That didn’t work out!

Vance

Gyroplane CFI
Staff member
Joined
Oct 30, 2003
Messages
18,398
Location
Santa Maria, California
Aircraft
Givens Predator
Total Flight Time
2600+ in rotorcraft
Kurt, a professor in the engineering department invited me to speak about gyroplanes at the San Luis Obispo chapter of the Experimental Aircraft Association.

They had a meeting at 11:30 on Saturday and it seemed like I should listen to that speaker and get a feel for the membership.

It was an open meeting so Ed and I decided to fly to San Luis Obispo.

I checked the weather Friday night and it looked good, maybe a little windy.

I performed a through preflight on The Predator Friday night and made sure she was ready to go.

If I hurry we can fly to San Luis Obispo in around 20 minutes so the plan was to be wheels up at 10:30 AM to allow plenty of time for parking and getting to know people before the meeting.

The terminal Aerodrome forecast had SMX VFR at 10:00 and the sky to the north west of our home was blue when we left the house at 9:30. To the south east it was overcast with tops at 1,200 feet. The wind was coming up so we were not worried that SMX was IFR as we started across the valley.

It appeared that the blue sky began around 3 miles west of SMX so I figured we would request special VFR and not have any trouble remaining clear of clouds.

I hurried through an abbreviated preflight while Ed got bundled up for the cold.

We pushed her outside at 10:00 and surveyed the grey sky. ATIS had the ceiling at 600 feet and I did not see a way to escape the clutches of the worsening conditions. The wind was out of the northwest which is exactly where the deepest fog was. The wind was 270 degrees at 17kts, this would typically clean things right out. There was an occasional patch of blue directly over head but I don’t do on top particularly over the city. The fog rolled over the hills and you could see the overcast moving rapidly over the hangars.

I did the sun dance to no avail.

At ten thirty I walked out to the end of the hangar row and could see blue sky to the east south east.

I figured I could fly special VFR left down wind and loop around the bottom of the fog.

We climbed in and she fired right up. I immediately taxied toward Alpha 9 and my blue sky had vanished. We taxied around a bit and then parked looking North West in the direction of the wind for some indication that things might clear.

Around 11:00 a Bonanza reported that they were 15 miles to the North West inbound to land and unable to see anything. The tower excitedly said Climb, Climb to at least 3,000 feet; you are at 500 feet climb! CLIMB!!!

The pilot did not speak English well and from the sound of the tower he did not climb very fast.

After what seemed like a very long time the pilot reported the airport in sight and he was cleared to land.

The tower asked him if he was instrumented and he laughed and said he was a commercial pilot.

This vignette helped me to manage my overconfidence.

Several pilots who were waiting to fly stopped by and asked us about the weather. What can you say? It was not supposed to look like this according to any of my weather sources.

Ultimately we saw a slice of blue near our house and it was moving our way. The wind had shifted to nearly straight down the runway. We watched as a helicopter on special VFR was advised to go north and went East and soon disappearing into the clouds. Then we watched a Brasilia take off to the north and just when I thought he was clear, FOOMPH into the clouds he went.

I checked San Luis Obispo ATIS and they were clear below 20,000 feet.

I called ground to taxi to 30 at 12:30 and requested special VFR with a departure to the North West. They told me the ceiling was now broken at 800 feet and taxi to 30 via taxiway alpha. The wind was between 270 and 310 at 17kts gusting to 26kts.

Just before we reached the run up area ground called me and said expect a VFR departure and the ceiling was 1,000 feet.

There strong wind had the nose up quickly and she leapt off the ground at around 50kts. She climbed out quickly in the cool, dense air and I was soon pulling the power back to stay 500 feet below the clouds.

We arrived as the meeting was breaking up and the speaker had been speaking about a very beautiful plastic Stagerwing with a big round Continental in it.

It was a nice bunch and I am glad we were able to meet them. One very nice gentleman was 91 and had a Hatz project in his barn that he was afraid he was never going to finish and he wanted to find someone to finish it.

I saw Kurt, the professor and also a very nice German commercial pilot that worked for a couple that I am about to give a ride to the husband for his birthday.

