Developing proficiency leads to a lot of satisfaction, in glider flying as in other endeavors. We offer the items below to aid you in developing proficiency.
1. Outline of proficiency development.
This is a skeleton or outline of proficiency development -- a set of modules.
2. A suggested methodical approach to beginning cross-country flying.
(This is file is available either in HTML, or Microsoft Word. The Table looks much better in MS Word.) This develops a few of the modules presented in the 'Outline.' Specifically, it covers Greenville-Rainbow to/from Freehold, and the Freehold-Duanesburg route, of which Greenville-Rainbow is the first step. On this route -- Freehold - Greenville - Westerlo - Heldeberg - Duanesburg, the airport spacings are small enough (5 to 10 miles) for club ships on a good day. Freehold to/from Greenville-Rainbow is described in a file containing a map and a glide slope table. A map of the entire Freehold - Duanesburg route is also shown. Both of these maps suggest using lakes to help navigate, since there are large and distinctive lakes on this route. (These two maps usually look better on a printed sheet than on a monitor screen.)
An automobile tour of some or all of the airports, airstrips and landouts is highly recommended. A set of driving directions and mileages is available back on the main Nutmeg Home Page under the heading 'airport tour.'
Windham High Peak is attractive because it often has more lift than nearby places. However, flying over Windham High Peak in a club ship is only safe with a strong southwest wind (i.e., a tailwind coming back to Freehold.) Study this glide slope table so you know the numbers and then work with an instructor. This table uses the SSA glide slope method (which uses 1/2 the book value of L/D) and compares it with a more detailed calculation which includes sink for a specified fraction of the time.
4. Aerial photos of area airports, and particular cross-country 'legs'.
The photos are intended to help a flyer navigate to these airports. The photos are to be used in conjunction with a map -- the maps available above are some help, but you really need in addition a New York Sectional, a good road map, the DeLorme New York Gazetteer, or USGS topographical maps. The aerial photos have been selected to be of interest to members at various levels of cross-country flying skill; the fact that an aerial photo appears here does not necessarily mean that it is a suitable target for an inexperienced cross-country pilot.
Also, I have included some screen captures from Delorme 3D Explorer. 3D Explorer contains a database of US topography, and you can 'fly' above it. When I run it, I have my choice of showing place names or not, so let me know which is better.
Windham High Peak
A. Freehold to The Gap at Windham High Peak
Freehold Airport is at upper right. The Gap at Windham High Peak is at lower left; you can see where NY 23 turns southwest to go through The Gap. Windham High Peak itself is just off the bottom of the screen, but you can see the shadow on its north side. Note that there are essentially no landout sites between Windham High Peak and Freehold, until you are within about 1 mile of Freehold. Explorer view: Looking northeast toward Freehold. Windham High Peak is just right of screen center. Lane Lake Airstrip (discussed below) is the small patch of blue in the valley south of Windham High Peak.
B1. Windham High Peak to Windham Ski Area
At bottom left is Windham Ski Area; at top right is The Gap, and Windham High Peak is farther to right. (The shadow on the north side of Windham High Peak is quite visible.)
1. There are very few landout possibilities on the south side of The Gap -- landout sites are at least 3 miles back south. So when approaching The Gap from the south, make sure you have a conservative altitude cushion.
2. There is a private airstrip (not on the NY Sectional, and not in the NYS Airport Directory) adjacent to the small lake near the bottom right. The next two pictures in sequence show this airstrip at higher magnifications.
B2 Brooksburgh and Lane Lake Airstrip
This picture is at a slightly higher magnification than the previous one. Lane Lake Strip is towards the top right. At top left is the small town of Brooksburg. There are two fields right at the top left of the picture that might make acceptable landouts. (Lane Lake Airstrip is the name I give it, probably nobody else does.)
B3. Lane Lake Airstrip This is a closeup view of the private airstrip. On the southwest side of the lake is the dam. The airstrip runs toward the southwest, from the northwest end of the dam. The airstrip runs all the way to the road. The photo indicates that the runway is about 1300 feet long; the gap between the trees at the NE end is about 100 feet. Clem knows the name of the owner of the airstrip.
