Monday, November 7, 2011
Cycles were coming in west when we got to launch so I made a "rapid" departure following two botched launch attempts. The first Hang just couldn't quite scratch it out. (ten minutes too early, I figure) - I found lift very light early and with aggressive efforts, gain 20, loose 10ft. for the first 15 min to 25 min I was able to push back to the base of the ridge proper and up to about 5,000ft. From that point on it was nothing but lift in all the right places. Dave M and Matty beat me to the top of the ridge and then booked for the West side of the valley for one of several circuits.
By the time I made it back out to 1/2 way between launch and ALTA all 6 bags were making their appearance in the air, Heather, Gordon, Matty, Dave, Dave and Jeff and me (Dave), 3 Daves, what's with that, a very fine crew and everyone got as much cold as they wanted. I flew about until I had to come down due to an appointment back in Yakima at 6:00. Everyone could have flown easy an extra hour or so. We flew back in to ALTA and I think everyone busted 6k or better, I didn't get very high at ALTA, when I went back the valley was shady which kept things quiet until it opened up later. - The video is at about 1 hour into my flight. Boy do I love my mits. -
Bottom line, Cold, Beautiful, Lifty to Base at 6,500 or better. - Wisppys, Smooth and fun. - All bags landed at the bridge to the best of my knowledge.
Video is around 3 min, unedited and simply to provide a condition report
Saturday, October 29, 2011
I almost always rely on XC Skies ground level wind speeds. They were showing 7 mph, (I double, plus a little, that number for launch wind speed which gave me 14-17 on launch and for Rampart that is a way way no go prognosis) I would ever think to fly based on those number, revising strategy now. - But it was Saturday and Gail was working so with a gaggle of Hangs declaring their intent I figured why not check it out. Part of my reasoning was to build more data points in my own mountain WX synapses.
5 hangs in the end and when I walked up to paralaunch who did I find but Dave M. and Jeff Spear. - Yippee it was a lovely day. Max Altitude: 6060ft.
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
I GUESS IT IS GOING TO BE A LONG LONG TIME
Over the next few days I will be doing some writing - Already have one article thumbnailed on safety issues and wing upgrades. - Stay tuned. -
For now just a quick fun one from this summers video archives.
Can you guess the pilot?
Sunday, August 21, 2011
Up pass winds from both the West and East on the surface were to be 4 to 7mph. This is a little strong but you get that with good lift. The conditions on launch were a bit challenging - nothing new there, but a bit of a stronger East push kept us sitting on our hands until the West face really started to move. Until then we had cross winds out of the East.
3 minute video above, 1hr 45min below
When cycles started to come from the SW it was after 2:00. I really had hoped to get off by 1:00. Next time I think we will launch East just below the Hang launch.
Climb out was fast and easy and the crest was boaty and lifty. - Strong windy lift with undetermined, lea and windward sources were the name of the game all day. For one who is not use to mountain flying it was quite disconcerting to not have a clear read on either the direction of the lean of the thermals or their actual source. - After a couple of turns I could figure it out but I was never sure when they kicked off and some were as strong as 5.5 m/s up.
The view up there is just amazing but to give you an idea of the work involved I can honestly say that I spent almost no time looking about and almost all of my energy flying and working for best lift and line.
After my initial climb I got a nice lift in the bowl just south of Alta and then flew on a lift line just east of the peak. I didn't have to turn again until past Chikamin where I was back to ridge level. This is at the back end of the major bowl that you see when you look up valley from the freeway. From the freeway it looks like the last high hill but it is a ridge / bowl that has a S and SW face.
Chickamin faces S and I had to push past it to its West face to begin to pick up my next lift. It was slow to develop but eventually really took off and was my first climb that had a strong SW to NE lean to it. This one sucked me farther into tiger country which was good and bad. It was forcing me to make a call and with the extra lean I began to imagine valley winds in the back of my mind.
Flying high in the mountains is easy, the big problem is at the end of the day and you have to make your calls way before you have all the information. This leaning thermal told me that the West winds were winning and going to pick up. - I was facing a push now to the North that had about 20k left (though I didn't know the distance for sure).
I was certain I could make the next transition to Chimney Rock having over 9,000ft at Lema Two. But it was becoming the point of no return and I just didn't have the guts or other apparati required to continue on. I was already at a point where I wasn't certain I could make it back but thought I could. In hind-sight I should have pushed on.
Back to the challenge of valley winds. - When you get low they can be very strong and I was worried that if I got stuck in big sink I would not only have limited landing options but they would involve major winds based on the lean of my last thermal. So I turned about and ran like a little scared kid hiding from the bully.
The return was quite nice, though I wanted to go West side of Mt. Thompson, but again didn't have the guts. I dove in for the lea side ride back to the mid section of Alta where I knew safe lift was waiting, assuring me of the LZ.
ALTA ALMOST HOME
It was there that I caught the best lifter of the day cranking all the way to 10,300 or so. On the way past the summit I chatted with a hiker who had a dog. Didn't get the dog's name though. (6,250ft) From Alta I pushed West along the crest over Snoqualmie peak and on to Granite Mountain thinking about making a run for North Bend. I was at 6,500 when I decide to play nice and join the crew back at the cars and turned back to land about 3k West of Hyak. (parked in West winds by the way)
I don't know if I would have made it back to Mailbox, the Winds at ridge level were not bad and the sun was baking the ridge between Bandera and Mailbox so I figure it should have been easy but those are more might-have-beens. It was a great day of flying.
Next time, maybe.
Sunday, August 7, 2011
Always fun to try a new launch. A site near Imbler Oregon was on Doc's bucket list and with high pressure dominating the region, well why not.
We trundled up our wives for retrieve adventures celebrating Doc's Birthday and Gail's and my Anniversary (29 year for both). We hooked up with an old school local hang for a site-O and we committed aviation. Doc got about 35k and I came up 10 short of that. - Nice lift to around 7,500.
A lovely day. - We still have to find a less frustrating launch however. We will be doing this again, the place is just 2 hrs from the Tri-Cities and sets up lovely from NW to SW.
