October 17, 2009
Dear Soaring Enthusiast,
My kids have
gone back to school so the house is much more quiet
during the day lately. Adam is now in his second
year of Junior High School (7th grade) and is
getting into the rhythm of it. Elle is
enjoying 4th grade and Sara is thriving in 2nd
grade. Adam is also starting his first year of
confirmation classes at church and Elle and Sara are
happy that their church choirs have started up
again. I continue to enjoy singing in the
church choir and volunteering as a small group
leader in confirmation class.
enjoyed a romantic date with my lovely
wife Renee last weekend. We are celebrating
our 13th wedding anniversary this month. We
had a lovely evening at a nice Italian restaurant and we stayed at the same
bed and breakfast we stayed at on our wedding night. God
has blessed me richly with Renee and our kids.
I am envious of
the glider pilots reading this in South America,
South Africa, Australia and New Zealand as their
soaring seasons are just getting started. The
soaring season is gradually coming to a close here
in Minnesota. The weather is getting colder
and the good soaring days are fewer and farther
between. On Monday, October 12th we had a very
early snowfall. The leaves haven't yet fallen
off most trees here.
photo at right was taken out my home office window.
The snow didn't last long. I hope the weather
allows some more glider flying before winter really
sets in. I am scheduled to act as the Field
Operations Officer (running the soaring operation)
for the Minnesota Soaring Club at Stanton Airfield
on October 24th. I'm looking forward to it.
It is now time
to start thinking about any upgrades you may want to
do to your glider this winter. Is this the
year you will install a transponder in your glider,
or upgrade your flight computer or radio?
It is also time
to start making a list of items you want to receive
as gifts during the holiday season. You may
want to start dropping hints or printing out product
web pages for the soaring calendars, books and
videos you would like to receive from your friends
Thank you for
taking the time to read the
newsletter. There is a lot of interesting
soaring news to report from around the world, and I
have been very busy adding new products to my web
site. I hope you will enjoy it. If
you do, please tell your soaring friends about it by
forwarding the following link to them:
believe that over 3300 glider pilots from around the
world read this newsletter?! I am amazed and
flattered. I will do my best to keep it
interesting and worthy of the time you spend reading
it and clicking through the links.
If this is your
first newsletter - Welcome! If you missed any
of the previous issues of this newsletter, they are
all available here:
Note: Click on
the small images on this page to view much larger
versions of the images.
Winning the 2009 U.S. National Glider Aerobatic
morning, you’re at home and see streets of Puffy
Cumulus clouds in rows as far as you can see! What
to do next is to drop everything and head to the
airport for what looks to be a great day of soaring.
You’ve checked Dr. Jack, Blipmap, Satellite, and
Radar Data and know the conditions are ripe for that
perfect cross-country flight. This is what gets the
juices flowing in most glider pilots.
now consider the weather to be blue skies, no wind,
no thermals, but otherwise a nice day. Do you drop
everything and dash to the airport? Probably not,
unless you’re a student or Aerobatic Pilot. We’ve
all been student pilots but what about aerobatics.
Most of us have experienced glider aerobatics during
primary training including stalls, steep turns, and
maybe some spin training. Do you ever want to do
more than stalls, steep turns, steep pull ups, and
the occasional spin?
flight schools have created Unusual Attitude
Recovery Courses and I highly recommend them for
every pilot. If you get flipped upside down, the
natural reaction is to pull. A Split-S at that speed
would most likely have you screaming way past red
line, a pucker factor of epic proportion, and
possible aircraft damage or destruction. Did you
remember your chute? Learning what to do and when is
what helps makes us better and safer pilots.
Practicing these maneuvers with an experienced
aerobatic instructor in an aircraft built for that
purpose will build your confidence and maybe just
spark a desire to do more. Those who want to explore
the possibilities of aerobatics can expect an
assault on their physical and mental limits. Flying
the aerobatic maneuvers well is difficult and
requires plenty of practice.
passion for flying and improving my skills has
progressed over the years to Competition Aerobatics.
The aircraft I fly is a Swift S-1 that is specially
built for aerobatics and stressed to 10 positive G’s
and 7.5 Negative G’s. After flying fun aerobatics
for many years, I decided to start competing 3 years
ago and with a lot of practice I have been able to
win the top spot for glider aerobatics in the United
States. Other than continuing lots of practice to
defend my title, I will start training for the World
Championship which is held every 2 years in Europe.
Best Power and Glider Aerobatic pilots in the United
States gather once a year at Denison, TX for the
National Championships. 81 Power pilots and 20
Glider pilots competed at the weeklong event in
hopes of winning the Championship in their Category.
The Power Categories are Primary, Sportsman,
Intermediate, Advanced, and Unlimited. The Glider
Categories are Sportsman, Intermediate, and
Unlimited. The categories are progressively more
difficult with the Unlimited Category the most
difficult of all. The winner of the Unlimited
Category is crowned the U.S. National Champion. I
flew 4 flights during the week of which 3 were
scored for the Championship. These flights were the
Known, Free, and Unknown. The Known flight is a
sequence of aerobatic maneuvers published each
January and can be practiced as much as you like.
