September 30th, Jim Hard bares his soul...
Thanks to all of you who helped get me in the air and to Paul Esser who spent a good part of the day trying to figure out what I was going to do (I was trying to figure it out also).
I am calling the day "The Last Hurrah". Here's the story.
Thursday brought the big wind and new air into the area. This looked like a very good situation for me since I am desperately trying to get two more cross-countries in before the OLC ends for the season in about 10 days, so made plans to do a x-country on Friday.
Brian came over to tow, Paul could retrieve but was stuck at work until afternoon, Paddy offered to help assemble in the morning along with Brian, and Laura showed up in time to help me launch.
The "Ford" forecast showed negative TI to only 3500 MSL, and the Soaring Forecast for the Twin Cities Area for Friday looked like dirt. Namely, trigger temperature would not be reached and there would be no cumulus. Nonetheless, convinced that these forecasts were wrong, I set out from home with glider in tow and when I reached the end of the driveway at 9:00 am, Cu was already forming in most parts of the sky!! Stopping only long enough to gas the truck, I barreled down to SYN to make sure of a timely takeoff.
To make a long story less tedious, we got assembled without problem and waited until 12:30 to launch into a sky with diminishing Cu and a N wind of about 15 mph. Finding lift close to the field, I climbed to 5000 MSL and worked my way a bit downwind. It was looking good enough to go on so I checked the wind direction at my altitude with the handy Colibri and discovered no satellites had been captured because, it turns out, I had failed to plug in the data logger antenna!!
Since the flight would count for nothing without a logger trace showing takeoff, landing, and continuous flight between the two, I returned to land while calling SYN to make sure that Brian had not left. Fortunately he had not and at 1:30 I relaunched into a sky that had almost no Cu in it with a blue hole to the south extending for 30-40 miles. Thermals were good. I measured a 500 fpm one that took me to 6000 MSL. By this time, however, it was after 2:00 and since a long x-country flight was not in the cards for this day, I opted to fly locally for a bit while George Penokie on the ground was kind enough to call my crew and give him my situation.
Landing was around 3 PM. George towed me to the tie down area. I tied the ship down and went home.
Jim Hard.
Editorial Comment. Jim's report indicated conditions much better than the local sounding forecast. This just proves how dynamic our Minnesota conditions can be. To me it also says: if the winds aloft are out of the NW then conditions could be expected to improve over the balance of the day. Also, add one more item to the check list. Knowing Jim, he will try again.

September 29th Congratulations to Steve Fischer!

Our indomitable and indefatigable Chief Instructor has added yet another accomplishment to his long list of ratings. Congratulations Steve, now what is next?

Sunday September 25th. Dan Shallbetter Flight Report:
Hello All,
Arrived at Stanton yesterday at 11:00 AM to 2500 ft broken clouds, with dark skies to the southeast. I decided to play around with the electronics after rebuilding my IPAQ and also test fit my new PDA (Dell Streak). Shortly after noon AWOS reported 4400 broken, recent pilot reports where still reporting 2600 broken. Checking Faribault, Lakeville and Owatonna all reported around 4300 so I decided to flight test the new PDA. I finished assembling sometime around 1:00, the Vikings were up 17 – 0 when I left the trailer. Being that this was to be a local flight I left everything out, instead of retrieve ready as I usually do. Launching shortly afterwards I climbed to 4100 I headed SE between 4100 & 4300 running a cloud street, turned west about 8 miles SE of Stanton, went to Faribault never above 4500 with winds out of the NE @ 12 kts this leg went pretty easy. I continue out towards Tuma 3.5 miles out of Tuma I was 700 feet above glide slope for Tuma and unable to find the airport and too low to turn around for the upwind airport Faribault. Finally got high enough to tip-toe back to Faribault. At Faribault I was 120 feet above glide for Stanton, I started for Stanton and turned back 3- 4 miles later when I was -350 below glide. I Return to Faribault climbed to 4600 3 miles SW of the airport and decided to try Stanton again. I was 12 miles out of Stanton well below glide and only 450 feet above glide to my downwind airport Faribault when I decided to turn around, seeing no good land options ahead of me. I had a save on the downwind at Faribault (don’t try this at home) climbed to 4000 feet with a bald eagle but could not get high enough to try for Stanton a third time. So with the thought of a relight I landed. Both of Don’s gliders were
Our fully booked until sunset so my relight would need to wait. When Barry Jaeger (Arcus pilot) offer me a ride back to Stanton I jumped at it as I was pretty fatigued and not looking forward to more flying (Thanks again Barry). George P and Eric S. were faithfully waiting for me to land thanks guys, very much appreciated. I loaded up the trailer and self retrieved.
Reflecting on the day driving home. It was a totally unexpected surprise with strong lift, best I saw was 7kts on the averager 5100 being my high point. I pushed my comfort level working so low with such a small lift band <1,000 feet The day presented many challenging in-flight decisions I had a strong desire to make it home given that trailer was not ready to roll. I resisted the urge and opted on the side of caution. A very satisfying a rewarding day.
The days are growing short see you at the airport.

Monday September 12th Sad News :
Tom Rent reported: We just got a call at SYN that Dave Klatt died yesterday. He was a very active MSC member and will be missed. The funeral is at Parker Kohl funeral home in Faribault; 4-7 Thursday September 15; 7pm prayer service.
Dale Fletcher recalled: Dave was a very good tow pilot who made many tows. He also built things.
Over a three year period he designed, built and got FAA approval for the tow rope retraction system mounted behind the rear seat of the tow plane.
He also designed and built the more or less triangular bracket that we use to hang the straps and hoist the K21. We had first tried using a heavy I-beam to hold the front and rear straps for hoisting but it was too heavy and we know it would eventually be dropped on the canopy if we didn't find a better solution. Harry Meline suggested it could be much lighter if something were built to be more like a ladder. I called Dave and asked him to think about Harry's suggestion and a few weeks later he installed the completed hanger.
Our condolences to Dave's family and friends, we shall miss him and remember his contributions to the MSC. Dave's Orbituary

Saturday, September 3rd News Alert:
St Olaf professor exhibits improper behavior at local glider port. Investigation is underway for reported water fight and general personal threat to another pilot. Apparently the confrontation was over use of club equipment and involved throwing chemicals at the student.
Authorities have been notified.  Bystander captured incident on camera: Congratulations Dana on your first glider solo.

