Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Cuesta Ridge Today

Today I woke to a call from Patrick at 9:45am & he was surprised to find me still in bed - well, I was kinda surprised too. But I usually sleep a LOT when I get back from Sydney so I was on track. Anyway, Cuesta looked good to the guys & we were to meet at the bottom at 11:30. This was great - I'd get some flying & some exercise.

I was the designated driver to the top & was glad to have Dave, Jack, & Mike in my truck. Patrick & Eric were at the top. Patrick had been flying already & top-landed just as we arrived. Lift looked weak & a very narrow lift band. The wind at launch was 10-15mph. Jack was first off & then I set my wing out. It got a bit balled up in the wind & I had to sort the fiasco before I could launch. Dave was next up & had a minor issue with the wind, but got off the hill well. Then Mike had a good launch. My turn again & finally I got off cleanly.

The other guys hadn't had much luck getting up, so my expectations were low when I turned into a nice bit of lift right off of launch. I went to 2300' (300' over launch) The lift broke up & it looked like a very low top-of-lift but lift was abundant. I stayed close to launch for a while & more birds joined me so lift was fairly easy to find. I flew out front & found lift low & worked back to 2400'. I was the only guy flying by now & felt a bit guilty, but the day was starting to improve & I was having fun. The lift was fickle & even 'violent' at times. I'd roll into nice 400'fpm lift, only to feel like I just stepped off a curb & my wing would do the soft wing crinkle.. . Once, I rolled into a nice core with a lot of left brake, my new toggle mod (see photo) got hung up on the biner when I released the pressure on the brake. This resulted in a very nice spin entry ;-) Recovery was fine after 180 deg. & I was able to stay in the thermal. I'm putting my thumb on the end of the doweling now. . .

I started to do little triangles of the area - each time working up from 1700 to 1800' up to 2400' back at launch. I did 3 laps like this (a couple after Eric & Patrick left). My plan was to land about 600' below launch at the end of the flight. This would allow the guys to go directly home & give me some much needed exercise. I headed for my normal landing spot (when I went by launch the wind was whistling at 12-15 & lots of lift - top landing wasn't in the cards) I had fun climbing up from 1500' (about 180'agl) to 2000' & then decided it was time to see about landing in my LZ. It was quite lifty so I just hung out, flying back & forth until the cycle eased & I made a smooth landing. My phone rang & I gave Jack the all clear. After a 45 min. hike back to the truck, my day, was compleat.

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