and asked him about the conditions. He said lift was up to 12,000 or so. Looking past Verdi from my cockpit window on the ground, I never would have guessed that a glider could be up there – it just didn’t look like a soaring day. When we did depart to the south at 3 PM, the first officer did see one glider southwest of Washoe Lake and I saw one along the Pinenuts on the southwest end of the ridge. But we were both looking hard, and never saw any others. The point is, you really need a transponder on when you are flying anywhere near Reno. Visual contact is near to impossible. Besides, gliders always look like they are standing still from an airliner window, since the jet is going 250 kts below 10,000 and over 300 above 10,000, and the nose of the jet is either up or down. And besides, who would have thought gliders would be up there at those altitudes on a day like that! I certainly didn’t! And I had even been reading Doug Armstrong’s weather forecasts a few days before.

Here is a note to me from Ramy. I was asking him about his recent flight – in a P.S. to a message. He flew 2,000 miles. You gotta be impressed by that – I wish he wrote all about it. We would all learn something. Here is his response to me…..

Date: Sat, 30 Sep 2000 02:03:11 EDT

> PS that was a great flight I heard about – you went to Heber ? from Minden??

Yep. Minden to Heber on July 17. More impressive is that my wife drove the whole way non-stop via hwy 50 over 12 hours and almost 700 road miles. All this while she is 5 months pregnant… The next 2 weeks I flew to Colorado, South Utah, Arizona (Grand Canyon) and Las Vegas, 2000 miles total, from gliderport to gliderport…

Hope to fly with you in Williams sometime this month.


Here is a note from Gary, telling us about not being able to forecast the soaring conditions, and yet having a good flight. He wrote the note on Saturday night, so he is talking about yesterday, Sep 30th….

Date: Sat, 30 Sep 2000 18:57:33 -0700
Subject: Flying
From: Gary Kemp <>
To: Peter Kelly <>


If you read the weather forecast today it wouldn’t have been a day to
put the glider together, however it was already together and so was JJ. We didn’t fly yesterday because it didn’t “feel” like it was going to be any good. Today did.

The forecast was for 1 kt lift to not very high. Took a 5000
foot tow (cheaper than driving up to the mountains), to Indian Ranch. Found weak lift 6 miles west at 4200′ was able to mess around with that until I could get to 5500′ and then went to the Goat mountain ridge, figuring with a north wind I could work that up until I could pick a thermal off the top of Goat mountain. I had plenty of time to buzz the deer hunters and look at the beautiful fall colors beginning, but finally got just over the fire tower, waved to the ranger and climbed at about 4 kts, up to 8500 feet and on my way to Snow Mountain, JJ wanted Elden to get out but he wouldn’t and their heavier wing loading seemed to slow them up although they finally got up but were too stressed to continue very far North, Ramy was with them in the LS 4, I got to just over 10,000 at Snow and went to Gravelly and then
flew with the Hang gliders on Hull Mountain.

There was a large fire at Paskenta that was kicking smoke to the West which seemed to act like a warm front and came in under the coastal flow just about 1 mile East of the crest. I flew to Black Butte mountain and then along the shear to Anthony peak and finally to Mt. Linn. I caught a good one just before Mt.Linn (the high Peak in Yolla Bolly) to 12000 at 7 kts. Used one more thermal for the next 100+ miles.
Passed Ramy going North to Mt. Linn. I turned at Rumsey Gap and back to Williams for about 200 miles. A fun day.


End entry for Sunday 1 October 2000

Begin entry for Monday, 24 September 2000

I’ve had a few corrections/ additions to the mailing list, and they’ve been made. We received several emails. I’ll share them.

Doug Armstrong is still doing a great job of forecasting the good days – Last Thursday, 9/21, he sent out a note forecasting wave, and then on Friday, 9/22 he reported the many wave flights that had been flown.

We received some good input from Elden regarding “Tips for Racing Sailplanes”. I guess I’ll have to start a web page that deals with tips on racing. Here is what Elden tells us….. (thank you Elden).

Date: Sat, 23 Sep 2000 11:04:16 EDT
Subject: Contest tips

In reading your page the other night, regarding contest / racing tips. One of the things I think each pilot/contestant should do is print a copy of the rules off of the SSA web page, read them and try to understand them. Get help from the locals Gimmey, Sinclair, Karol Hines, Gary Kemp.

Know there are differences in the rules of Regionals, National’s and Sports Class.

We travel long distances and spend large sums of money on entry fees and then make foolish mistakes on starts, turnpoints, turning in landing cards, makeing changes on landing cards, landing at a approved airport instead of the field next to it,when they are in black and white, a 25 point penality can make a difference in your place on the score sheet.

Rules make the playing field level unless you do not know and understand them. Understanding them makes the experince more enjoyable and less stressfull. If you do not agree with them work on getting them changed, but remember most rules are there because of something happen in the past and changes need to be well thought out and not a knee jerk reaction.

Well Pete enough of this think I will go to Williams and go flying, hope to see you at the airport.

Good flying Karma to you,


We had a flight report from Chuck Griffin. It’s a good one. Thank you Chuck for sharing this with us, Peter.