The Free flight is a sequence of aerobatic maneuvers
developed by each pilot within very specific rules
that can be flown as much as you like. The Unknown
flight is developed at the contest and given to the
pilot the day before and is not allowed to be
practiced. Each aerobatic maneuver is scored by
several Judges with a degree of difficulty, like
diving and figure skating, and the pilot with the
highest score wins. Flights must be flown in the
“BOX”. This is an imaginary box measuring 3300ft on
each side with a top of 4000ft agl and a floor of
600ft agl for the unlimited gliders. Pilots are
penalized by having points removed each time they
fly outside the box.
was less than ideal with strong winds from the south
later shifting from the north when the slow moving
cold front crept through. I was competing for the
U.S. National Title against 3 time U.S. National
Champion Jason Stevens. Jason is a really nice guy
and an amazing pilot, he runs Arizona Soaring, a
glider flight school in Phoenix. If you want a
glider rating or some glider aerobatic training,
the Known, was difficult to keep in the box due to
20+knot winds from the south. I flew better then
Jason on this flight and won the Gold Medal.
the Free, was extremely close where I edged out
Jason for the Gold Medal.
the Unknown, was close but Jason flew better than me
and he won the Gold Medal this time. The many years
of experience Jason has greatly helps in the Unknown
The Overall Points Standing gave me the lead winning
the Title of U.S. National Glider Aerobatic
I must say
Jason and I are closely matched and you can bet next
year he will be a lot better. I expect I will as
well. This is the best form of competition, where we
will push each other to constantly be the best we
can be. This will show it’s colors at the World
Championships where I hope we will each finish well
in the standings.
The last day
of the competition was my 4th flight called the
4-Minute Freestyle, a Trophy event flown with smoke
and music and looks like an Air Show. Gliders
compete directly with powered aircraft in this
event. I was the only glider with 6 powered aircraft
to compete against. I was extremely pleased to have
placed 4th. This flight can be seen on YouTube
or Search “Paul Jennings 4 Min Free US Nationals”.
In closing I
have to say that success is seldom accomplished by
yourself. I may be flying the glider but without the
help of my wife Suzanne, my good friend Bob
Thrasher, the Tulsa Skyhawks, and many others, my
success would not be possible.
I will start
training for the World Championships soon. The more
I train, the better I will be. If anyone would like
to assist with training expenses, It would be my
pleasure to display your name or company logo on my
Glider, Trailer, and Press Releases. Contact me at
Have Fun and Fly Safe,
Paul!!! (from Paul Remde)
2010 Soaring Photo Calendars
I just love photographs of sailplanes.
As an amateur photographer with several images published in the Soaring
Society of America Soaring Calendar in the past, and images used in Soaring
magazine and sailplane ads, I really appreciate good soaring photographs.
You can see some of my soaring photographs here:
Paul's Soaring Photos.
Sailplanes are extremely elegant machines. Their long slender wings
and smooth lines are graceful and beautiful to behold. My passion for soaring
photos has led me to offer several of the world's best soaring photo
calendars for your pleasure.
Use These Calendars to Promote Soaring
Not only can you appreciate the photos on the walls of your home or office,
but they also can be a great way to promote soaring. When displayed in
a public place such as your office, you are likely to get questions about
soaring - which is great. In fact, the display of the SSA Soaring
Calendars at my first place of employment is what got me to start flying
sailplanes at age 22. Afterwards I found out that a wonderful soaring
promoter here in Minnesota named Harry Meline used the SSA Soaring
to promote both soaring and his small company. Every year he brought
in batches of the calendars with his company information displayed on a
simple mailing label on the front cover of the calendar. He laid them
out for anyone to take. Many employees at that company had the lovely
soaring calendars on the walls of their offices and cubicles. I had
always wanted to try soaring - someday. But finally one day I decided
that the time was right, so I flipped the calendar on my wall over and found
the phone number for the Soaring Society of America. I called them and
they told me about the local soaring clubs and commercial operations.
Harry Meline is no longer soaring in this world, but perhaps others will
follow his example and use soaring calendars to promote soaring in their
workplaces. ...Years later I distributed soaring calendars to my
customers in the industrial automation industry. They all displayed
them on their office walls and asked many questions about soaring.
The images in this article are approximately to scale - showing the relative size of
each available calendar. As you can see, the Claus-Dieter Zink
calendar is the largest (it's huge!), the Segelflug-Bildkalendar is next largest, and the
SSA calendar is the smallest. All 3 calendars offer exceptional
soaring photos. The Segelflug-Bildkalendar offers the most interesting
articles on the backs of the photos. The SSA calendar is the only one
with a large calendar grid which can be used to enter upcoming events,
birthdays, anniversaries, etc. The "Junior" Segelflug-Bildkalender is
a nice, small desktop calendar that also makes a great gift.
29 from Binder
Binder Flugmotoren & Flugzeugbau has recently
announced their new single-seat EB 29
auxiliary-powered sailplane. It has a wing
span of 28.3 or 29.3 m (92.9 or 96.1 feet)!
Flight Review by Uli Schwenk
(automatic web site translation from German to
Sailplane Tracker Page
Soaring Society of America has just announced a
fantastic new page on their web site that makes it
easy to access web pages setup to allow tracking of
particular sailplanes. I am very impressed.
What a great idea! Thank you SSA! Below
is the text from the SSA web site.
SSA Promotes Soaring Safety with New
Sailplane Tracker List
It’s late in
the day, and one of your sailplane
pilots has not returned – what to
do? If he or she is one of the
growing numbers of pilots equipped
with a SPOT™ satellite tracking
device, an APRS (ham-radio only) or
other personal locator beacon (PLB),
and has updated his or her SSA
profile with the information, then
you may be able to quickly access
the latest tracking information on
the pilot through the SSA’s new
of its leading role in promoting
soaring safety, the SSA has created
The repository is a list of internet
links to satellite tracker data,
such as SPOT™,s ‘Shared Tracking’
page or other web-based tracking
devices. Simply click on the
‘Locator URL’ link for a listed
member, and the most recent tracking
data is shown superimposed on a map.