Dreaded T-Boomers were well South - we kept our eye on them Dr W.
(Switch Ridge is the name I gave the launch - Switchy cycles made for a very frustrating launch - fake straight up, then blown launch with a North cycle, then same to the South, then finally straight in again and off into the sky - 4 or 5 wing setups on a hot and steep slope)
Friday, August 5, 2011
Tomorrow Doc, Mag, Gail and I will head for a spot east of Pendelton for a bit of mountain flying. The T-boomers that set up are due to line up sw to ne on a track that should give us nice lift out in front.
The boomers are due to reduce later in the afternoon so we should be fine regarding OD. - We will see.
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Flying at the Nationals here in Utah has been a mixed bag so far. – The “practice” day was split into a short afternoon shake out flight and an amazing glass off. Monroe is a wonderful site with big air. Thermals are quite strong and plentiful. I had sustained lift to 5 and 6 m/s which is 1,000 to 1200 feet per minute up. The thermals and edges were nice but the transition prior to entering the thermals were extremely sinky and often quite turbulent. In addition there were bullets mixed in so I got quite a ride when down low. (not a good idea)
The launch is also quite far back in the hills and if you don’t get up it is quite a long glide before you get out over the valley floor some 5-6000 feet below. I think it may be a good mile or two.
The place is just very BIG.
The past two days have been thunder storm days and the gust fronts yesterday were quite impressive. Big CUnims all over the joint with massive cloud structures sitting right on top of launch and over the hills in the region.
The first day of the comp was a nice flight but my head was only half in the game so I left the race before the start and headed back to HQ. – My mind was on my father who ended up in the hospital during the flight. – He is doing well now but at the time I couldn’t focus on the race. –
I was about 5,000 feet or more over HQ and figured I would give the Anti-G another run. My flight deck makes a perfect holding spot for the Anti-G. It fits well and extracts without a problem. A quick toss over my left shoulder and it is deployed. – This time I took two drives into deeper spirals and sustained 8 m/s or 1,500 ft/min down. – I could have held that indefinitely and will try to push it even deeper next time. – At 1,500 down the pressure on the drogue increases and it felt like I was pulling 2 or 2.5G’s (no way of knowing that one.)
With the increased pressure on the drogue the knot that attaches the apex retraction line to the “retraction handle” popped through the guide grommet. This was not a big deal but it made it so I couldn’t retract the apex and the drogue remained deployed. – Once on the ground it was easy to fix and were it to happen again I could easily fix it in the air now that I know what the pop was. My solution at the time was to just bring the drogue in and stow it in my jacket.
As part of the two day no fly we had longer pilot meetings where there was extended discussion regarding pilot safety and the dynamics that allow us or may cause us to be at greater risk. – The consensus has been that while 2liners may pose some problems in terms of their recovery characteristics they are by no means “THE” problem. We talked about task planning and the competition pilot mind set. Serial vs Comp wings and what might happen depending on various ruling body decisions. Nothing has been resolve but it was good conversation.
Sunday, July 3, 2011
Once again I have to thank Dr. David Wheeler for much of the flights success. - He is one of the site gurus and knew right where to go for the river crossing. -
I will post a longer recount of the flight but for now the high points were:
1. flying team with Dave for most the day.
2. Getting up and out from Tibbitts and making that call
3. a mega low save just short of Brewster on the flats
4. Big gift boomers over deep bandlands
5. gliding in and getting out of a locked encampment with Dogs.
I will fill in the details on these stories and more but just one for now.
The mega low save happened after I sent Dave on as I wasn't getting any and the day was late near the end of the flats. - I got up but then got drilled again and was comming in about 1 mile in from the rim in flat flat flat country. I was over a dirt plowed field and was hoping to make a green field just over some low power lines to the West of me. - On final death glide I noted a small dust devil forming to my 9 O'clock. Small it was but its dust was still higher than I was. Then another and another and a line of Dust devils set up perpendicular to my path but one field to my right.
Trying to explain why there were 4 mini Dust devils off to my right all in a line the line concept took over and I figured "convergence" (rim lift vs East Flow). If this was correct then it should continue over the field I was headed for only it was green so no dust. - Hang on this could be bad - flying low into this kind of lift, well anyway - very active flying and sure enough rather than turning on final I turned into a cranker that took me to 8,000ft msl. - And it was off to the races - transitioned over the river and into the high bad lands. - Then on glide with a 17 mph tail wind with nice lifters when needed. -
Amazing gifted flight.
Dave continued on but didn't get as fortunate in the badlands and landed half way to Omak or so. - Great flying with you Dave - And thanks
Forgot to mention: New Personal Best and Site Record 135.3k or 85 miles.
BTW we shared the air with at least 12 Sailplanes - 2 made close hauled fly bys.
Saturday, May 14, 2011
At the end of each flying season I am back down to 225 from to the lack of lunch and regular hikes in the heat of the day.
This year is different - I need to be at 225 or 220 at the start of the season so I can fit into my new weight class "L" on the M4. - 120k is top end and at the moment 227lbs I am at 130k all up.
My hope it to be down to 125k for my first flight. - We will see.
All I have done to loose my first 13lbs was to cut out beer, bread, and candy. - LOW Carb ho.
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
The doldrums and frozen winds of winter have abated and the flowers and thermals of spring are rising from the desert floor. For those of us fortunate enough to fly this month we have found amazing clouds at the top of most of our climbs.
And it has been those clouds and the associated lift that have been different from prior years.
This spring the air at cloud base has been very, very cold. Our spring flying started almost a month earlier than last year. When we look at April 2010 in our league flying, there was only one flight of significance in all of April. This year, however, there have been nearly 20 flights worth more than 100 points on Leonardo. We have been very fortunate to have a number of exciting days and a lot of great flights.
