Thursday, April 16, 2009

Baldy Season Begins

Mike Over The Tower

So much for a winter of cold ridges an solo launches in freezing winds. The sun is out and the laps rate is climbing. Thermal season has begun. Last Saturday a crew came out and flew their hearts out. Lift was not great but the North flow kept many in the air as long as they liked. 4 pilots went XC - no great distances but fun nonetheless. Clouds streets were in play but they wanted to play over the firing range.
Wednesday became the day of wondering - On again, off again, calls for wind - to much wind- just the right amount of wind. The final morning call was it should work and work it did. Steady flow on the hill of 7 to 14 north on launch from 12:00 till almost 4:00. Mike McIntyre and I took turns flying, only one 4wheeldrive between us. I went first and had a very uncomfortable time on the east ridge catching ratty air to about 1k over then sinking out back and forth for about 40 min before I lost it and sank out. I left the hill just a bit to early.
Mike hit I just right 40 min later. On launch and big air catching cloud suck and playing till his heart was content.
The final flight with winds increasing and clouds growing the toss up went to me.
The launch was fine and lift instantaneous. I was up and over the back in 2 minutes or less and the primary thermal was laying over at an angle I couldn't believe. But, the vario was screeming so down wind I went and up toward base.

The same problem that faced us on Saturday came to bite again. Wonderful street going right over the firing range. I opted to hang a right and hope for something on the much less hopeful mini street forming to the west. It was not productive and the sink in route was massive. I should have stayed with the primary street all the way to 82 rather than heading sw. I would have had much more altitude and might have been able to make the corner near Rest Haven. Ended up landing south of the canyon about a mile or two. Nice air and a very fast ride total air time for the screemer was 28 minutes average speed 21 mph max ground speed over 40. Today and tomorrow will be good North and then West. Come fly with us at Baldy

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