Monday, January 31, 2011

A Day for the books.

Fly day 3 - Task Day 1.

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

One more time to try round the lake goofy footed.

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

Valle day one - practice - very fast

I just didn’t know any better.

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.

More tomorrow

Sunday, January 16, 2011

New Twitter

For my current friends and future friends I have set up a new Twitter account. (EWPG) I will use it to provide current and predicted updates on Eastern Washington Paragliding plans and expectations. I will post my weather calls and any known plans by local pilots including myself.

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

They all want to fly now!

With the blessing of 10 grand kids my family tandem days are just starting. - While only 5 have told me that they realy want to go(two can't talk yet), I am betting that 8 of 10 in the end will take to flight.

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.