In the midst of this month, I was fortunate enough to get my longest flight ever, both in terms of distance and duration. The setup for the flight actually began two days prior when I decided to take a chance on a somewhat windy forecast for Chelan on a Sunday afternoon. I arrived at launch around 1 o'clock, there were three or four other pilots standing about contemplating the conditions. I don't think I have ever spent as much time on a launch considering the go no-go decision. The sky was menacing, and, as I have learned, springtime skies change very rapidly. This sky seemed to have the potential to blow up at any moment. The cumulus clouds were changing rapidly; the winds on launch where near maximum.
On the one hand, I really wanted to be up in those clouds to see if the lift was good or not. On the other hand, I was afraid of being blown over the back and rotored behind the towers. After a great deal of consternation and discussion, I made ready a launch to Lakeside. Penetration was not a problem; but lift was not particularly prevalent. I eventually left the high wind bowl soaring experience in preference for a landing at Lone Pine. On the way down, I pushed to the West seeking lift and finding none until I set up for a Lone Pine landing at which point the LZ provided a cranker to 6,500 and subsequent lifting line to McNeil Canyon. All this is being recounted as a foundational report for crazy spring clouds. I didn't get to cloud base that day; but with the wind being strong and everything being as bad as it might have been the air was benign. I had been fearful of being sucked into oblivion; yet those massive clouds were mostly frosty mists of fluffy puff. Very cold upper air creates very big clouds that actually have rather minimal lift potential. It was the new understanding that I took into the big flight day on the next Tuesday.
Watching the weather on Monday for what looked to be a very active Tuesday took my emotions and thoughts to a height where I was almost unable to sleep Monday night. Initially it was difficult to get my flying partners to even commit to flying Tuesday. The weather just looked to active. But I made assurances or rather promises that it would be just fine, and a group of seven were finally aligned to assault Baldy midweek.
While big fluffy puffs of cold cloud did not present danger in terms of lift, they did present the potential for precipitation and overdevelopment which can shut down lift. Because of this I encouraged my partners to get to the hill as early as possible. Our earliest prior launch had been one o'clock, and I hoped to be on launch before 11. The best I was able to negotiate was rock at 11, and so it was plus about 10 min.
We drove as fast as we could to the top of the hill, and as we were climbing I was looking about at these massive and threatening clouds thinking I've got to get off the hill. I am not sure, but I bet my buddies were thinking what I had thought on Sunday, "damn I don't know if I want to fly in that." This was my advantage; I had flown in it and knew it would be fine. I was able to leap into the air without the normal cautious mental preparation and launch decision cogitation and associated expenditure of time.
It was that move, made possible by my experience on Sunday, that made all the difference on Tuesday. When we arrived on launch, there was a light northerly flow which normally switches around Southwest at about that time of the day. There was also a large cloud drifting our way from the Northwest. It had the potential to shut everything down. In very short order, I was ready to launch and with the last puffs of the northerly flow I made it off the hill. I made two or three passes on the north side gaining only a little bit before I dove over to the Southwest thermic generator. I knew there would be turbulence in this transition, but I was surprised by the size of the frontal I took as I passed through what I figured was rotor wash from the North slope. My happy little DHV2 handled the event without concern; but it was a little low for my comfort. A quick turn to the right and the house thermal just down ridge provided its normal energetic lift to 7,000 feet or so.
On Glide To Menashtash
The big cloud to the Northwest was drawing closer, and I was at the top of lift leaning towards Menashtash - so it was on glide for me. I had a nice lift line to exit 11. I found the thermal there a little difficult to track down; but once I found it, it worked just fine right up against the boundary of the firing range. Again, I say thank you to Dr. Wheeler for his map in my Garmin. It kept me clear of airspace violations at least my body, if not my wingtip. At one point right at the corner my best guess is that I was 13 feet away from airspace violation, but I was crabbing so my wingtip may have stayed clear. In any event, the track was clear; so I posted the flight.
Menashtash to the Boylston's over Badger pocket was fairly lifty with a thermal mid-crossing; and again and airspace "catch me if you can" along the northern edge of the pocket.
Snow on Baldy
I had one or two good lifts crossing to the windmills; but when I got to the other side of I-90, I just missed the thermal which is usually easy to catch. Down, down, down I went in the big sink that is often associated with being near big lift. Right over the windmills, down through the windmills and down below the windmills until I was scratching at 180 feet off the deck. The windmill towers are 222 feet high and their blades have a circumference of about 260 feet. The windmill save was one of the coolest parts of the flight. I'm sure I was at least 150 feet away from the blades. They didn't seem too close; but they were close nonetheless.
Clouds looking East
Down to the Windmills
The Clouds didn't look promising enough to cross the Big Badlands North to Wenatchee
The climb out and subsequent climbs to cloud base were actually fairly straightforward. I chose northerly terrain as I moved closer to the Columbia. I find that the lift generated off the valleys to the North more consistent and easier to find. By the time I got to the Columbia I had found wonderful lift all the way to cloud base, and I crossed about a mile and a half north of the bridge.
Bundled up and Still Cold
Now the cold began to set in. I can't say for sure, but someone said it was to be 8 degrees at base. If this is the case, then wind chill put the experience at -12. All I know is that with a down jacket and long-johns, my legs were violently and uncontrollably shaking due to the cold.
On the other side of the Columbia there was a very large cloud. As I watched it grow I could see dust devils in the fields below and to the south of it. At this point during the day, as expected, there was a light flow from the South.
It was fairly easy to find lift under the large cloud on the flats to the east of the bridge, and I got up high again. At this point, it was a matter of flying the clouds, and they were reasonably easy to work. Although if you look at my track, you'll see that there was a bit of meandering. After leaving the large cloud east of the bridge, the best of the clouds that I could see and get to were to my South, and the winds were not particularly oppressive, so South it was.
Big Cloud acros the Columbia
Just prior to the crossing of the Columbia my video died so there are no more vids or pics to share, sorry about that.
At one point I did sink out and began to look for terrain features which might indicate lift triggers. I noted a fairly sharp bend in the road and wondered to myself, "why does the road bend there?" This was the first time I clearly realized that bends in the road in the midst of the flatlands indicate terrain anomalies also known as lift triggers(duuhhh.) And so it was that I got the next climb from the bend in the road.