We had a nice lunch and a too short flight across the angry skies back to SMX where we landed in winds at 270 gusting to 32kts. My overconfidence prevailed and we touched down as nice as could be.

I was not going to write about this adventure until I saw Ed’s pictures.

They capture a small part of the feel of the flight. Just add cold and gusting winds, the smell of the wet earth, the moisture against your skin, the threat of IFR conditions and some rock and roll and you are there with us.

Thank you, Ed & Vance
 

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A few more picutres that captured the feel of the flight!

A few more picutres that captured the feel of the flight!

I had some more pictures that I feel capture the mood.

Ed took a good picture of that water tower I use as a landmark.

Notice in the last one the two windsocks in the picture are pointed in different directions and both are a pretty good crosswind.

The landing was gentle and felt like it was in slow motion.

Thank you, Ed & Vance
 

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Vance- Thanks for taking us along agaiin. I had to study that huge curved stairway wrapping around that water tower. I wish I knew the diameter of that tank, and the height so I could play with my calculator. Its interesting to me how the inclination of the stairs decreases as you measure it from the inside of the stairs to the outside. Every 1/100th of an inch increase in radius results in less inclination. Sorry for derailing your thread slightly, but the same inclination rules apply to a rotors radius as well! Stan
 
Ed is going to try to find out today.

Ed is going to try to find out today.

Hello Stan,

I was unable to find anything about that water tank over the weekend.

Ed is going to try to find the specifications today starting with calling the people who own it.

It is my landmark for where to call ATC. It is ten miles from SMX and 14 miles from SBP. When I saw Ed had taken a good picture of the water tower and I am often talking about the landmark I figured I should post it to give people a better sense of the place.

It is amazing how far away the Nipomo water tower can be seen even in mist.

When I call in over the Nipomo water tower with my altitude and position SBP ATC knows exactly where I am. They will still ask me to ident when there is other traffic. It is a good reporting point for the SMX ATC .

It keeps us far enough away from Oceano and when I am going north SBP ATC starts looking out for me as soon as I call in. Sunday they were good with a plane that was maneuvering over Shell Beach close to our altitude.

SMX ATC is not as generous and wants me to call Santa Barbara approach for flight following if I want them to look out for me once I leave the SMX airspace.

When we are flying north along the shoreline I stay with the Oceano (L52) CTAF until I am abeam Shell Beach, where the cliffs are and that is seven miles from SBP. I call out at 5, 3 and 1 south and 1, 3, and 5 abeam Shell Beach going north. Going south I call out on the odd miles and when I leave the shoreline five miles to the south of Oceano (L52) I am ten miles west of Santa Maria (SMX) when I call SMX ATC. The shoreline is a popular route for flying low.

Listening to the CTAF for Oceano is the only way I can find out about parachutes and it is a problem if I have tuned into SBP CTAF at the water tower. That is one of the many reasons I want a radio that can monitor a second frequency.

Thank you, Vance
 
Sorry you missed giving the talk Vance. I can say though that your account had us all doing the sun dance along with you in our joint anxiety about the viz and your appointment, such is your continuing mastery of the written word.

We were all there right with you.
 
Hey Vance -

I expect to be flying through Santa Maria on Wednesday in the red A&S18A.
Will you be around?
 
Ed's Pictures Tell the Story!

Ed's Pictures Tell the Story!

Thank you Leigh,

Thank you for the kind words Leigh.

I was just going up to listen to a speaker so I could get a feel for what they were looking for and I did not tell them I was coming. It is an open meeting so you don’t need to be an aviation addict or member of the chapter to come.

I have found that knowing the people mitigates my trepidation about public speaking.

I need to get over my qualms because I feel public speaking will be a part of selling the book.

I work hard at being punctual so I did not want to be late for the meeting.

There was a decision point where we could have driven up to San Luis Obispo and I let it past because the sky was giving us an occasional peek at blue sky and usually when the wind comes up the fog is gone in minutes.

I imagined all the ways to shorten the flight.

It felt a lot like needing to use an outhouse that was occupied. You hear the toilet paper and imagine you are about to find relief and then an interminable nothing.

That was the only day all week that I couldn’t fly by 8:00 AM.

I liked the people I met and I look forward to coordinating with Kurt for a date to speak.

