lol i hate those kind of aproaches where you come in high and its very boyant, you just dont come down at the same rate so you end up hanging around at the base end.
one flight in france i forgot my nose cone, scared the crap out of me the whole 20 minutes or more it took to get down from the mountin.
worse yet i started the same beating up and down the base leg (it was longer about 500-700m worth) and i wasnt losing any hieght. 6 beats later i was at the same height flying in zeros, any other day i would have loved it.
it was latent heat coming off the road, i just bit the bullet and crammed the bar into my waist, found it funny after i landed. _________________ fly2 tandem (aerowtow training)
falcon 2 and 3 195
aeros Target 16
wills wing eagle 180
Airwave Sportster (L)158
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That was pretty scary, Jonathon. I wouldn't fly an ultralight in those conditions
let alone a hang glider. You showed good skill flying it but I'm not so sure about
your judgement in launching. Nevertheless, I'm glad you got it down safely and
gave us an opportunity to watch the video. I suppose if the winds had been
laminar, it would have been a very entertaining flight. Apparently, Nevada really
sucked yesterday. _________________ Freedom 170 FR
It has been a long awhile since I had to launch with 3 wiremen. Right now if I think i needed that many my glider would not come off the truck. If I were flying a lot I might feel differently. then again...
FOR ME - I think I would be counting how many wing assist do i need then is it worth it? It is all with what you want to put up with.
.......I suppose if the winds had been laminar, it would have been a very entertaining flight.....
Bob - I've launched the same spot in equally high winds w/ just one wire assist and it was glassy smooth once away from the hillside. Also, the winds aloft were only half of what they were yesterday. There is a powerful compression on that launch ramp that can double the ambient wind speed. As it turned out yesterday, there was no compression and what you saw on the ramp was more or less the ambient wind speed. As a result, I climbed 1200' above launch in 2 minutes.
My plan was to climb to 6,000' MSL and fly 22 miles downwind to the beach. Had it not been for the strength of the turbulence I probably would have made the 22-mile run to the beach which would have taken about a half hour. The forecast showed a strong lapse rate from launch, extending 15 miles or more toward the coast. There are bailouts along the way. I drove the same route going home and based on my observations of thermalling birds en-route, the lift was there.
As KLH mentioned earlier--launching is optional. What I failed to mention during the narration was my decision process regarding the choice whether to back off the ramp and break down. There was a limited window within which I was willing to launch and I was about a minute away from simply backing off and breaking down.
Note: Resorting to emotional dialogue suggests that the pilot/poster fails to grasp the concept of risk analysis. I believe my editing and narration amply demonstrates that my flight decisions were based upon expereince and reasonable forecasting and predictions about the flying environment. In other words--calculated risks as opposed to emotional decisions.
If a pilot is making emotional decisions I feel that he or she is far more likely to become a statistic than a pilot who takes greater risks but is calm and analytical about the decisions they make. Hang gliding is an inherently emotional expereince however that should be balanced with calm objectivity.
At some point I suppose conditions could get extreme enough that I would say, "No, I will not wire crew for you right now". I don't know if what I saw in that video would have met that standard. Maybe I should set a rule for myself that I won't assist if I can't keep my hat on. _________________ H4 + various skills (only foot-launch so far)
WW UltraSport 147, WW Falcon2 170, PacAir Vision Mark IV 17
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You made the best of a bad situation Jonathon. I can't comment about the wisdom of launching because I don't know the site.
I've flown my Fun 190 from Three Sisters and Spion Kop in 28kts (32mph). I've even ground towed it out Dynamic Flight Park at about the same wind speed. Sandra Holtkamp had the tow car pegged in reverse trying not pop the weak link. On all of these occasions it was safe (enough), but really not much fun at all.
I'm sure you assessed the condition as "safe" otherwise you wouldn't have made the decision to launch. I guess my point is that it's hard to make a call on someone else's perception of "safe" from the comfort of your office chair. I must say though, it really didn't look like you were having much fun.
The pucker factor is directly proportional to windspeed. _________________ Started in 1975, I think I'm starting to get the hang of it now.
As you've said, you had one great flight when the winds in the [EDIT:] acceleration zone were similar, and also now one - I trust you'll agree - where the conditions were unpleasant and with more risk attached.
So next time you're up there with the wind blowing at the same strength, what will your decision be? And how will you decide? Is there any way to predict wind gradient?
