Friday, May 1, 2009

U.S. Nationals - Dunlap, CA - Day Three - Task Three

Today’s task was a ridge run twice, along the ridge that launch is located on, then out to Squaw Valley and South to Lindsay. Total task length was 80km (50 miles). I was looking forward to this task because I lived with my girls in Visalia for 25 years and would be flying just East of Visalia if I made goal.
The start went OK but I was a bit low so to avoid getting in a hole I slowed a bit. I still managed to find myself lower than I liked, at times, while negotiating the first two turnpoints. Conditions were beginning to get a bit turbulent near the ridge due to the normal afternoon winds. At one point one of the competitors took a big asymmetric and cravatted . He successfully threw his reserve chute and landed unscathed on Hill 49917.
As we all headed across the valley to the Squaw Valley turnpoint, we were glad to be leaving the ridge. There was some nice lift during the leg to Lindsay. I was running between (back and forth) two small gaggles – trying desperately not to fly alone. As we worked our way down past Antelope Valley (yesterday’s goal) I found one of the best climbs of the day. The thermal was big and strong and took me to 6200’. This allowed me to head South on 1/4 bar with 50km or more groundspeed. The winds were gradually shifting to the NW and looking like a tailwind at certain altitudes. I took any climb over 300’/min. and watched the miles tick away for the last 20 miles of the flight. I crossed Woodlake high and had to decide on a line from Woodlake to Lindsay. I started with a direct line, but soon decided to dive into a large field with burning stump fires for a much needed climb. I was below 1000’ agl when I arrived at the field but was able to core a rough 300'/min. smokey climb to 4000.' This gave me a 10:1 glide to goal for a short time. I knew I needed a bit more of a climb but now I had Rocky Hill made and I knew that there were usually thermals over this hill since I have flown RC gliders over that hill.

I didn't connect with any decent lift and fought the fight, but ended my flight 3.6km short of goal. We had 21 in goal on a day when noone thought we'd fly 30km!

All my flights can be found here

We've had quite a struggle to get back to camp before 9pm this week, but some improvement has been made. That, along with the archaic internet connection available at the facility has made updating this blog impossible unless I sit outside a gas-station before breakfast.

The weather looks good on Thursday so I'm looking forward to more good flying. The comp has has some rough edges with regard to organization, but the site has proven itself worthy of great flying and adequate facilities to host a comp.


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