Date: Sun, 24 Sep 2000 18:10:56 -0700
From: Charles Griffin <>
Subject: flight report Crazy Creek 9/23/00


I read that you have had no flight reports for the last month, so I will
give you one from Crazy Creek yesterday, Sat 9/23/00.

I arrived at the airport around 10:00 and Ray Gimmey’s Nimbus 4 (7V) was already rigged and ready. There really is nothing quite like those open class birds. Things of beauty.

There were a few cu around Cobb Mtn and launch was at about noon with 7V off first. I released over Johnson’s and was able to reach Cobb Mrn fairly quickly and then the bottom fell out and I spent the next 15 minutes just trying to stay in the air. It did not make me very optimistic for the day. 7V had already headed west and I was finally able to get up on Cobb again and I followed Rick Indrebo in the Pegasus (5F) west over the high country. Initially, it was quite weak however cu was building west of 101 and after one slow climb we connected with the clouds just west of Cloverdale. These clouds gave 7 to 800 on average. Paul Kellas in his Libelle PK came with us climbing through us with the Libelle but not able to keep up on the run.
We then had a very nice flight through the high country west of 101 to
Booneville and subsequently Willets. We hooked up there with 7V and ate his dust on the way home via Ukia and Lampson. I picked up Cobb, Mount Saint Helena and Parrot on the way back. I landed first and was treated to low finishes from 5F and 7V. Flight time 3.5 hours. Rays ship made almost no noise on his finish. Wonderful!

Although for Ray and Rick it was probably a middle of the road day, for me it was absolutely fantastic. I don’t think I would have even tried
to go xc because of the slow start and blue conditions early. Hanging on to the shirt tails of the pro’s makes for a great day. Rick was gracious enough to slow his pace to let me keep him in sight. A couple of other pilots flew including Charlie Westerner (A5) however I left before they landed so you will have to get flight reports from

Chuck Griffin (99)

And lastly, we have a note from Steve Irving at Williams. Steve was a volunteer at the Regionals at Siskiyou last month. He did the scoring, and assisted in all areas. On the practice day one pilot, flying an open class ship, lost the lift over some rugged terrain, and did an emergency landing well off course. As usual. permission is given to those printing soaring publications (like West Wind) to extract and reprint this story, with the provision that due credit is given to the authour.

Here is Steve’s Story…..
It was a dark and rainy night…
Well actually though it was dark, it was not in fact raining. To be honest it was not actually dark either at least when the story began. So in the beginning it was light, but getting dark and there was the THREAT of rain. Anyway at the recent regional contest it came to pass that at the end of the practice day one pilot had not returned from the task.

Everyone else had returned, cleaned and tied down their gliders. Many wandered eagerly down to the scoring area where I sat with the contest director and a local advisor desperately trying to figure out the scoring software I had so recently been introduced to. At around six o’ the clock it became apparent that something was becoming more interesting to people around me than their scores from the first flying day. As I continued to struggle along (a result of my own feeble grasp on software and not in any way a fault of the most excellent Winscore program) the word that someone was missing began to flash around, along with numerous suggestions about procedure.

Six-thirty found Kenny roaring of in the Williams Soaring Center Pawnee to try and raise the pilot on the radio. Though he climbed up over the surrounding ridges and called on all contest frequencies, Kenny was unable to get a response from the pilot. It was decided upon his return and with darkening skies to make one more attempt with a tow plane to find the pilot. Three people aboard a light aircraft took off to follow the day’s course until dark in order to try and find the missing glider and pilot. With the light fading they decided to return, with no success.

I had just returned to the motorhome and cracked a beer in preparation for a relaxing evening. The scoring process finally becoming somewhat clearer to me I was ready to enjoy the usual post flying day B.S. session. This was not to be. At around ten P.M. the message came in that the missing pilot had managed to get ahold of a CHP with his cell phone by dialing 911. Apparently the 911 call on a cell phone will be patched through if at all possible. The very friendly CHP officer talked to the pilot and patched him through to the contest staff who got his GPS coordinates and some limited directions from the local Search and Rescue team. It was time for a retrieve crew to be named, since the pilot was flying crewless.

Kenny, myself and a visiting glider pilot from Argentina named Roberto Segobia volunteered for the duty. Kenny and Roberto readied the pilots retrieve vehicle and trailer for what was rapidly becoming a midnight retrieve while I tried to figure out how to manually install a turnpoint on the Cambridge GPS. Nelson Funston was kind enough to load and lend us his portable GPS as a backup. Thus armed, we set off into the night. Our pilot was a mere fifty miles away. We had some fairly poor local road maps and an aeronautical chart to guide us. Let me just note here that there exist excellent and extremely detailed road maps for this entire country and it would be a wondrous idea to include local copies of these in your retrieve vehicle.
The first forty miles or so were completely uneventful with good roads and high average speeds. We drove around the south side of Mt. Shasta and headed Southeast in the direction of Lassen. The GPS’s were happily counting down the miles and we were in good spirits. We reached our first turnoff and found the roads also paved and in good condition despite getting a little narrower. The next turnoff led to a good dirt road again somewhat narrower. In the pitch black all we could see around us was trees and rocks in slightly rolling terrain. After a few uncharted forks in the road and guesses on our part we were well into what turned out to be a maze of dusty backroads all of which began to look the same. I took to ‘marking this thermal’ at intersections in the hope that it may offer us some guidance out should we become disoriented.

