describes the airplane and his Torrey experiences of this era:
It was one of two Cub towplanes that the Associated Glider Clubs
of Southern California, the SD club, owned. My mother was an art teacher and one
of her students was the president of the club. She found that she could learn
to fly power planes in the Cubs during the week when they were not used towing
gliders, and I could be a member on the family membership. We both soloed within
months while my dad was stationed in Entiwetok for H-bomb testing.
AGCSC had just rebuilt the Cub about that time, converting the original 65hp engine
to a 115hp, considered to be a big step up at the time, and we got the change
approved by the FAA, keeping it in standard license. Little did we know that later
Super Cubs would be built with 125, 135, 140, 150, 160 and eventually 180hp. Even
more without FAA certification. We thought the 115 was a rocket! Note that it
is not a Super Cub, in that it does not have flaps. Good to hear it's still around.
The main Torrey Pines runway was east west, 90/270, from the tree line
on the east and ending on the cliff edge. The takeoff point was high, then a long
dip of at least 30', running uphill to a high point on the edge. We had a winch
located there, using a 50s Olds V8 engine driving a big reel with a level wind,
pulling in the cable to launch the gliders. It was mounted on the back of a 1927
Reo truck, no windshield or cab top, and only a bare frame in back where the engine,
protective cage for winch operator, and reel was located. We often stored the
winch rig in our backyard in Pacific Beach, and I learned to drive on it at age
13/14, moving it around the field and occasionally on the highway. (you can solo
gliders at 14, and I did so on my birthday). The Reo had a straight cut three
speed, so I started out double clutching. Shuffling 25' long glider trailers around
glider fields backing them into parallel parking spots, also enhanced my skills.
We could get 800-1000' of altitude, depending on the prevailing head wind,
and the glider runway was about 2000' long. Upon release, you'd coast back and
forth parallel to the cliff, turning inland (downwind of course), just north of
the winch where there was a cut in the cliff edge, landing parallel to the take
off runway. The Cub is taking off on a diagonal towplane runway, slightly SE to
NW, about 150/330. It ran from inland through the dip and across the cut, to the
cliff edge again, crossing past the southerly links of the vaunted golf club.
The towplane runway was shorter, and the brow the winch was on provided a bit
of cross wind protection.
Our training was conducted at Torrey Pines,
with most soaring done out of Lake Elsinore airport, before the lake flooded in
the 60s, and also at El Mirage dry lake near Edwards AFB. Shared the lake with
a lot of racers, but that's more stories.
More than you wanted to know.
see Bill Bean's glider photos from mid-50s Torrey, click H
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