Note: in these and the other aerial photos, you may have trouble picking out the airport. I suppose I could have put arrows on the pictures pointing to the airports. I chose instead to use words to guide you to the airport. As you look at the photos, you should be looking for landscape features that you can use when flying to find the airports.
The runway can be picked out as fillows. Pick out the near-round lake right at the top of the photo, and the similar lake directly below it, and more than halfway to the bottom border. The runway (which is turf) lines up almost exactly with the two lakes. Now that you have picked out the runway, you can see that it lies on the west side of the golfcourse (the Rainbow Golf Course), and has a line of trees on its west side. The airstrip and golf course are located 1 mile east of the town of Greenville, on County Road 26. The road which angles to the southeast from downtown Greenville is NY81. On the bottom border of the picture, just left of the centre-line, is a lake shaped liked a stool. The three lakes together give a very good navigational aid to find Greenville-Rainbow, which is otherwise difficult to spot because it is turf. You have seen the stool-shaped lake on the automobile drive up to Greenville. See the hand-traced map of this picture, and the hand-traced map of the Freehold-Duanesburg area. Explorer view: Looking north. Greenville is at the bottom of the screen, Westerlo, Heldeberg (hidden on the north side of a low ridge, at East Berne) and Duanesburg can be seen -- also the Alcove (to right) and Basic Creek Reservoirs.
The airport is located just below the top edge of the picture, halfway between left and right (east and west). Two useful landmarks are the Basic Creek Reservoir, at the bottom of the photo, and the long, thin lake to its northwest. The Basic Creek Reservoir is about 1 mile long, and it's 2 miles south of Westerlo Airport. The long thin lake is 1 mile SW of Westerlo Airport. The airport is relatively easy to spot in real life, because its blacktop makes a strong visual contrast with the surrounding fields. It's particularly easy to spot from the south, because the south half of the runway tilts down toward the south. See also the hand-traced map of the Freehold - Duanesburg area.
The airport is close to the bottom edge of the picture, toward the right. A useful landmark is the distinctively-shaped Warner's Lake 3/4 mile to the northwest. Now that you know where the airport is located with respect to the lake, take a look at Heldeberg zoomout . The airport is much harder to spot than Westerlo. Fortunately Warner's Lake has a distinctive shape. See also the hand-traced map of the Freehold - Duanesburg area, and note Thompson's Lake to the NNE, shaped like a penguin.
A good landmark is arrow-shaped Duane lake. It is just over 1/2 mile long, and the airport is 1 mile to the NW, on the north side of Interstate 88 and a small pond. See also the hand-traced map of the Freehold - Duanesburg area. Explorer view: This view is back to the south from Duanesburg. East Berne (and Heldeberg Airport) are located just north of a small ridge, and are easy to see from here, but difficult to see from the south. Alcove and Basic Creek Reservoirs are visible. I have used a lot of vertical exaggeration in this view in order to emphasize the little ridge just south of Heldeberg Airport and the town of East Berne.
The Airport is shown in zoomed-in view. Several small ponds provide landmarks. In zoomout-view, the small town of Quaker Street, with its distinctive six-way intersection, can be seen just north of Interstate 88. I have only seen this airport on the aerial photos (I haven't looked for it from the air yet.)
This airstrip is 1.5 miles south of Windham Ski Area. It is not on the NY Sectional, but it is marked in the DeLorme Gazetteer. It is readily visible from over Windham Ski Area, because you are looking almost straight along the axis of the runway. There are no guarantees that it is landable. It is not easy to see from the ground, as it runs behind a (sparse) row of houses.
This.airport is located on the next mountain NNW of Hunter Mountain itself, and is on the west side of that mountain. The aerial photo unfortunately does not show Hunter Mountain -- I have to take the data the way the New York State website guys package it. The airport elevation is 2000 ft msl. The zoomin photo shows that if you are trying to drive there, the sideroad is close to a house and lot on the west side of the road.