I can’t compete with the beautiful plastic Stagerwing. He didn’t start her but she was truly a work of art and I think he had a nice multimedia presentation. His golf cart nearly died towing her back to his hanger on the other side of the runway. The tower was not happy with him or the anxiety that caused.

I wrote about it because I loved Ed’s pictures and the way they put me back in the feeling of conflict between wanting to get there and wanting to fly safe.

I felt they portrayed the allure of the blue skies and the threat IMC.

I felt they captured the way the fog rolled ominously over the hills and hinted at the way the winds tossed us like flotsam on a stormy sea.

To me the sky appeared wonderfully troubled and moody in her pictures.

As good as the pictures were I don’t feel they would have told the story without words.

I would not have flown in these conditions if I did not know the route well. As it was it all worked out, if it had not I had lots of places to land and I knew where the taller obstructions were.

Thank you, Vance
 

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Anticipation!

Anticipation!

Hey Vance -

I expect to be flying through Santa Maria on Wednesday in the red A&S18A.
Will you be around?

I will do whatever it takes to be around.

I will pm you my contact information.

I will be very excited to see her fly and I always learn things from you.

I will try not to get you mixed up with your brother.

Thank you, Vance
 
Hello Stan,

I was unable to find anything about that water tank over the weekend.

Ed is going to try to find the specifications today starting with calling the people who own it.

It is my landmark for where to call ATC. It is ten miles from SMX and 14 miles from SBP. When I saw Ed had taken a good picture of the water tower and I am often talking about the landmark I figured I should post it to give people a better sense of the place.

It is amazing how far away the Nipomo water tower can be seen even in mist.

When I call in over the Nipomo water tower with my altitude and position SBP ATC knows exactly where I am. They will still ask me to ident when there is other traffic. It is a good reporting point for the SMX ATC .

It keeps us far enough away from Oceano and when I am going north SBP ATC starts looking out for me as soon as I call in. Sunday they were good with a plane that was maneuvering over Shell Beach close to our altitude.

SMX ATC is not as generous and wants me to call Santa Barbara approach for flight following if I want them to look out for me once I leave the SMX airspace.

When we are flying north along the shoreline I stay with the Oceano (L52) CTAF until I am abeam Shell Beach, where the cliffs are and that is seven miles from SBP. I call out at 5, 3 and 1 south and 1, 3, and 5 abeam Shell Beach going north. Going south I call out on the odd miles and when I leave the shoreline five miles to the south of Oceano (L52) I am ten miles west of Santa Maria (SMX) when I call SMX ATC. The shoreline is a popular route for flying low.

Listening to the CTAF for Oceano is the only way I can find out about parachutes and it is a problem if I have tuned into SBP CTAF at the water tower. That is one of the many reasons I want a radio that can monitor a second frequency.
Thank you, Vance
.
Stan,
I tried to find out about the height of the Water Tower for you but the community services,disrict that run it was closed be ause of Presidents Day. I will continue diligently to find out all I can about the tower for you....once you dont suceed try... Try ....againMuch Love, Ed
 
Nipomo Water Tank

Nipomo Water Tank

Well, board tonight, I thought I would try to locate some information about the mysterious Nipomo Water Tank. I am not sure this is accurate, but what the heck, it is information!

This is what I found:

https://www.nonewwiptax.com/2001_pdf/2001_News/01_0216_Adobe_NCSD_Water_System_Tour.pdf

Key features found on the last page of the article.

It holds 1,000,000 gallons of water and is 100 foot tall.

So, being that I am not math wiz :noidea: like Stan Foster, I cheated and went to the internet to find this calculator:

https://www.aqua-calc.com/calculate/volume-cylinder

Knowing that the tank is 100 foot tall, I put in different radius numbers until I got close to 1M gallons. From there I believe the tank to be about 20 to 21 foot radius or 40 to 42' accross the top. Keep in mind the online calculator does not to fractions or decimals so I could not get it exact.

My disclaimers are that I am not completely sure this is the correct tank in question and I am no math wiz. But what the heck it does not hurt to play once in a while and make an educated guess!

If this is not the right information, I will eagerly stand corrected, but at least I had fun playing detective!!! :spy:

Stay safe.
 