By this point I was about halfway to Saddle Mountain. Immediately to the North of Saddle, running its entire 10 to 15 mile length, are sloping badlands that have a southerly face that generate nice lift. On my way to them I floated, above an unplanted crop circle and drifted into lift coming up out of one of the ravines from the badlands. This West to East badland terrain feature carried me 10 miles east.
About 15 miles West of Othello, I needed to choose between staying on the Badlands or tracking east-northeast with the farmlands. While the Badlands offered potentially better lift, they are also part of a wildlife refuge. I was concerned about landing in prohibited land space and voiding my flight. The farmland also had slightly better clouds set up over them; so I went east-northeast. The lift was reasonable; but it felt like the day was ending.
As I neared the end of the farmland bounded by more badlands to the east, I found myself setting up for a landing. I hadn't yet chosen a field; but was looking for one when I noted that in the next field to the east, three seagulls were soaring in a very large circle and rising. Now I have been saved by raptors, eagles, hawks, crows and such but never by a brace and a half of seagulls.
My seagull thermal was a nice big one to 7,000 or better and definitely enough to clear the rather menacing looking badlands to the East before the safety of the fields of Othello.
The badlands were lifty and a line to Othello cost little. The city itself provided my last big climb. By this point in time, I had been in the air over five hours and my brain was beginning to fry, my ability to focus had waned and I just tried to float.
For some reason my biggest concern was the Spokane airspace some 80 miles away. I really had not considered going due east on this track, and hadn't placed in my mind the reality that Spokane was not a concern. Following this last big climb was a gentle slide to about 1,500 to 2,000 over where the equivalent of a late afternoon glass off provided a consistent continuing lift that held my flight level until it finally died off some 20 miles past the settlement.
I landed in a very nice, unprepared field right next to the road which had been my guide to the East. A press of the SPOT and a call to my friends resulted in the news that retrieved was on its way. Ten minutes of walking and a ten minute hitchhike ride got me to the truck stop where a 20 ounce beer quenched my thirst as I anticipated reunion with the living. Chris and Frank arrived right on schedule, and we enjoyed a nice meal at a bar in Othello.
Long flights like this make for very long, late retrieves, and without friends it would be very difficult to endure. Getting a big flight changes things in my head (just a bit, that is what to shoot for and all) but I expect I'll be on the hill this Friday to try for it all over again.
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Yesterday was a great day to fly if you got into the air and away from the hill early. - Luck had it that I did and it was amazing. = After my quick exit the winds died on the hill and the snow began to fall messing with the minds and plans of the whole crew.
Well I don't know for sure about minds being messed with but I am certain it messed up the plans. Anyway, the thumbnail is: 6hrs 40min and 130km (81 miles for our friends in Rio Linda.) Leo gave me 149km xc miles with all the turns and such. - 6714H was open helping me get to Ryegrass. You will see I needed all the help I could get on that transition. (see video)
I had a supper lucky save during landing set-up at the Windmills. Near froze to death with temps around 8 degree at max altitude adding wind chill figure -12 on glide leaving the top of lift or at some points just cruising the cloud base. I stayed clear of clouds - never even whispied but definitely based it several times near 9,000ft.
- I will post a blow by blow in a day or two but for the immediate satisfaction of the curious here is the track log and a fun video of the windmills close up.
Once again I would never have been able to fly the route without Dr. Wheeler's wonder map for Garmin keeping me clear of the fireing center air space. Easly 30 feet to spare. Thanks David. -
My Flight on Leo
Off to bed now
Friday, April 8, 2011
Amazing Day - Lots lots lots of CU - OD to the west. - tricky to get off Saddle together- most of the crew was 45 min or so after my launch - I got off in an early lull. - But they caught up. - Thermals reported by everyone - very skinny snake like - hard to stay with them - seldom to base then look for another one. - Lots of good pilots were dusted early with a massive sky. -
That was a key challenge and why Conrad's flight was so special - It was very tricky flying - Steve P. took an aggressive pitch and ended up ridge soaring the hills due south of the Dam, - top landing twice in a valiant effort to repeat his Vol Bivi exploits in Nepal. - (unsuccessful)
We all found it almost impossible to make it to base - some lift was screaming, some gentle - I had one full on waterfall 4 k over launch. - Just a great day - On retrieve Randy picked me and Steve TBo up in a chase effort to catch Conrad - we caught him in south Sunnyside and chased the afternoon away all the way to OR. -
Steve P had nice maps in his Big Rig that allowed us to assist as the big C slid into home, just inside legal air space. - Three great low saves - we watched two of them - He can tell the rest
The XC season is off and Running - Until Conrad posts I get to hold his first place cup. - But he IS in the lead - Make sure you post all your flights - top 6 per pilot per month all season long - Build a pile-o-points and see where you end up. If your not on Leonardo then sign up, it is free - If you need help figuring out how to post flights give me a ring and I can help. - If you post flights to LEO but don't find your flights as part of league please e-mail me your leonardo pilots name and I will add you to the NW league List - Remember only US flights count - A part of any flight must be at some point in US Airspace to count.
Last Year's Final Standings:
All the best - Great Crew today and great assist from ground spotter who helped with retrieve. Thanks
Conrad may be home late.
Sorry about the 911 from Steve - don't know what happened but it was distracting in the air and at least one local responder left a note that they were looking. - Don't know the story but would love to hear it.
Thursday, March 17, 2011
So, - this was the deal, - 1:00 P.M. - As Jeff and I got to launch we had light cycles inbound from S to SSE - There was a light to medium light cirrus layer and a fair Cu development at around 5,500 to 6k. As we arrived there were three nice cu and 3 corresponding shadows between Baldy and exit 11. - By the time we were set to launch - 5 - 10 min or less the full flats between Baldy and 11 were totally shadowed out.
In front of Baldy we had a small blocking/shadow creating set of Cu-s - Timing was the trick -- there looked to be an opportunity in 5-10 min. with openings expected as the clouds in front looked to slide east for a bit. - This was the case - We both launched into nice easy cycles and pushing right out front caught 100-300 up 1/2 way out to the airport.