Click on the SAILPLANE TRACKER icon
on the SSA home page to go directly
to the Sailplane Tracker List. For
additional information or feedback
please contact a member of the
sailplane tracking team
NK ClearNav Flight Log Validation Program
The link below
is to a utility program which can be used to check
the security of flight logs generated by NK
Rally in Wichita, Kansas - Sept. 26, 2009
Condon (Cherokee II owner) uploaded some very nice
photos from the Vintage Soaring Association Rally in
Wichita, Kansas on September 26th.
TT21 Transponder Update
The TT21 is a very interesting new transponder. It is a Mode S
transponder with a built-in altitude encoder, and a remote head - at a great
price! Also, the TT21 uses half the power used by the Becker ATC4401 - which is
I have created a detailed transponder comparison
table with generous help from Darryl Ramm and Eric
Greenwell. Thank you Darryl and Eric for all
The Trig TT21 has received approval for use in Europe,
and received FAA TSO approval in early September,
2009. I now have units in stock. They
have already been extremely popular! I have sold many of them.
Close Call -
Glider and 737
A customer of mine called me recently and
ordered a Trig TT21 after having a very scary
close call with a 737 while flying his glider in the
western USA. The incident really scared him.
He is convinced (and I agree) that the 737 probably
wouldn't have been anywhere near him if he had had a
transponder in the glider at the time.
A Transponder in Every Sailplane
I strongly believe that every sailplane should have a working transponder in
it. I'm sure you will think that is because I sell them. But the main reason
is that I fear that in the future a collision will occur between a glider
(without a transponder) and a commercial airliner. In addition to the
tragic loss of life, we soaring pilots may lose access to airspace. It
is my sincere hope that this transponder will break down many of the
barriers which have kept glider pilots from installing transponders in their
gliders. The units small size and low power consumption make it very
Wiring harness for connecting
TT21 to TC20 and 12V power - $145 (0.5 m) or $155 (3 m)
The basic system includes all the required connectors, but they are not
wired together. This is a pre-wired wiring harness which makes
installation faster and trouble-free. It may also save you delays and
repair bills should you accidentally connect something incorrectly.
This wiring harness is assembled and tested using a cable tester by Larry
Goddard. It has a DB-9f connector at the TC20 end and a DB-25m
connector at the TT21 end. It also includes power leads for 10 to 30
VDC. There are 2 cable length options: 0.5 m (19.7 inches) and 3 m (9.84
feet). The 0.5 m length is perfect for installations where the TT21
Transponder Unit will be mounted near the TC20 Control Unit (such as in
front of the instrument panel in the nose of a glider) and the 3 m version
should be long enough for mounting the TT21 unit behind the pilot, near
where the antenna is installed.
Ceases Production of Blaniks
Below is a note
of from Vitek Siroky of Blanik America, Inc.
"Recently there have been rumors that the Blanik
gliders are no longer made. While it is true
that the LET factory has halted manufacturing
them, the factory has been searching for a buyer
to take over the production of gliders. The LET
factory is concentrating on manufacturing
turboprop airliners instead. If there is enough
demand from the soaring public, the LET factory
- or some other one - might continue making
Blaniks. They are remarkable gliders, and still
very much wanted and loved worldwide. Blanik
America, the North American importer has not
been distributing any new Blanik gliders
recently. However, Blanik America does support
the L13, L23, L13AC and L33 already delivered,
with parts and service."
LET Web Site
Blanik America, Inc. web site
of Blanix aerobatic team:
of people having fun with a Blanik:
ILEC SN10 Software Available
is a new version of the SN-10 software which is
available now - free of charge. The
new version includes the new features listed below.
All new SN-10 units shipped from Cumulus Soaring,
Inc. will include this latest software version.
features in version 2.34 (September, 2009):
LCD bug fixed (temperature-contrast adjust bug
of Jan 2009)
adapter bug fixes and improvements (progress
Suppress diagnostics which could interfere with
PDA/FLARM (USB, NSP)
features in version 2.33 (June, 2009):
optimizations for speed and code-size (room for
USB-adapter support for log file save, NDB file
load, and softwareload
serial port now properly initialized on
accidental creation of database points with
map changes for diagnostics (OS stack pool at
AAT areas increased to 6
baud rate selectable (4800 or 19200) for
NMEA support in SL (software load) and PClink
"Software Load..." on screen during software
Important Note: Version 2.33 software was
made available in June. In early
September, ILEC found a bug in that version
which caused the LCD display to be too dark.
They have now fixed that problem in version 2.34. Be sure to use version 2.34.
Do not use version 2.33.
software is available here:
Instrument Manuals Available as FREE Downloads
has made the installation and maintenance manuals
for all their soaring instruments available as PDF
files on their web site. I have added links to
them on my Winter web page.
Installation and Maintenance Manuals
"Gliding Needs Airspace"
Facebook Fan Page
glider pilot named Javier Castrillón in Madrid has
created a Facebook "Fan" page called "Gliding Needs
Airspace". It currently has over 1,350 fans.
you may want to become a fan. It is an
interesting idea and I wish him the best.
Below is information from the page.
silent and graceful way of flying without an engine,
probably one of the closest possibilities that a
human being has to feel like a bird, is critically
threatened by airspace decision makers, those who
define how, when and who can use the air for flying.