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Ed- I just woke up and is 4:30 am. I was wishing out loud about the water tower facts, but thank you for your efforts for the information...........................................................Heath- thank you sir for your info, it indeed computes out. I am definitely not a math whiz by others here in comparison. I am just proficient at some HS math. Let's take that water tank. I forgot exactly how many gallons of water were in a cubic foot, I knew it was around 7.5. I googled that part and found there is 7.48 gallons per cubic foot.................................................We know its a 1,000,000 gallon tank. Divide 1,000,000 by 7.48 gallons per cubic foot, then that means there are 133,689.84 cubic feet in that tower. The tower is 100 feet tall, so that means that each foot of tower should hold 1336.89 cubic feet of water. ....................................................Pi X radius squared =1336.89 ................... 1336.89 divided ÷ 3.14159 =425.547 ...........................................the square root of 425.547 = 20.62 feet radius of the tank, or 41.257 feet diameter. Your diligent searching checks out Heath! Thank you! Now in the next post I will play with some stairway math. Stan
 
Stan,
You crack me up...but you never did respond to my post about the tarp on your helicycle landing gear streamlining! So there.

Stay safe.
 
Heath- I missed your post about streamlining with a tarp. I will go dig it up. Hey, just sitting in bed designing a stairway for this water tank. I have one all figured out, 133 steps turning 270 degrees, but I have soiled Vances thread with this hi jacked water tower. Let me pull the plug on that tower and let the 1,000,000 gallons of water flush me out of this thread. Sorry Vance! Whoooooooooooshhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Stan
 
A fine piece of detective work!

A fine piece of detective work!

Thank your Heath,

That is a fine piece of detective work.

Ed and I failed at doing it on the internet and Ed went down and actually looked at the tower to see if there was some sort of information on a plaque.

There is a fence around it and they do not seem proud of it.

No worries Stan, it is a story about flying with no purpose in mind beyond entertainment.

It is not like your thoughtful and purposeful posts and inquires.

We watched the movie The Third Man last night and the sewers of post war Vienna played an important part in this mystery made in 1949 with Joseph Cotton, Alida Valli and Orson Wells. They have some wonderful spiral steps in the sewers of Vienna with some great acoustics.

Ed loves crime mysteries and detective work.

I am hoping to fly to Santa Paula today to see my friend, Al Ball who is working on J.R.’s Air and Space 18A.

J.R. is planning on flying her back to South County (E16) in San Martin on Wednesday; I am hoping to tag along in The Predator as far as Santa Maria. I hope to see JC too, he is the ground transportation. I want to see her jump.

The weather looks good now but I can’t leave until at least 11:00 because I have an appointment to work on my taxes with Carolyn Bayliss at Lapp, Fatch Myers & Gallagher.

I find taxes confusing.

Thank you, Vance
 
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Vance----Tell Ed thank you for going to the trouble of going down to the tower. That was thoughtful. I will be careful what I wish for on here....some people just are like a genie in a bottle. I was just looking at that huge spiral stairway wrapping around that water tower....like the RCA dog tilting his head.....and just wondering. I always build a mockup form in my shop....and my ceilings are only 17 feet in the peak. I would have to raise my roof height about 90 feet if I want to build something like that "in" my shop.

Take care.


Stan
 
Educating Ed

Educating Ed

Well, board tonight, I thought I would try to locate some information about the mysterious Nipomo Water Tank. I am not sure this is accurate, but what the heck, it is information!

This is what I found:

[url]https://www.nonewwiptax.com/2001_pdf/2001_News/01_0216_Adobe_NCSD_Water_System_Tour.pdf[/URL]

Key features found on the last page of the article.

It holds 1,000,000 gallons of water and is 100 foot tall.

So, being that I am not math wiz :noidea: like Stan Foster, I cheated and went to the internet to find this calculator:

[url]https://www.aqua-calc.com/calculate/volume-cylinder[/URL]

Knowing that the tank is 100 foot tall, I put in different radius numbers until I got close to 1M gallons. From there I believe the tank to be about 20 to 21 foot radius or 40 to 42' across the top. Keep in mind the online calculator does not to fractions or decimals so I could not get it exact.

