Wednesday, June 27, 2007

U.S. Nats Day 4 - Third Task

Today, as forecast, the wind was blowing at launch. Conditions were marginal, but there were definite lulls that would allow for safe launches, so a task was called.

The task started with a 13.5 mile leg to Cutoff (the turnpoint I couldn't reach yesterday because I was too far downwind of course line) and then a 75 mile downwind leg that was over Plush & proceeded North.

The Wind Techs launched without trouble & had little luck staying in the air until about noon. Additional Wind Techs were put in the air & they began to find lift but their drift downwind to the North was noticeable. The wind began to come up & most pilots were not too quick to launch. Dave & I launched about 15 minutes before the Start time of the task. We launched into a down cycle & had to grovel for 10 minutes before we found a thermal & started a bumpy, drifty, climb to 9000'. Dave left for better lift & found none & had to side-hill-land for a relaunch. Meanwhile, many pilots were dirting in the LZ out in front of launch.

I continued to search the area for lift & after reading "PATIENCE" on my vario I took a deep breath & realized I would be having fun if I quit being frustrated that I hadn't gone over the back yet. I worked a couple small rough thermals & finally found a smooth 400'/min. core that soon bloomed into 650'/min. steady climb to 9500'. Sam Crocker & I headed over the back towards Cutoff. I was wary of getting downwind of the course line this time. I stayed over the road & took climbs back a bit, but soon penetrated back near the road. I was able to travel 6 miles while working very disorganized lift towards the turn point. Eventually I had to make the decision to either push out towards the road or press on & land in the boonies while maximizing my track towards the point - I chose the latter. Dave has had two long hike-outs & I had none - it was time for me to experience the beauty of SE Oregon's wilderness first-hand.

Eventually I made a nice landing in, what might be called, a meadow. In truth, the slope I landed on was covered in sparse sage with softball & football sized volcanic boulders everywhere. As I approached the clearing I awoke a sleeping coyote & he ran off in a hurry. The landing went well & I made contact with Kevin on the retrieval freq. I told them I'd hike out & meet them at Hwy. 140. . . I was actually looking forward to a bit of a hike.

Today was a day of marginal conditions & contrast. The task was the longest ever called for a US Nationals competition, yet there were many pilots on launch who decided not to fly due to the wind & drift in climbs. There were also many good pilots in the LZ with minimum distance points. I wouldn't have launched if I thought it wasn't safe. Conditions when Dave & I launched were fine. The challenge was climbing high enough to cross over the back of the ridge without drift so far from the course line that I ended up in a position like yesterday's frustrating flight.

I know that at least 6 made goal today - probably a couple more.

My flight is HERE

Results will be HERE soon.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Tim, Sounds like you'll have to come fly in Springville and share some flying secrets. Hope you and Dave do well and be safe.

Larry Newby

There was an error in this gadget