All this time the GPS’s were both reassuringly counting down the miles. Finally we were within 0.6 nautical miles of the pilot’s purported location. At this point the GPS’s started to count up again. We were getting further away! But how could he possibly be here? All we could see as far as our powerful flashlights would reach into the darkness was trees and rocks, rocks and trees with absolutely no possibility of placing an open class ship successfully therein. We laboriously got the rig turned around and began to backtrack. When we reached the closest point we turned off the vehicle and honked the horn, flashed the lights and then sat silently listening for any clue. Radio calls elicited no response. We contemplated walking into the woods but gave that up as dangerous in the utter darkness. Kenny, Roberto and I were beginning to doubt the accuracy of the coordinates we had been given. We plotted the position on our chart and found it to be on what appeared to be a lake. Our information had him landed on a ‘meadow’ which we figured must be beside this lake. But there was no lake. There was only rocks and tall timber. Running out of ideas we started backtracking again to an area that we remembered looking more promising.

Our little group finally decided that we were definitely going the wrong direction and so turned around yet again. This time we took a wrong turn and ended up north of the pilot’s location but much closer. The GPS plainly showed us within a quarter of a mile from his fix. We again stopped and this time there was a little side road that went in exactly the right direction. We set off on foot to cover what could only be about six hundred feet to the pilot’s location. The road ended in, you guessed it, trees and rocks. There simply was no way to land a glider of any size here. No chance!

Back in the vehicle we found our way to the original closest point and decided to drive two more miles in case the road doubled back and, if we still hadn’t found him, sleep until daylight and search then. As we drove along getting further and further away, Roberto hollered from the back seat, “Hey, I think I see something stop the car!” He and I got out and walked a short way from the road and …. A Miracle! Here was the ‘meadow’ we had been searching for only it was not a meadow it was an absolutely gargantuan field. Of course this is were the glider would be! Roberto and I lead Kenny through the woods with the vehicle and we set off across what turned out to be a dry lake bed. Kenny drove as I called off headings and distances. After what seemed an endless traverse, the ghostly white shape of a glider came into view right where the GPS said it should be!

One very cold and gratefully glider pilot met us. He was stiff from cold and beginning to get worried about having to stay the whole night in the glider. It was now about three in the morning. In short order we had the dew soaked glider derigged and tucked safely in its trailer. We all climbed into the vehicle with the pilot at the helm and only then realized that in the excitement I had failed to mark our entry point onto the lakebed! As you will recall we had come through the woods to get there so we had to find the exact spot we had entered at in order to escape. I had visions of us driving endlessly around and around the lake in a desperate search for that point. Our two clues were a stake in the ground Roberto had noticed as we left the “shore” and our own tracks in the dew. But in maneuvering the trailer for derigging we had obscured our tracks. Fortunately Kenny’s keen sense of direction got us off in the right direction and we shortly crossed our tracks which led us back to the entry point.

Kenny and I stayed awake long enough to assure ourselves that we were on paved roads and would make it home and then we let the pilot drive as he had slept for several hours waiting for us to arrive. We rolled back into the airport at seven-thirty A.M. to begin the first official contest day. What a night.

The pilot reported to us that he had made his last radio call at nine-thirty P.M. and that his cell phone had finally died shortly thereafter. That drylake was the only landable terrain for miles around though it was an absolutely perfect landout field. The next day we installed a cigarette-type adapter to the glider’s electrical system so that he could utilize his still fully charged onboard batteries for cell phone use which might have drastically shortened our hunt for him as he said he had seen our lights in the woods several times and couldn’t call because his cell phone was dead.

We were honored several nights later with the mandatory retrieve crew dinner. He does everything in grand style and the dinner was no exception. It was a fine feed at the best local establishment with many people invited. He brought some excellent wines and demonstrated his talent as an entertaining, gracious and grateful host.

That is a great story. Thanks for sharing it Steve.

A note on the weather – I haven’t actually looked at any weather pages, but it’s forecast to be in the high 80’s this next week. Fall is definitely approaching, as it is dark in the morning when the alarm goes off. There should be a few good days here in late September and early October – if you see them coming – put out the word somehow. Problem one is that people rarely see it coming by more than 24 hours – anything less than 24 hours is difficult to make use of by those that are receiving the info via relay. Problem two is that we don’t have an effective wx alert system. Even if you saw a spectacular day approaching, how would you get the word out? By the time you decide to risk making a fool of yourself by predicting good soaring conditions, and by the time a substantial number of pilots actually hear about your forecast, it is probably geting too late to even rig the ship. Personally, I won’t be around much to give you the heads-up. My next flying day is probably in mid-October.

End entry for Monday, 24 September 2000

Begin entry for Friday, 22 September 2000

I sent an email to everyone on the current email list (Pilots Interested in Northern California Soaring (Pilot INCS)). If you didn’t get the msg, and you want to be on the list, drop me an email at— and tell me to put you on the email list. I’d love to have that system that Hollister has – it automatically adds people to the list, and automatically takes them off if they choose.