Everybody might think the space as a common place,
somewhere that everyone should be allowed to make
use of, just under some kind of rules and
organization for avoiding collisions. This should be
But, what really happens today is that commercial
aviation stakeholders, mainly for airlines
transporting people and goods, besides military
aviation, acting as a lobby, have the control hand
in hand with politicians, and they get almost the
exclusive use of any chunk of space they want to, by
just claiming for it. For sure, they need to have
some space granted for their operations being safe;
but, what about the rest of aviation? What about the
use of that same airspace for private,
non-commercial flying, just for leisure and fun? Do
they also have some rights?
If something similar would happen for road traffic,
let's imagine for example, if only buses and trucks
would be allowed to make use of our roads, and
private cars and motorbikes would almost be
excluded. Unbelievable, isn't it? And unacceptable,
Right, that is what is going on above our heads.
Leisure aviation is more and more restricted in
favor of commercial aviation, which implies a
significant and progressive reduction of people
flying small aircraft, gliders or any other kind of
planes. But among all of them, gliding is the aerial
activity that is most seriously affected and
impacted because of this trend, and it is quite
simple to explain. There is no self-propulsion in
gliders (or sailplanes as they are sometimes
called), so they need altitude as the only source of
energy, and when they are forced to fly very close
to ground, it is definitely impossible for
sailplanes to go any distance from their take-off
So, let's make our claim for the room necessary to
keep on playing this really magical and interesting
sport, before we turn into "the last of the glider
Become a fan
to support the initiative.
Thanks, and happy landings.
Become a Fan
(or just learn more about it)
Soaring Links - Sailplane Repairs
Sometime in the
mid 1990s I created my
web site. It includes thousands of links to
soaring web sites around the world. It is
designed to be completely unbiased - it includes
links to products I don't sell and even my
competitors. I use is often to find answers to
customer questions about products, soaring data,
sailplane manufacturers, etc.
have updated the
with help from feedback on the rec.aviation.soaring
newsgroup. The page includes links to glider
repair facilities in the USA. I haven't found
similar lists anywhere. Please let me know if
there are any repair facilities which are missing or
Students Soar into Naval future
AOPA (Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association) is a
great organization. If you are not already a
member - please join. They do so much for
pilots in Washington, D.C., create excellent free
training courses like the one below, and have
published quite a few articles about soaring in the
AOPA magazine and on their web site.
Naval Academy’s Summer Training Soaring Program
introduced 150 midshipmen to flying this summer
using gliders at the Mid-Atlantic Soaring Center
additional information from Janine Acee from State
College, PA. Janine is the SSA Governor for
PA-East (PA Region 2) where Fairfield is located.
members Mike Higgins, Bob Jackson, Dave Pixton,
and George Simms have been instrumental in
working with the Naval Academy, Brian Randall,
and Sean Noronha to get this program up and
running and it has been very successful.
Additionally, the middies have helped out at the
last two Region 4N contests, providing
additional exposure to our sport. It's a
Do The Right Thing - Decision Making for Pilots - Training Course
AOPA Air Safety Foundation has recently made a
FREE new online training course available. It is
called "Do the Right Thing - Decision Making
for Pilots". Every pilot should make the
time to take the course. It may save your
Soaring Comic Strip
I created the
soaring comic strip below for a soaring newsletter I
published in 1991 called "Soar Minnesota". The
idea came from a Gary Larsen "Far Side" comic strip
which showed aliens getting out of a spinning UFO
and falling down because they were dizzy from all
Military Glider Restoration
Soaring Club member Dale Johnson is known to be a
fantastic craftsman. He has built several
aircraft including museum display versions (full
scale) of a Curtis Jenny, and a Wright Flyer and a
beautiful flying Pietenpol Air Camper.
has been working with the Minnesota Herritage
Foundation to rebuild a CG-4A WWII military combat
glider. During WWII the U.S. government
contracted several companies to build these gliders.
One interesting fact about this restoration is that
the work is being done in factory space at the same
in which wood assemblies for CG-4A gliders were
built during WWII. The photos below show the
state of the project as of May, 2009.
I will be
visiting the project next week and will have photos
and details for the next newsletter.
Paul Randall for providing the photos and captions.
Click on the
images below to view larger versions.
Cockpit – note
lack of protection for pilots legs!
Nose wood –
“Built by Dale Johnson 2009”
Wing Ribs –
probably also Dale’s handiwork
Top center of
cockpit with trim cranks, tow release, etc.
parts – ‘needs some TLC’
forward to visiting the project first hand very soon
and will include updates in future editions of this
combat glider history is of interest to you, you may
also find the items below interesting. I found
Silent Wings - The American
Glider Pilots of WWII (DVD)
Silent Wings at War - Combat
Gliders in World War II (Book -
Silent Wings - The Saga of the
U.S. Army and Marine Combat Glider Pilots During
World War II (Book - Used)
BJ-1B - For Sale
normally include classified ads in this newsletter
because they are already available on my
web site. However, I have decided to list this
one as a favor to the owner. Dale Johnson has
been a huge asset to the Minnesota Soaring Club over
many years. Also, next week he is taking me to
see the CG-4A glider restoration project he is
involved with. Thank you Dale for
everything you do and have done for the soaring
club, soaring in general, and helping restore
This is a classic wooden sailplane in excellent
condition. It was built by Minnesota glider
pilot Jim Wood in 1981. It has an L/D of 28:1
and includes 2 variometers. It is very easy to
fly. This may be the nicest Duster in the
country. It includes a full set of plans, and
an enclosed trailer with three new tires. A
Strong parachute is also included.