Lift wasn't super solid but was regular enough that we didn't go down. - Winds were S not SW and that effected the lift / thermal shapes.
After a few minutes of play we were up and over the towers and as the core took us up the clouds over the flats to the NE were very dark. Nothing was above us directly but at about 4500 to 5000 I took a whack on the right and felt my wing dragging me up and to the left. - Looking East the clouds were obviously very lifty but not friendly looking - we would have had to go lea side as the windward side of the street was in firing range airspace. To the West we had verga and snow between Uptanum ridge and Mt. Clemmons.
The combination of dicey potential - a windward wack aka rowdy air - rapid changing conditions and being between fronts on the day was enough for me and I pulled in my ears and headed west to clear sky. - I continued to climb for a 2-3 minute or so which confirmed my decision. - Jeff followed my lead and we landed by his rig.
Fun stuff - Bigger balls than mine were needed to make the run - I am sure it could have been done - but I keep hearing Gordon's words: "I could have died" and Mer's "That wasn't any fun" when I look at making runs at big ass streets with certain but rowdy lift.
Spring time is energetic and changes very quickly - It all dropped out by 3:30.
Saturday, March 12, 2011
The good Doctor, Curt, Gary and I spent Friday afternoon playing the ridge at Eagle Butte. A great deal of my first flight was spent parked in trashy air but the high wind disabling technique worked great to finish off my vertical approach and landing.
Method as follows. -
1. Identify left A riser at 50 feet over
2. 5 feet over with toggles in hands grab your left A riser
3. The instant you touch down make a sweeping move with both hands down and to the left creating a left side frontal with your A riser and a full stall with your RIGHT brake. In the same move spin your body around to the right and move quickly to the wing.
It is a bit like a self defense move. It causes the wing to fold in half on its self with the top half nose down so even if it catches wind it just lays in a lump.
The wing drops non-dynamicaly so there is no injury to the leading edge.
Try it next time you find yourself landing in high winds.
Saturday, March 5, 2011
Today we had a wonderful set of flights at Eagle in the Tri-Cities. - Doc, Curt and myself hucked into gentle lift to 4,000.
Curt and Doc reported cloud base climbs with a pair of bald eagles - What a treat!
I think there was some early hang action but it shut down right after I launched so I don't think the non-inflatables got much in the later afternoon.
When I arrived at 1:10 there were three hangs sitting on launch. Curt was chatting with the boys and as I launched Doc was already up and over the back on his second big flight. - Normally 4k is nowhere near high enough for XC but one might recall that when the ceiling is low the spacing between cores is correspondingly short - a direct correlation. So glide to next lift was short.
Doc made a bee-line for Temple View and had he not been out there floating at 2,300 over, I never would have left at 3,000. I caught a lifty line and when I got to him I was lucky to catch my next lifter - lift was light but solid as I watched my alter-ego land out at a local football field. - Sorry Ralph.
The rest of the flight was then a combination of down wind frizbees and light lift maxing at just over 4,000 ft. Cloud base was maybe 4,800 or so.
I knew I had airspace issues but I had violated one of my cardinal rules: I failed to replace the batteries in my 76S, which I normally do before every flight. Driving my wife's car rather than my truck left me two AA batteries short of ready. - As I floated down wind I needed to know where the class E extension at Pasco would become an issue. - It seems that my batteries died as I neared the air space so I have no way of knowing from the 76S if I violated or not.
This is both a reminder to keep your batteries fresh and to make sure you know your airspace whenever you fly.
Had I been able to post my flight from my 76S it might been worth over 40 points on Leonardo, a new "posted" site record linear distance of 25.4k, XC distance 27.1, duration of 1:07, max vario 2.8m/s, min vario -2.1m/s, max altitude 1242m, altitude gain 841m, max speed 55.5k/hr, mean speed 33.0k/hr with two major lift cycles and lots of convergence flying - but that is just a guess. It was a very, very cool flight for so early in the season.
But the post was not to be. I know I landed clear of airspace based on spot. But sad to say, I don't have a 76S record of a very cool, gift/surprising flight. - A similar thing happened to Doc flying DD2 last season as he neared Yakima's class E. - This is a good reminder for the up-coming XC league that we must stay clear of controlled airspace and it is an absolute reminder that ALL posted flights shall demonstrate no violations of the same.
To help us make sure we are clear of airspace while we are flying the tools are available:
I have used Dave Wheeler's map in my 76s for two years now and use it regularly to skirt the air space in and around Yakima, the firing range and Wenatchee - great map and it works great on the 76s - Highly recommend this Garmin map at the bottom of the following page:
XC League starts in April - Rules the same as last year - except I will do the admin work rather than Matt.
1. All details on the league will be posted on the league information site: http://sites.google.com/site/cloudbase/pnwl
2. The league is open to all Pacific Northwest Pilots
3. The season starts May 1st and ends Sept 30 with winners announced in the Fall of 2011.
Best of luck for the 2011 season!
Friday, March 4, 2011
We launched high on the 3rd flight, that is from the high launch. It gave us another 100 ft or so and that along with stronger winds kept us up for over an hour just ridging the lift. - Caitlin is going to make a great pilot. She has the natural lean and good enjoyment of both sky wind and even cold.
More tandems in Yakima tomorrow. -
Friday, February 25, 2011
Wow, now that was cold. - Got to hand it to Doc he kicked my frozen patootie. The projections were right on target.
Temp on launch was 18, flight speed wind-chill=3.
Both Doc and I dressed to the nines, my outfit from inside out included polipro long john bottoms and long sleeve top, pants, snowboard bib-overalls with wind proof outers and quilted liner, poli-pro heavy socks, chem-hand warmers at the toes inside insulated boots. Long sleeve shirt, medium weight wool sweater, down jacket from North Face with down hood, balaclava and helmet. For gloves (still not enough) $250 outdoor research expedition over mitts modified in claw formation. (never failed me till today.)