Thursday August 25th operations, George Underhill reports.
I got down to Stanton at 8:30 to get my glider out and open the hangar. Ben Norman showed up at 9:00 and we lowered the K-21 and gave it a rinse and dry. Dick and Dan Smith arrived shortly thereafter and we towed the K-21 out to runway 36. Paddy Dale was next to arrive and we planned our tows carefully since our tow pilot Jay Biggs needed to depart at 1:00 PM. The first tow was at 10:30 with Ben in the front and myself in the back. It was a smooth tow and return to 36. Paddy then occupied the back seat with Ben on the second tow. Dick and Dan pulled out the Owl and I pulled my Ventus to the line. I was anticipating weaker conditions at launch time so I had installed my 16.6 meter tips for a little extra L/D and slower thermaling speeds. I launched just before noon when the temperature was 74 degrees, which was right around the trigger te mperature. I was happy to find bumps on tow up to 3,500 MSL. I towed to 3,000 agl and released north of the field. For some time I worked between 3,500 to 3,900 MSL over the sand pit and northwest of Randolph. Dale Fletcher arrived and helped with FOO duties so everyone could get airborne. I watched Dick and Dan launched next. They had trouble finding lift down lower and were forced to return to Stanton. Paddy and Ben took another tow to 2,000 but were also unable to connect with a thermal and returned to Stanton.
There were plenty of cu's north and moving to the south. I ventured to the south a bit and wound up at 2,500 MSL but was luckily able to find another thermal north of Stanton to take me back up. It seemed that the cu's were cycling quite rapidly. A good thermal and associated cumulus faded quickly, not to be found on return. I found the c loud base at 5,000 later in the flight. Most thermals were averaging in the 2 knot range, but I did have one average 3.7. The area around Northfield was blue, but Dennison and Cannon Falls provided good clouds and reliable lift. I landed just before 2 PM after a high speed cruise of the area. Lift was still plentiful while I was bleeding off excess altitude. Thanks to Ben, Dick, Dan, Paddy and Dale for contributing to a nice flying day, and to Jay for providing the tows.

August 18th Dick Andrews Salutes Andrew Wood.
It was announced at the most recent Minnesota Soaring Club meeting that Andrew Wood has retired from his position as FAA Designated Pilot Examiner after serving 10 years! Our soaring community has benefitted greatly from Andrew's skill, knowledge, patience and commitment. Please take time to thank Andrew for all his years of service! Send him an email or note, give him a call or let him know next time you see him how much we have appreciated his contribution to soaring.

It is also my privilege to spread the word that Steve Fischer will be our new DPE after he finishes his training over the winter and takes his check ride in the spring. Steve has many years experience instructing in gliders (including motorgliders) and airplanes and is currently working on his helicopter rating. Steve has helped many of us achieve our glider, commercial glider or CFIG rating. I am confident that he will do an excellent job as our new FAA Designated Pilot Examiner.
All the best, Dick Andrews, MSC Chief Flight Instructor.

Wednesday, August 17th operations recap, Dan Smith reporting.
In attendance: Loren Swanson #1, Dale Fletcher, Marilyn Meline, Paddy Dale, Dick Smith, Dana Walsh, Paul Remde, Tim Mattsson.  Loren jumped in the K-21 around noon, took a pattern tow and tried to convince us there was lift.....usually is in the downwind as we all say. It was a blue day. Dale and Paddy took the lead and were the sniffers and launched shortly after Loren. Dale radioed the FOO cart and let us know they were experiencing 2-3 knots of choppy lift. We could see them from the ground and they were holding their own and gaining a bit, so the rest followed. Paul Remde and Tim Mattsson flew together in the DG 1000. Dick Smith and his son David ( in town for the day) flew the Owl and Dana Walsh and I flew in the ASK-21. Brian Weber was at the helm in Stanton's tow plane.
Jim Wood and Tom Kuhfeld were slaving away installing the rebuilt motor for our golf cart, they later appeared driving the cart so I guess all is good with our third cart. Very nice of them to do all the work and keep us online with our carts.
Dale Fletcher and Paddy stayed aloft for their time slot and Dale mentioned it was tough to get 360 degrees with positive numbers in most of the thermals but they still managed to tour about the local area. Paul and Tim had a two hour flight locally and reported the same. I believe they also stated the thermals were topping out around 4800-5000 MSL. Dick and David Smith enjoyed their hour flight after releasing at 2500 AGL, touring the local area, reaching 4800 MSL. Dana and I launched after them and Brian Weber pulled us through some tremendous lift, pegging the variometer for a bit. Brian pulled us back through it and we released at 2100 AGL. We had discussed taking the opportunity to take a few pictures. Once we joined up with the Owl the Owl flew on our wing on a west heading and we took a few pictures. It seems nobody was able to get any great pictures so we will have to try again.  Dana took us up to 4500 MSL, the best of our day and from there all I did was lose the altitude Dana had gained. I landed the ASK-21 after 40 minutes and waiting for the comments coming my way. It didn't take long, as my father asked me if the belly of the Owl needed to be cleaned since I had such a good view and of course my brother David joined in as well. I tried my best to offer a rejoinder but I don't think our lower release and all the stress and anxiety that came with it earned me any points in the humorous exchange. I'll keep studying up on my excuses.
Paddy Dale took another flight solo in the ASK-21 but the lift was hard to find if any was still remaining. Overall, it was a wonderful to be at the field on a beautiful day. Whether it was because we have had such few days to even try and soar or simply because we were flying, it was the place to be yesterday. The enjoyment MSC provides is truly a wonderful benefit and luxury. If I have forgotten anyone who was there or other pertinent details, I apologize in advance.

Wednesday, August 10th operations recap.
On Monday Sarah wrote "Is anyone interested in soaring this Wednesday? Looking like it may be good. Of course, last week I thought that about last Sunday too".