Just thought that most of you would enjoy hearing from Sebastian (Exchange student to a high School in Nebraska from Germany in late 1990’s, worked at and flew at Williams, Truckee, and Air Sailing during his visit here). It looks like he is still high on the competition ladder – competing in the World Gliding Championships. I think he is still a member of the club in Hamburg, Germany. I’m sure Sebastian would approve of my decision to share his email with you all. Here it is…

From: (Johannes Huhmann)
Date: Thu, 21 Sep 2000 21:36:45 +0200

Hi Peter,

I just read the new report on your diary page – very impressing! How do you like your new DG 800?

What else is new at Williams? I have been on the homepage. My impression is that the center is developing quite well. Are there many pilots flying from Williams now? How are the x-c activities?

I quit law studies and started pilot school in February. I hope to finish
next year in March.

I have not been able to soar a lot this year. I have been in the French
Mountains (St.Auban, place of WGC in 1997) in March and flew the Standard Class Nats. in May.

I am looking forward to next year. I will compete in the World Gliding
Championships of the Juniors in Issoudun/France.

Greetings to your wife Linda, Jim, Rex, Noelle, Kenny, Armand, and all the others.

Have a nice Oktoberfest!!! It already started in Munich.

See you,

End entry for Friday, 22 September 2000
Begin entry for Thursday, 21 September 2000

I received a nice note from Daniel, Karl B’s son. Daniel is a sixth grader who came up to the Regional Contest at Siskiyou, and did me the favor of running my wing as I made my takeoff on the second day of the contest, I’ll edit his note to me, and leave you with the flying report……

From: “Karl Brummet” <>
To: <>

…… After the contest started,my father and I went soaring in Kenny’s ASK-21 and we were told not to hurry back.We got off tow at 4500′ and climbed slowly to 7000′ and flew over craggy peak towards the freeway we flew towards Montague and found 4 kts of lift that got better as we got higher we climbed to cloud base and touched the tip to the clouds then the clouds moved over the sun and it started to get cold. We spotted a Eagle climbing with us, we flew to iron gate res.. and back trying to use up altitude with no luck. Finally, after our second hour we decided to pull spoilers at 6000′. My dad made a near perfect landing,then we went to a Mexican meal with everyone.

Daniel J Brummet
End entry for Thursday, 21 September 2000

Begin entry for Wednesday, 20 September 2000

Folks, I’ve been busy. I have revised the Turnpoint (TP) web page for Williams, added one for Montague, and revised the TP index page. Go see it at
You should be able to acquire each new database if you highlight the section of the file that is the database, and save it as a file called wsc.dat or mont.dat, then put it into you Cambridge data sub-directory, and select within your pcdata bases menu in CAI. If none of this makes any sense, then you probably aren’t using the Cambridge system, or if you are using CAI, you need some assistance.

I haven’t received any soaring flight reports in the last 30 days. Maybe no one is flying, or you don’t want to talk about it, or those of you that had interesting flights in the past don’t want to take the time to compose an email. That’s ok. I’ll just do what I like to do, that is, provide some info to those interested, share my work on the databases, etc, but please remember….. You ARE invited to contribute. Editorial comments are encouraged, but be sure I know it is for posting to the Diary Page, please.

Oh wait! I did get a generic email from Oliver. It is mostly a promotional about the DG-800S, but it is worth sharing, especially since I have an -800B. I think it is the same wing, but I’m not sure. Anyhow, it is an attempt to get some credibility within the soaring community for the DG-800. I suspect that the DG factory sponsored Chip Garner by providing him with a ship and a crew for the summer, and asked him to see what he could do in competitions. The purpose was probably to do as well as he could, and then they could use that for publicity. This is all conjecture on my part, but I’m sure someone will straighten me out if I am guessing wrong. Anyhow, here is the email from Oliver….

Date: Sun, 17 Sep 2000 09:48:31 EDT
Subject: DG-800S
To:, and many others

Dear Soaring Pilot;

We had an interesting summer racing the DG-800S around the USA.
See enclosed file.

Oliver Dyer-Bennet

Racing the DG-800S, Year 2000

To start the Year 2000 milenium, Chip Garner and myself, with
some factory support from DG Flugzeaugbau, decided to campaign a
DG-800S 15/18M, in all of the major sailplane contests in the USA.
This would be the 1st, DG-800S in the USA and we were excited to
see what we could acheive.

After a whirlwind shipping of the DG-800S from germany,
importation in the USA and licensing, we were ready, with two days
to spare, for the first contest, the Senior Nationals in Florida.

While an unoffical entrant, you have to be 55 years old or older,
Chip Garner was in 1st place at the beginning of the contest.
Chip finally finished in 6th place out of a field of 49 pilots.
Included in the contest were 14-ASW27’s and 7-Ventus’s.

The next contest was the 15M Nationals in Pennsylvania. Out of a
field of 46 pilots Chip finished in 6th place. Charlie Spratt in
the Spratt Report said, “Chip had more than his share of problems
at this race, (height penalty on day one, two missed turns, on day
three, due to GPS errors,). Chip could have easily won this race
without the problems.” Included in this contest were 14-ASW 27’s
and 14-Ventus’s.

Up next was the 18M Nationals in Texas. Chip has a slow start at
this contest with a landout on the first day. However by the end
of the contest Chip has pulled himself up to a respectable 12th
place out of a field of 33 pilots. Included in the contest were
6-ASW27’s and 10-Ventus’s.

