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Aug 01, 2019, 01:09 PM
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Seadog's Avatar

Kamloops Aerotow, and a Question


Please be aware that we are cancelling the Kamloops Aerotow. Based on a straw poll taken at Agassiz, few glider pilots were planning on attending, and with the Hot Lift Aerotow in Othello the following week, we've decided not to cram too much in.

We also had a discussion regarding Pacific Northwest Aerotows in general. With the loss of Yakima, where would you PNW guys like to go? Othello offers a good option in the general Yakima zone, Portland is good but an awkward drive for those north of the border, Concrete offers possibilities, Vernon will be a go next year with confirmed tugs, Bellingham/Lynden area may have some chances, and of course Agassiz will be a go. Where else? Ideas, anyone?

Let's hear your 2 cents worth.


Dave Smith
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Aug 01, 2019, 11:56 PM
Where's the lift?
dgliderguy's Avatar
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As I mentioned at last weekend's Agassiz Aerotow, I'm in favor of having our season opener at Othello, in early June. The rest of the calendar can fill out as it usually does, with Vernon in late June, Agassiz in late July, and all other events as the calendar allows.

I am excited about the prospect of an aerotow in Lynden, if Joe and Jim can host one for us. Sounds like a great place to fly, and I'm always up for something new.

Aug 03, 2019, 08:33 PM
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In general, I've seen participation in our NW aerotows decline over the past 10 years and the number of new fliers has not made up the difference. I like the idea of possible new venues as that exposes our great hobby to new people. With new fliers comes the possibility of someone willing to host an event at a new venue enabling more people to see what aerotow is all about. Compared to how far people travel to aerotows in the Eastern U.S., whether we drive to B.C. or Oregon or points in between it is all within a day's drive. For us to continue, we all need to do our best to support the different events. Even though I'm now an 'ol retired guy, I still find it hard to make more than a couple of events a year. It would be nice if we could open and close the flying season at a field or two in Washington to keep it somewhat central for everyone who has to travel.
My $0.02(CAD)/$0.0152(USD)
Aug 05, 2019, 11:34 AM
If I might, I’d like to share my insights into Mid-Columbia, Washington area soaring in the springtime.

I’ve lived in the Mid-Columbia now for 40 years, first in Richland and now in Moses Lake, WA since July 2017. Moreover, I’ve hosted many events including spearheading the World Soaring Jamboree and of course, lots of slope soaring. Plus I was quite involved in getting the 1989 AMA National Championships to come to Richland, Kennewick, Pasco, which was the last time the NATS was hosted away from Muncie, Indiana.

What I’ve learned empirically and by way of meteorological research is that springtime weather is particularly unpredictable; albeit it can be spectacular soaring when the conditions are unstable.

From experience, I’ve found the wind starts to blow in the Mid-Columbia about March and continues thru June. There are respites from the wind, but it can almost be counted on in the desert flats of Eastern Washington. I think this is due to the heating and cooling of the desert floor and of course because of the excellent lapse rate that can make for super soaring conditions.

What I’ve learned by reading about the cloud conditions in Eastern Washington is that we get all kinds of weather, with HUGE cumulus clouds, stunning mammatus clouds laden with moisture, gorgeous cirrus streaking the sky, as well as colossal lenticular generated by the high winds blasting the Cascades, Rattlesnake Mountain, and the Wenatchee Ridge to create massive lift. Note, Bob Moore soared on July 12, 1958, in a full-scale Schweizer 1-21 to 22,760 feet on the Wenatchee wave.

Additionally, I used data generated by the Hanford Nuclear Reservation’s meteorological center to learn that typically in May there are 28 days with the wind averaging ten mph or above in the Mid-Columbia Basin. While in June there are 28.5 days with winds averaging or exceeding ten mph. Their data was generated over 38 years, so I think it is pretty reliable. Importantly, I think this year’s weather patterns pretty much bore out what the data underscores. As you may or may not know, Weaver’s Airfield auction was moved back a full month from when he typically hosts it; and, it was still pretty damn cold and windy.

What I’m attempting to point out to the “masses” of aerotow pilots is, if we host an aerotow at Weaver’s Airfield in Othello, WA in late May or early June the chances for iffy weather are pretty good. That said, if the wind doesn’t blow us off the airfield, the chances of spectacular lift are quite good as well.

Finally, I want to end my “big blow” by saying that Glessner’s field is on the downslope of the Cascade Mountains. While I’m usually 100% right on every subject (LOL), Glessner’s airfield is going to generate very different lift conditions as compared to Weaver’s. Think about that fact when making plans for Othello!

I’ll end by adding that I’m not throwing mammatus conditions on such an event. Hell, I’ll support it completely. I’m just making the point that pilots must be aware they may get to watch the airfield’s windsock pointing to better days to come.

To end, I’m in support of talking to Weaver about hosting three aerotow events at his airfield in 2020: one in the early spring, one in August, and one at the end of September.