Details of Doc's clothing are unclear but his mitts were not only wind proof but were so thick that they seemed to need installation into his toggles as part of pre-flight. - a Hang glider trick if I am not mistaken.
I guess you get the idea that it was coooold. It was also very windy. - Winds at RC launch at Kiona were 20 - 25 all day. We don't really think Kilowna is a good launch spot so we launched from a point just up hill and round the bend that we are calling siif for "screw it I'm flying."
Launch was easy in 15 mph winds and it resulted in a catapult to 1,000 feet over in just moments.
We both ran the ridge once, I was 1/2 a ridge in the lead. On my second pass outbound or east bound I was getting very cold and my frozen fingers were fighting with my competitive spirit. - Lift was very strong and the edges of ice cold dry air rising through even colder air were quite turbulent and not much fun. - It was almost like flying in July.
I decided give in and to push out and land in the LZ just to stop the freezing. - It took forever and I had to push way out to get in front of the lift band and the imbedded thermals.
Doc flew over and then I think completed his double ridge or maybe just set up to land as I did - in any event his report was about repeated frustration and inability to get down so he ran east to find a place to sink. - Crossing the canyon he went on out to the winery and found a nice patch of sinking air and "warm" ground.
It was just sooooo cold. - And soooo fun. - Dress warm and join us next time. - Curt also soared his speed wing and Greg through down some kiting. A good day had for all.
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
Fun but cold - Didn't turn a single circle either.
Boring? What did you do this afternoon?
Saturday, February 5, 2011
Last entry for the comp.
Today looked bad and turned out great. – At the start a number of us looked at the clouds / winds and projections and determined not to fly. – But as the launch window progressed it looked better and better.
The start line had formed and it was looking like it might take more time than I wanted to wait so I checked in with the launch director who confirmed the priority line was for the top 50 pilots. Cool – I was 47th at the start of the day so I got to slide right and move ahead of the line. – It made a difference – I made the start gaggle just fine and had a great start.
The glide across to Kings was fine and a very easy push in lots of lift avoiding clouds and pulling big ears on occasion made for an enjoyable Divisidaro run – 2 k cylinder there and then a push to the 4k at La Pila. – Lifty line to start with then cratered near the tag.]
My next call was the mistake for the day and the only one I got. – I dove for the ridge at 3kings. Those who stayed out in the valley with the light sun got up but I didn’t on the ridge. – After a valiant effort I bailed for a ridge top where two other pilots had landed.
I didn’t give myself enough height to land with the boys and I slid a bit farther down the ridge top. – No problem with the terrain but it was covered in bushes – let me put that a bit different covered in the El Diablo’s thorns. – These bushes which reach 15 feet in height are covered with spike like thorns about that are about an inch long, tough as steel and sharp as a needle. – they are so sharp that at the thick end they are less than 64th of an inch in diameter.
How do I know these details? My right ring finger has intimate experience with the little buggers. It entered in the top flesh center left of the middle phalanx. – It skewered the flesh to the thumb side and almost came out the anterior side of the finger. – 2/3 of an inch and fully buried.
Ouch – but not near the pain one would expect. – We tried to pull it out on the hill with my Leatherman with no success. So we hiked to the road where the first rig to come along was the event ambulance. – They were so excited to have a patient that the truck behind which had the recue crew had their lights flashing as we drove a few miles looking for a safe place to stop on the mountain road.
The E.M.T. wanted to work on me with the rig moving but after a couple of shots he gave up and waited till we stopped. – We worked on it for 5 minutes until while trying to pluck it out the sharp end started to hurt against the EMT’s fingernail. I complained and when I did both EMTs realized at the same time they should be pushing from that side against the sharp end and the dull end which was what they were trying to pull out would pop out. – Sure enough – pop it went and my finger was whole again.
They kicked me out of the ambulance – I didn’t pay – so it wasn’t professional medical attention and I was now on retrieve at the side of the road like everyone else.
Flight home now – Took my penicillin which I always travel with and will get a good night sleep.
Think I finished about 50th or so.
Friday, February 4, 2011
I almost always join in in such events and yesterday was no exception. I learned a couple songs fairly well and a couple I could humm. – It ended in a lovely mass and more communidad.
Today many thought it would be canceled or – I don’t know – I say go to the hill and fly, after all, it is Valle.
Nice task, I jumped right on the gun and was first off the hill just as the launch window opened. – The director, at just seconds later, was running to launch to say – “wait wait wait, has anyone launched?” - just as I launched it started to rain – I flew right into the beginning of a little squall and he wanted to hold or push everything back 15 or 30 minutes – but nope – I was in the air and it was too late.
It turned out great because had we delayed it is doubtfull anyone would have made goal. –
The afternoon really developed into an active system and most were happy to be on the ground in the later afternoon. –
I had to make a tight little save right after launching – it was just starting to work and a hard ½ hour of work paid off giving me a wonderful flight – I was very close to not scratching out and was the only comp pilot in the air so all eyes were on me at that point – nothing else to do on launch till the rain stopped.
Once it cleared and I got up it was routine – Made it to the very end of el spina for initial climb into the start gaggle and it worked well – The glide to the first point was easy and my line gave me a boomer right at the tag which made Meguey easy. Got some friends there and had a convergence line back to SerGordo.
Out front of that I found myself distracted and lost some very nice lift. – I never really got back into it or got high again – just sorta bebopped along in what seemed like boaty convergence but it kept letting me down and next thing you know I was looking for an LZ.
I landed with JC in a nice field and we had an easy walk to a cab for the ride back. The landing was a bit vertical – setting up over 130ft trees then dropping in – reminded me of my landing at Lion Rock. Anyway I slid in through a gap in the trees and set down sweet.
Tomorrow I have to do well to get back into the top 10 US pilots in this XC flying event with waypoints. – No competition only fun and good landings.
Thursday, February 3, 2011
Had one masive colaps sliding down the back side of crazy hoping to make the rim - at about 300 feet agl - I was thrown - my instraments detached from their velcro morings and I had to reorent myself before I found nice air over and in front of the rim.
