Sunday, December 5, 2010

E.W. flying when it is blown out North

Finally something to write about. If the truth were known, I have been over-full with things to write about; but they will take a bit more chewing before the click click open occurs. (I was going to say before the pen meets paper; we do need a colloquialism for the modern age.)

The flight log continues - need to update it - one new launch and a happy hour or two of flight.

Today was one in a series of flight adventures where the internet woke drowsy souls with the thought of flight. Bodies began to stir and the will gained traction until a caravan, of sorts, assessed cost and benefit and the pass is crossed. To my knowledge two full rigs made the crossing, maybe three. I was not checking helmet stickers. - Not that it is an insured site anyway.

First let me include mega kudos to Rick (Doc) Shallman for his silent but precise scouting. Rick was at RC launch early to call the blow out, transitioned to the back side of Temple View and to its summit. Leaving soarable conditions, he came back down to shuttle others up, then returned to Kiona to join the fray. All in all, Rick mounted his chains thrice. Thanks for the gift of options, my friend.

As Rick called it, it was blown out at Kiona, until Ross, first on scene, failed to get the word. Now I don't know how truly sly Ross is, but with the following information he stopped 1/3 the way up launch hill to discover what he is calling "KiLOWna."

First point was that only chain clad 4wd should have attempt launch road(and that had been communicated), second point KIONA IS BLOWN, third point - I don't know maybe his rig started to slide without chains about there. - Anyway great call on the spot for launch.

About launch: Kiona, the site proper, is a NE facing ridge and often takes a N to NNW wind - the stronger the W or NW the more we get mech-turbulance scrubbing down the ridge. Up high and away from the ridge it can be quite strong turb. We try never to fly low in the "lee" of the fingers that protrude from PG launch, Dead Dog and the West side of RC launch (technically in a similar lee").

KiLOWna, the new launch, is at the NE base of Dead Dog or in the alluvial plain/washout near the mid base of the rivulet between Dead Dog and PG launch. - 46.240800 119.500048 double click image above for better view. It sits right where I would predict the most violent of mech-turbulance would occur given today's winds. This is where the crew flew all day. Active air, but no violence - the old boys rocked and rolled it to their hearts content and others danced in and out and avoided spending too much time "at risk."

I don't think anyone had any problems; it was just a great place to play.

After watching for a bit, I flew my daughter tandem and told the grand-kids that we would try another day for them.

The road was super slick - I think 3 falls was the max on foot, I only fell once.

After the tandem, I went back up for a solo run as Doc was testing the West end to HG launch. He had pushed up and out front on the edge of the lift band.

Today was a day that if you didn't manage your altitude it would manage you. Pushing out and big ears on occasion allowed us to stay in control. The wind was laminar and very consistent in terms of velocity. If you pushed too far out too low you couldn't get up and a few folks had that happen. - Nice hike up ya all.

My flight was fun. I slid down the ridge to PG and used it to bench up. It just felt so light; but, after a few passes 35mph to the East and 5mph on the West tack I got up and out. - (Chris was on PG just at that level - I flew past him at about 15 feet. - He said his wing wouldn't lift him where he was; but when he hiked up the 15 feet to where I passed he could get up, very tight little window.)

Doc was up and out as well, and after a short conference we decided to run the ridge to the East. Doc had already run West to HG launch at that point. We banked off East like a couple of jet fighters making a strafing run. I was 23 feet up and behind as wing man to the Baron.
As he headed into terrain, I held back to assess his success in making distance against penetration.

The further back Doc went the more convinced I was that I needed to push out (North) first - this I did and it made for a very fast and quite nice run to the East. Doc tracked me after he pushed out of his hole, but by the time he made it out to assess his options I was pinned at the East end. - He noted my pin-dom-ness and recalcitrantly remained in recon mode near PG launch.

The East end of Kiona fades off into McNeil canyon. It plateaus first, then drops over. To complete a "ridge run" the local rule is that you have to make it over the road that drops down off the NE corner to the North. If you do this your "over the back East" and have completed the ridge.

The problem today was that after making the NE corner turn, I realized no penetration West or North. 2/3 bar kept me parked as I descended at about 40fpm. Slowly after loosing most of the ridge I pushed out and West. I made it to the first shape in the hi1l and began to nurse lift and gain distance at about 300 over. After a while, I had climbed back up out front and made progress West. Varios are very helpful in this game, you need to know when your just dropping or just rising at the front edge of the lift band.

The shape of the lift band on Kiona is just way so cool. One works just at and in front of it, it flows the whole ridge like a log in a log rolling pond. Surf the leading edge as it rolls up.

By the time I made it back to launch, it was getting dark and I shot into that "rotor hole" for a "top" landing. Not a big deal, I am just not comfortable with the place yet.

Cold feet, good friends - smiles and flights all around - almost all around but smiles everywhere.

Thanks for coming over and helping me and Doc discover Kiona all over again.

Feet warm now.

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