What say you?
Last edited by Wil Byers; Aug 05, 2019 at 03:52 PM.
Aug 05, 2019, 11:37 AM
On a related subject, as event organizers, I think it would help if we could get a proper headcount of pilots planning to attend events. It would undoubtedly help with knowing how many tugs to have available as well as support equipment. It might also help if an organizer was planning to buy T-shirts or to have dancing girls available for after-hours entertainment.

Any ideas about better planning for the enjoyment and safety of all is not a bad thing. Right?
Aug 06, 2019, 03:12 PM
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Seadog's Avatar
Wil, Jim, Don

Great input, thanks! Anybody else?

Dave Smith
Aug 07, 2019, 10:10 AM
Also, it is my opinion (I have many) that there is zero reasons our event participant numbers are shrinking, that is if you compare what is happening in the NW as compared to the East Coast.

I think it is all about marketing our aerotow events better and properly, which we've done a pretty poor job of so far.

Let's come together as a group—not here—and discuss how better to market the fun of aerotowing in the great NW.
Aug 13, 2019, 07:45 PM
Aerotow pilots, I had a good chat with Gary Weaver last week during our weekly field mowing. When I asked if he was okay with us hosting three aerotow events at his airfield next year (spring, August, and late fall), he said it was just fine with him. The only stipulation was that we coordinate with him regarding his events and those of other RC clubs.

So, I think we're good to go for 2020 at

I'll update the website later this fall, so it would be good if we could have some tenative dates as soon as possible. BTW, what I've learned over the years about hosting events is that if you want pilots to attend you should plan as far ahead as possible, and publish the dates too.
Aug 19, 2019, 01:13 PM
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PASS Aerotow This Weekend!

The Portland Area Sailplane Society aerotow event is this coming weekend August 23 -25. The event this year is being held at the Duster's RC Club field in Woodburn, Oregon. The field is located ~3 miles west of I-5 exit 271. The attached flyer has detailed directions. Note that Le Brun Rd NE is a dusty, gravel road but in good shape. There are a number of places to stay and eat near exit 271 and everyone will be on their own for lunch each day. Also attached is a map of camping areas at the field. The only issue with the secondary camping area is road dust from vehicles entering and exiting the field.

I've got three tugs lined up........thank you Rick, Scott and Jim!!!! The extended weather forecast looks really good for Friday, Saturday and Sunday

See ya at the field,
Aug 21, 2019, 04:27 PM
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Seadog's Avatar

Kamloops Aerotow

As mentioned in a previous post, unfortunately we have to cancel Kamloops Aerotow as there just wasn't enough committed attendance to make a go of it. At the Agassiz Aerotow we did a show of hands of who would be coming to Kamloops; the answer was three.....not enough to make it "fly". I don't know how many from the Okanagan or Calgary areas were considering attending, and there is nothing I would like better than to make Kamloops an aerotow destination, but for this year we seem to be not quite ready.

As it happens, Wil Byers in Moses Lake, Washington is sponsoring an aerotow in Othello at Weaver's Field ( the week following our dates, and it seems that many from the Pacific Northwest will be getting their aerotow fix there, myself included.

Sorry about this, as I think we have the makings of a reasonable BC/Alberta group, but without knowing commitment levels, we can't run the event. If you are from the Okanagan or Alberta and were considering this event, please let me know as we would still like to make it a regular session.

Thanks for your understanding....

Dave Smith
Aug 24, 2019, 02:46 PM
Jet, aerotow and heli junkie
Hi Dave

Thanks for keeping the lines of communication open! While I am unable to commit time to sport right now, I still have all my gliders and eventually will be able to participate in both gliding and towing in the PNW.

Dean W.
Aug 24, 2019, 06:02 PM
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Seadog's Avatar
Ready when you are, Dean!
Aug 25, 2019, 06:23 PM
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PASS Aerotow

The 2019 PASS multi-day aerotow is now history. Even though participation was down this year, the weather and soaring conditions were about as perfect as it gets in the Pacific NW. The fields in the area generated thermals that came across the flying area all day. The biggest problems were stiff necks and a blue sky. I want to call out Jim Dotson who did most of the towing for the event and did just an outstanding job of getting us into the air. Also, the event would not have taken place without the towing support from Rick Shelby and Scott Marnoch.....thank you!!

Attached are a few photos that I took, but I'll be posting more in the next few days.

Last edited by Jim Gibson; Aug 25, 2019 at 06:59 PM.
Aug 26, 2019, 12:38 PM
Let me fly in Green Air
justhuman's Avatar

PASS Aerotow

Had a great time at the PASS aerotow event this past weekend. Meeting up with old friends, great weather and abundant lift, what more could you ask for.

PASS Aerotow 2019 (4 min 1 sec)
Aug 26, 2019, 04:23 PM
Registered User
Seadog's Avatar
Great video, Gene, especially the shots of you circling under Scott's Swallow!


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