I say this because we too have some inland launch sites where the [EDIT] acceleration zone is very strong. Once in the air it's fine, but the trick is getting away from the hill safely. I therefore base my decision on whether to launch not just on wind strength or gust factor, but on *the length of the lulls*. I'll sit on the front without my glider for half an hour or so, feeling the cycles. If the lulls last consistently between 40 seconds- 1 minute, then I am confident about launching. If the lulls are highly variable, or less than 40 seconds, I don't launch. I also wait through at least one lull when hooked in my glider before launching to check conditions haven't changed.
I've seen pilots get caught out by short lulls - one step into their run and they're going backwards or sideways.
I'm not sure if my decisionmaking process is appropriate or not but it's the best I could come up with for the particular nature of the sites where I use it, because I know once away from the hill the air will be good. Your situation is different, because you could have trashy air on launch AND trashy air away from the hill.
Having defined limits on which to base decisions really helps and helps more the more I use them. Maybe there are some that you can come up with for your situation, that take into account potential gradient etc. Maybe you could check out the LZs first, and decide not to fly if the wind there is above a certain strength? I'm not sure if you have access to meteorological data that shows not just predicted windspeed but wind speeds soundings but maybe that's another thing that you could factor into your decisionmaking before you leave home? Probably you do that already. THen, when you're standing on launch, you have a bigger picture and more info to feed into your decision-making. Or maybe you already do all these things.
I'm thinking that without defined limits you could easily decide to launch in stronger winds next time, because there were no serious consequences (other than an unpleasant flight). But then it would be easy to keep increasing your margins until an accident is inevitable. I set my defined limits based not just on my own experience but on those of pilots whose approach to safety I respect.
Have fun, stay safe! _________________ Cheers from Down Under
Falcon1 170, Fun 190, Malibu 188, Malibu 166, Shark 144, Litesport3, Adv, GT, SO
Last edited by hiflioz on Fri Feb 04, 2011 2:12 pm; edited 1 time in total
....The pucker factor is directly proportional to windspeed.
You said the magic phrase--pucker factor.
DanTuck, who was on my right wing mentioned that same expression this morning. I called him to suggest that today's forecast at Elsinore looked very good and he should meet up w/ the crew and go fly. Hopefully, he'll have a good report and maybe even some nice video footage too this evening.
I can appreciate what you're saying about flying an SS glider in those conditions, even if the wind was laminar. It's not only not fun but can degrade one's enjoyment of the sport over the long haul. The XC flying that I others do may place us in considerably worse air than what I encountered yesterday.
Here's an even more recent example from a fellow member of the Sylmar club that happened in seemingly benign conditions at our local site: http://vimeo.com/19423901
Another thing I failed to mention in my narration from yesterday is that I was concerned about the possibility of the glider being flipped and having to deploy. That would mean dangling and drifting into the terrain at 30+ mph w/ little or no control over my trajectory. I couldn't just stuff the bar and get down either. Any added airspeed amplified the effects of the turbulence proportional to the square of my airspeed. That too can mean loss of control or in-flight pilot injury.
As many pilots can attest, getting down safely can take even greater skill and determination than going up. It's a fact of soaring flight.
Ahh Helen I do enjoy your posts, I think it really shows the thinking of a pilot who has achieved over 1,600 hours.
We have all followed Jonathan's posts over the last couple of years and have expressed our concerns, I hope he is listening and more importantly taking in your advice.
My main concern with that launch was the weight/twang from the left side wire. I would not launch until I get a "no weight" sign from both wing wire men. _________________ Sonic 165
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Last edited by relate2 on Thu Feb 03, 2011 4:18 pm; edited 1 time in total
....My main concern with that launch was the twang from the left side wire. I would not launch until I get a "no weight" sign from both wing wire men.
Interesting observation Robert. I went back and reviewed the footage from that scene and could see where you may have drawn the conclusion.
My side wires were actually slack and dangling. John on my left wing was not really exerting any pressure. They had both given me a verbal "no pressure" indication moments before I yelled "clear". John followed me with his hands as the side wires tensioned and so it looks like a twang.
John flies R/C slope gliders which, oddly enough require a similar launch in strong and gusty winds. The glider is launched w/ a neutral attitude to the wind. That means there is little or no lift on the glider and it released in a dive and then the pilot pulls up after the glider is flying. In conditions like this I launch a neutral glider that is producing minimal lift. It is merely my personal technique and I cannot comment on how others would launch in similar conditions.
Hi Jonathan, just one more comment about launching in gusty conditions. I have experienced a launch as Helen stated in that I took one step and the wind went from 18 knots to I reckon around 25-30 knots and it was only good luck more than good piloting skills that got me away safely that day.
From that day I recalibrated my go/no go launch conditions to much safer variables and have walked away quiet a few times since then.