Paul Remde responded "I’m planning to fly on Wed. I have not tried to arrange a towpilot or F.O.O. yet. I am planning to call Stanton to ask for a commercial tow".

Tom Rent chimed in "I'm game. Forecast looks pretty good. Flight reviews in the morning, anyone? If we have an operation (Tow pilot and FOO), leave your instruction requests on the msg. line".

Mike Schumann said "I may be interested".

Fred Hewitt closed the discussion with "Wednesday started looking interesting to me as of last Friday".

On Tuesday Brian Weber signed up for towing so Wednesday was on.

Wednesday morning Mike Schumann cemented the deal with "It's a beautiful day, Brian is available for towing, I am willing to help FOO. The sounding looks good. Get your butts down here!!!!

Mid afternoon Brian Utley wrote "How about some pireps about today's flying. It looks really great out there! Sob...."

Sarah responded "Brian, you should have been there. It was definitely soarable, if not a record setting day ( sorry Fred & Paul ). I picked a short task to match the best looking sky, and flew a slow skinny triangle from Syn - Zumbrota - Owatona/Waseca - Syn. It was especially nice just south of Stanton on the way past Owatonna. 6000' MSL highpoint and strong, consistent 4-6kt averaged lift, with exciting higher peaks. Best day *I've* seen all year. The trip back home was less exciting, and I had to be careful to stay above 4000' MSL in weaker and less predictable ( dead clouds ) lift.
Still, a beautiful day. I love cumulus filled skies. My first x-c of this frustrating year and good fun".

Marilyn reported "I had 2 hr 3 min flight. Off tow at 2500 and highest was 5300 msl. It was a good day for me to try to understand the clouds. For a while they did have lift, but later they didn't and toward the last part of the flight lift was coming from bare ground etc up to at least 4000 msl. I saw a lot of Nerstrand and a potential landing field from 2500 msl. Having used most of my adrenalin, I returned to the field and stayed close! I saw about 2-4 knots up, occasionally 5 in a really good thermal. I thought it was a great practice day. I kept remembering J Hard's advice about being patient and persistent in the thermal you've got. For me it was not boring, but the best I've had this year! And, Sarah went to Waseca".

Fred said "Hi Brian, Not as good as it looked".

Jim Hard found a friendly farmer "Would you believe 30k to a hayfield southeast of Wanamingo, as the immediate result of leaving the airport 45 minutes too soon on a x-country attempt? Made the acquaintance of a three-generation farm family; grandfather, father, and grandson at the landing site.Crew Chief Cunningham found me promptly and we were back home by 4:30. Will make another attempt soon".

Finally Robert Herndon closed out the day "I took the last flight of the day at about 4:15. The tow ride was quite exciting; I've not had many like that here in MN (quite bouncy). Got off at 2k', went up to 3700. Some half circles in > 10 knots, the other half in sink. Very turbulent under the clouds. Easy to stay up at that point, but I had to come back before 5 so the main hangar could get closed up (I was in the K-21). Robert. PS. Tom Kuhfeld retrieved Steve, who landed out about 8 miles from Stanton".

Lets hope this is the beginning of a new trend!

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Saturday, August 6th operations report. Paul Fink, FOO; Stephen Nesser Instructor and Brian Utley Tow Pilot were on assigned duty.
Conditions did not develop until mid afternoon and were weak with fast cycling thermals up to 3,000' agl. Most flights were training flights keeping Stephen very busy. Dale Fletcher completed his BFR and Dana Walsh experienced his first ever soaring flight, staying aloft for 29 minutes. His time was eclipsed by Peter Schumann who stayed up for 40 minutes on his first flight with Stephen and for 36 minutes on his first solo flight. Congratulations to Peter for his solo and achieving his Bronze SSA badge.
Peter is seen here being congratulated by Stephen Nesser.
Thirteen flights in all for the day.

Saturday July 30th operations.
As has been the experience for so much of this season this was another mostly training day. We did have the pleasure of chatting with three of our new members and Dan Smith managed to catch them all together. From the left, Marv Vikla, Owen Connolly and Dana Walsh. We welcome them and wish them many happy hours in the air.

Dick Smith presented the Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award
As noted in the August Newsletter, Dick Smith has been presented with the Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award. The FAA description reads: "The Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award recognizes pilots who have demonstrated professionalism, skill and aviation expertise by maintaining safe operations for 50 or more years."
Dick and Eve are shown receiving the award. More information can be found here.

Dick's aviation history started with his first dual instruction in a J-3 Cub in July, 1944 at age 16. Earning his licenses and ratings by age 18, he then instructed and flew charter for Gopher Aviation in Rochester, MN. He became a DC-3 copilot at age 20 for Northwest Airlines, continuing on for almost 40 years while progressing to captain in ten different airliners including the Boeing 747. Sixty seven years later, Dick still pursues his passion by flying gliders at MSC, where he has been an active member since 1973.
When asked for his thoughts regarding the Wright Brother Master Pilot Award he received, Dick stated, "This proves if you live long enough, good things will happen. Seriously, it was a total surprise when Dan and David presented me with the FAA Master Pilot Award on Father's Day. I view it as recognition for being able to live my boyhood dream with a lot of luck and help from others. I was especially grateful for the FAA's including Eve for her absolute essential support, sacrifice and commitment to "our" career"

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Friday, July 8th Sleepy Eye report. Tom Rent has provided a video report: click to view. Clearly a good time was had by all.  Dig those fly bys! The local press covered the activity with a couple of nice articles: Gliders Land at Sleepy Eye - New Ulm Journal and Sleepy Eye boy gets his first airplane

Friday, July 8th Sleepy Eye departure day. Andrew Wood comments on the actual vs. forecast conditions: I flew today at Stanton. Scrappy thermals at noon, going up to 4000msl when I launched, until about 2pm, when it got better, and i could get up to 5000msl. Best thermals averaged 4kts after 2pm, bursts of 6kts, but only 4kts average, but were hard to find. I could not depend on clouds to predict lift, the thermals were bubbly cores under small areas of clouds, and hard to circle in even when found. Did an O/R to the south, about 150km. I guess this is in accord with the Dr Jack prediction. However the curse of Minnesota, is that the thermals are very narrow.

