Great picture by Sam as he PG’d by with camera firing away.
We had 2 or 3 days of 70 degree weather (almost breaking record highs) before a cold front plunged the front range (Denver area) into freezing temps. The consensus was that the ground had gotten a good deep heating and even though our cold front came before daylight, the ground had enough residual heat to cook the cold air into weak but fat columns of rising air. This is all in spite of 100% cloud cover. Cool.
Above: Sam’s pic of me and Kiernan. See the red windsock above the nose of my glider in the above picture?
It bends my mind over a bit to see how much influence the heat in the ground can have. Just another priceless lesson from Lookout for the ol’ gray matter to hold onto.
The PG’s were soaring around 10:30 am! My first flight was 50 minutes. For a change, the thermals were wide enough for me to make big flat turns in them. I’m guessing I averaged 10-15 degree bank angles.
Either way, flatter turns, better sink rate and I was able to get above the PG’s and fly over to Mt Zion and over Buffalo Bill’s parking lot (Above). The Top of the towers disappeared into the clouds like a beanstalk.
I came back to our hill and I burned altitude to attempt a top landing which I missed and landed below.
That was a bummer, but I was going for a hail Mary type of top landing. ;) Above picture, I’m probably 3 ft too high to flare and land…
After landing below and getting back up to launch, I set up again and got 43 minutes more airtime and all of it was below the PG’s and most of it was below launch. The thermals had gotten smaller I think too. For some reason, I wasn’t breathing much and I got too cold also. Even one of my feet went numb and that NEVER happens.
My fingernails hurt that night. Does someone know why that happens when your hands get so cold? I also could use some tips on how to keep my visor from fogging over when I close it. I get about 2 breathes before it fogs and I have to keep it up when it’s 23 degrees out! Now that I think of it, it’s usually only a problem as I get closer to the dew point, but that’s cloudbase. Huh. smart. But cloudbase is the goal so maybe I’ll try some scuba anti-fog stuff?
Another cool thing to do from these low altitude flights is to watch the streamers and windsocks scattered everywhere. It was easy to see them with a standard wind out of the ENE. Then, when the lower rock pile sock would change to indicate SE wind, it was cool to try running downwind of that sock to find the thermal that was sucking the air in. It sure worked well. I usually don’t have enough time at the same altitude to use all that data, but I think the super mellow lift and sink, as well as the Red Bull were helping.
So, real quick, I put together some HD snips from the first flight. But, youtube took my music out right away. So, here’s a silent film instead…
Max Alt: 8kft