The fourth annual Mifflin County Ridge/ Wave Encampment was a huge success with lots of flying and plenty of social events. Adirondack Soaring Club had organized this yearly event for September 29th through October 4th, 2010. Over 30 sailplanes from the following clubs attended: Adirondack Soaring in Saratoga Springs, NY, Nutmeg Soaring in Freehold, NY, Aero Club Albatross in Blairstown, NJ, Pittsburgh Soaring Club in Eight Four, PA, Sandhill Soaring Club in Gregory, MI, Greater Boston Soaring Club, in Sterling, MA, Cesar's Creek Soaring, in Waynesville, OH, Philadelphia Glider Council in Hilltown, PA, and SOSA Gliding Club in Rockton, Ontario, Canada. Mifflin County Airport in Reedsville, PA offers a great club atmosphere with plenty of room for sailplane assembly and camping on the airfield.
There are plenty of motels and bed and breakfast locations adjacent to the area (for those looking for a warm place to stay). Jack's Mountain ridge offers a nice starting place for those new to flying ridge. The mountain sits about 1,600 ft AGL and the valley offers numerous out landing options. There are two tow planes based at Mifflin County, a Husky piloted by Butch Thompson and a Cessna 180 flown by Brian Glick. The local Penn State Soaring Club is now also based at the airfield and operates a winch adjacent to the paved runway.
Day One: Wednesday, September 29, 2010:
This day offered some nice late fall, blue day soaring, with maximum climbs to about 3,500 ft MSL. Most had 3 to 4 hours of relatively local flying. A bunch the pilots visited the JP Edward's Restaurant for dinner in Burnham.
Day Two: Thursday, September 30, 2010:
The day offered monsoon rains with several areas around the Region receiving 3 to 4 inches of rain. Nobody seemed very concerned since the area was under a severe drought. Some of the glider pilots spent the day visiting the Knauff & Grove Glider Store at Ridge Soaring Gliderport, while others went to State College, PA or the civil war battle field museum in Gettysburg. A few of campers took the entire afternoon to attempt to dry out their tents. A group of pilots were guided to dinner by Joe Jackson at the Tavern in State College.
Day Three: Friday, October 1, 2010:
This is the day we all have been waiting for, as we awoke to winds that were northwest at 15 to 20 knots. Several pilots launched at 9 am. Tim Hanke in a Discus 2ax and Bob Iuliano in a Discus CS were the first two to launch. They immediately got on the ridge and headed south. At about 16 miles south on the ridge, they climbed into wave to about 8,000 msl. They continued in wave about 100 miles south of Mifflin and began to jump waves north to the Bald Eagle Ridge. They transitioned to the main ridge about 15 miles south of the Bedford gap.
As they headed north, the passed Karl Striedieck in a Duo Discus headed south. Karl's flight took him south into WV. The weather was completely overcast as they approached the Altoona Gap and they spent a lot of time transitioning through this gap. They continued north to Lock Haven, PA and back south to Ridge Soaring Gliderport, where they climbed up and transitioned down back to Mifflin County. Their flight was approximately 700 km of fun flying. Bob Iuliano decided to stay up for over 8 hours as he spent the end of the day burning back and forth on Jack's Mountain.
Jerzy Szemplinski flying an ASW-29, was the area winner for the day achieving 704 KM flight as noted on the OLC scoring program. Jerzy flew south on the ridge, then over to Tussey Ridge, up to Nisbet and back and forth on the Bald Eagle Ridge. Bill Thar in a Sparrowhawk flew 418 KM flying across the valley to Sate College and over to the main ridge. Sergei Morozov in an SZD-55 and Krzysztof Wiercioch in an LS-4 were able to establish nearly 300 km flying Jacks Mountain at Mifflin County. Reigh Walling flying a Standard Libelle stayed up over 6 hours and earned his silver/ gold duration badge.
Tony Wiederkehr flying the Grob 103 III managed to get a passenger sick in the rough ridge/ wave conditions. Hey, it was only one passenger of the five others that flew that day. George Hanke was able to give several flights to those not experienced with the ridge in the Duo Discus. Many were able to buzz by the Overlook on the ridge south of Belleville and get their photo taken by Maria Szemplinski, who was stationed in the parking lot with a telephoto camera.
John Good arrived from visiting friends in Philadelphia and couldn't believe how good the weather looked. Wally Moran landed his ASW-24 after 5 hours of flying at around 2 pm and gave the ship to John to fly. The last to land for the day was Ben McGill, flying a Standard Cirrus. Ben was quoted as saying, " I can do that all day… I am getting the hang of this ridge thing!".
Day Four: Saturday, October 2, 2010:
Several others arrived for the weekend to fly. John Cotter in a Ventus 2ax, Dan Cole with an ASW-20, Harold Ennualt in an ASW-24, and David Boehmer with a Mosquitio all arrived for the weekend soaring at the Encampment. Conditions took a while to get going but it turned into a nice soaring day with sporadic cu's at around 5,000 ft msl. Several pilots made use of the nice cloudstreets that formed in the 7 mountain area between Reedsville and Sate College. Lift in this area was as strong as 7 knots on the averager. Jerzy Szemplinski flew the furthest for the day with a flight of just over 300 km.
One of Adirondack Soaring's newbie cross-country pilot, Reigh Walling achieve his first landout in a nice hay field, on just the other side of the Jack's Mountain Ridge. Everyone who had a late launch was able to look down and see Reigh's ship on the ground immediately after release. Hey, he was on just the other side of the ridge? Joe Walter and Ed Winchester were kind enough to sacrifice flying to go retrieve the Libelle from the nice hay field. The retrieve was fast and they were both up for 3 hours of flying. Adirondack Soaring with Brian Glick's help, were able to organize a nice steak roast. The original intent was for a pig roast but Peachey's local market and butcher shop suffered a catastrophic fire only weeks before. The steak roast had a great turn out and was held under the Amish Pavilion at the airfield.
Day Five: Sunday, October 3, 2010:
The weather forecast called for rain developing in the afternoon and for steady rain on Monday. The morning weather had a thin layer of high clouds, and most pilots expected the bad weather to move on in us. As the day approached noon, the thin layer of clouds burned off and cu's started to form. Only about a half dozen pilots launched and enjoyed the best thermal soaring day of the Encampment. Cloudbases were 6,000 ft MSL with textbook cloud streets.
Day Six: Monday, October 4, 2010:
The weather yielded a complete washout. Most had left the day earlier with anticipation of this weather.
We all had a great time and can't wait to be back for 2011 Encampment. The dates for 2011 have been established as Wednesday, September 28th through Monday, October 3rd . If you are interested in attending the encampment, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
About the Author:
Tim Hanke is currently the SSA Region 1 & 3 Director and the Operation's Manager for Adirondack Soaring Group. Tim is a CFIG with approximately 3,000 hours and when not instructing, enjoys flying cross-country in his Discus 2ax. Tim's e-mail is email@example.com