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Kris Lapinski

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Wave Soaring

user image 2018-10-26
By: Kris Lapinski
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Wave Soaring

To meet all requirements for my instructor check ride I had to receive my spin training.  Thanks to my instructor, Bruce Brown we scheduled this training on Wednesday 10/24/18. It was windy day with gust up to 30 knots. Birds of Paradise management who provides tows was surprised that we still wanted fly in this kind of condition but me and Bruce flew in similar, challenging winds before in Blairstown. We released at 5000' above the clouds and prepared for spin practice. Bruce activated aerobatic area and contacted Allentown and Philadelphia approach for traffic separation. I was surprised that we have a lift above the clouds up to 4 knots. This was wave and it was my first time I soared wave. We climbed to 8900'. We probably would climbed even higher but decided to start practice spins and stalls. After loosing 1000' we have no problem to encounter wave lift again. We flew for 3 hr above the clouds at altitude 6-8k'. Cloud coverage was substantial. 80% of area below was covered, however there were holes big enough that we can descend below clouds having proper separation. Orientation was challenging with such cloud coverage and all fields from this altitude look similar. Most of wave we experienced above lake Nockamixon as our land mark, so we know where to head to return to Van Sant. Of course we need to find a hole in clouds first. I was warm but had concern about my feet at this altitude as I was not prepared for such long flight. It was very interested experience. Lift is much bigger in size than thermals. As long as we stayed stationary to our ground references we were ok. We can also circle in the lift. It was not strong but steady. There was also strong lift below clouds with heavy wind and turbulence. Above clouds there was almost no turbulence. Our approach was bumpy but we kept higher speed 65 knots and move aiming point 300-400' beyond beginning of runway 23. We had a whole field for our self as nobody else was flying. I was concern about roll out after landing with heavy crosswind from the right but we manage to stop on center line of 23.

 Thanks Bruce for the instruction. I experience spins in Grob ( I practiced spins in Poland in 2 different gliders and  in USA in Piper for my CFI before my accident) and wave for the first time. What a fun.

Check pictures. One is Pilot Halo if you zoom in with the shadow of our glider.

Kris Lapinski

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