The end of the year 2000 racing season came with the hotly
contested Southern California Region 12, 15M contest in the Mojave
desert. Chip wound up this contest in a solid 2nd place, 46 points
out of 1st place. Chip was the only pilot to get around the course
every day. The 15M class had a field of 20 pilots, which included
1-ASW27 and 7-Ventus’s.

Chips take on the DG-800S was,”I can’t believe it, this glider
outclimb’s everything and runs with any of them at the same wing
loadings. Dry I am climbing at about 41 knots indicated, 45 knots
if banking steeply, with 13 degree’s of flap. In this
configuration and with an equal wing loading, I leave them,
the ship is great”.

The Milenium 2000 racing year was a success. Next year we hope to
do the same or better. Tune in next year at this time and see what
the results were.

Oliver Dyer-Bennet
End of Oliver’s message and report.

Me being a pilot – with the thought process of “trust only what you know”, I went to the SSA web site and looked at contest results, and sure enough, Chip finished 6th in the Seniors, and 12th in the 15 meter nats.

End entry for Wednesday, 20 September 2000

Begin entry for Sunday, 17 September 2000, noon

Yesterday was my first flight out of Williams in quite a while. After I returned from the regionals at Siskiyou, I parked the ship there, and promised myself I would try to make time for a flight in a few weeks. It just happened that I had yesterday available, and the weather looked promising. As you can see from the previous entry, I was pretty jazzed about going soaring. It was all of the old excitement, frustration, anticipation, of getting into the air. The chances of failure were present, but the chance of a good soaring flight was very much within the realm of possibility. Rex wanted to go up to Oregon – to fly from WSC, cross the Oregon border, and return to WSC – all in one flight, and so did I. We took the extra time to combine the Montague Database with the Williams Database. We were ready. The tow plane was busy with the Cadets, and Rex was going to take a mountain tow, so I motored (self-launched) to nearly 4,000 ft, glided from Northeast of Charters over to the North end of Bear Vly, restarted and climbed up to 4,500, and after the engine was cooled down and stowed, I spent the next 15 minutes climbing the south end of Goat. As I was crossing Letz Lake, Rex reported that he was launching in the ASH-25, solo, with no water, wing loading about 6.5 pounds. I was in 18 meter configuration and was at my max weight of 1157 pounds, with a full load of water- about 60 liters (JJ had weighed me twice up at Montague so my weights were accurate). My wing loading was a bit over 11 pounds. Rex seemed to be feeling highly confident. He released over Indian Ranch, turned Letz Lake, and thought he could catch me. I gave him credit for his intentions, and dawdled at St John’s for an extra 10 minutes so that we could travel north together. When he was 8 miles away, and headed towards me, I headed out. Rex had just come back from some great competition flying at Montague, and had done well. He had also flown up to Montague (actually up to Weed then out to Medicine Lake) and back to WSC again just recently, so he had good reason to feel confident… However, I think the fact that I kept moving, and he was sliding further behind, psyched him out. The harder he tried the further behind he got. I was hot. The lift was fair, maybe 3 to 4 kts. Cloud base was about 8 to 9,000, and 10,000 at best, but the lift was predictable.

I’ll share another secret with you. It’s something that you already know, but it’s a new application. All of us already know enough to be really good at a variety of endeavors, but we haven’t learned to make the application of the knowledge that we already have. This past summer I attended the Air Sailing Sports Class Contest. On the first day I met Chad Moore. He talked about karma in the tie down area- I don’t even know how to spell it, but maybe you know what I mean. You must have have positive feelings with you if you are going to have a good soaring day. At the end of the contest Chad – in the form of Yoda, wrote a skit for the Air Sailing Banquet/ BBQ dinner. Yoda said that it isn’t the fancy sailplane that makes you a good glider pilot, it is what is within you. It does not matter if you have 18 meter wings or 15 meter wings. It does not matter if you have 40:1, 50:1 or 60:1 for your glide ratio. If you do not have good soaring karma on a given day, you will not do well. If you can become one with the wind, feel each change in the airmass, be relaxed enough to observe the subtle feed backs that are occurring, then you will be able to travel far distances at a high rate of speed. If I am all tightened up, trying too hard to jump into that next updraft, I am soon left behind. If I relax, if I feel what is happening to me, I can sense the rising air currents. I can feel the lift before the vario tells me that it is lift. The instruments confirm what I already knew through my feelings. If I am relaxed, I know when to do that 180 degree turn back to the lift. Whether it hits hard, or if it builds gradually, I know whether to turn or to keep on going. I don’t know the answers. If you see Yoda/Chad Moore, ask him about soaring Karma. He may tell you more. But he cannot enlighten you, You must study and learn, and you must do it within yourself. Do you love yourself enough to be a good glider pilot? Don’t give up. Think about it. Gain the confidence in your own abilities to be able to do it. Soon you will be comfortable enough with your decision making abilities that you will have such a high degree of self confidence that you will know when it is time to move to lower ground, to move to a safer area, to stop searching for that elusive thermal, or to press on and go to that invisible thermal when you know it is there, yet knowing that you have a wide safety net below you. There is something to be said for soaring karma. Enough of the mental stuff, back to the flight.