Thursday, July 7th Sleepy Eye forecast. Dan Shalbetter comments: Looking at Dr. Jack’s predictions ( tomorrow’s forecast is the best I have seen this year, thermal strength 400 fpm, boundary layer 10,000 feet, critical height of thermals 7,000 feet winds 5kts. I will be thinking of you all while slaving away at my desk!

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Tuesday, June 28th recap. Fred's message that Tuesday looked good really spurred some action yesterday. With Jay Biggs' offer to tow until 2:00 PM the stage was set and confirmations of interest started. Tom Rent offered to instruct and Nick Holman took advantage with two instructional flights and a solo while Dick Smith was FOO. Dick also took a solo flight in the K-21. Dick Andrews and Fred Fred Hewitt launched at noon with Andrew Wood close behind. Chris Kimble launched in the Junior (12:13) and Tom was kept busy by Loren Swanson in the K-21 (12:25). Dan Shallbetter (12:43) John Ward (12:55), Steve Sweet (13:10), Laura Hohanshelt (13:24) and Jon Mattsson (13:38) were next to launch. After a fuel stop and pilot change the Super Cub was airborne with Dale Erickson at the controls. Dale launched Phil Schmalz (14:13), Sarah Anderson (14:26), Chris Kimble (14:40), and Dale Fletcher (14:57). Loren Swanson took a pattern tow in the K-21(15:08) followed by Marilyn Meline (15:20). Paddy Dale dropped by for a short flight in the K-21 launching at 15:33. I swapped FOO duty with Phil and made the final launch at 15:47. Low cloud bases (3,000) were reported by Dick and Fred after launching. Most stayed with gliding range of Stanton. Andrew Wood, however, did fly a 300K O & R to Charles City, IA. He reported lift quite good and consistent on his way south. Northbound was more of a challenge though. Andrew, have you posted your IGC file on the OLC? Later in the day climbs to 5,300-5,500 were reported. I believe most reported thermals of 2-3 kts. I did see some 4 kt thermals, but that was not the norm.
The hope of a great soaring day was perhaps tempered by a somewhat lower than expected cloud base. At one point the AWOS was reporting a temp/dewpoint of 24C(75f)/11(52F) which indicates a 23f spread. Using the cloudbase WAG formula (temp - dewpoint/4.5) * 1000 + measuring station altitude results in a base of 6,031' Find the cloudbase calculator here: Cloudbase calculator.
If you attend Friday's meeting you can ask the weatherman himself on his opinion of why it was not as good as the sounding suggested. Fred Hewitt the "Wizard of Weather" is the featured speaker, so don't miss it!
I'm sure everyone would agree that it was nice to see some cumulus clouds and actually get in the air. Thanks to all for a safe flying day.
FOO's Dick Smith, Paul Fink, and Phil Schmalz
Tow Pilots Jay Biggs and Dale Erickson
Instructor Tom Rent

ACE Camp II Report - by Tom Kuhfeld It will be hard to believe, but if you think back to those REALLY hot and humid days in the middle of July, that's when we held ACE camp II. Minnesota was breaking heat index records, and wednesday, July 20th was forcast to do the same. I was really worried about both the equipment and volunteers. Temperatures went into the mid 90's but dew points stayed in the mid 70's. Density altitude was 3500 feet! Wind was out of the SSE, so we had to stage on 18. Everyone came prepared with lots of fluids and tried to stay hydrated. While the very gusty winds gave our tow pilot (Steve Fischer) and Glider Drivers (Jon Mattsson, Jim Wood, Mark Cleare, and Tom Rent) a real workout, we managed to get in 26 flights for the Campers, and I think the wind made the temeratues bearable. The wind also provided some interesting approaches to landing. You'd think they we way too high and the base leg was way too close, but they would often be seen closing the spoilers to stay out of the corn. This was a day for experienced pilots only. Rounding out the field of wing runners, rope retrievers and signal givers were Dick Smith, Nick Holman, Paddy Dale (hereafter known as the "man in white"), Ben Norman, Paul Fink, and Marilyn Meline. Margaret handled the paperwork details, and kept the kids in line. Hank Geisler hung around all day as a relief pilot for Steve, but Steve hung in there and did them all. Again we had a great group of kids. By moving ACE camp to wednesday, they They don't have to rush out by 3 to catch the C-130 ride, so they have been grilling burgers and hot dogs at noon. Chris Cooper stages a helicopter over by the clubhouse to get the campers a little helicopter time. Some of those hops can be fun to watch - if not scary. If you're interested in volunteering for a future ACE camp, let me know, and I'll put you on my ACE camp mailing list. Those of you already on the list cannot get off.


Monday, June 20th. It appears that it is shaping up into another rainy and cloudy week. I will be heading off to work through Thursday night, so it doesn't look like I'll miss any weekday flying. Friday and the weekend are looking better on the 10 day forecast. Keep your fingers crossed.
See you at the field.

Saturday, June 18th. I am at Stanton with a live report. A TRW has just moved through. Currently 006 Sct 016 Ovc. MSP TAF shows poor conditions until 1300 lcl. After conferring with Stephen, it was decided to cancel flying today due to weather.
See you at the field, sometime.

