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29th Annual Women's Soaring Seminar

Hello, from Avenal, California

.............and the 29th Annual Women's Soaring Seminar.  This is Neita, Co-Chair!  It is 96 degrees and sunny and blue and we are in the 5th day of the seminar. 
There are 21 participants, four of them men:  Bill Levinson and Buzz Graves of the Northern California Soaring Association (Byron, CA), Jeremy Zawodny of the Bay Area Soaring Association.  And we have a record number of spouses as crew: five!
We have Kathy Taylor and husband, George and they trailered her ASW-27 from Moriarity, New Mexico. Charlotte Taylor and husband, Roy trailered her ASW-27 from St. Louis, Missouri. 
Connie Bueafe from Moriarity, New Mexico trailered her lovely Salto, sister to the Libelle.
There is a nice variety of planes available for  the students, two Grob 103s, and ASK-21, a Duo Discus, 
2-33s, a Blanik in addition to the various privately-owned planes for everyone to inspect and enjoy seeing as they took off and landed.  The owners were very generous with their time showing their planes and explaining their characteristics to those interested.
Monday morning started with breakfast at the Central California Soaring Club's (CCSC) clubhouse followed by a field operations briefing, local weather and the day's forecast by Dan Gudgel who is also an FAA Examiner and a CCSC member. One of the vital safety issues for this type of climate called for a lecture on hydration and then The Pee Lecture, officially called "In-Flight Relief".  Thanks to everyone at all the seminars I've attended for their thoughts on successful executions which I incorpated into the informal talk. 
Many launched before lunch and many flew until 6:30 or so with the days best flying early and late.  Tuesday was the only afternoon where we had blowy conditions, but we were happy to chat in the clubhouse and under the awning until late afternoon when a bunch of us went swimming.
Other lectures included: SSA Badges and Records, Cross Country Part I and Part II, Common Errors presented by Dale Masters of Great Western Soaring, CA, Physiology by Dan Johnson who flew in from Wisconsin with his wife, Isabelle.  Allen Silver gave an enlightening talk on parachutes and their use.  Cindy Brickner, WSPA member from Caracole Soaring gave a fascinating talk on landing out using her SSTOP mnemonic: Size,  Slope, Texture, Obstacles and the Positive Points about the field.  She had taken pictures over the valley and over landing strips so that we could discuss the good and bad points of the landing sites.  There were also pictures of other landouts from overhead so we could discuss the good and bad aspects of the decisions made by the pilots.  In addition to her lecture, she took several people up in her  Citabria to actually view the area from the sky to put into practice what they had just learned in her lecture.
Evenings found us at dinner at 7:00 and two nights we had movies, one, "The Sunship Game", a soaring classic.  I'd love to bring this to Europe for a WSPA Seminar!
Frauke Elber, the Official WSPA Mom, developed a talk and slide show on the history of women soaring and the Babayaga Ceremony. Her husband, Wolf, was his usual fantastic field and ground crew.  They come from Tidewater Soaring in Virginia.
Frauke Elber and Joy Pierce were invited to the college to give a presentation to the students on the sport of soaring through the eyes of an experienced pilot and a new solo student. 
Tonight's final Banquet will be at the rental house where we will honor our participants and award prizes and certificates.  Andy and John Simpkins and their son, Michael, from Avondale, Arizona had to leave early, but Andy will be awarded the Spirit of WSPA Certificate for all of her help throughout the week. 
Lucy Anne McKosky, WSPA President will preside over the WSPA Annual Meeting and we will all celebrate the achievements of the week.
We honor the following WSPA members:  Cheryl Betson from Seal Beach, California, Margarett Roy who won the long distance travel from Sugarbush, NY
Laurie Harden from Gardnerville, Nevada (Soar Minden), Amy Guyton, winner of The Flying Montagues Scholarship, Marrisa Anaya of Air Sailing, Reno, Nevada, winner of the Briegleb Scholarship, Joy Pierce of Hollister, CA, Neva Cole from High Desert Soaring in Bend, Oregon, Marti Klemm of Air Sailing and brand new member from Chicago, Illinois, Karen Grieg were our student pilots!
Instructors were Mary Rust of Caracole Soaring in Hemet, CA, Cindy Brickner of Cal City Soaring, CA, Mark Montague (Air Sailing), Anna Gunn-Golkin of the CCSC, Monique Weil of NCSC (Byron), Harold Gallagher of the CCSC.
Mike Green of Air Sailing donated proceeds of his rides in his Duo Discus to the WSPA.  Thank you, Mike!
Laurie Harden gave The Flying Goddess a makeover and fashioned a winged high heel with a buckle for the broken foot.....
In planning the seminar we came up with several new ideas: contacting the local college/university for the use of their dorm rooms for our participants and calling the local high school for use of their pool for dunking and lap swimming.  The dorm rooms were $15 a night and we used 6 of the available rooms while others either camped on the field or rented motel rooms.  I rented the house of a college professor who went on vacation to Italy and we had Mark and me, four participants and one lecturer stay at this house which gave us laundry facilities, a kitchen and proved much less expensive than motels in the end.  It will be the site of tonight's banquet.
I also contacted the local police and fire departments, the Mayor's office and local doctors.  The fire department provided us with as much ice as we needed during the week.  Through the Mayor's Office we were able to get bags of pistachios and almonds from Paramount Farms, one of the largest local producers of nuts.  They also cold-packed and sent from Los Angeles those wonderful tall glasses of fruit teas which was a treat on late Wednesday afternoon. 
We developed a WSPA tow card stamp to enhance safety and smooth operations.
Our special thanks go to the Central California Soaring Club and the volunteers who spent the week with us:  Roy Norman, President, Richard Walker who built us a brand new bathroom with shower and toilet, Dennis Mast, Paul Hanson who was master of all trades.  Don VanWyck was the accountant/treasurer for the week and I thank my Co-Chair, Kathleen Morse of the CCSC for her assistance with the meal planning/caterer, lectures and finances.
We will have extra tee shirts for purchase .............
Wish you all were here.  This was a dynamic fun, interesting seminar and each person added greatly to the week.  Start thinking about next year!
Neita Montague
Co-Chair, WSPA 2007 Women's Soaring Seminar  PS: sometimes down the road I will put a slide show from this seminar together. We are heading back East tomorrow.   Frauke

