@ Chelan during the 2008 XC Classic
Mon Jul 07, 2008 5:42 pm
[ Mood: Happy ][ Currently: Eating ]
Thursday - July 3rd
Left the house late, 3 1/2 hour drive to Chelan if you don't stop. We got there at about 2 in the afternon. I guess they called the day due to a bad forecast, and there'd been good flying the last several days, so most pilots were OK w/a rest day. Instead we found a nice winery and gorged on BBQ. My instructor called me right about 5 when we were sitting down to eat saying he was headed up, but I was starving, and passed on the opportunity. I also met Holger (saltoricco) camping at the airport. He was the one and only rigid wing pilot in the comp this year (guess who took 1st in that class?).
Friday - July 4th
High winds forecast had people doubtful about whether they'd get some air. We drove up, I had my glider off the truck, but didn't even bother setting up, it was just way too nasty up there. A couple of pilots got off, and to my surprise (and most everyone there...) a PG launched and just parked off launch. She had a collapse that scared everyone, but eventually managed to work her way down and landed on the side of the hill. No other PG's flew, and very few other HG's flew. Many that were set up decided to break down. My girlfriend and I found another little winery and just relaxed. So far not much flying for me, but I've found two neat little watering holes. We're both so lazy after the wine we don't bother checking out the fireworks in the next town.
Friday Night - Stormy weather
An INSANE storm that passed through.My girlfriend wakes me up after the first big flash or two. I start timing the flashes and thunder and the storm is about 1.5 miles away. I jump up and throw the rain-fly on the tent preparing for what I'm sure is coming. Sure enough, we start getting it. The storm passes within about a mile. We got some wind, and some rain, but easily missed the brunt of the storm. The flashes were brighter than I'd ever seen before. So bright I was blinded for several seconds each time. I had to just keep my eyes shut but it was still insanely bright.
Saturday - July 5th
Today is the day to get some air. Forecast isn't exactly great, but we head up. I launched Green Monster for the first time. Recorded the entire flight on video, but somehow managed to overtighten the bracket and when taking it off, it broke off in the camera. I'll have to find some way to get the bolt out of the camera. Worst case I can drill it out, but really don't want to damage it. The lift was very broken, I got over launch, but not many were staying up. As I'd never made the long glide to the soccer field before I left early and boxed the field about 5 times before coming in. I probably could've crossed the columbia river, but just barely to the other ridge and decided I was better just planning my approach for the new LZ. The wind was a bit switchy blowing down then across the field, so I split the difference and ended up with a nice no stepper landing. I did pop up a bit (8-10 ft), but paused then continued slowly with my flair and came down nice and easy. Flight was only about 17 minutes.. So I'm a bit bummed, we're planning on leaving first thing sunday morning.
Sunday - July 6th
Weather is looking much better... Good enough to delay the trip heading back home. I head up the hill early and though the sky is clear and the sun is shining, it appears to be fairly stable. We set up expecting to launch Lakeside. Nobody wants to launch first, as though we're getting some nice winds, they're all cold, and the trees below aren't shaking. I guess this means there's a larger thermal above/behind that's sucking the cold air up. Good for just a touch of lift and wind at the top of the hill, but no so good for getting up just after launch. I can't wait all day (already leaving late as-is), and neither can my instructor, so he decides it's worth launching even if he might not get up.
He launches, and managed to find a nice little something and in short order is up over launch. Another guy launches before me and I wait a bit to see what he's doing, then I launch. I head over to the same bump he's at, but it's close quarters, and at one point he's circling just outside of me (on a Talon?), and we're getting pretty close. I figure I'd get out of his way, as I'm just a noob, and I'm not expecting a great flight, so I figured I'd be nice and give him the best chance he could get.
I head out over a little ridge looking for the Junkyard LZ, litterally an LZ next to a junkyard. I'm having trouble seeing it from the air... but it's likely where I'll be landing. Heading around a burm I'm not finding much of any lift, just doing barely enough to stay up. So I find another little ridge that is within easy glide of the LZ and do my best. I arrive just below the ridge, but manage to sneak my way above the lowest part of the ridge and get just enough climb to start circling and searching along the ridge. BAM! I finally hit something and I'm up, and down, on both sides of the ridge. There isn't much wind, it's just the occasional thermal popping off. Finally I hook a good one and get juuuuust high enough to start scratching my way back up the ridge to the Butte. Damn... I really had to work for this one.
Once at the Butte, I find a really nice elevator and I'm trading king of the hill with the Talon. I notice I'm being much more aggressive in my thermals, getting better climbs, but with larger sink as well, whereas he's got a flatter approach and we're both averaging out about the same. I see my girlfriend leave (what I think is) the Junkyard LZ now that she realizes I'm up and she heads for the soccer field. I get up to just under 6500' and decide I'll head over the river. It's really sinky along the way, but I make it pretty high and am just floating around the ridge out there. No lift, no big sink either, just slowly gliding down. I'm not yet prepared to land out, and there's no good lift where I am unless I head further into the flats and commit to possibly landing out, so I head back towards the LZ and decide to play. Some fun dives and wingovers (probably mild by others standards, but a lot of fun for me!) and I'm enjoying burning this altitude.
Finally time to set up for landing... I've been up high for so long that my ability to judge altitude is a bit off, and I totally blow my approach. I realize I'm coming in high, so I stuff it big time. I float across most of the field in ground effect and realize if I don't make a correction there's some trees at the end with my name on them. I get in a small turn enough to avoid the trees but now I can't properly flair. I run it out and keep the glider from touching the ground, but it's no where near as pretty as my last one. I realize (yet again) that a good approach is the key to a good landing. I remind myself I'm lucky to be on a Falcon, and am making mental notes to not get into a bad habit.
Wow, great flight... Just over an hour, but could've stayed up much longer if I wasn't already late heading home.
Google Earth KML's created using Rick M's schmancy igc2kml converter. http://www.hanggliding.org/viewtopic.php?t=6791
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