Thursday, June 16th. Did anyone fly today? George responded: There was no operation today per se. Just me. I'm sure everyone looked out the window this morning this like I did and took notice of the cloudy skies. I planned to get down to Stanton in the late morning but put it off due to the poor sky. Around 11:00 AM it started looking better in Eagan. Kevin Ford's site was very optimistic and Dr. Jack was predicting 3-4 kts with a lower cloudbase. After deliberating for another hour and a half, I packed up my stuff and headed for Stanton. I arrived just after 1:00 PM to find Brian Weber in the tractor battling the grass. He had rides scheduled from 2:00 to 3:00, so instead of rushing to get ready I decided to launch after the rides. In order to stack the odds in favor of a good flight, I paid for my 3,000 foot tow at 2:45 since the office would be closed around 5:00 PM. With Marilyn's help I did a PCC, switched on the recorder, and launched at 3:30 off runway 27. There were some good bumps on tow and Brian pulled me west towards Northfield. Cloudbase wasn't very high, but I still had some room to climb. I worked primarily between Northfield and Randolph due to the cloud conditions, venturing towards Cannon falls later in the flight. Stanton was continuing it's blue hole phenomenon. I had a few nice 4 kt thermals and flew for 2 hours landing at 5:30 on runway 36, with Brian still battling the grass for Sunday's Father's Day pancake breakfast. I uploaded the IGC log to the files section. The recorder worked well. I used the SD card in the box since I forgot mine. I changed the pilot and glider information in SeeYou program. See you at the field. George

June 11th and 12th. Finally a soaring weekend! Hopes are hi on the 11th for another good weekend. The forecast is for clearing weather and the sounding showed good prospects for thermals.
Early on the sky looked true to forecast and all eyes were focused on the expected development. Training was in full swing and the mood was expectant. However the devil had not played all his cards. By 10:30 the sky started to become more overcast until it was 100% obscured and the temperature just wouldn't move above 59 degrees. Our attention was diverted by the unexpected apperance of a flotilla of Model T Fords: In spite of the age of these Fords they were absolutely beautiful and impecably restored.
As noon rolled around the outlook continued to look grim so several of us decided to pull the plug as John Ward describes: And so it goes. I pulled the plug early and headed home about noon. All the way to Marshall I was watching a beautifully broken sky cover grow prettier and prettier. Hope it was good for the rest of you. It was perfect for a nice bike ride and a brew out west!
But those who stayed around had the last laugh as George tells us: John, You did pull the plug too early, although you didn't miss any booming weather. I took off at 3:00 PM and released at 3,000 in a hole above cloudbase. Thanks Scott. The lift wasn't too strong and I made the mistake of getting low north of Randolph and couldn't reconnect. There was plenty of lift once I entered the pattern though. I took a second tow around 3:40 to 2,600 agl and climbed to 4,000 msl, which was as high as the bases allowed. Some thermals were fairly strong. After about 35 minutes airborne I traded off altitude at 85-90 kts and was still finding good lift below the clouds. I landed at 4:20 and joined Tom Rent, Marilyn Meline., Eric Strandjord, Scott Elhardt, Steve Sweet, and Paddy Dale for a "debrief" at the clubhouse.
Today's flying activity included:

  • Nick Holman with Dick Andrews and a solo flight.
  • Alex Jeffrey with two instructional flights with Dick.
  • Bill Shaughnessy flew with Dick and also solo.
  • Dick gave rides to two friends, Tom and Dan.
  • Tom Rent gave a ride.
  • Paddy Dale flew with Dick and is now a Back Seat Driver in the K-21.

Thanks to FOO Ben Jeffrey and Tow Pilot Scott Elhardt.

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June 12th. Another dreary day with the wind out of the ESE. Operations were set up on runway 9 as I arrived and were in full swing. Dan Smith was FOO, Steve Fischer  instructor and Jay Biggs towing. Tom Rent lent a hand on the instructing side and it was very much appreciated. The Owl and ASK-21 were both kept busy with instruction as everyone totally disregarded the occasional drizzle. After noon I took over towing and operations continued until 3:30. No soaring but lots of training and rides. Brian Utley

June 4th and 5th. Finally a soaring weekend! Mike Schumann was FOO on the 4th and commented on the day: For those of you who weren't at Stanton today, you missed a very nice day. There was no cu, but lift was to be found in the PM, particularly late.
We had a good turnout, keeping 2 instructors busy non-stop from 9AM till after noon. We had 3 tow pilots taking shifts in the club tow plane, letting us hit 30 tows for the day! Not bad for just having the MSC tow plane on the line. If you missed today, tomorrow looks even better.
I was able to get my DG-800B out of the box for the first time this year and finally took off at 1:30. While climbing our I ran into a thermal on the East side of the field so I stayed with it and shut down my engine at 2,000' agl. I stayed with the thermal until I reached the top which turned out to be 7,700'! This also turned out to be the high point of the day, with maximum height between 6,000' and 7,000'. At 7,700' I felt a little adventurous so decided to go looking for Toma, a turn point about four miles SW of Lonsdale. As I went past Northfield the lift started to get weaker and by the time I approached Toma it was downright scratchy and I was lucky to maintain 4,000' msl. I decided enough of this so I turned around and slowly returned to Stanton to settle for local flying until I landed at 5:00. It felt really good to get up and have a nice flight. Good enough to celebrate with a social libation at the clubhouse and food at Dennison.
Sunday June 6th promised to be even better than Saturday. Robert Herndon was FOO and wrote: Today (Sunday, June 5) we had a good day at the field. Twentyish flights, including three timely tows from Stanton (Vince) between 1 and 2:30, when we had a line going and managed to get them all launched in fairly short order. I believe we had 7 ships aloft for a while. All three club ships were out and had multiple flights, and members gave at least four rides to non-pilots. Thermals reportedly went to 5,000', but were not always easily found.
A number of private ships were assembled on the promise of good, soarable conditions including Fred Hewitt, Andrew Wood, Jim Hard, Dan Shallbeter, George Penokie, Sarah Anderson, Adam Kohler and myself, Brian Utley. Terry Flower was towing, Tom Rent was instructing and Quinton Theile provided ground support.