I left T-15, passed Hayfork, and Weaverville, and gingerly climbed into the Trinity Alps. The terrain up there at Thompson Peak – north of Weaverville was spectacular. I need to get a video camera mounted on the ship to show you what you are missing. I can’t recall being so impressed with scenery before. After flying for over 30 years, and having logged over 20,000 hours of flying time, my viewpoint is a bit jaded, so when I say I was impressed, it has some meaning. I eagerly look forward to my next to that area. I circumnavigated Trinity Alps Peak 8994 (a new turnpoint in my data base – that will soon be, if not already, on my tp web page), and I made a radio call to Rex. The time was nearly 4 PM, and he was 40 miles behind me. I was 20 north of Weaverville, and he was 20 south. I headed south, and we joined up over Weaverville. We started home together. The flight south was fast, with several 5 mile long-cloud streets. We joined up with Key in his new “PS”, ASW-20, and we made our way to Goat in the last bit of lift of the day. There were still a few wisps forming, but the day was about done. We did a final glide in close formation from Goat to Williams – over 30 miles of totally smooth air. Those 25 minute glides in totally-still air are the highlight of the day. We experimented with different speeds, to see who had the best L/D for the dollar, Naturally I lost that contest, but I was pleased with the performance. We did a low pass, with me being number three in the formation, dumping my water from 1 mile out, flying about 130 kts down the runway. Spacing on the pass, downwind, and final was nearly perfect. It had to be spectacular looking. I wish we had that one on video.

The stats on my flight–Time in the air = 5 hours and 25 minutes, Distance traveled was 508 Km, or 315 Statute miles, or 275 NMiles, and an overall average speed of 59 miles per hour. A flight like that re-instills the urge. The juices are flowing wild. It’s time to make a few attempts at some record flights. I have already spent several hours revising the database. The computer will now be giving me some good info. I’ve got some new sectionals, so I can make it up to Oregon and have the latest airfield info on my charts. Having turned the Trinity Alps, I can see it is only a small distance further up to the Oregon Border. I’ve loaded a couple of Peaks on the Oregon side (Grayback Mtn and Dutchman Pk). It should be an easy 500k flight on the right day. Just have to watch the weather, and happen to have that day off at the same time.

I’d like to put my trace over the top of a sectional or road map, and display it for you to see, but I’ve forgotten how to do it. The graphics are always time consuming and labor intensive. The end product has to be a file that is less than 50 K in size – otherwise, people don’t want to look at it. Maybe I should send it to Charley T. and he will post it on his web site, or maybe I’ll just wait till I do my next good flight – whenever that’ll be.

Y’all going to the Octoberfest? I think we have a good chance of having good soaring weather. We’ve been getting low pressures spinning northward along the California Coast. The four corners high – down there in Southern Utah has existed for quite a long time this year. The Pacific High has not predominating our weather. This is a different pattern than we’ve had in past years. Arizona has had a dry year – no “Monsoons”. Watch for the jet stream to come towards us from the Gulf of Alaska. We need the upper air to be a cool mass while we still have some strong sun – to get that hot air rising off the mountains into the cool air above. Once we get past mid-October, it will just be a few good hours in a given day, just after a front goes through. But I’m sure there will be a few good days before mid-Oct.

I’m going to watch the 14th of October as it approaches – it might be a good day. It’ll be the last harrah for 2000, besides, it’s a good party.

End entry for Sunday, 17 September 2000, noon

Begin entry for Saturday, 16 September 2000, 10AM

These are notes I made before takeoff, and some recollections on how the flight got started —–

As I left Vacaville this morning at 8:30 am, the air was looking crisp over the Blue Ridge Mountains (Vaca Ridge). As I headed East on I-80, I could see a Hot Air Balloon just East of Vacaville in the still morning air. He was way higher than usual – probably about 4,000 ft up. That may indicate the air aloft is cool, I was anxious to get the the gliderport. As I progressed north on I-5, visibility got worse, hills stated to look smoggy, and my enthusiasm began to wane, but then as I got onto I-5 I could see a few cu popping to the east, and as I passed Arbuckle, I could see cu starting over snow and hills northward. Things reversed again, and again looked promising. As I rolled into Williams Gliderport, there were 10 or 20 Civil Air Patrol Cadets, in uniform, getting ready for glider flights in a 2-33, with Capt Tom Herd instructing. I told Rex, Steve and Noelle about my about my forecast for the day, and Rex and Steve decided to fly also. We all hurried, and I was in the air about noon. Rex had more sorting out to do and launched an hour later, and Steve a while after that. Key flew to WSC in Cessna 86G, and he launched mid- afternoon.

End entry for Sat 10 AM

Begin entry for Saturday, 16 September 2000, 7AM

Spent the last hour typing in the Friday/ 15 Sep entry. Now I just checked the WX for today. I just pissed away some good flying time. I need to get to the gliderport. Forecast soundings from my wx page says that the thermals will be up to 8,500 ft today! The 500 mb charts show a change in the upper air to very unstable conditions this afternoon. I’m going to head out and try to do 3 or 400 miles.

End entry for Saturday, 16 September 2000

Begin entry for Friday, 15 September 2000

Some notes I have written down for you this past week….

