Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Let me know if you are interested in going with me, the more the merrier. Most of them are adding a sport class category. Here are a few shots I have taken during some competitions.
Lake in west Texas
Monday, November 30, 2009
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Thursday I went back to the top around 1:30pm for another flight. There were light winds and a nice crowd on launch, maybe 8 - 10 gliders. I launched first and found a decent wintertime thermal that, once above the ridge, turned on quite nicely and took me 2,400 over launch. Then I cruised out into the valley to play with the VG and test the speed range of the new beast.
After playing a while I went back to find Lucas, Carl, Scott, and others in the air. Twirling around low in a thermal with Scott sure was fun. It reminded me of other "good ole days". After about an hour I was ready to land and headed down to the LZ. Landing the T2C was just as predictable as flying it. Again, the roll response stays good all the way through the stall. Here is a shot of me just breaking the horizon. Thanks to Lucas for taking these pictures. I plan on mounting a camera soon so keep looking. I found this picture yesterday on the web. It's me landing on Terry's T2. I believe Scott took it and think it's great, windsock and all.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Monday, October 5, 2009
Sunday, September 27, 2009
On the ground again I sorted out the problem and towed back up. Somewhere in that 10 minutes conditions turned on and most people took the first start. This left Trevor and me working up together with Lucas coming back to join us.
Just before the first turnpoint I found a climb that eventually turned on and I took it up to over 10,300ft. I didn't really need to go that high but I wanted to take the T2 over 10k just one more time. Making the turnpoint was easy after that. Just after the turnpoint I met back up with Lucas, Ricker, and Trevor. This was the first time the "Lookout boys" were flying together. It was fun.
We separtated on that glide until it was just Lucas and I. We were on courseline and were going good when our driver came over the radio and warned us to avoid an airport that had busy skydiving traffic. It was right in front of me within glide. I looked up to see the jump plane gaining altitude above us. Not sure what to do, I veared to the east to go around it. Getting low now we were in trouble. Lucas stayed more west of me and I headed over to a prison complex hoping there would be some heat coming off.
I arrived with about 1,000ft and found a very small, broken climb. For about 10 minutes I struggled over the prison watching people in the yard playing basketball. I kept thinking of the irony. I am free like a bird, and they are caged in the desert, but we still wanted the same thing; to climb away from this place.
After fighting for a while I was slowly losing altitude. I realized I only had a few more minutes of flight and this was the last one on my wing. So, I stuffed the bar, gained good speed, then let it out for a huge wingover. Afterwards I set up an approach and landed next to the road. It was an awesome final flight.
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Working with Ben and Bruce, we clipped the turnpoint and headed off to the second. This is where things slowed down. We couldn't find any climbs that were solid and they were averaging 200fpm. It was frustrating and my hips and shoulders were getting sore. We limped along to the 2nd turnpoint and finally found a decent climb. They left and I stayed until I hit 6,500ft. After tagging the turnpoint I turned towards goal with 18 miles to go.
I found my last climb of the day just 11 miles to goal. It was about 350fpm. My final glide computer started telling me I had goal made but I didn't trust it as I could see the hotel off in the distance, and it looked too far. So I kept climbing until I had 1000 feet of insurance. Eventually, the climb started fizzling out and I felt that I could make it, so off I went. On glide my numbers immediately started dropping and I knew I was in trouble. I stretched the glide as best as I could and ended up landing 1 mile short.
So tommorrow will be the last time I fly my T2. It is leaving this meet with someone else and I am getting a new T2C. I am so excited but also hate to see this one go. It has taken me on numerous adventures and we have spent hundreds of hours in the air together. Maybe that's why she wouldn't glide on in to goal with me today; so that I would have to set up, fly, then break down one more time. I look forward to it.
Friday, September 25, 2009
Then I made a big mistake. Following 4 or 5 other gliders, we made our way to the turnpoint. As we got lower and lower I saw a small dust devil off to our right. No one else went for it but I couldn't resist so off I went, all by my gambling self. After getting close, the dusty dissappeared and I found nothing. Looking back for the others, I saw them climbing over a small mountain. I tried to make it back to them but landed just short, extrememly dissappointed with myself.
