Posted by: quienessupa | September 4, 2008

Flying off my favorite Ski Run in Colorado

Steamboat is 2 for 2 on flying trips for me.  It was flyable Friday-Sunday.  We launch at 9800ft and land 3k lower in a smooth soccer field.  During the winter, the ski run we launch off has tree skiing that is my measuring stick for all other skiing.  It’s absolutely epic.  Anyway, my EDS(Oxygen system) starts giving me O2 before I even launch, which is NICE!  I’ll get a video together once I find something that deals with .mov files.

Day 1

The first day, I got my last flight on my Atos-C, which Jim Yocom, Mark Windsheimer and I put lots of time into getting sail fixes and overlooking/replacing any ropes/cables that needed it.  We got her in primo condition for Fred’s first flight on a rigid.

The test flight went great and she was flying nice.  It was cool to fly the mountains with our usual Front Range crew.  Since I was on the Atos Saturday, I got an unusual glimpse of the top of Sam’s orange PG.  Him and MR are circling with me somewhere North of 14k in the picture below.

Circling w-MR&Sam

Sam got a picture of me around the same time, so here’s a shot from his perspective.

I found Fred in his U2 somewhere up here and started playing camera man, trying to follow him and take video.  Here’s a screenshot:

He went out for a city tour and I just couldn’t make the Atos dirty enough to descend next to him.  I had full flaps and was turning myself sideways to the wind, lots of speed, the works.  Here’s another Screenshot.  I’m banked up higher than I’d like to be this close to the ground in the Atos… but I had to get rid of the altitude or I’da hit those houses at the other end.  No winder….

Steamboat Park LZ

Here’s a Google earth of that flight…

Steamboat 8-29-08 google earth

And the usual Flychart readout..

Steamboat 8-29-08 chart

Day 2

The next day, Fred was feeling good about trying the Atos out.  Him and I learned the art of HG from Mark Windsheimer together 5 or 6 years ago and have been flying buddies since.  He’s an H3.  I told him all the basic stuff I could think of to make it safe like remember to pull the flaps on when landing, don’t push out in turns (not yet), thermal around 30mph, and don’t turn low to the ground.  We set her up together and up to launch he went.  After it stopped blowing cross, he ran off and got to circling in a real bug fart.  It was good to see him relaxed in the air right away and already making good use of the sink rate with smooth big circles.  After that, a good amount of Flexies sank out and the PG’s stayed away mid-day because of the wind.  He flew around for 3.5 hours, tying his best duration flight ever.  Didn’t even feel tired when he landed.  Which that went fine too.  He landed in the bigger LZ which is a hay field that had haybales the size of cars to avoid.  He’s hooked without a doubt.  We had the video cam’s out for landing, but he didn’t give us much to work with.  No whack, nothing.

Steamboat Fred Landing

I commandeered Freds U2, since he had my Atos and it was a first for me.  My Sport 2 is great.  This U2 was great.  I think I need to work on tuning my Sport 2 b/c it doesn’t initiate turns so easily.  That U2 felt like I could put it on a wingtip with just a thought.  I loved it.  I was PIO’ing all over the place on glide with full VG, but with some time, that’d be fixable huh!  I landed downwind(8mph) and rolled it in on the soccerfield.  Here’s the best picture I have of flying it.  Got a thermal to 16.8 right off launch and this thing thermals like a dream.

Steamboat BJ in Freds wing

Day 3

A front came in or something b/c it was 100 overcast in the morning.  It was a rewarding day.  We were pretty much at cloudbase before we launched and it was soooo light that we were sinking out slowly… after 10 minutes, Leif found something out in front of the gondola building and we were bugs on stink.  After 30 minutes below launch, this one took me back to launch height, then the rain chased us out of the sky.  A big hawk came in between Brett and I’s altitude and joined in as if we were just some other birds.  Here’s a picture of him..

Hawk over Steamboat

I think he was watching Brett below us too much, and so was I.  The hawk surprised me as he had to flap and throw down his feet to clear my leading edge once.  It was awesome!  I tried chasing him around a bit when I was ready to burn off altitude and the picture is the best I got before he got the higher ground.  If it was a dog fight, I’da lasted 10 seconds.   Here’s a picture of Brett (who thermals like nobodies business).

Steamboat Brett


Steamboat rocks and I can’t wait to go back.  That was just the flying info,.  Seeing everyone at the party Mark C. put on at his house was a riot.  The video Debbie put together was hilarious, and the keg was cold.   I’m going to bed now so I can function tomorrow and maybe get some flying done at Lookout!  I’ve wanted to get a post to this blog every day, and that’s not happening just yet.  It counts as hang glide time when I sit at the computer and type HG stuff, and I’ve been using all the hang glide time trying to fly lately.  More will come!


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