Sorry bout the spelling - blogger thinks this is spanish and it is all wrong.
maybe we will fly tomorrow maybe not.
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
Day three of the comp.
Today I was much more relaxed. Launch line was not a problem and I decided to take off at about the same time as yesterday. 11:30 – This gave me an hour to get set for launch at Crazy. – It worked just fine. – I wasn’t in great lift at start but I caught some about 20 seconds later and took it up and then followed, watching the pack for the best line.
I happened to be about mid way between El Spina and Crazy so as I headed out the majority of wings were to my left. – Few if any left from El Spina as yesterday. – The effect of this was that I was just about the furthest to the valley side of all the wings.
I kept looking in to see if anyone was doing better than me but I was getting the best of it and just continued on. – I tanked a couple of turns at 3 kings and continued with a valley line that worked great – I took it all the way to Divisidaro and tagged with lots of height. – then I went back to the ridge to gaggle up to tank up for the push to La pila.
I had a couple chances to join some crews on the way out but they just didn’t seem high enough for me so I stuck around till I tanked up to 11,400 or so. Then I left with a group of 4 or 5 and we worked together to get to the 4k cylinder. – I tagged first I think and it was mega sink at the end and on the way down the canyon. –
I just hoped it was going to work – the ridge slope to my left that is. – It did and well – The ridge is a wind break and hot looking – Up I went and took a ride all the way back up 3 kings. – It was a joy to fly that ridge and it worked great. – At the top the ridge is the saddle to Meguey and I expected no problems but it was a feisty little bugger today and it took multiple efforts of pushing out and back and up and out before we caught a climb that would work to put us on the rest of the course.
At this point my lack of local knowledge killed me – I went for the convergence line which was great for flying but not for the task – I should have headed direct for the way point and then back tracked to el spina but I went out towards the convergence over the hills in the front with the idea of getting stinking high and doing it that was.
It worked for the 500m tag of the way point back near el pinon – I had 11k or so to start but the tag cost me some altitude and the move back to the convergence didn’t work. I figured to catch some lift near Jovans but it didn’t come together so I tagged the 6k cylinder and scratched for a bit and then landed for a great lunch.
Good day – but no goal. – More XC flying with waypoints.
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Day ? – task day 2
Goal for me today was goal and goal it was. Never thought about racing only about staying high, finding the convergence line – staying with other gliders who were climbing and having fun.
I thought my good flight yesterday - 18th place for one day would let me avoid the line. They gave us priority launch based on number of turn points. So I could step in front of the line if I wanted. Too bad the whole bunch had amost launched by noon and by the time priority opened the line was gone. -
It was all good - I made it out, up and over and mid gaggle for the start - I am getting better at waiting and watching and using other wings for lift lines, convergence and thermal spoting.
The run to the first turn point was fairly easy, got to Meguey medium high and several gliders were marking the lift. - I took it for a couple of spins but it was realy drifing back so I pushed out front and found the next lift down stream which took me quite high -mayby 10k or so. This was enough to push along the rim and then punch back to catch the turn point and glide back to the lift at the 3kings saddle. -
Up and off from there - got high and headed out with a group of wings below and with me. Got over or near Sergordo(sp?) and found some nice lifty stuff and had a partner at that point. We worked it up and back and pushed forward for to the next lift for a while. - At some point we seperated and I was tailing a couple of wings above me to the second waypoint.
Spotted a group climbing out in the flats and joined up with them, climbing to over 10k and it was play the convergence game from then out. - Realy quite easy flying - though I was worried all the time - realy for no reason - just was tense. - I forgot my beta-blocker this morning and felt a bit stressed with high BP and low energy.
After the 4th turn point it was just up up up - on glide to turn point 5 and goal I kept going up in the convergence even though I was on bar for most the run. - Nice job if you can get it.
Hardest part about today was my shoulders were hurting from the long flight yesterday and today was over 4 hours – task time 2hrs 51 min.
The other challenge was getting down at the end of the day – it was lift all over and at Valle I had to go out over the lake, find light lift and spiral down. – It was something else, the convergence was just so strong it was real hard to get down. – After 4 hours I wanted down.
Just a great day. - With the second day points posted I am now in 35th - lol - but I made the top 10 of US pilots. - Just fun to be in the game.
Tomorrow – more XC with turn points. – though the difference for 3 minutes into goal was almost 50 points, enough to cost me 5 places - though I wasn't racing right, it is XC with turn points. - I am coming home safe.
Monday, January 31, 2011
Crazy launch – with lots of wind – folk just before me got hammered and thrashed. – They will have to tell the story. I got lucky and when I was on launch it was mellow and no worries.
Launch was fine and initial lift was fine as I went out to find that my right speed was not connected. I pushed out and got away from others and connected up and headed back and caught lift to 8k or so. At the top it was out to the Rock and I just made the corner. – A little save and then lift to well above El Pinon level and over it. I passed over El Pinon and was just a bit low to go direct for the wall so I went out into the middle of the space between El Pinon and Crazy and caught a nice thermal up and onto the mesa.
With the late launch I was scrambling to get up and get high to join the gaggle before start. – The start was the Piano plus 5K which meant that you could be near the edge of the mesa and leave to Divs from there. – There were lots of gliders in the start gaggle and I just got up to the base of them as we moved into start configuration.
This worked to my advantage because there were enough gliders behind me and enough in front for me to top off the climb and then head for Meguey. On that track from high I could see all the crew and where the lift was and it was inland rather than on the majority line which was out and closer to the Kings. – I just cruised along mega high comparatively and made good lift over the rim near Meguey. – From there it was a textbook run down the ridge using the “above the rim” line. – Been there several times so I was very comfortable and topped off all the big lift cycles.
Divis was nothing – I was high at that point and I topped up as well then back but now the pack and pickings were getting a bit thinner. – By the time I was at Meguey on the way back it was an R10 again that teamed up with me. – We took a deep line over the peak where it usually works but it wasn’t there. – This required a dive back to the wall and a bit of close work and pushing out until we both got it. – He had headed back first but I could crank closer to the wall and got to lead the way up and back.
