Saturday, March 5, 2011

Allegedly Flying!

Allegedly Flying!

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:
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!

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