Wednesday, May 23, 2007
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.
Sunday, May 13, 2007
This weekend was the first weekend of the year to fly at Tollhouse. This site has been the site of my best flight in a BAPA comp & the site of some of my worst. . . This weekend was no different.
The weather looked good & the turnout was great. We had quite a few nationally ranked pilots & at least 10 DHV2/3 & comp wings. I was there with Patrick, Eric & Sharon, & Dave S. This was likely to be my last XC comp prior to the Rat Race and US Nationals in June, so I was hoping to do some good flying & practice team flying with Dave & Patrick.
Jug & Co. set a good task for Saturday - A 34 mile task starting with a triangle in the valley & then a run down Sandy Ridge (above the four lane of 168) then down to Humphrey Station & then to Kaktus... Dave did the best distance in our group & got to the turn-point at 4-lane-turn and then ended up at the High School. I got impatient after circling a long time over Tit, & decided to try a glide into an area with no other wings. I chock this up as a "bone-headed decision". I got shot down heading to the 4-L-T point. Just before my old climbing slab "Square Nails", I had to land in a small meadow above the Tollhouse market. I enforced a 1 mile walk back to the LZ as penance for my making only 7 miles or so. Tomorrow I will be patient.
View my flight Here
I called FSS for weather early & the winds aloft forecast for the day was a bit grim. The winds at 3000' were forecast to be NW at 10 & the winds at 6000 & 9000' were going to be northerly at 6 -10. A shorter task was set with the normal triangle around the valley & then a run to Nichols Road & back.
I had an exciting launch into a thermal but climb out was fine & I had a good start. The winds were NW @ 7-9 mph at 5300' top-of-climb and there was some good sink between thermals. I picked my way to Squaws Tit & then to the LZ - back to launch & the a return to Tit. Again I got stuck at Tit for 15 minutes & then Jeff W. came along & we worked some lift together until it was time to head to Black Mtn. & over to Nichols. Along the way I found some lift & felt like things were working out well. Wings in the lead gaggle were not that far ahead & not doing that well.
When Jeff & I got to Black, we were joined by Jug & the three of us worked some lift on the Southern ridge on Black. Jeff decided to head out & Jug & I stayed to eek out the last 500' from a 300'/min. thermal. When we headed over the ridge to Nichols, Jeff looked like a goner, low over dry fields with evenly space trees. His landing looked like it would be a Jedi flight through the trees. As jug & I flew SW there were nice areas of reduced sink & lift that ran parallel to the wind-lines. Unfortunately this only lasted a couple miles.
By this time we were above Jeff, who had hooked a solid climb & was approaching our altitude. The 3 of us team flew 4 more miles until Jeff & I were coring a thermal & Jug went in search of better. He looked like he had gone on a death glide, so I continued working every bit of lift I could find. At this point Josh C. came by & extracted 500' from a thermal I was working & he & I rolled out to glide to the TP together. Josh's Targa 3 sure is a nice wing - he just 'flew away' from me as we glided to Nichols.
Jeff got to Nichols & flew 1 mile back - Jug landed 1/4mile from the TP - I landed 150 yards from Jug.
Dave had a bad day. His Competino had a malfunction & threw his game off. Too bad because Dave & I were close for a while today.
I feel much better about the way I flew today - my pacing is getting better & I flew well with the boys. In all, 14 tough miles.