At about 9 to 10k above he peeled off and I kept climbing to 11,500 or so before the end of the climb – by then a couple of other wings had joined me and I let one of them head out first – I just stayed high and kept someone below me as best as I could. By this time I was starting to get drilled and I was hoping for a bit of lift in front of the hills but didn’t find anything and had to bail over Saint Agustine at treetops plus a couple hundred or so.
I remember hearing from someone that if you don’t get up there just bail over because it can be lifty lea side and it is down wind and down hill so you will make Jovans for sure and maybe find a bit of lift. – That is what happened – a bit ratty but lift here and there and I drifted with a couple of others as we worked it as best we could till light lift and drift began to consolidate.
Now the fun – A nice big – likely the biggest of the day thermal developed right up and out of the flats just south and west of Jovans. – This boomer – Not mega lift but solid rocked all the way to 13,850 according to my leo track with compensation for launch altitude. – This was a new max height record for me! Yippee. It also made for a great high line for the second turn point almost 12,500 at Salcos and glide on return.
Even with that height and a bit of a lifty line/ convergence just before Jovans I wasn’t able to tag La Casa and had to settle for (not that I am upset – I am jumping off the wall) a landing in the soccer field by Jovans. – A quick fold up and pack and as I got to the road the van was just loading its last glider and up mine went and a quick retrieve to the lake.
At the lake I had my required beer and food. – The flight lasted almost 3 hours and 40 minutes with over 50k - 49.5 official score I think. We will see what tomorrow brings – Chances of getting as lucky two days in a row are slim – I will keep pushing but try to remember it is a XC flight with way points not a race – right Steve – keep reminding me.
All the best to all of you
Sunday, January 30, 2011
Day 2. last day to free fly.
Today was very nice for flying – the wind was a bit strong but not overpowering. Launch was fine as was climb out – again up and out. I was with the early birds at El Pinon and dove right back to the wall after a couple of passes back and forth at the rock. – The wall had some nice sharp action and it took very little to get up and over and back – This climb topped out around 10,600 ft.
A short little trip to Crazy as the wall climb ended up mixed with the G spot. – Crazy was – at least in one spot – man did that thing rock the wing. Final climb was to over 11,400 and I figured with the big gaggle that had formed we would blow over to Maguey – but nooooo. It was only 11:36 and the task start was at 12:00 so everyone just hung around.
I had no interest in hanging out so when a couple of gliders bugged for Maguey I did as well. – I had lost over 1000 feet in the mean time but that was ok. – Got to Maguey with lots of height and after a little futzing about we found the boomer that made the ridge run much easier than it might have been. – It was still a challenge – particularly at the end of the ridge – I ended up lower than I would have liked at Divs but climbed out just fine.
Only one other wing went out there – of course it was an R10-2 but we played nice. – he got nice and high while I groveled then pushed out west. – I hung on the ridge got up a little bit then took the dive over to the hills north of Santo Tomas & Colorines - this is kinda a no fly area because of power lines and canyons but with height it was no problem.
This dive was part of my on going effort to make it round the lake from the west side. This was my second try and I am not done trying.
A long hike out left me tired and sore but I’m looking forward to tomorrow.
Saturday, January 29, 2011
Day one in Valle, - my plan was to get established between Divis and Megy (sp on both bad) and then work round the back side of the lake.
Best laid plans. – I also heard about the task – which was to go to Agula via espena etc. – then Divis then the lake.
On launch I helped Doug get set up and that put me back just a bit which worked out to be perfect. – From the time I put my helmet on to leaving espena was less than 30 minutes – I was on glide to El Pinon less than 5 minutes after launch – One fast climb and I hit top of the stack just as the big boys were leaving for the task. Perfect. – nice line to El Pinon then straight back to the wall – two passes maybe 2.5 and I was up over the lip and with nothing but R10’s - worked up through G and pushed forward to Crazy then up to about 11,200ft and it was off to the races down the spine and round the circle.
You can only keep up with R10’s with a dhv2 if your thermaling - - now it was glide and I was soon with a small gaggle of wanabees – we pushed on toward Agula and I eventually lost them and I started to go into XC mode. \
Where to go – I had no allusions that I could make it back to Divis with the thrashy windy air so I figured if I could make it home to the Rock it would be good and I might be able to get up and dive towards town. – Oh well – not a clean enough line to the Rock and I landed in spicy land.
Sunday, January 16, 2011
The main reason I am setting this up is to notify my list of Tandem students who want to fly. I needed an easy way to tell them all to call me if they want to Tandem on a given afternoon.
It will also work well for those who want to use it to keep up todate - very current on a given XC day this spring and summer. - If someone asks: where are you flying? I can tell them - arn't you following my tweets at ewpg? - That is where I will post current plans.
Hope I get lots of followers and lots of flying as times goes by.
Sunday, January 2, 2011
But Timmy is the first and at age 5 he said yes when his older brother and sister wanted to go horse back riding with Grandma. So it was a day with Grandpa - SUBWAY, Hot Chocolate, McD's and all.
The drive to Cliffside for us is 1hr and 10 yet I had never flown this amazing place. Conrad didn't want to waste the trip to eburg when the calms set in so he joined the crew on the way down. Total pilots on the hill was a bakers doz or better. - a couple tandems and lots of smiles.
Many flew as long as their fingers could take it - Doc nurced it to a thousand over.
Timothy was amazing - he whooped and weeeeed all the way - starting off, after getting his grips relaxed he spread his arms and flew like a bird. - Later you will note he was steering with weight shifting feet. - True natural.
At the end of the flight besides asking to do it again he wanted to know when he could do it by himself. - End of the summer I guess - depends on how many times he comes back for lessons after I get my ticket. (btw anyone worried for his safty check out the HIGH Gs landing he had to endure.)
Enjoy your Grand Kids or Kids or friends - such enjoyment is even more important than flying.
It is great when you can do both at the same time.