Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Day 3 task cancelled

The winds were only slightly lighter than the day before and no cummies were developing. Lucas and I decided to go early so we went to the launch line 2nd and 3rd in position. Once in the air I soon realized that this was going to be a tough day. There was a low inversion at about 2,500ft that we could not get through. The lift was sharp and small, being blown almost straight back to the way we needed to go. I flew for about 45minutes just trying to inch my way out of the start circle.

After a while I noticed that half of the gliders on the ground had stopped towing and others in the air were going in to land. I wondered if they were calling the day so decided to go back to the field. My landing was fine in the turbulence but I watched some interesting landings happen after. Finally the task was cancelled at 1:59pm. So a debate decided that most/half of the pilots wanted to stay here at Quest instead of driving north into Georgia. I wanted to go to GA since I am hoping we will be able to fly to Tennessee this week. Thursday should be blowing SE so maybe that will be possible.

I shoved my glider under a tree and set camp back up. Afterwards I mostly sat around the pond and the rope swing. Later I cruised around with my camera and found Ollie playing with his new bow and I gave it a shot. Turns out I am kind of a natural.

I love this place and have had a good time even though we aren't flying enough. But, I hope we can get to a new place today. After all this is a Rally isn't it?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Day 2 cancelled

Yesterday was quite windy out of the west and was very turbulent. OB and Davis launched while the clouds formed overhead. Since I was near the back of the staging line again, I suited up and walked to the front of the line. Getting on the cart a few pilots came over to inform me that the safety committee was thinking of cancelling the day. I decided to wait a minute. After about five minutes the decision was made - it was too rough.
So it turned out to be a relaxing day out by the pond in the tree stand. Authentic Mexican food for lunch made for a great change from the daily peanut butter and banana sandwich. Looks like today will be much lighter winds so a task of 87km is called. After that we will head to Moultrie, GA for tommorrow.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Day 1 - 67km

Day 1 started out with low clouds and high winds. As the day progressed, the base rose to maybe 4,000 but started out around 2,000. The task was straight downwind to an airport just northwest of lake Okeechobee. I launched late in the launch line but found a decent climb off of tow. I found cloudbase at 3,100 and started on my way.

The thermals I found near the swamp/lake kept drifting over and I had to leave early every time since I was not comfortable in the spotty lift. This eventually put me down just past a small town. I made it about halfway to goal.

Sure was fun getting back into the air again here in Florida. After Dale picked me and Lucas up, we drove up to Quest to sit through the storms that were approaching. Pizza and downloads were followed by a game of poker. Believe it or not, I won the the game at around 1:30am. After that I went to my tent to find that the rain had made a lake inside. So I put my sleeping bag in the hangar and tried to sleep there until the mosquitos ran me out. Then I went to Lucas's car and laid the seat back. Needless to say I have not slept well. Now the weather has cleared and they say we are going to fly today.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Flytec Race and Rally 2010

Florida or bust!

Lucas, Dale and I left for the Flytec Rally Race on Friday. We decided to take Lucas's little Honda Fit and after a few hours of building we had created a nice strong rack. This took longer than expected though and we left 4 hours later than we had hoped. Anyway, we made it to Ocala, FL and got a hotel. The next morning we finished the drive in about 4.5 hours. Now here we are at the beautiful Florida Ridge ready to do some hang gliding.It is a big turn out this year with maybe 50 competing pilots. Wills Wing has shown up in force as I look around and see many pilots setting up their new T2C's - what a beautiful glider.

Today looks a bit windy and base maybe not so high so we'll see if they call a task. I think we will try and go to Quest so that we can get behind this fast moving front. This is gonna be a fun week!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Pyramid Onion

I realize that I have had more aviation related posts here and am lacking on the art side. So here is a pic of something I made a few months back. I call it the pyramid onion. I intended for it to come to a nice sharp point at the top of the pyramid, but a mistake on the saw made that impossible. So, I took some of the scraps and carved the curved pieces to stick on the top. I think it turned out OK. Like Bob Ross used to say, "there are no mistakes, just happy accidents". It's hard to tell from the picture, but this piece is about 40" tall.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

XC to Fort Payne, AL

Ok, ok, I didnt realize I had so many eager followers of the blog and I'm sorry I have let all of you down - all two of you.

I have been flying a lot the past few days since it's been sunny with warm temps. On Tuesday, I launched off of lookout with teh intentions of flying with James on a XC flight towards the south. I launched and found a good climb in front of the bandit launch. As I centered it and circled up James came under me. He either couldn't get it or gave up to look somewhere else as I climbed up to 6k by myself. After topping out behind launch, I had to decide if I should wait on him or go alone. He looked like he was struggling on the ridge with a few other gliders. Maybe I'm rude, maybe selfish, but I went on glide to the south by myself. Sorry James!

That glide took me over Cloudland Canyon and all the way over no-man's land to the Rising Fawn launch where I was back down to ridge level where I finally found another climb. After gaining a few hundred feet, I noticed a mature bald eagle climbing up from below. 7 or 8 turns later he was closing the gap and had almost caught up to me. As he reached my altitude I lost sight of him for a moment. Then I saw him off my left wing coming towards my nose. 50ft before impact he rolled inverted, stuck is huge yellow talons out at me, and dove away to the South. It was a beautiful interaction.

I found a couple more decent climbs on my way down the ridge and also spotted my bald headed friend again gliding out into the valley. I fell into an area of heavy sink and changed my line to try and avoid it. Soon I was picking places to land. I settled on a nice field with no cattle and had a soft landing just north of Fort Payne, AL.

So I flew about 28 miles. A good little XC flight and the first one for me this year. Sure was fun! Sorry, no pictures.