THE question for a soaring club on the weekend: are we flyin’? Is the weather OK and the tow plane in good repair? A week ago, I was at the Field to fly and answered a phone call from a member who lives in Lake Charles, Louisiana. “It’s pouring from the tropical storm here! Are we flying? Is the contest on?” Yes, yes, yes, even with winds of 15-20 mph from the north (thanks to that storm) we had a dozen gliders and sailplanes up in the air for training flights, local flights, and a contest with the other Houston soaring club. We even had a member test-flying his new self-launching sailplane. He was taking advantage of the strong wind straight down the runway, like how Orville and Wilbur did their first flights. It’s always easier to get an aircraft aloft with a strong headwind.
Unfortunately, the winds from the north further dried out the parched vegetation in our region. Fires flared up and spread – like wildfire. The Riley Road fire is so close that half of our pattern is in the Temporary Flight Restrictions area. The club member who lives and hangars his power plane beside the Field was able to slip up into the air and see that the actively burning area isn’t moving our way. But this week was a nail-biter and the weather people say this colossal risk of fire may persist through the Fall. Today we are not flying – just hoping for the best.