This photo shows that Maben Airport is close to a big kink in the Schoharie Creek. The Schoharie reservoir is some 5-10 miles north. The Creek not only has the kink here, but takes about a 60 degree change in overall direction, shifting from almost N/S coming south from the Schoharie Reservoir, to heading ESE toward the town of Hunter (just north of Hunter Mountain). If you are over Windham Ski Area and look west along the (interrupted) ridge, Maben airport is just south of (and invisible behind) the ridge as it trails off just east of the Schoharie Creek. Airport elevation is 1800 feet msl. Explorer view: This is a good overall view of the valley looking west from Thomas Cole Mountain (labelled, in foreground). Windham High Peak is on the right, and Route 23 is visible as it snakes from bottom right, throught The Gap, and westerwards through the town of Windham. Windham Ski Area is just barely visible as crosshatching. Hunter Mountain Ski Area is clearly visible on the far left. If you look along the centre of the picture, you see an interrupted ridge of which Windham Ski Area is part. Maben Airport is not visible in this view, but it is located on the south (left) side of this ridge, at its far west end as it peters out just before it runs into the Schoharie Creek. Maben is about halfway between the 'Lexington' and 'Prattsville' labels in the picture.
Todd Smith landed out here in August (?) 2002 (the crop was alfalfa at the time). If you drive along Route 145 NW from Freehold, this is one of the very few fields you will see along the road. Route 145 runs through a valley that is relatively narrow in most places. I chose a relatively low magnification for the photo, so you can see that the bend of the river is an important clue to finding the field. Todd's field shows up as bright in this photo.
L. Middleburgh and Breakabeen.
If you drive NW up Route 145 from Freehold, 15 miles or so brings you to Middleburgh and a bridge across the Schoharie Creek; then the road splits, going N and S. The Explorer view looks southwest down the Schoharie Creek valley, with Middleburgh in the foreground, but unlabeled. Breakabeen is on the near side of North Blenheim. The valley has some nice flat fields in it, but on my two road trips there last summer, most of them were growing corn. Right across the river from Middleburgh, there was a field that had only low plants growing in it, nothing as ambitious as alfalfa. In the zoom-in photo, this field lies just on the north side of a dirt track that crosses from the highway, going west to the farm buildings (2 big silos -- blue?). Trees on the east side of the road make the approach a bit difficult; the field is about 1700 feet long. There is a big hill just west of the farm buildings.
Farther south in the river valley, there are about 5 soccer fields just 2-3 miles north of Breakabeen (Breakabeen is on the New York sectional). In the zoom-in picture, the soccer fields are each about 400 feet long. Unfortunately, there is a 3-5 foot difference in elevation from one field to another, and of course there may well be people on the fields -- but there won't be corn.
This strip is on the NY Sectional and in the NYS AD. I couldn't find it on a road trip there in 2002, but this aerial photo looks like it might be it. There are many big flat fields in this valley (SW of Stamford, near Kortright).
This picture shows Thomas Cole Mountain, and the valley south of it. On a couple of days, I found lift in the NE corner of this valley when there was very little lift anywhere else. These were sunny autumn days, with high atmospheric pressure, and with a light wind from the southwest. Plan carefully here, because you don't have many options if you get too low to get back across to the north side of TCM towards Freehold. The nearest fields (as seen in the photos) are 3-4 miles back southwest in the valley. Also, with a 4000-ft-agl tow to TCM, you are very likely to reach 4000 feet and release from tow, well before you get to TCM, leaving you to make a tricky decision whether to glide ahead to TCM, losing altitude as you approach its ridge from the north. Also, with a SW wind, you will encounter sink if you are on the east (downwind) side of the ridge running from Acra Point south to TCM.
This private airport has both blacktop and turf runways. It's right at the bottom of this image. Unfortunately, this airport is right at the boundary between 2 towns, so I don't have a view of the whole airport for you. Hogan zoomout will let you key into the zoomed-out view of Hogan. There aren't many good landmarks here. Hogan is about 3 miles NW of the major bend in the Schoharie Creek.
In the image, the airport is close to the lower right corner. This airport is NW of Hogan, on the north side of NY 20. As with Hogan, there are few dramatic landmarks here. The large white building may be your best bet. Try spotting the airport on Sharon zoomout.
Explorer view This view looks approximately west. Stamford, seein the foreground, is located about 25 miles west of Freehold, and NW of the Schoharie Reservoir. The valley which runs southwest (slightly to left of centre) toward South Kortright and beyond has good flat fields, but they will be in crops most of the year. This is the valley in which Grace's Landing Airstrip is located, if it is really still there; see above. Oneonta is visible toward the top right. Oneonta has an airport located several miles north of town. I haven't gotten there yet.