Got to go Aerotowing at Farm Flight with Jim Yocom and Tim Collard! Couple cool experiences/lessons today.
After the kids’ soccer game, I bolted 1hour NE to Farm flight. On the way I saw 3 PG’s low over Bandimere and we chatted a bit on the radio. The over-development started earlier on the front range and they were getting to the end of the day by noon. Luckily, way out east, we had about 6 more hours before OD would mess with us.
There was a perfect East wind for launching most of the day while I set up late. JY already had 45 minutes airtime and was cooking up brats and helping others fly. A couple dust devils cut JT and Dan R. tows short. Seemed like good soaring. I got my butt launched finally and Tim took me straight upwind for a couple miles (great tow :)). I floundered for a bit, but eventually got something that I reluctantly had to leave at the 8kft ceiling for DIA airspace. Then cruised straight for the edge of that airspace so I could get higher. RIGHT on the edge of it, I got a solid a 400fpm to almost 10k and started playing. I was trying to make a line with some upwind clouds and penetrate to them. I had a sweet 3 mile glide that I thought was a lift line, but in retrospect, I think it was mostly the Atos’ fantastic sink rate. Anyway, I made it to a line of weak clouds that were lifting and one even formed above me. I was sure one was dying that I went under anyway, but it was still lifting. Clouds are an interesting mystery.
Got tanked up around 6.5 miles upwind and decided a good goal would be to make it 10 miles upwind before I turned back. So I left from 10.3kft and hoped for the best. I didn’t really get ANY lift after this and managed a 14 mile glide somehow!
On the long downwind glide, the 6030 predicted I’d make it to the tow field with 1500ft to spare, but I had 300, barely. From how low I felt as I started the 10 mile push, I didn’t think I could venture South to get under a nice set of clouds and still make it. So, I made as straight of a line as possible. Check that baby out above! Checking the polars revealed way too rosy figures of:
-118fpm @ 22mph
-374fpm @ 52mph.
Not sure how I got those in there. So, the new one’s will be:
-138 @ 23 MFG recommends -135fpm @ 23mph
-394 @ 41 MFG recommends -400fpm @ 42mph
At least they’ll be closer. I was surprisingly close to those figures which would be remarkable. I’ll go out early and do some morning air polar tests sometime in the near future.
**Lesson of the day: Take some time before launching to ask for the launch crew to run a wing and explain how to do it. I didn’t today, and the slight cross wind caused me to bounce out of position on the cart waaaay before I had safe flying speed. With my glider unseated in the dolly, but accelerating, all I could think to do was fly the glider sideways and hold onto the flopping dolly until I had more speed. It worked. Another lesson is to hold the dolly tighter to my basetube by choking up on the dolly tubes. That way, it’ll be harder to get it unseated! Averted disaster, learned a lesson, all is well.