BTW, I’ve had lots of response from this picture. Got busted the other day when I should have been flying! I tried out a buddies’ business called Posterbrain with it and it arrived the next day. Try them out with your own picture, or mine. They’re good people.
So, I ate it at Lookout a couple weeks ago. It was my 3rd flight and as many sled rides since my adventure to Zapata, TX. Psycho-analysis from concussion boy after a more interesting story…
Looking for birds at the Lookout Mountain Nature Center.
After what seemed like a record-breaking day at Lookout Thursday, I got weak to my obsession on Friday and went flying. Loopy (PG-pilot who had flown to Canon City the day before) was in the air over Boulder (17 miles North) when I got to Lookout. His tracklog and mine together below (PG in multi-color, Atos in blue):
I launched after 4pm and was figuring there would be persistent ENE wind into the evening to give a glass-off. I had keen interest to see what the front range glass off was like far away from the familiar territory. I had at least 30% chance of guessing the glass, and I was wrong btw.
After a slow and broken climb to 8,9,10k over Lookout, I went for a Boulder’n’back task, in spite of much weaker conditions than I dreamed about.
I kept going north because the thermals kept showing up before I sunk below 9kft so it was pleasantly high. Side note: both times I’ve hunted for lift behind Ralston Butte, I’ve found unpleasant air, this time, way above it at 9k.
I shared that dodgy lift with several swifts, a red-tail, and something else big. Did you know you can change your 6030 polar’s while in flight? But, you have to live w/o the vario till you get it done!
Unfortunately, once I got to the flat-irons, I was having trouble maintaining ridge height. Even over the dependable “Shadow Canyon”. Two birds down in the canyon were working something but I couldn’t connect with it. Then I tried making a phone call which really was playing Russian Roulette with my phone’s health. If I’d just drop it, I could get a new one tho! It kept hanging up when I put it in my helmet so I typed out a text to my Boulder friend. With polarized sunglasses on, all this was like shooting pool with a rope, but it was beautiful down lower nearer the flat-iron’s anyway.
I was 300ft over the flatiron’s and had given up on making the next mountain (Flagstaff) and tucked tail for Lookout. I remember thinking how I’ve made it back to Lookout before in my Sport 2 and the 225 Falcon, with some head wind, but this was starting to feel like the day’s thermal activity was quitting. I just needed to keep the altitude I had and get back south of Eldorado Canyon where I figured I’d find thermal producers like Coal Creek Peak and non-tree’ d heat reservoirs.
Which is my dog’s haircut leftovers, which is the Shitsu? Can’t tell can you.
Except for the growing reality of landing half way back, the flight back was relaxing and scenic with the late sun angle. The Atos made magical glides. After a 200ft climb here, 300 there, I was turning in anything I could to make that vario beep. Coal Creek Peak and my trigger hill in front gave me the Heisman and I was about to count myself as grounded. But, just shy of Ralston Butte, a 350fpm thermal surprised the heck out of me and put the paddle shockers on my hope, back at 9,600ft. I now had Lookout on glide.
Ian took the above picture. For two back-to-back return flights to Boulder to happen in the same day at Lookout is pretty special! Also, a PG made it to the bar for his first time, which earns him the privilege of buying everyone’s drinks. I have a feeling that turned into an impromptu fly-in party b/c everyone was gone when I top-landed. It’s intoxicating to fly the Atos at Lookout.
Nobody wrecks a Sport2, except me!
After 60hrs of exclusively Atos airtime, adjusting back to the Sport2’s behavior has been fine, except this one time. I decided to smoke it in with a high banked turn but after that turn, I had eaten up my LZ a little and my split-instant instinct was that I was way too high and had to burn off altitude with another turn or else! That decision for one more low turn was based on Atos glide and instincts… I wasn’t too high for the Sport2. Also, given I had just pulled on full arm extension speed, I thought I had plenty speed for another turn… which would have also been true under the Atos, but not the Sport2.
****BA-Demotivator Picture will come back****
Anyway, halfway through this last turn, I was too slow and fell the last 20-30 feet to gain airspeed and was fighting to get my right wing out of the tall grass and avoid a ground loop. It was too late to also rock up and do a flare. I pushed forward for one last instant and then brought my arms in to take the pounding head first like a man. My right shoulder hit first, then my head pounded the ground enough to crack my back. I went through a downtube and not sure if anything else is damaged. Mark’s finely tuned eyes are going to check it out for me.
I had some kaleidoscope-like vision for 20 minutes afterword and an hour later felt like puking so I went for a brain-scan. All is good, but if you ever get a strong concussion, take it serious if weird things happen b/c a sub-dermal hematoma is serious enough to confine you to plastic sporks with corks on them, if you’re lucky.