Contact: Dale Johnson
Details and additional photos and links to more
information about Duster sailplanes are available
now has very nice wooden remote sticks available in
stock for the NK ClearNav.
extremely elegant stick-mounted remote control units
for use with the ClearNav. They are made of
precision carved mahogany, or cherry, or American
walnut, or European walnut. The finish is a natural
hard wax which feels good in the hand, and is easy
to refinish after “lots of sweating”. The 10-button
remote control panel is mounted in top of handle for
comfortable, ergonomic control of the ClearNav with
the flying hand. It includes all the same buttons in
the same locations as on the standard handheld
remote. It includes a PTT (push-to-talk) button and
wiring. The hole for the stick is customized to the
NK Stocks a variety
of wood types and hole diameters. Please call for available units.
Available Wood Types
- American walnut
- European walnut
- DG (18 mm)
- Schleicher (18mm stick diameter, Schleicher
installs a special stick handle with the usual 24mm coming up until
the trim, but then it slopes down to 18mm for the top part that goes
into the wooden handle. This solution is very elegant, since now the
handle fairs into the 24mm tube without any change in diameter.)
- Schempp-Hirth (19mm stick diameter)
- Glasflügel, LS (20mm stick diameter)
David Nadler and the Lange Antares at Oskosh
Nadler was invited to be part of the "Electric
Aircraft" theme at the EAA's Airventure at Oshkosh
this year. He kindly agreed to bring his Lange
Antares and display it and fly it at the largest
airshow in the world. In addition to promoting
the Antares he also worked hard to promote soaring
and the Soaring Society of America. His blog
about the event is very interesting and well done.
It includes a link to a
YouTube Video of
him flying the Antares at Oshkosh.
Dave's Blog "Participating in
Oshkosh 2009 - EAA AirVenture"
Article - "The Year of the Electric Airplane"
sure that nearly every aviation enthusiast has heard
of the popular "RV" line of home-built airplanes.
Over 6,357 RV aircraft have been completed - ranging
from the RV-3 through the RV-12 models. The
man behind the highly respected Van's Aircraft
company is Richard "Van" VanGrunsven. What an
amazing man he is. In addition to his many
contributions to the home-built aircraft industry,
he is also a glider pilot that loves to compete in
soaring contests. He recently took delivery of
his new Lange Antares electric auxiliary-powered
above, electric aircraft were featured at the EAA
Airventure this year. Below is a link to Van's
thoughts on his new Antares, and the state of
The Year of the Electric
Airplane - by Richard VanGrunsven
(The article starts on page 3.)
to Get Congressional Medal of Honor
the WASPs (Women Airforce Service Pilots) will
receive a Congressional Medal of Honor. I'm
sure everyone will agree that it is about time.
The WASPs were a group of women pilots formed during
WW II to do flying work (such as ferrying fighters
and bombers) so that men would be free for combat
missions. They served our country well.
Unfortunately, they were never formally thanked.
As the war was winding down they were all dismissed
and had to pay their own way home.
Nadler has forwarded two very interesting news
articles to me about the WASPs. Links to them
are below. The photo at right is of David
preparing to give a glider ride to WASP June Bent in
the Duo Discus he owns with several partners.
Fame finally takes wing for
Aviatrix takes a ride
For more than 5
years I have been running Cumulus Soaring, Inc. as a
1-person operation. As the business has grown
I have become more and more busy - to the point that
I have not had time to work on value added projects
such as product overview videos, this newsletter,
etc. Therefore I have recently hired my 2nd
employee, Lynn Anderson. Good help is hard to
find. Luckily I didn't have to search very far
- Lynn is the mother of my wife Renee. Lynn is
working 4 hours a day, 5 days a week.
Her primary role is packaging and shipping customer
orders. She has also been very helpful with
improving the organization of my inventory and
filing systems. Having her here has allowed me
to find time to create September and October
newsletters and I will soon be creating some new
product overview videos. It is wonderful
having help with the shipping. She's doing a
great job! I look forward to using the extra
time to create more value-added resources on the web
"Friends of CSI"
Update - Please Join the Club
In May of 2008 I announced the new "Friends of Cumulus
Soaring, Inc." club. It is truly a win-win
arrangement in which discounts, free shipping, free
phone support, and interest are given in exchange
for loans to my company. I am extremely
grateful to the generous soaring pilots that have
joined the club since then.
I am still
hoping that many more glider pilots will show their
support by joining the "Friends of Cumulus Soaring,
Inc." club. The loans received so far have
been a great help, but I still have a long way to go
in regard to reducing my high interest rate bank
debt. Please consider joining the club. There
are many good reasons to join.
learn more about the "Friends of Cumulus Soaring,
Inc." club here:
"Soaring Eagle" Music CD by Chris Comet
is a new music CD from soaring pilot and CFIG/MG
Jean-Pierre Ducos. His stage name is Chris
Comet. Below are some notes and photos he sent
regarding the CD.
Chris Comet is a
composer, producer, arranger, keyboard player.