My disclaimers are that I am not completely sure this is the correct tank in question and I am no math wiz. But what the heck it does not hurt to play once in a while and make an educated guess!

If this is not the right information, I will eagerly stand corrected, but at least I had fun playing detective!!! :spy:

Stay safe.
Thanks Heath & Stan....you guys are what makes this thread a Sensation!
See this is why I love this forum...everyone contributes and the things you learn are fascinating.

Do you remember as a kid when you got a new box of the latest greatest cereal and couldn't wait to get out the box that "Special surprise" and read all the Vital Cartoons with all that Much needed Valuable information and you were a success if you beat the 5 other kids that were trying to do the very same thing as you SCORE!

Well... That is the way I feel about the forum I can't wait to see what new what everyone is up to and what will I learn today! So Thanks to all the Kool People who Contribute to my EDUCATION

By the way Stan you sure do a hell of a lot of work your Staircases! You show how much you love what you do...and I don't think you ran this thread of course I think it's right on track.

Heath I'm impressed with your Detective skills clearly you are a cut above , because I can tell you I search for quite a while and exhausted all the resources that were out there very Kool...how ever did you find that clipping...just amazing!

Everyone here on the forum has a little something special that they contribute which just makes this place a wealth of knowledge and if you cant find what you looking for you have another person input and expertise to get er' done how cool is that!

See I could mention that I starting to explore Jewelry making and am wanting to learn how to solder on copper and other metals. While I am certain I can find out things on the internet or at our Public Library(both are wonderful resources) there is nothing like someone who has had their hands on own experience that has way more value and that what I love about being on here. I know all I have to do is just ask.

Yes it's off topic...but then what are we here for if not to share our ideas projects and experiences one thing leads to another as Stan a has proved with his measuring of the staircase in connection with his Rotor blades...That's really Cool.

People share their successes and failures hoping to help someone else get a little further down the road then they did. Someone on here knows something....I for one appreciate the effort you all put out tho help a friend!

I learn something every time I interact here....You Guys ROCK!

Thanks A BUNCH! Ed
 
Detective work, 101

Detective work, 101

Heath I'm impressed with your Detective skills clearly you are a cut above , because I can tell you I search for quite a while and exhausted all the resources that were out there very Kool...how ever did you find that clipping...just amazing!

Thanks A BUNCH! Ed

Thanks for your kind words Ed! It took me about 45 minutes. :wacko: First I studied your picture of the tank. Seeing the small out building, I am familiar with them. They are the radio building for all the cell phone antennas that are plastered all over the top of the tower. Those buildings are typically 9 to 10 feet wide and 9 feet tall. They are "portable." Based on that I guesstimated that the tower was somewhere around 100 to 150 foot tall...

I did an internet search for the Nipomo Water Department that is when I really go challenged. :boom: Most of my time was spent in there website. Skimming the technical reports and garbage. Finally I found that PDF file in their archives. Knowing that it was a news (type) article I really dug into it and the next two pieces of the puzzle were complete. 100' tall and 1M gallons.

I am NOT a math guy :noidea: but have some math experience. And as Stan will verify if you have 2 parts of any equation, you can calculate the 3rd.

I did an internet search for calculators to determine volume of a cylinder. When I found that calculator, I knew the volume and the height (length) of the cylinder but did not know the radius. Looking at the tank photo, I started with 50'. 1/2 of that would be the radius. I plugged in 25 it was well over 1M. I went to 19 and it was around 900,000 gallons. 20' foot just under and 21' just over. My guess would be the radius would be about 20 to 21' foot or 40 to 42' accross.

And there you have it. :cool: Just like the police work that I have done for over 21years now (or solving a logic puzzle), I put a logical plan in place, set out to accomplish it and assuming the news report I found was the correct water tower...BAM. One in custody!!! :spy: ...oops I mean one problem Solved.

Glad you liked the results I came up with...

Stay safe.
 
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SMX eh? That fog can really be a deterrent to vehicular movement. Long before my flying days, when I was stationed at Vandenberg AFB, that fog played heck with my travel. There were several times I would leave the Hunter's Inn bistro and have to "feel" my way back to base. Literally, if it hadn't been for the white stripe marking the edge of the driveable roadway I don't think I would have made it back to base!
 
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