After 2 sledders and a skunk, Saturday’s 2 hours of airtime was rejuvenating. I’ve got lots of pictures from this one and will be working up a video for this one too. The air was SUPER crisp and clear making the Boulder Flatirons look 2 miles away instead of 20.
The day before had been socked in and raining more than we EVER see here in Colorado. So much so that by 3:30pm Saturday the ground was still saturated. The day started with great NE wind 10-16mph (Straight into launch and unusually strong), right around 10:30 when the predicted trigger temp was hit. However, it was mostly wind w/o thermals. A couple guys got up, Sam made 10k and went 9 miles South early. Sparky gave it a shot around 1:00 in his Sport2 which was great to watch as Leif rallied us up to launch. Here’s MR in his Poison boating around in front of launch.
Mike Jobin toplanding and kiting below
Ok, so I was thinking the day would start slow b/c of all the moisture to heat up in the ground. After the morning cook, the air just didn’t feel like it had any meat coming through launch the whole time we set up. Then we waited a while on launch hoping the heat would start releasing and sure enough, Leif(Red Team wind technician) was stationed on launch when boom, the switch turned on and SE wind pumped in at 5-10mph or so. The cycle stayed so long that him and JY got off in it. Fred and I waited SOO long, thinking we needed to wait for the next cycle, but this one just didn’t seem to end. So off we went. Me first. Then Fred. I think I pulled the ladder up on him!
JY and I got to fly around wherever we wanted really. Here’s him on his Discus:
I kept climbing to 11.6 and then 12.2kft and then burning it off trying to get better at wing-overs…. which I have LOTS of opportunity for improvement on. JY didn’t like the cold so would quit at 10k and then shoot off on little XC’s.
These pictures never do this justice. The thrill of circling close like this is one of my favorite things. Especially with our Lookout crew. JY actually made a tight circle within mine, just maybe 60ft below me which is really shocking to see someone come up like that! It’s fricking awesome! I need a wide angle lens. Here’s a shot of the reflection of the beautiful new Sport2 I’m flying. It still is sticky when starting to turn sometimes, but my instructor said it’s not a Ferrari and won’t turn quite as easy as the U2. Oh well. The sink rate is GREAT on it so I’m happy.
Here’s a wingover (attempt) over the Coors Brewery in Golden:
The wind was SE all the way up to 10k, then it clocked around to almost Due North as I climbed up through 12k. With the tailwind, I thought about heading the 10miles home to land at my house, but wanted to keep working on my wing-overs.
Each time the above Vario (middle graph) spiked down past -600fpm, I was having the time of my life. I”m bummed I couldn’t go to the Aerobatic clinic in UT. All my vacation is maxed out for comps and I’m really torn. I could quit going to comps for next year and spend vacation on the World Record Encampment(WRE) and an Aero clinic, but Comps is where I learn the most. I really shouldn’t be messing around with bigger wing-overs w/o some experienced advice here and there. In the mean time, I hope to just get a feel for managing my energy as I climb out of a dive and start turning. It’s a weird feeling when I’ve gotten to 60mph and then start letting the bar out… wondering how much turn I should initiate, and doing little less every time. Once, on the climbout, it felt like I hadn’t put enough turn into it and I pulled in some as I gave more turn input. Seems like that’s potentially a mistake b/c pulling in sorta off loads the glider some. Seems like I don’t ever want to off load it. Need to think about the some more.
Halfway into the flight, the corner of my eye caught one of us spiraling down with a cravat(SP?). Seemed like he was spinning pretty fast for 5-10 revolutions while 1/5th of his PG was folded under. At one point, while he was working the lines, it looked like 1/3rd of the glider collapsed. About then, he had to quit trying to fix it before we went into the leeside of a DEEP canyon behind launch and he flew the thing with the cravat across the top of the ridge(barely) and top landed on his feet. I hated the feeling watching someone I know in a pretty serious situation. He did all the right things, and cashed in one of his 9 lives. Glad you’re ok Mike J.
Right after that, I stumbled into the thermal of the day. 800fpm at least and I called over JY to grab it too. Later I found out that was the same thermal that initiated Mikes cravat. That one took me to 12.2 where my t-shirt and biking gloves gave up trying to keep me warm. I drove way out over Golden and did my last little session of wingovers and then just followed my nose, hoping to stay low and maybe even land. Here’s some shots going approaching launch and then getting below it.
Above is MR in the Poison(PG), Sam on the Orange PG, Leif(Red Team captain) on launch, and Fred and Mark Roland setting up.
Sam doing his thing. We got below launch together and climbed back over it a little bit and I started heading over the the LZ. It’s a pretty small LZ and it felt like the day was quitting so I didn’t want to share my approach with 5 PGs! Here’s a shot of my shadow as I’m moments from landing.
Here’s the Google Earth tracklog of the rendezvous with Miss Lookout. Ross had a cooler full of PBR floating in ice. In spite of what they say about you Ross, you’re ok with me. LOL.