Hello  WSPA'rs-

Came home to central Oregon after a 10 hour drive from Avenal on Saturday.  I flew on Sunday afternoon  in our club ASK-21.  We had great soaring weather with thermals to 11,500 feet and cloud base.  I climbed 5,000 feet in my first thermal!  I then zipped around and practiced using my sectional to find our landable airports.  Someone else was waiting for the plane so I did about a 40+ nautical mile triangle and came home with over 4,000 feet to spare.  Thanks to everyone at Avenal and the Women's seminar for all the excellent training.

Neva Cole

I absolutely agree with you and with Neita!

We had a fantastic wonderful group of people - the variety  added so much to the experience: - young and old, female and male; novices and experts; each one had an individual spark which connected with other sparks - the students all showed consistent progress from the intensive daily training; the sharing of experiences; a really supportive environment; I also thought the speakers were excellent; - I highly recommend that all start reading Dale Masters' book "Soaring Beyond the Basics" - that Dale generously gave us; there is so much valuable information in it.

Thanks so much for all the hard work Neita and Kathleen put in to make this Seminar such a success; to Lucy Ann, our President; thanks to Frauke for everything she does so enthusiastically all the time to provide continuity and connections and support to women pilots in Europe and other parts of the world - of course to Wolf also for his constant quiet help.

I was so moved by the surprise honor you gave me, I was speechless.  I first joined WSPA at the Air Sailing Seminar in 1985 -  22 years ago! Lots of good times.
It gives me such pleasure to be able to support women (and men) as they work to develop their soaring skills;  I just wish there were more women in the sport.  I am also very thankful to Bill, our NCSA club President, without whose work leading the assembly, dissassembly, loading, unloading; trailering of our Grob 103, I might not have been able to bring this glider to Avenal, as I have done several times to Air Sailing from Truckee.

The total you contributed to the Tow Pilot's Fund to help our Tow Pilot rebuild was $499 - thanks to all.  Loyal was very touched by our donations.

If any of you can come to Truckee this summer, let me know and I will try to clear my schedule to fly in our other Grob or our Blanik with you. -Our club has 3 gliders in Truckee every summer.


 Hi all, 
What a fantastic group of people at the WSPA seminar at  Avenal.  I have not met or worked with such a wonderful  group in years!  I am sooo  impressed with everyone.  What a group! 

Thank you everyone.  We had a great time! 
Andy, John and Mike