Starting at 12:30 private ships started to take off. Jim Hard in his SGS 1-26 planned to fly to the NW taking advantage of the SE breeze. Fred Hewitt with Marilyn Meline as passenger took off hoping to make a cross-country flight. Andrew Wood launched but his plan was unknown. Dan Shallbeter expressed an interest in going somewhere. I took off at 1:30 without a plan. I contacted a thermal while under power and stayed with it until it topped out at 4,800 msl. Clearly the thermals werre not living up to expectation. Dan opined that he wanted to get above 5,000' before heading out. I decided to try for a 100km triangle: Medford, Zumbrota and return. The first leg quite smoothly with my altitude ranging between 4,000' and 4,600' but the second leg was another story. It was into the easterly winds and the lift was dropping off both in strength and altitude. My low point was just short of Wanamingo at 2,900' msl. I struggled on to Zumbrota where I hit a good thermal to 4,400'. Heading home my final glide calculator showed -300' but with the tail wind it was much more fun. I just kept heading toward Stanton and slowed down every time I hit some lift. Slowly the final glide calculator showed me gaining on the glide slope. I made it without any thermaling and finished with 300' to spare over pattern altitude. Elapsed time about 90 minutes - quite disappointing but at least I made it. Jim was also having a hard time. He sent me a report of his flight: Despite your advice, I flew right over New Prague because of the SE wind. The flight was one of the toughest I have ever made, just going from crisis to crisis trying to center in broken up thermals. But, I managed to stay in the air and after 4.5 hours landed because of fatigue in view of crew chief Paul Esser who showed up at the Litchfield Airport at the right time. Flight distance was about 105 OLC statute miles. So I don't feel so bad about my flight after all. I also heard that Andrew Wood also flew a 100km triangle but I have no details.
Frankly it felt good to have two weekend days of soaring.

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June 1st recap. The sun was shining and the skies were clear when I arrived at Stanton at 9:30 AM to get things ready to go. However, I don't remember the forecast mentioning the WIND! It was blowing strong and gusty out of the west. The AWOS was reporting 265/17G22 or a close variation most of the morning. I conferred with Instructor Rent and we decided to delay the start of operations. Soon tow pilot Jay Biggs and pilots Phil Howard, Roger Urban, and Paddy Dale arrived. Our newest Phil Schacht Memorial Scholarship recipient, Quinton Thiele, arrived just after 11:00 and was introduced to Tom and the rest of the gang. While Tom gave Quinton a tour we commiserated on lawn chairs in front of 2E until the lunch bell rang. We retired to the Club House to escape the wind.

The Super Cub and Owl left the hangar for the flight line just after noon with the first tow commencing around 1:15. Paddy Dale, working on an Owl checkout, flew twice with Tom in the back. The wind was still blowing 15G21. After Paddy, Phil Howard took an up and down ride.

Jay Biggs timed out at 2:30 and Brian Weber fired up Stanton's Cub in relief. Did I mention it was WINDY. As Quinton strapped in for his first glider flight the winds finally began to lessen to the low double digits with no gusts. After two instructional flights Quinton bolted for graduation activities. That left Roger Urban to finish up the day. The last tow started at 1557 under clear skies and winds 300/5. Roger flew about an hour, topping out at 4,000. All equipment was returned to 2E and the doors closed at 1720. Thanks to all for a safe soaring day. George Underhill.

May 29th Report.

In spite of overcast skies all day 10 flight operations were conducted. Jon Mattson FOO, Steve Fischer instructor and Brian Utley tow pilot managed the tasks of the day. Shortly afternoon Paddy appeared in his commencement uniform. He just couldn't stand the thought of sitting through another graduation ceremony when he could be with friends at Stanton and sitting in the pilot's seat.

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May 28th Report. MSC did conduct soaring operations today thanks to FOO Roger Urban and Tow Pilot extraordinare, Greg Sotebeer.  Ben Jeffrey did 3 flights for his Flight Review, Terry Heer took a Spring Checkout flight in the Owl and then a solo flight in the ASK21 and Adam Koller dusted off the cobwebs with a Spring Checkout flight and a couple more flights to get current.  Just before the weather fell apart Marilyn took a soaring flight in the Owl.  So we snuck in 9 flights after the low cloud base cleared and before the rain came.   I guess you gotta take what you can get this season with the weather being the way it has been. Here's hoping better conditions will show up soon!
Have a great Memorial Day weekend! Dick Andrews, Instructor of the day.

May 26th Report. Andrew Wood wrote: Light north wind, a lovely day. Cu were popping at 12 noon.  Jim Hard launched shortly after noon on a XCountry. The air started to dry out after 1pm and thermals went mainly blue for the rest of the afternoon. Quite good thermals, 3-4kt averages to about 5000msl. Jim Hard was reported to have landed at Milford, IA again, 145.9mi. Thanks Jim for setting the pace!

May 19, 20 days 4,5 of George's mid-week plan. Unfortunately mother nature went back to her old ways and refused to cooperate any further. Still, three days were successfully completed thanks to George for organizing the effort and Jay Biggs, Brian Weber Dick Andrews and Tom Rent. Thanks also to the FOO's, I just don't have the list for the credits.

May 18, day 3 of George's mid-week plan. Another flying day! A little weaker with lift to over 6,000 msl. Dick Andrews holding down the check-out role and more fresh faces.

Top left; Kevin Tesnar with Dick Andrews; top right; Steve Adkins; bottom left, Dick Smith back from his winter sojourn; bottom right, Jay Biggs flying the tow plane.

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May 17, day 2 of George's mid-week plan. The word obviously got out because club members were out in full force. Dick Andrews and Tom Rent provided check out and instruction services and Brian Weber flew tow in the Stanton Super Cub. Twenty tows were made and many flights lasted several hours. Dan Shallbetter flew a 100km FAI triangle and scored 82.7 OLC Classic miles. Here is Dan's report. Regarding yesterday my intention was to work on my thermaling skills. I entered a 100k task prior to launching in case the lift was better than expected. The deciding factor was not the lift but the number of gliders around I figured I would be safer somewhere else. I learned a fair amount yesterday. My thermaling skills definitely need a lot of work. I was ~ 4 miles south of FBL getting low and the 302 told me I need 3000 more feet to make it to FBL, I think it added it as a turnpoint to the end of the task? I discovered that trying to thermal and look for the OWA frequency on Winpilot at the same time is not the best idea. I remembered what a huge magnet nearby airports are, I was scratching near Tuma, FBL and OWA. I Started my final glide about 18 miles out using a MC setting of 0, somewhere about 12-14 miles out I was in a street going up I had 1000 feet above my 1000 foot safety margin I kept pushing the nose down to about 100kts about 4 miles out I slowed up to about 65 as I was then at -40ft I was trying to cross the finish line at Stanton but broke off early due to traffic and being low. Not knowing what the State record for a 100k triangle was I thought I might have had a chance, in retrospect I should have either slowed down in the street or take another thermal, for a contest the final glide was probably right, but not the best way to end my first cross country of the year.

