Wednesday, July 30, 2008

How To Build A Below Ground Fire Pit

I chose to use a four section concrete design with rebar. 1) Weight and the logistics of setting the sections - each section weighs aprox. 150lbs, 2) Less cracking as the sections cure.

It was recommended I use a 5000 psi fire resistant concrete. I poured the sections dry with the minimal amount of water, as concrete losses strength as water content increases.

The finished sections in place (no easy task!), ready for the rock surround.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Friday Greg and I met up at Inspo with a couple from the Bay area, Adrian and Heather. They had never flown Inspo, so Greg gave them both the rundown on LZs, house thermals etc.. The soaring forecast looked great, but the wind was strong out of the south. Not good. We all ended up with slightly extended sled runs.

On Saturday I ran back down to Provo, hoping to meet back up with Adrian and Heather for a redo. They had car problems, so I ventured on up to launch solo. The wind looked perfect and coupled with the mornings positive soaring forecast, I was anxious to get in the air. Two factors were bearing on the back of my mind as I set up. To the south just past Provo, a significant cell was developing and ever so slowly pressing north. The other factor was the fire in Provo Canyon that over the past several days grew from a structure fire to a forest fire. Firefighting aircraft were ferrying water to the fire, so I was wondering if I should be in the air at all. I decided to continue setting up.

Soon enough I was on launch waiting for a good cycle. Immediately after take off I found a nice core out front that developed into a boomer! I topped out at 13,850ft. The canyon fire was less than a few thousand feet over the back of Cascade and was quite impressive from the air. After a nice jaunt over to Timpanogas, I decided the developing cell was moving to close for comfort, so I headed out over the city finding some of the strongest lift of the day. Due to the growing threat from the encroaching thunderstorm, I felt the need to get on the ground so I cored some sink and landed an hour and a half after launching.

An added bonus was having my truck waiting for me at the LZ, thanks to a friendly couple at launch.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

House Guests

Yesterday I went to the South Side for a few hours. There was only one other hang glider pilot out. We waited for a while, finally launching around 11am. The air was buoyant and textured - but fun. After several landings and takeoffs the wind diminished a bit. I had other things to do so I packed up. The wind picked back up, probably soarable as I was pulling out of the parking lot.

House guests

Monday, July 14, 2008

The Crawfords 7.13.08

A hand held vid. Turning above the Crawfords.

Sunday started somewhat slow. A few of us debated as to weather or not to fly at all. Somehow we decided on the Crawfords up by Randolph, UT. Steve Rathbun, Greg and myself met Cody and Dorthy At the LZ around 1pm. Once on top, the conditions quickly went from maybe to lookin' real good - fast! Unfortunately, Cody was missing glider parts and consequently couldn't fly. However, He and Dorthy made up a great cheering section and was on standby to drive just in case those in the air were able to leave the ridge and fly XC. Even though it wasn't a great XC day, we spent 2+ hours in the air working fun thermals and just boating around in the buoyant air.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Today At Inspo

Fellow birds, Johnathan and Mike at launch.

I pulled my gear together and got myself on launch at Inspo around 2pm. It was blowing rather well as I pulled into the turn out, but as fate would have it, as I set up the wind died off and actually started puffing down. From time to time, a cycle would blow through, but nothing really strong enough to coax me off. The north pushed through complicating things further. I was eager to launch contemplating a north cross at 3pm when Jeff O'Brien called me back and informed me he wouldn't be flying. As usual however, Jeff offered me a ride back up later after my flight. A couple of bags, who had been on top when I arrived finally launched. They didn't find much to speak of, as they landed 15 minutes after take off. I waited, hoping for better conditions. 4,5 finally 5:30pm rolled around. Still not much! I decided to move back out to launch for the third time and take my chances. I waited through a long downwind cycle, when finally the wind switched up slope. I took the first little puff and was off.

The air was amazingly buoyant! I flew straight out and found little workable bubbles. They weren't to cohesive, but strong enough to maintain launch altitude. I noticed my drift was slightly south, so I made a be-line to the north ridge close to Provo Canyon. I was able to work the light lift coming up the north facing slopes until eventually finding a solid core that landed me at 10,000 asl. SWEET!! Patience is truly a virtue. I landed at 7:15 for an hour and some change flight.

Cool forward launch.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Time For Friends and Family

I just returned from a two week trip back east. I flew to Nashville for some business, and got to spend time with family there.

There has been so much rain in Tennessee this spring. It's typically green, but this year it's so lush.

I connected with a few old music friends I haven't seen in decades. I was invited to a cigar party at Tommy Coombs home. I haven't seen Tommy since the end of the last ice age. Tommy wrote quite a few classic Christian songs from the 70's and 80's. We were privileged to hear some tunes of Tommy's as well as Phil Keaggys at a party.

Tommy Coombs performing.

Cousin Glen, myself, Tommy Coombs and Phil Keaggy

Gene. Mighty proud of his stack of burgers

I was able to get out and do some hiking at Percy Warner Park most mornings while in Nashville. One of my goals while on this trip was to get wired into my GPS unit. Even though I've been flying with my GPS the last couple of years, there have been elements I've not quite understood. So most mornings I hiked, I brought along the GPS and set way points, created tracks etc.. It was fun.

My cousin Susan

After Nashville, it was on to Oklahoma City to visit my parents and sister. We had a great forth of July Party at my sisters. Liesa's next door neighbor bought over $2000 worth of fireworks, mainly aerials - impressive!

Now I've really done it - corrupted my own mother!

Now I'm home - ready to do some aerial work myself!!