This is a message that we received from Gordon Boettger. We feel that this is very important and decided to post this on the homepage.
Here is Gordo's message:
Just spent the day at OAK ARTCC. They keep emphasizing that for safety reasons all gliders "should" (highly recommended) squawk around the RNO area. They said that chunk of airspace still scares the hell out of them. They mentioned that they're still seeing a lot of nonsquawkers out there. When they're dealing with nonsquawking targets that suddenly disappear from their screen near an arriving/departing aircraft, it not only makes them really nervous
, but their workload goes up and makes their job much harder. Although I wasn't dealing with NORCAL, OAK ARTCC handles all arrivals in/out of RNO above FL190. The approach plates for all the approaches into RNO have a large note saying "EXTENSIVE GLIDER OPERATIONS UP TO FL180" but that doesn't guarantee anything. I CANNOT OVEREMPHASIZE THE IMPORTANCE OF THE NEED TO SQUAWK WITH MODE C WHENEVER AIRBORNE when flying from airports around the Reno area. It's pretty simple. Turn the bloody transponder on before takeoff just as one would the radio and leave it on. That way you won't forget it airborne. Plus, that will allow us glider guys that have a PCAS device or FLARM to see those that don't have FLARM or PCAS. There's no excuse anymore for not having and using a transponder. It doesn't matter if you're flying a 1-26 or an ASW-27. If you don't have a transponder yet, GET ONE. If we have another glider swapping paint with someone, we'll be having some major problems with soaring in our future.
I'm not sure what's going on with the squawk code issue, but whether it's 1202 or 0440, whatever you have dialed in they'll see you. My routine is to always call NORCAL on the radio too and make sure I'm in radar contact. After all, although I have my transponder on doesn't mean that they necessarily see me or my altitude. It might not be working properly. I usually get a mode C check while I'm talking to them. I'm always aware of their arrivals (north/south) into RNO and if I ever get near their departure/arrival corridor, I state my intentions. They seem to really like that.
Please pass this on to as many people that you know.