Members showing up also included: Kevin Tesmar, Roger Urban, Fred Hewitt, Laura Hohanshelt, Steve Sweet John Ward, Paul Fink, Robert Herndon, Phil Howard and Jim Wood.
In the photos above: top left, Brian Weber in the Stanton tow plane; top right, Robert Herndon in the ASK-21 being hooked up by Jim Wood; bottom left, Tom Rent; bottom right, John Ward. Tom Rent provided this video of the day: Play Video
Mike Schuman wrote: I flew the Junior for about 70 minutes today, before calling it quits at about 4:15 due to a sore back and concern that someone else wanted to fly. After releasing at 3900 MSL in 4 knot lift over the west end of the lake by Randolph, within minutes I topped out at 5,300 MSL. There was strong lift intermixed with even stronger sink everywhere. About 3:45 a cloud bank moved in from the east, totally blotting out any sunshine hitting the ground anywhere east of Stanton. There was still sunshine over Northfield, but you didn't want to venture there, due to a pretty good easterly wind. What was really surprising was that under the cloud bank there was still very significant lift up to about 3500 MSL. I shared a couple of thermals with Dick Andrews in the Owl for 10-15 minutes a couple of miles NE of Stanton in an area that was completely shaded by the cloud bank. I am assuming that this was caused by residual ground heat from the sunshine earlier in the day. Overall, much better flying than we expected from the ground.

May 16 George's mid-week plan starts on a high note! Jim Hard kicks off the cross country activity with a 145.9 mi. flight from Stanton to Milford, IA. Chris Prince also flies from Osceola to Albert Lea, an OLC distance of 129.7 mi. Jim's account: "Monday was the first day of the MSC start-of-season soaring week. Attendance at the flight line was sparse as compared to later in the week. Crew Chief Roger Payne and I had met at my house about 9 am and by 11:30 we had assembled the 1-26 at SYN and headed for the flight line. By noon there had been no significant soaring flights made but tow pilot Jay Biggs reported turbulent air up to 4000 MSL. That was all the glider pilot needed to hear so an exploratory tow was made about 12:15 under the supervision of FOO John Ward. Biggs had been very observant and the air was indeed rough with thermal activity and he took me to Randolph where I was able to stay up while drifting to the SW on the rather strong NE flow at altitude. Crew Roger was sent to Faribault though the first hour did not result in many miles flown but the altitude attained in the thermals kept increasing as the day progressed. From FBL we set sail in the direction of Waseca as Roger stayed with me in radio contact as he did all day long. (I don't know how he does this, but it is satisfying to know that he is stays right with the plan we discuss and modify as the flights progress.) We went from Waseca to Wells to Blue Earth to Estherville IA with thermal tops rising to 7,300 MSL. At this point having good altitude, I send Roger ahead to the Fuller Airport at Milford IA but my final glide beat him there because of my tail wind plus the good altitude which had been attained. Landing was at about 4:45 pm on the beautiful grass cross-runway at Milford. Shortly after coming to a stop, two young mothers appeared out of the row of houses along the runway waving their arms and asking if I was OK. It took a couple of minutes to explain that my glider hadn't crashed and that I was OK. They offered a cell phone to call someone since this was obviously an emergency. By the time the police arrived (we still don't know who called them) the young women understood that gliders always had a wing down after landing and no, there was no damage to the aircraft. The ladies helped me push the ship off the runway, then they ran off to get their kids who would have their pictures taken while sitting in the cockpit. In the meantime, Roger had shown up with the trailer and proceeded to explain to Local Law Enforcement how he and I worked together to make these flights. An hour later, the photos having been taken, Roger and I, with the officers' help, trailered the ship and headed for home. We took some time for a quick supper at a nearby Perkins and hit the Interstates, arriving back at my place before 11 pm. It was a good day."
By the way, Jim's flight was the 7th best OLC Classic flight world wide. Way to go Jim.

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May 8-15 the drought continues.

May 7th: Finally, the first actual day of scheduled operation! Dale Fletcher was FOO, Steven Nesser Instructor and Brian Utley tow pilot. A good crowd showed up even though the day started with sprinkles and a persistent overcast.  Most of the day was spent on getting current although there were some soaring flights up to a reported 6,000'. The tow plane was kept busy until 6:30p with Scott Elhardt giving his guest her first sailplane ride for the 31st tow of the day.

Above is Phil Howard giving J.C. Cunningham a hand in the Owl.  Rright, Phil Schmalz is relieving Dale Fletcher as FOO while Jim Wood observes the action.

May 3rd: After waiting for a month for soaring weather to arrive George Underhill issues a Call to Action. "Not much spring in your step? Weather leaving you grounded? Is there a kink in your neck from not being able to look skyward at cumulus clouds stretching to the horizon? Well then, have I got a plan to cure your blahs and fix up you neck. A full week of weekday flying! The plan is to fly the week of May 16-20th and get this season started already."

On May 2nd Dale Fletcher Wrote: Congratulations Brian!
I wish I could have attended but I was out of town this weekend. Brian made so many significant flights it is hard to separate, but I do remember one flight of more than 600km which I think is the longest triangle flown in Minnesota. And there was a long out and return to the Northwest. We still fly today in Sleepy Eye because Brian drove to Sleepy Eye more than once to talk to the people at the Airport and the City Council and thus established the first operation there in 1975.