He also engineered his album project in his
Texas based studio “Soaring Eagle” After a
successful musician/producer/session man career
over Europe, Chris Comet came to the US 22 years
ago, in Hollywood and started playing and
producing in famous studios such as Westlake,
A&M, Record Plant, Fantasy, Jackson family
private studio and so on… He worked with
musicians such as Lenny Castro, Vinny Colaiuta
(Drummer for Sting, Madonna, Jeff Beck, Frank
Zappa…), Michael Landau, Freddie Washington,
Manu Katche (drummer for Peter Gabriel and
sting), Sam Riney on Sax to name a few.
collaborated with Enid Jackson of the Jackson
family on several R&B projects (at the Jackson
family studios in Encino California) His latest
album is inspired by Native American Indian
philosophy of life, culture and spirituality. He
also cares very much about the initial first
non-immigrant Native American Indians that are
“the People” and the social injustice that they
are still suffering today. The Album “Soaring
Eagle is a musical tribute to them, their
resilience, philosophy, spirituality and wisdom.
another note Jean-Pierre Ducos aka Chris Comet
has been a longtime member and flight instructor
of the Soaring Society of America as well as a
CFIG/MG, tow pilot. He has created in 2004 Hill
Country Motorgliding one of the rare commercial
flight instruction outfits in Texas,
specializing in glider, self-launch motorglider,
album Soaring Eagle CD Album merges his love of
music creation and his passion for soaring. You
can get all music samples and videos and
well as watching music videos on YouTube at:
album sold a one dollar donation will go to the
Youth Foundation of the SSA for promoting and
developing the sport of soaring with future
young enthusiastic pilots. Happy soaring, and
let the eagle soar!
Ducos (a.k.a. Chris Comet)
Chinese Human-Powered Aircraft
photos and links to details on an interesting
Chinese human-powered aircraft. It appears to
be the accomplishment of a single person - which is
impressive. The 25 m span is also very
Article and Photos
Jessica Cox Interview Video
just can't get enough of Jessica Cox. I've
mentioned her in previous newsletters. I guess
I'm a fan. She is a young woman pilot -
without arms. I find her story very
motivating. This "Timeless Voices of Aviation"
video from the EAA is an excellent interview of
Cox's web site:
Used ILEC SN10-2 2nd-Seat Repeater: $620
This unit had the screen replaced at ILEC in Germany
in the spring of 2008 and was lost in transit for many months.
It is in perfect working condition. This is a
fantastic deal for someone that wants a spare backup
unit, or has a 2-seat glider that needs a 2nd seat
repeater to go with an existing SN10B in the front
seat. The RAZ vario meter is not included but
is available for $175. The required wiring harness
is not included but is available
for $80. For a total of $620 + $175 + 80 =
$875 you get a complete system. That is
$620 off the $1495 price of a new system.
Note: This is not an independent SN10 system.
It is the 2nd-seat "slave" to an SN10B.
Please send me an e-mail if you are interested in
buying it. You can see details on the SN10-2 here:
MacCready Ring for
304 CZ - 17m
I'm not sure how I ended up with this extra ring,
but I don't need it. It is
designed for use on a standard 57 mm Winter W-5453
variometer in knots. It does not include a
bezel ring, but they are available if necessary. Most Winter variometers
made in recent years already include the necessary
grooved bezel ring. A set like this one normally
sells for $83. I am selling it
Badge & Record
from "The Badge Lady" Judy Ruprecht
I received the
news below from the SSA badge and record lady Judy
Ruprecht. The new edition of the FAI Sporting
Code, Section 3, is available here:
In May, SSA's online badge & record materials were
updated to prepare pilots and Official Observers
for Sporting Code changes to be effective October 1
this year. This mailing is prompted by a much more
recent IGC finding and re-written declaration
requirements. In summary, effective 1 October:
pre-flight declaration is required for
badge and record
flights using an IGC approved Flight Recorder
(“FR”), and it must
include the glider’s registration or serial number,
not an SSA-assigned contest
This does NOT
affect FR users whose procedures ensure the
correct pilot name, aircraft Type and
aircraft registration ("N") number are included in
all IGC files. Solutions for other
FR users depend on the FR, how it’s used and who’s
ANY FR and any flight other than a World Record
attempt, SSA recommends the following for new FR
users, an FR used in multiple aircraft and in any
case when pilot, aircraft or task data entered in an
FR cannot be verified for accuracy and changed if
necessary before take off:
pilot prepares a written declaration ready for an
the intended flight date, the OO performs a
pre-flight FR installation check and the FR is
turned on; a task may be entered if desired
OO waits a few minutes, then adds his/her signature,
date & time to the written declaration
further tinkering with FR task entry, and make sure
the FR remains ON until after landing
an electronic declaration is used, the pilot is
responsible for making sure the correct pilot name,
flight crew name (if any), aircraft information and
task are entered in the FR before flight. Please
- Almost all IGC Approved FRs accept the 6
characters permitted for US registration numbers;
use FR “set up” software to enter the glider’s
registration (“N”) number in the “Glider ID” data
model 10, 20 and 25 FRs have a 3-character limit on
“Glider ID” data entry; use FR “set up” software and
in the “Glider ID” data field, enter the last 3
digits of the glider’s serial number, as shown in US
registration records online at http://registry.faa.gov/aircraftinquiry/
- For multiplace records, use FR “set up”
software to enter at least first initial & last name
for both pilot and flight crew in the same data
field; use complete names on record forms. FRs
approved in the future will include separate data
fields for pilot & flight crew names.
- Using a PDA or after-market software? These
may over-write data in FR memory and/or limit the
number of characters transferred to any FR data
field. Test to make sure all required data is
correctly transferred to the FR and contact software
vendor(s) for guidance if needed.
Please advise if you
have any questions!
you are a member of the EAA (Experimental Aircraft
Association) as I am, you may want to check out
their free new member benefit "Oshkosh 365" at
includes links to current aviation news, videos,
blogs, podcasts, user communities, etc. The
feature that impresses me was the weather overview
page (shown at right). It is an excellent
graphical overview of weather numbers for the next
few days. It even includes cloud base altitude
numbers and temperature dewpoint spread numbers.
Click on the small image at right to view a full
first I was frustrated that I needed to select my
local airport every time I went to "My Weather"
page. However, I noticed that it did remember
my local airport after selecting it on the "My
Flight Bag" page.
