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UTSI Soaring Club Holds Youth Camp

The Soaring Club of The University of Tennessee Space Institute (UTSI) conducted a Youth Soaring Camp from June 6 – 9 at the Tullahoma Municipal Airport and at the Eagleville Gliderport. The camp provided an introduction to the fundamentals of flying and the joy of soaring through group activities and individual flight instruction. Six campers took part in the camp led by UTSI Professor Peter Solies: Haylee Hatcher of Tullahoma, Stephen Jalbert of Lynchburg, Matthew Loehle of Wartrace, Daniel McGee of Lynchburg, Hannah Oosting of Mulberry and Shay Williams of Estill Springs. The camp was sponsored by Tullahoma’s Beechcraft Heritage Museum through Mr. John Stubbs, Manager of the Air Academy.

Each of the four days of camp started with one hour of ground school, followed by a flight activity in UTSI’s two-place glider, an Alexander Schleicher AS-K13. The car-tow method was used on inactive runways for these flights, with landings on grass runways. Thirty-five ground launches were conducted with a rope of 1,500 ft length, with typical launch altitudes of 1,000 ft. Due to excellent weather, the campers were able to make many soaring flights with altitude gains and extended flight times. Overall, forty flights were made during the camp.

On the last day of camp, the group traveled to Eagleville Gliderport to experience aero-tows. Each student experienced an aero-tow to 2,000 ft, provided by a 250 horsepower Maule aircraft. The weather was beautiful and allowed for extended soaring flights and demonstration of techniques for finding and centering thermal updrafts.

During daily ground school, the students learned such topics as Safe Behavior on Airports, Roles and Duties of Group Members, Fundamentals of Flight, Aircraft Terminology, Aircraft Controls, Weight and Balance, Ground Launch and Aero-Tow Procedures, Airspeed Limitations, Speeds for Minimum Sink and Best Glide, Altimeter Settings, Runway Designations, Landing Patterns, etc.

During group instruction and through hands-on activities, students learned about Tow Rope Inspection and Repair, Glider Assembly, Ground Handling, Proper Tow-Rope Hook-up and Hand Signals, Wing Running, Glider Retrieval, Disassembly, and Trailer Operations. As part of their individual flight instruction the following issues were addressed through explanation, demonstration, and practice: Walk-Around Pre-flight Check, Pre-Takeoff Check, Emergency Procedures, Pitch-, Roll-, and Yaw-Control, Ground-Launch Procedures, Stalls and Recovery, Adverse Yaw and Coordinated Turns, Pitch Attitude and Airspeed Control, Use of Trim, Soaring Techniques, Observance of Airspace, Use of Radio, Entering and Executing of Landing Pattern, Adjusting Pattern to Wind Conditions, Use of Dive Brakes, Aim Point, Landing Flare, and Roll-Out.

READY TO GLIDE—Shown (left to right) in front of an AS-K 13 two-place sailplane at the Eagleville Gliderport are Shay Williams, Matthew Loehle, Peter Solies (Flight Instructor), Hannah Oosting (sitting), Stephen Jalbert, and Daniel McGhee during the recent youth camp held by UTSI’s Soaring Club.
–Photo by Mike Loehle