On May 1st Paddy Dale Wrote: Last evening one of our most experienced pilots and most gracious friends, Brian Utley, was inducted into the Minnesota Aviation Hall of Fame.
His flight to over 30,000 feet over Pikes Peak and his 435 mile flight from Sleepy Eye to St Louis were noted by the Master of Ceremonies, Stan Ross, as were his contributions to the aviation record keeping of the National Aeronautics Association.
Brian spoke eloquently of the elegance and challenges of soaring in his acceptance speech. He also spoke of the impact that World War II aviation made upon him in Britain and how it motivated him to learn to fly once he had moved to America.
Well Done Brian, We Are All Proud of You and Your Achievements

The 2011 Phil Schacht Memorial Scholarship Recipients
Please welcome new scholarship award winner Quinton Thiele. Quinton is currently a high school senior and will be attending the University of North Dakota's ROTC Air Force program in the fall.
In addition, please welcome back Tyler Hastings. Tyler soloed last year and will continue his training toward his goal of obtaining his private pilot glider license.
Debbie Smith.

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The March 26th 2011 MASC Banquet was a lovely event with 51 members, spouses and friends attending and the Officers Club kindly arranged a welcoming committee of local deer and wild turkeys ready to escort us to the main door.
Since it was MSC's responsibility to host the banquet this year Paddy Dale chaired the event and served as the MC for the program.
This event is always popular because it signals the imminent arrival of springtime soaring. As it turned out on this day the weather man gave us the signal that indeed the weather was turning as for the first time since last fall the sky was filled with cumulous clouds for most of the day.

After the meal Paddy took the podium and was true to form as he regaled the crowd with his unique British wit and poignant observations. He reflected on his experiences with the MSC and how much he appreciated the support and encouragement he had received.  He particularly singled out Stephen Nesser as the instructor who introduced him to soaring and nurtured him through the long process of qualifying for his pilot's license. By the way, Stephen introduced his fiancé Teddie Potter. Congratulations and best wishes to you both.

Paddy then reminded everyone that Brian Utley will be inducted into the Minnesota Aviation Hall of Fame on April 30th. He gave a snapshot of Brian's background and contributions to Soaring and the MSC which lead to his nomination for the Hall of Fame.  Brian responded with thanks to Minnesota Soaring which had been such a large part of his soaring career and reflected on how important a good club experience is to not only develop soaring skills but the friendship and support that comes from the social environment that the club provides.

For reservations to the induction click here

Paul Remde, Minnesota State Record Keeper, presented the certificates for the records set in 2010. They are:

  • From the MSC, Andrew Wood, Motorglider Class: 200km Triangle Speed of 63.79 mph.
  • From Cross Country Soaring, Barry Jaeger, Motorglider Class: Triangular Distance of 191.59 mi.
  • Barry Jaeger, Motorglider Class, Free Triangular Distance: 194.72 mi.
  • Barry Jaeger and Tim Gossfeld, Motorglider/Multiplace Class: Free 3-Turnpoint Distance of 164.81 mi.
  • Barry Jaeger and Tim Gossfeld, Motorglider/Multiplace Class: Free Out & Return Distance of 131.88 mi.
  • Barry Jaeger and William Jaeger, Motorglider/Multiplace Class: 100km Triangle Speed of 62.31 mph.

Many awards were also handed out for OLC flights last year. Recognition was given to best overall OLC scores at the regional and state level. The Regional OLC Free Distance Champion was Jim Hard with 2530.47 pts followed by Chris Prince with 1546.4 points and 5th place and Dan Shallbetter with 1354.27 pts and 6th place. For Paul's presentation and all the scores click here. Congratulations to all.

Chris Prinz was called upon to present the Sancho Panza Trophy for the most retrieve mileage in 2010. There were two contenders for the trophy: team Chris Prinz and Tom Kuhfeld and Paul Essor. Paul took the honors with more than 1,000 retrieve miles!

Time for the main event on the program. Paddy introduced Don Ingraham who owns Cross Country Soaring at Faribault. Everyone has heard about Don's winch but he was here to tell all about it. He described the exhilaration of accelerating to take-off speed within 100 ft. and then climbing at an incredible 45 degree angle. This winch is one of the very few in the US but based upon the results it is hard to understand why there are not more winches in operation. The turn around times are short and the operating cost is far below tow plane costs. Some question the relative safety of the winch vs. classic aero tow but I think Don put that question to bed. As with any flying, it is up to the pilot to insure that no unnecessary risks are taken. If you have any interest in trying the winch I can heartily endorse the experience. Just go over to Faribault and Don will take care of you.

Needless to say a good time was had by all as can be seen in these snapshots. On the left Fred Hewitt, Dick Andrews, Tom Kuhfeld and Dan Shallbetter and on the right Dan Johnson from Menomonie and Dick Andrews.

So all we are waiting for now is for the gods to turn on the heat and the field to dry out.  Here's for a great and safe soaring season.

Brian Utley

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March 24th  Perspective: operations are now expected to begin on April 16th

April 1st MSC Insurance Policy is activated. Let's go flying!

March 4 Safety Meeting. Spring is just around the corner and this is our opportunity to receive our annual safety briefing and get signed off for flying privileges!

This meeting is jointly hosted by the MSC and the FAA FAAST team. Because of the FAAST program participation General Aviation pilots are invited to join us.  This presents  us with an excellent opportunity to expose GA pilots to the MSC and glider flying.  George Underhill has suggested we all wear MSC badged shirts to assist in introducing ourselves to our guests.

The Safety Meeting

George Underhill opened the meeting and introduced Chris Cooper who has been coordinating with the FAA Safety Team. Chris described his activities with the FAA and introduced the MN FAA Safety Team Program Manager Alan Hoffert.

Alan Hoffert described the FAA FAAST program and encouraged all those who have not joined the Wings program to take a look at and get signed up for the program. Members are advised of seminars in their particular field of aviation and provided with the ability to sign up on line for the seminars. The program also sets out achievement goals and provides for coordinated goal attainment with the individuals instructor.

My impression from the presentation and my experience (I am a Wings member) is that it is a very comprehensive program and the ability to keep track on ones flying experience is very useful, sort of as an online log book. The challenge is to maintain interest in the program. 

Fifty four MSC members and a number of non-members were present.  The Safety Quiz was conducted by Tom Rent with lively participation from the audience.  Brian Utley.

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