Region 11 Sailplane Competition was held from the end of August ro the 4th of Sept. Gary and Nancy Kemp were the principal organizers, and they had a lot of help from their friends. There were 24 gliders in the competition. There were 5 each in Open class, and Standard class, 6 in Sports, and 8 in 15 meter class. There weren’t any accidents, nobody complained aloud about anything, and the weather was mostly cooperative. The previous week’s weather had been very good, but it deteriorated each day. On Practice Day, Wednesday the 30th, we flew to Scott Valley, in the west to 50 miles east of Shasta Mtn, to Medicine Lake and to Dry Lake, but on all of the later days we never went east again. We had three good contest days out of the scheduled five. Read the particulars of who went where, who finished first and at what speeds on the SSA web page ( — See Contests, and Results.

Eight of us played golf on the first weather day- Friday. Nelson headed one team, and Dale led the other. We played best ball – Each of the four players on each team hit a ball, but we picked up the worst three, and went to where the best shot landed. We each dropped our ball there, and each of the four of us hit again, and we did that until we got one in the hole. It was a quick game, and lots of fun. We saw a very bright, double rainbow on the back nine, and we all went to dinner later.

Leanne arranged dinner on the first contest day so that we could all attend a safety meeting. Jim D. gave us an account of his recent accident involving the loss of both the Pawnee and his ASW-20. Both Ray G and Mike G each added to the evening by making impromptu talks about situations they had seen first hand. All in all, the meeting was very worthwhile, with lessons learned by all. I think each pilot took something meaningful away from that meeting. We should have more story telling of that nature.

For most of us, this was the first time we competed using the GPS Logger. Gary had gotten a special waiver to allow it at this SSA Sanctioned contest. It sure is a lot safer method than the old contest rules. The starting gate still opens 15 minutes after the last launch in that class (e.g. if I was last one on the grid lineup in the 15 meter class, then 15 minutes after I started my takeoff roll, the start gate opened for everyone to begin racing in the 15 meter class.) Personally, I think that should be extended to 20 minutes, because with these new rules, 15 minutes isn’t enough time to get positioned for the start- which is the case if you are at the end of the launch line… Everyone should start out with an equal chance. There is no start line – now we use a 5 statute mile radius circle around the starting point. Before the start, you can fly anywhere, but you need to stay below 10,000 ft, and then just kiss the edge of that circle with your flight path, on your way to the first turnpoint, once the gate opens. At each TP you just have to be within 1/4 mile of the point, and when you finish, you just have to be within the 1/2 mile cylinder of the finish point Everyone was making a non-required radio call announcing their start time, so everyone knew generally where everyone one else was in the race, and, on the long legs off into the boonies, over some unlandable areas, some made generalized position reports for flight following safety reasons, and it was somewhat effective. In general, the radios were very quiet. There was little conversation – just a lot of monitoring. It was busy on the second day when most everyone landed out. I re-learned old secrets, and learned some new ones. Every pilot has a list of these “secrets” but it’s hard to get any contributions in this area. I think I’ll start a “tips” page on racing secrets – if I ever get anyone else to contribute some of their “secrets”.

Starting – Start as soon as possible- assuming that the Contest Director did not start the launch before there was any lift. The gate opens 15 minutes after the last launch in each class, so that should be plenty of time to get ready to head out, assuming you were in the top half of the grid lineup. If you are slow, then other will pass you, but you will be able to catch up more easily because they will mark thermals for you to use. Start later only if you are firmly convinced that the weather will change for the better – not usually the case! Be as high and as fast as legally possible when starting. With this new 5 mile radius system you have a lot of options on selecting the last thermal you will use before you officially start.

On course- Don’t go way off course to follow lift unless the CD has chosen a long leg, which is over a no-lift area, or the lift is reliably better and certain off-course. If it is nearly a toss-up between the lift on course and the lift off course, then stay on course.

Predict where the next thermal will be! Get a sense of the cycle time of the lift. Plan your climbs so that you are arriving at the lift well before it is maturing. If you are 5 or 10 miles from some nice lift on course, it will take you 5 or 10 minutes to get there. If you head for it five minutes after it dies, then you will probably arrive just as it is rebuilding – that would be good timing.

Do your homework. Know the places where the lift will be before you launch. You know the task, you have it loaded in the computer, look at the chart, think about where the wind might be on the surface, and predict the locations of the lift. Using an L-Nav Cambridge system, declare the task and start the task while you are on the ground. Have the correct speeds in your computer, so that you are flying efficiently. Be sure the water ballast numbers are correct. Start off with a McCready of two. If things are going poorly, bring it down to one. If you are finding good lift, and it is becoming predictable raise that McCready up to a 3 or 4. But I never go over 90 kts between thermals – even with my five different flap settings.

Final glide- If you are planning to finish at red line, you are planning poorly. You should have just enough airspeed and altitude at your last thermal so that you will be at 1,000 feet at best glide speed over the finish line, or, if you have a high McCready setting, you may be planning to be 20 or more kts above your best no wind glide speed, and be at a lower altitude, but what you don’t want is the following…… ending up flying very fast and being very high as you are approaching the finish line. Put a manual wind into the glide computer. Do this when you are on the inbound to the last turnpoint before the finish line. Predict what the average wind will be on the final glide, especially that last 3 or 4 thousand feet of descent. Leave that last thermal when you have it made. It is better to have a ground speed of 50 on final glide, and have your altitude correct, then to have a ground speed of zero as you continue climbing in that last good thermal, and then try to make up for that zero ground speed by flying the final glide at an excessive and inefficient speed.

