May 2022

Yesterday turned out to be a great day for soaring, the best I have seen since I moved here (Calaveras Co.), with cold unstable air that had come under high pressure. Fortunately I had time to fly and took Caro 1 on a cross country. After takeoff, I reduced the engine to nearly idle (11 inHg manifold pressure), to keep the prop turning for lower drag. I did not touch the throttle again until after landing. With the cowl flap completely closed, the engine just barely stayed warm enough to keep running.

I first flew west out over the valley, where I saw another glider also flying cross country. There was lift everywhere and it was well marked. I was able to stay in the altitude band of 5500 ft to 6500 ft msl. The strongest lift I had was about 700 fpm. Even early on, snow showers developed way to the east, over the high mountains. Later they also formed a solid looking wall to the north. After a while I turned south where the lift looked better and found something under nearly every cloud. I had the vent open a little, and after a while it got quite cold in the cockpit, because by then the cloud base had gone up to >7000 ft and the temperature was around freezing. I did not wear a coat because initially it was too warm, so I decided to fly home after covering about 90 nm of soaring flight. I estimated my L/D in this configuration to be between 35 and 40. At higher speeds, the airflow was driving the prop to higher rpm, creating more drag, so I did not bother to fly fast.

It was a great flight and I wish the weather was this way more often here.

October 2021

I have made two new videos in my "Small Airplane Design Tutorial" series. They are both on drag reduction, and you can see the links on my "Videos" page. 

September 18, 2021

I went to the Reno Air Races that were held again this year, and wrote up some of my experiences as a trip report with pictures. Because I wrote this before the race weekend, I did not include race results. Please look at the official race web site for the results. You can download my story as pdf here.