Green Valley Airfield Familiarization

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Anybody contemplating XC soaring has to be prepared for the possibility “that the wind dies” and that a return to the home base becomes impossible (even for a powered glider which may not start up).  Landing at another airfield is the preferred solution to this predicament but making an off-field landing may be the only option.  So far this year four Evergreen pilots had to make off-field landings while venturing from Arlington, showing that this is not a lost art.  All these landings were executed without any problems, demonstrating that off-field landings on the west side are not as chancy or risky as sometimes assumed.

Pre-flying ground schoolNonetheless, landings at an airfield are always preferred – landings are more predictable and thus safer and usually allow aero-retrieves.  Having direct knowledge of suitable airfields is a big confidence builder – especially for students who have only flown from the home base.  So on September 26, 2015 Evergreen staged a special familiarization event at the Green Valley airfield, a little grass airfield 7 miles to the southeast of the Arlington airport.  This airfield has a strategic location for XC soaring to the east and southeast of Arlington as further away landing opportunities are virtually non-existent.  Soaring in the mountains usually requires long fly-outs at the end of the flight and having a safe airfield available on the way home is very re-assuring for marginal final glides back to Arlington. Landing at Green Valley is as close to making an off-field landing one can make without actually doing it.  It is about 1400 ft long and difficult to make out from the air.

Green Valley AirfieldKen Blackman who runs the Green Valley operation was very accommodating and welcomed the Evergreen invasion (and inviting us to come back next year).  So with Zach and Tony trailering one golf cart over to Green Valley, Mike and Ivan as CFIGs guiding our student pilots in the L-23s, and Phil and Duane providing towing, the shuttle service started.  Movses and Bill in the G103 and Thomas in the DG-300, plus Dave (LS-4) and Russ (Pik-20B), added to the traffic.  There was even some thermal activity allowing some extended flying.  Thomas posted the first Arlington entry for the 2016 OLC which started on this day, and Ken Blackman got a glider ride too.  By 6:00 pm everybody was back at Arlington concluding this busy but also rewarding day.

Altogether 7 student pilots and 7 rated pilots got a Green Valley checkout – quite a success due to the cooperation and work of everybody and the organization of this event by Movses. And hopefully this will provide some more incentive for trying XC soaring from Arlington.