Spring Flying Beckons

Spring Soaring!

“It is possible to fly without motors, but not without knowledge and skill.”      – Wilbur Wright

Today was my first day back at the airfield after the long winter “vacation” from soaring. It sure feels good to get back at it. More than ever, this amazing spring air and the relief of getting my FAA test and Bronze Badge test completed makes me appreciate how lucky I am to have the opportunity to fly in such a special place with such great people.

I woke up on Saturday feeling bored, with nothing to do but hang around waiting for something to happen. I decided to check the schedule for glider flights that day and saw that there were a few scheduled. I made it to the airport at about 12:00, and immediately there was some action. The ground crew and I preflighted the 2-32 and pulled it out of its hole to get ready to fly. Mike Bamberg and Geoff Curtis took it up for three takeoffs and landings for a proficiency check while Stan and I ran ground crew.

What's that noise?

After the third landing, Geoff switched students to do another set of proficiency checks. However, on the second takeoff, we noticed a horrible grinding and screeching noise from the 2-32’s skid. After they landed, we checked the skid and discovered that a piece of it was bent outward and was rubbing against the asphalt during takeoff and landing. We brought the glider back to its parking space and further examined the damage.

The air and ground crews thoughtfully discussed what to do and eventually decided to remove the piece and put new bolts in to hold the skid in place. Since the old bolts had been worn down until only a slight bit of the head was still there, we worried that we wouldn’t be able to get a screwdriver to hold one end in place during the removal. However, we were delighted when we were able to easily unscrew them without difficulty.

Once we had completed this task, we recruited Cory Roeseler to go and get some new bolts to replace the old ones at the hardware store. Unfortunately, his “motorcycle car” (a modified small sports car with a motorcycle engine) had some issues and required us to attempt a jump start. When this didn’t work, we were forced to try a push start. Everyone gathered behind Cory’s car and pushed until the correct speed had been achieved, then Cory popped the clutch. The engine roared to life and took him under the gate on the east side of the glider port which was just about to close. After that adventure we opted to have Cory go home and switch cars while Geoff went to get the bolts in his new truck.

I think this experience really showed what great pilots we have and how their decision making skills along with technical knowledge play a huge role in the safety of our passengers, students, gliders, and everyone involved on the flight line. It's really fun to hang out with all of these super cool people in the soaring community, especially when it involves some new learning and creative ingenuity. I learned a great deal today and wish to keep learning from experiences like this for the rest of my time at HRS, as well as my entire career in aviation.

– Henry Mason, Youth Member

Youth pilot Henry Mason
Henry buckling in
Glider team by towplane
Gliders under rainbow
Rainbows over gliders (Photo credit: Judy Frey)