Yeh, maybe some of you will share your racing/ cross-country “secrets” with others. Send them to me, and I’ll start a “tips page” on “Racing Secrets”.

Here is a note I received from Gary Kemp, expressing his appreciation, and providing a few additional comments.

To: “pjkelly” <> Subject: Various

Peter: Need to thank all who helped with the contest, especially my wife, as she did not only do the manager’s stuff, but also retrieve, roll times, etc.

Thanks to Jim Darke for CD, Blair Stewart for Ops., and Steve Irving for scoring….as well as great help from Jan Funston, Leanne Bush and Pat Sinclair in a variety of helpful areas.

As reported regarding the Ephrata Nationals in the Gliding Kiwi, the U.S. needs to come into the 21st Century regarding gate management. We had a waiver to use GPS, everyone (including Sports) had one and it went off without a hitch.

Thanks for all pilots in their support of the Mount Shasta Soaring Center, we are up and going with great plans for the future. Anyone interested in an Annual membership (September 1, 2000-September 1, 2001) can send me $50 (includes $5 per night tie down fees for next season) made out to MSSC or become a charter member for $600. Thanks Peter


End entry for Friday, 15 September 2000

Begin entry for Thursday, 7 September 2000

The Regionals ended on Monday, 4 Sep. No one has sent me any messages. I guess I’ll just have to make stuff up…. from my perspective! Pretty boring stuff that, but it’s better than nothing – I feel a compulsion, weak at best, to keep you informed about the gliding scene here in Northern Calif. The compulsion gets weaker the longer I go without inputs from the field (you). I got a call asking about the scores- he said they weren’t on the SSA web page yet – only the first two days. So I went to see at I looked at Contests, and then at Results. Sure enough – only the first two days were there. While browsing on ssa. org, I saw we have a “Valley Glider Club” at Haselemere Drive in Lafayette, with a web link for that “club” to a shopping page – strange stuff on those SSA pages. I wonder if anyone knows what that address is? Maybe someone ought to correct it.

I got a call saying I wrote something about the Gerlach Dash on the Diary page, and a copy of that report should be sent to Norma, since she collects all the history about that event. I hope someone sent Norma a copy of that writing from the diary page. If someone doesn’t read it, or copy it, then it doesn’t exist.

I’ll have some time next week to write about all that I learned at the regionals. I think a learned a lot of things. Certain secrets are now much more obvious to me, especially after reviewing the magot races after each day. I’ll share those musings with you next week. till then, how ’bout getting off dead center and sending me some of your own comments — about the regionals, or about any other recent flying you did, or that you know about. There were some sailplanes being bought and sold up there at Montague. Some pretty big deal stuff. Lee’s land out, and the subsequent search and rescue was a very interesting story – I hope Steve writes to us about that. Findley showed up at the last minute, and almost won a day. There were lots of landouts stories to tell, but probably no one is telling. The winners were doing some good natured kidding of each other and modesty was the name of the game by the winners. It was a fun contest from all aspects. Even the golf competition was great fun. Jim D was a quick student at golf, and we almost beat Nelson and his bunch. Like I said – I’ll write about some of this next week and post my thoughts here, but hopefully, some others will share their time and provide us with the info. Till then, maybe you can tell us what you did this summer. Do any flights at all? Are you deciding to give up gliding? Or at least give up reading the diary?

I shouldn’t be too critical. Historically the fall is when we get the stories. In the summer, there is no time to write. That said, I know I only have a few days for writing myself between now and the October Fest. That’s the only event I see in WestWind – the October Fest on 10/14. Crazy Creek normally has something in September, did I miss that?

End entry for Thursday, 7 September 2000

Begin entry for Monday, 25 August 2000

Tomorrow is the set-up day for the Region 11 Contest at Siskiyou County Airport, Montague/ Yreka California. Practice day is Wednesday.

Gary Kemp reports that he is expecting about 32 pilots. It should be a good turnout. I hope the soaring conditions are favorable.

Just looking at the weather charts at 10 PM tonight, I think we just missed some good soaring the past few days. Wednesday through Friday look to be increasingly more stable. Saturday may be the best day – late Saturday, or it could be early Sunday – it’s hard to tell on long range charts. Sunday will be increasingly strong winds from the northwest, and Monday may bring a northerly wind. So I’d say the contest ought to start out slowly on Thursday, and by Saturday, the Contest Director (CD) will be so gun shy that he’ll under call the task on Saturday. And then on Sunday it will be an overcall, and that’ll be the day we have the most land outs. And on Monday – who knows? One thing is certain – it’s hard to predict the weather. There is an unusually strong low pressure pattern aloft just west of Baja, and the center of that pattern is forecast to move northward in the Pacific on Wednesday and Thursday, and then move eastward across the top of central California on Friday. The trof to the north-northwest of us is not predicted to come our way and is therefore not expected to provide too much influence.

No reports have been received since the last entry on 16 August.

End entry for Monday, 25 August 2000


End of The Soaring Diary from August to November 2000.


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