(all these great pictures by Sam)
Red Team was deployed today at O1200 hours. Matt W. was deputized an honorary member and stepped up as wingman. Leif was suffering hard time in work meetings till late. The PG’s were already out there soaring when we got going. Maybe half the time from Noon till after dark was soarable? The PG’s tried to go XC around noon and I heard they got cut off at I-70, then made it back as far as Wrigleys, nice choice.
It was pretty strong NE when I got there(12:30) but weakening as we set up.
Flight 1: Got launched and had 22 minutes and reached 8500ft before sinking out to a top landing (YEEEHAW)… In transition from holding the basetube to the dntube I hit the right dntube with my hand and popped up and turned a bit left. Flared great in the bushes just behind the launch clearing, but I think my little turn was sending me too close to Matt’s U2 that was set up on launch! We laughed our butts off over that little “situation” that was unfolding.
Flight 2: launched, sunk out.
Flight 3: launched, sunk out. Then I planned to go home and have dinner… but Sam was just showing up after work and reminded me of daylight savings and how much the day might have left in it…
So I aborted the trip home and the Red Team (Leif and I) shifted into high gear to get our wings back up to launch (See bottom of this picture).
Paydirt: Flight 4, the NE wind wasn’t weakening and acting NWestish, as might be expected when the day is about to be over. It was slowly ramping up. Also, with the forecast for 10-15NE into the evening hours, the glass off potential was too much to ignore.
Some PG’s were back up and hanging in there… MR had low save after low save and it was by far the flight of the day. Watching it was brutally amazing. Also, Kiernan in his new Maverick had taken all my smack talk on launch and cooked it up into a nice crow pie, served to me with some Irish zest. Anyway, Kiernan and MR had top landed and called it a day when Leif and I were in the squealing 4runner express to launch. Imagine if he outfitted his Subaru STI with HG racks….
Anyway, after nearly having a heart attack from running up to launch with 90 lbs of monkey on our backs, we set up blazingly fast and ran off the hill. It started off like a glass off. The shadow of the mtn had grown half way to the LZ and the air had weaker, but more cohesive thermally areas that an HG could work a little better and it was buoyant overall. A nice breeze was coming into launch of maybe 10-12mph so the ridge lift didn’t hurt. Then Sam, Leif, and I could find fingers of lift under the high clouds that had formed and lined up E to W. They looked like wave clouds, but were softer and probably convergence lines as the front squeezed the existing airmass. (Below Pic by Chris W., our esteemed RMHPA Webmaster)
I tried a few times to follow them out towards the Table Mesa’s and got mostly zero sink. But with only 4-500 over launch, I didn’t want to risk loosing that lift and not making it back to the safety of the ridge lift by launch. Back at launch, everyone was taking turns flying with Ian’s RC plane (FPV), which flies via a wireless video feed. It’s amazing seeing Ian down there with goggles that look like some kind of blindfold while he’s controlling every movement of the plane and video cam swivel. The RC plane is bottom left below:
Check out his video here(starts with PG’s then there’s Leif and I in our Sport2’s)(Red team takes a shot across said pilots bow): http://www.vimeo.com/3555031
It’s the first time I’ve let my urge to dive at RC planes overtake me and I hope he didn’t mind!
Also, with my sprogs turned down, this Sport2 has a much better feel when tossing around. The bar pressure is lightened so I don’t end up getting pushed into a head-up position when wanging. It was a great feeling getting into some higher speed flying again and feeling the ground rush blazing over the wind streamers over launch. Everything I needed in a flight finally came together… after 2 previous days of trying to fly.
I got some big wing overs(for me)…. 90 degrees and a couple that rolled past 90. Probably too close to the ground, but they just felt too right. The big M was already lit up I think when I made my 2nd top landing for the day. It was perfect, but right in the same bushes I was in earlier. I relived some of the flight with Sam as he packed up his PG.
Flight 5: Launched again to go enjoy a few more wangs and to chat with Leif. I probably could have soared but needed to make it a sledder because of how dark it was.
Getting back into soaring after the 2 week trip to Central America has been rejuvenating. I know that’s a small break, but being away from internet, cell phones, hanggliding.org, the ozreport, constant weather research, yadda yadda makes it a healthy clean break. That was a necessary thing for me!
I can see how some people get enamored with surfing and the lifestyle and some are willing to become homeless for the thrill of it. I feel that way about HG. I have spent a fair amount of time in college and life focused on other sports like skiing, boarding, mtn biking, motorcycles, and done them all with similar enthusiasm. Maybe it’s just me, or maybe HG is that amazing, but it makes all the other sports feel like something is missing now. They used to be 100% satisfying. In a way, it’s sad, but it’s just life I guess. The song fits that sentiment, even though I think they’re talking about a drug addiction. Can’t wait for the season to really kick in!!!!!