Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Relining my Gradient Avax XC3

My trusty Avax XC3 has served me well for the last two seasons.  While it's no slouch - it carried me to my personal best 110 miles in Sept. - I have put more than 250 hours on the lines and can feel the performance and handling getting a bit sluggish.

My last wing, an Avax XC2, was revitalized by the replacement of the lines after 2+ seasons so I decided to get a new line set for the XC3 and fly one more season on it.  This seems the best course with the rule change limbo that we find ourselves in.  My good ole' "Traditional EN-D" is still a lot of fun.

The first waves of a four day Pacific storm are rolling through California so it's a good time to apply the new line set that has been sitting in the cabinet.  My buddy Scott generously offered the use of his big shop, so we were in business.

Gradient does a great job of labeling the lines and provides a line plan with lengths and diameters of all lines.

Scott started clipping the old lines at the wing while I got organized.  Soon I was applying the lines and after a couple hours we had one half of the wing relined.  After lunch we knocked out the second half in less than an hour.

The hardest step (for me, anyway) is the connection of the risers to the lines.  Each set of lines is placed on the mailion in correct order and uses an "o" ring to secure them in place.

The weather hasn't allowed me to kite the wing to verify its configuration, but I am looking forward to the improved, sportier flying with the new lines!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Off-Season Preparation

From Cross Country Magazine -
This week's Tuesday Tip comes from Guy Anderson. In the current issue of Cross Country magazine he writes an amazing account of how he survived after crashing in very remote terrain in Sun Valley USA earlier this year. I am no survival expert, just very, very lucky. 
So what would I do differently? I’d recommend using a Spot or InReach satellite tracker. Juan, a pilot who landed a couple of kilometres away from me, had a Spot and was picked up at midnight on the first night. Even if I’d been out all night, being able to send a position and an ‘Injured but OK’ message would have spared all the anguish at home. And I’d pack an ‘emergency kit’: Spare radio batteries; a powerpack to charge everything else; a little food; a lighter; a light plastic mirror for signalling; a light waterproof or even a siltarp (very light tarpaulin); mosquito netting; headtorch; strong painkillers; water purification tablets (I drank from a stream but was lucky); and a whistle (I couldn’t shout due to the punctured lung). And finally, to help your rescuers, if you have the strength, try to spread out your glider to make it as visible as possible and even if un-deployed put your reserve out too. Then concentrate on saving your skin.
* * *
I spent two long days, along with more than 60 other pilots, while searching the big country of Idaho for Guy. When we heard he had been found *alive* it was great news. His candid comments regarding his lack of preparation are refreshing - and a good reminder.   I've written about this before and, at the risk of sounding a nag, I'd like to list some of the stuff I've written.

Regarding the SPOT TRACKER and Survival -
Regarding Survival Kits for XC flyers - Nice Harness - What's in it besides your butt?
And please see my last post.  A special deal ON SPOT - THIS WEEKEND ONLY


SPOT Deal - This weekend ONLY

For those who plan to fly XC this year, whether it is in competition or not, owning and using a SPOT tracker is a great idea. If your decision has been delayed after some negative reports about coverage and dependability I understand, but must respond with anecdotal personal results. I have used a SPOT since 2008 with much success and reliability. Anyone who flies XC in the Western US uses this product religiously. Most leagues and competitions will REQUIRE use of this equipment or it's equivalent. A great deal is available this week and I got mine - I hope you get yours too -

The deal is a time limited offer to get the SPOT unit free for the cost of the $149/yr. service fee.  I'm partaking since it allows me to upgrade my hardware for the annual fee (which may be $30-$40 bucks more than usual, but that's a cheap unit)  Go to to have a look at the deal.

Seeya in the air -