Friday, March 20, 2009

Last of Winter - First of Spring

The Last Day of Winter and the First Day of Spring both gave up marvelous flights.

Yesterday Rick (Doc) Shallman, Curt Boschek and I spent the better part of 4 hours soaring, skimming, kiting, thermaling and even a little hiking at Eagle Butte in S.W. Richland. The wind was just right and valley heat gave us lots of texture to play with. Great way to finish the winter flying season. Unfortunately I left my GPS on the kitchen table so no LEO tracks for my 5 flights, 20min, 30min, 1:12, 56min, 15 min.

Friday afternoons Bob Bunger can fly so we met at the Bump LZ at noon for a sledder or two. On top we were thrilled to find cycles and very launchable conditions. Bob left first as I screwed around with my wing including letting it fall on my head - good thing no one was watching: lol. I looked up and Bob was 400 over launch and laughing. The bump sometimes gives up ridge flights but thermals rides are rare because we don't really like low level thermals and Baldy is so much safer, but today it was Bob's.

Just as I launched Bob said he thought it was dropping off and was heading for the LZ - Truth was it was likely the back flow of a major cycle and I launched right into it. I was 600 over launch before Bob was half way to the LZ.
Back and forth and up and down a real rodeo ride. At one point I was about 300 ft over the top of an invisible dusty that kicked me with the news that YOUR GOING THIS WAY! a quick 360 up and back kept my wing over my head but it was quite a ride.

After about an hour I was finally able to get my radio out of my pocket to talk with Bob who had returned to launch. He said it looked to be more fun than he was interested in and informed me that the afternoon forecast called for SW @ 15-20. - That was enough for me and out I went for nice but active LZ landing. 30 minutes after landing the winds really kicked off and were better than 20 gust to 25.

Lessons learned: Don't launch with your keys and radio in the same pocket.
Always have the weather forecast figured even if your just going for a sledder.
Spring has Sprung.

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