I have had this lesson many, many times before but for some reason I can't discipline myself against it. DONT BE A COWBOY!!!! I am not smarter than everyone else. I need to hang with the pack, especially on blue days. With no clouds I am basically running blind.
I just threw away any chances at a decent finish in this meet. Alot of people (22) made goal today. I sure hope that this lesson will be the one that sticks. It sure does sting right now.
It's all good though. Tommorrow is a fresh new day and I am still doing what I love. Maybe now I can relax and just fly my glider.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
I sure hope the winds relax enough for us to fly tommorrow. I've had my fill of ground based entertainment around here.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
So we had a nice relaxing day off from flying. Most people scattered to do different things in town. We went to Pizza Hut for lunch and then sat around the hotel taking it easy. It finally felt like a vacation.
The hotel was still empty at sunset.
Now the whole area was in a flush cycle and lots of pilots were having to tow back up. I was unable to stick on the second tow and had to re-light yet again. I tried not to get frustrated. Launch closed at 2:15 and I barely made the window, being the last person to tow for the day. Finally, the tug pilot found a climb for me and I was out of there.
I found a few pilots near the 1st turnpoint to fly with. We made that one pretty easily but going to the second turnpoint proved to be quite difficult on account of a stiff crosswind. I lucked out and found a climb to 9,000ft and then went on glide to the second. After tagging the turnpoint, I dove into the big mountains to get a climb where I saw some gliders turning. I was right up against the mountain that I admired yesterday. Climbing up and over the peak was incredible. That climb took me over 9,500ft and I headed toward the 3rd turnpoint. I saw some gliders turning up ahead but realized I couldn't make it to them. Looking off my right wing, I noticed a decent sized dust devil tearing up the ground so I dove towards it. By now I was down to 1,200ft and desparate. It was a rough start when I found it but I held on.
This climb was taking me over what I thought was an airport but I noticed no terminals, and few hangars, just lots of big 747's and a runway. I later found out it is a 747 boneyard. They fly in but can never check out! I wish I had a picture but I was really busy getting out of there.
That climb got me back up to 7,500ft with 12 miles to goal. My instruments told me I had goal by 2,200ft so I left feeling good. On that glide my numbers steadily decreased and I was getting nervous. The air was not as bouyant as I had hoped and I still couldn't see the small RC airport goal. Finally I found it and arrived about 400ft over. PHEW!!
So it turns out I had a great flight after a frustrating beginning. Since the last start was 1:45 and my last tow started at 2:15 I had a huge penalty on my time. I actually ran the course pretty quickly but it doesn't show that in the results. I'm just glad I wasn't sitting in the hotel watching a movie or something.
Monday, September 21, 2009
The first day of the Flats Race called for a 69 mile task with three turnpoints ending back at the hotel. The forecast called for blue skies and lift averaging 700fpm though I feel it was quite less than that.
I wanted to launch early so I wouldn't get caught in line with all my gear on in the desert heat. After getting up, I found myself fighting for lift in a gaggle of about 30 gliders. The lift was spotty and light and took a lot of patience to make it work.
Halfway to the first turnpoint I found a good core away from the big gaggle. They left theirs about 6,200 but I was climbing really well. Should I go with them or take the climb higher? I decided to stay. I left around 8,000 and caught up to everyone at the turnpoint with more altitude. I felt great having made the right decision. Then we were off to the second.
The second turnpoint was near a huge, gnarly mountain. I had one of those "magical" moments and had to snap a picture. It's a bit crooked but I was busy in a thermal. These mountains look so much less forgiving than the ones I fly around back home.
I struggled a bit in that thermal and ended up losing everyone. After getting up to about 8,400ft I left for the 3rd turnpoint. I could see the gaggle there in front turning in something. I arrived a bit lower than them and was unable to find the lift. After hitting the turnpoint I went on glide all the way to the ground. I didn't score all that well but I had a great flight none the less. Arizona is beautiful from the air.