Duo Discus Model Update
Revell Duo Discus model kits should be arriving very
soon. I can't wait to build one to hang in my
office! Today I noticed that they have updated
the Revell Germany web site with assembly
instructions and many photos of a completed model.
I have added all the photos and links to the
assembly instructions on my Revell web page.
I also learned from someone at Schempp-Hirth that
hte model is best described as a Duo Discus X model
because the wings show the landing flaps that were
introduced with the "X" version. The kit
includes wingtips for both the original Duo (without
winglets) and the later versions such as the "X"
with the winglets. Therefore it is possible to
build it to look like an original Duo Discus, or the
later Duo Discus X.
Society of America Convention for 2010 will be held
in Little Rock, Arkansas from Wednesday, January
27th through Saturday, January 30th.
have expanded my booth from 2 to 3 10x10 spaces.
The 3rd space will be shared with Uli Schwenk and
Daniela Schwenk from Jaxida Cover. I am
looking forward to getting to know them both.
I have enjoyed following Uli's adventures in
international soaring competitions and Grand Prix
At the last
convention I was extremely grateful to the many
volunteers that helped me get my booth setup, broken
down at the end, and helped gather books for
customer orders. You people really helped me
serve the soaring community. I will be
offering some form of "thank you" for all volunteers
- such as $10 credit for every hour worked in the
booth. Let me know if you are interested in
have recently updated my Jaxida Cover web page with
a lot of new information. I hadn't realized
just how many different types of sailplanes,
motorgliders, ultralight aircraft and powered
aircraft they have made covers for. You can
see lists of the many makes and models of supported
aircraft by clicking on the links below.
Powered Aircraft Covers
Ultralight Aircraft Covers
SoaringNV is Recruiting Soaring Instructors
Minden, Nevada is recruiting two instructors with
extensive (five years) cross country experience over
desert and mountain terrain for our thermal
cross-country season, May through September, 2010.
Our fleet consists of two Duo Discus gliders with
the possibility of a third on leaseback. Instructors
should have experience in similar high-performance
two-place gliders flying over mountains and desert.
Position pays $120 per day, five days a week.
experience is a plus but not necessary. Call or
LaSor at flasor - AT - frognet.net or send mail
1140B Airport Rd.
Minden, NV 89423.
the best cross country team in the world's best
flasor-AT-frognet.net (replace "-AT-" with "@")
Masters Returns to Soaring California Soaring
Masters, CFIG and author, will be available for
instruction at the
Southern California Soaring
Academy at Crystal Glider Port (formerly
Great Western Soaring School) starting in early
November. He is returning to SCSA after spending two
seasons away - soaring in Idaho.
is the author of the book "Soaring
Beyond the Basics" and has logged over
12,000 hrs in gliders, mostly as an instructor. His
many years of experience flying and instructing in
the mountains and high desert of Southern
California, especially the San Gabriel Mountains,
makes his instructional flights second to none, and
a whole lot of fun as well!
Barograph & GPS Flight Recorder Calibration
I have been
working hard to get approval from the SSA to be an
SSA approved calibration lab for barographs and GPS
flight recorders. I now have a system and
process that works great. I have demonstrated
the system and process to the satisfaction of local
technical expert Brian Utley. He has
recommended to the local SSA Regional Director Ron
McLaughlin that my calibration lab be approved by
the SSA. Ron will soon forward that
information to the SSA and hopefully they will
quickly approve my calibration services.
of setting up a precise and accurate calibration
system has been kind or fun. I am extremely
grateful for the help provided by both Rick Sheppe
and Brian Utley. What a wonderful community of
soaring pilots who are so willing to help out other
soaring pilots! Rick recommended all the parts
to purchase (he even sent me links to places where I
could buy the pump and altitude chamber) and offered
endless advice via e-mail and over the phone.
It is obvious that he just loves soaring and wants
to help me support the soaring community. What
a great guy! Thank you Rick!!!
has also been a great help. In addition to
checking-out and approving my calibration hardware
and process, he also went above and beyond by
creating a very slick Excel macro that automatically
searches through flight log data and extracts the
calibration points and inserts them into the
calibration table - very cool! It will save me
a lot of time when doing calibrations. Thank
I am hoping
to be approved the the SSA very soon. I look
forward to being able to provide this service to the
Details are available
In last month's
newsletter I introduced the cool new BatteryMINDer
battery chargers. However, I made a mis-statement
about how they work with batteries that are
discharged to a low voltage. I incorrectly
stated that both versions of the
batteryMINDer will not "turn-on" if the battery
voltage is less than 10.5 volts. It is true
for the low-cost BatteryMINDer-Plus 12117, but not
true for its big brother the BatteryMINDer 12248.
The 12248 will work great with batteries that are
discharged down to as low as 3 volts.
BatteryMINDer Plus - Model: 12117
For Smaller Batteries - up to about 7 AHr
Max Output Current: 1.33 A
Won't work if the battery voltage is less
than 10.5 Volts.
BatteryMINDer - Model 12248
For any battery
Max. Output Current: 2, 4 or 8 A
Works on batteries discharged to as low as 3V
It is my
belief that the 10.5 V minimum voltage required by
the 12117 will not be a problem for most glider
batteries. Although the 12148 is a bit more
expensive, I highly recommend it for all glider
batteries. It will also charge your lawnmower,
motorcycle, and car batteries.
Words Regarding Technical Support
I have been
doing quite a bit of phone support with web
conferencing this year. Customers call me to
get help using their soaring software or hardware
and I walk them through technical tasks over the
phone while viewing their computer screen using web
conferencing. It can be a huge time-saver as
the customer gets up-to-speed in a very short time.
Below is a kind note from a happy customer.
Now that the soaring season is over, I wanted to
thank you for another wonderful year of support
from you in connection with my soaring
activities. It's been wonderful knowing that you
are there to help with technical problems, and I
love the opportunity to have remote tutoring
sessions with you. Thanks again, very much." -
very much for the kind words Mitch, and for allowing
me to share them. Notes like that really make
my day! I do enjoy serving the soaring
Details are available
Argentina - Gliding in the 5th Dimension - 3000
km in a Glider
is an excellent documentary of Klaus Ohlmann's
amazing world record 3,008 km (1,869 mile) soaring
flight in wave over the Andes in Argentina in a
Nimbus 4DM. I recently re-ordered a
batch of these DVDs and found that the price had
been reduced. It is now available at the
new low price of $37.50.
Review by Paul Remde
I love this film. The scenery and cinematography are
awesome. The views of clouds flowing around mountain
peaks are spectacular. I like how he shows water
flowing over a rock and compares it with the wind
and clouds flowing over and around the mountain
peaks. The effect is very well done. The flight is
truly an amazing one and you get to relive it as he
describes his thought process as the flight unfolds.
The film also includes a great interview with Klaus
about the flight and future flights. He talks about
many topics including how sleep deprivation is a
major factor in flights like this because late night
weather analysis and early morning preparations
don't leave much time for sleep before the flight.
At the end are more breathtaking views of volcanic
craters, impressive lenticular clouds, etc. It
is a beautiful, inspirational and motivational film.
Why does he call it "Gliding in the 5th
Dimension"?... You'll have to watch the film to find
Holiday Gift Ideas
Below are a few
holiday gift ideas. You may want to buy
something for a soaring instructor or mentor or a
towpilot that deserves a "thank you" gift. Or
you may want to give some of these ideas to your
friends as ideas for gifts to buy for you.
Piper Supercub from Revell
from Heritage Aviation Models Ltd.
Schempp-Hirth Duo Discus from Revell
certificates are the perfect gift for a loved one or
someone you want to say "Thank You" to. Or the
perfect gift for a loved one to give to you - so you
can put it toward any item you desire. A colorful
certificate is mailed either to the purchaser or the
You may want
to print one of catalogs below and circle or
otherwise highlight gifts that you would like to
receive from those that love you.
Catalog by Manufacturer
Catalog by Category
Condor Scenery from Post Frontal
Condor Competition Soaring Simulator is extremely
popular for glider pilots interested in soaring
contest simulation, cross-country soaring
simulation, and soaring flight instruction.
Condor comes with some very nice scenery, but you
haven't seen anything until you have tried Condor
with the scenery packages from Post Frontal. I
don't sell them (I do sell Condor), but I highly
recommend them. I own the Alpi 3
scenery and it is truly awesome! Their more
recent Central Italy and West Alpi
scenery packages look even more impressive.
You can see some impressive screen captures and
order the software by clicking on the images below.
HpH 304TS Twin Shark
have just learned of a new 2-seat sailplane from HpH
call the 304TS Twin Shark. It has a 21 m
wingspan and impressive specifications. It
looks lovely to me. It does seem strange to me
that they would design it with a 21 m span.
That, of course, means it can't compete in the 20 m
span 2-seater class which has become popular around
the world. I wonder whether they will offer
optional tips for 20 m span. The maiden flight
is scheduled for 2011.
FAR/AIM In Stock
2010 edition of the FAR/AIM is now available in
stock. This is an excellent reference book.
Every glider pilot, student pilot, instructor,
gliding club, etc. should own a recent copy.
may find this hard to believe, but the F.A.A. puts
out an extremely nice FREE newsletter! The
September/October edition has several nice articles
on the Reno Air Races.
FAA Aviation News
Historic Langley Wind Tunnel Shut Down
Langley Full Scale Tunnel built in 1930 will be shut
down. The last test was of the X-48C shown at
Test of Futuristic X-48C is
Historic Wind Tunnel's Swan Song
and Interesting Links
Below is a
collection of fun and interesting soaring links.
videos from the Junior Worlds soaring competition in
Excellent Video by Kempton Izuno
Kempton has made some great HD soaring videos.
This one was filmed at the first ever U.S. Libelle
Gathering at Air Sailing gliderport in July.
Well done Kempton!
Libelle Gathering: Pilots and
Cloud Animation Video from the San Francisco, USA
I just love the scenes showing clouds rolling over a
ridge and down into the valley.
Videos - Ridge soaring in SE Oklahoma
Glider" Disney Cartoon
Glider Soaring Along an Morning Glory Cloud in
Australia - WOW!
3008 (front-wheel drive) Auto-launch
14-year-old Youth Flying Solo
- Newspaper Article
Recent Hubble Telescope Images
International Space Station Coming Together -
foot Roller Coaster Run Down Mt. Whitney
by Christian Mackin
Beautiful Through the Eyes of AOPA Members
More fun links and soaring news from around the
Thank you for
taking the time to read this newsletter. I hope you
have found it interesting. If you did, please tell
your friends about it. Please mention it in
your local soaring newsletter. Please direct
I consider myself a servant. Please let me know if
there is anything I can do to help you find the
right soaring instruments for your needs, or help
you learn how to use an instrument or software
product. Also, let me know if you have any
suggestions for products or services to add to my
web site, or ways that I can serve you better.
I feel blessed because I love my job. I enjoy
serving the soaring community. Like you, I am
passionate about soaring. Thank you for your
business, I sincerely appreciate it.