Thursday, August 20, 2009

Sunday 8.16.09

Cody and I made the regular homage to the Crawfords on Sunday. Given the weather conditions this summer, it's been the flying site of choice. Almost every time we have flown the Crawfords, XC potential has been good. Sunday was no different!

In short, Cody and I set up and got off the hill as a few other pilots trickled in. I flew straight out from launch and without much effort found myself a few grand over launch. I continued flying out over the flats and toward a cloud that was relatively fresh. I found good lift in the area under the cloud, and soon I was in some of the strongest lift I've been in this year. I was averaging 15 - 18 hundred fpm for 20 seconds and longer at a time. I was quickly 14,000+asl and at cloud base. As I waited for Cody I played in the cloud, flying a hundred feet or so into the edge of the cloud and then flying out its side. Too much fun.

Cody soon caught up and we decided to head north toward highway 30 junction and hopefully on toward Kemerer, WY. Our plan was short lived. The lift to the north wasn't working as well. We found a nice hay field that had just been cut and landed into a nice breeze. Flight time: just over 2hours / Distance: hmmm

Monday, August 10, 2009

Site X flight #7

Greg and I had our seventh flight Monday at Site X. It's proving to be a dependable, soarable hill. We did wait a while, finally getting off launch around 5ish. There were nice cu's around, especially over the back - sreeting as well. I was able to gain 2200 over in a somewhat consolidated thermal. I drifted back behind launch quite a ways as I watched Greg's launch. We both thermaled around for a while with some of the local boys - a couple of juvenile golden eagles. They have been out flying the last few times we've been out. The eagles are quite active. At first I thought they were just playful, swooping and diving around us as we were coring up. But yesterday they dove at me a few times with their talons extended. I think it was definitely aggressive, territorial behavior. Maybe they will get use to us?

Sunday, August 02, 2009

More Fun At Crawfords

Where do I start! Tuesday, July 28th, Cody and I returned to the Crawfords. It was a stereotypical XC day. Winds were strong from the WNW, with a great soaring forecast to boot. We both launched within minutes of each other and were soon scouring the hill for a reasonable thermal. After twenty minutes or so, I found a boomer at the south end of the ridge. A call on the radio brought Cody down my way, and as I was thermaling up into a nice cloud at 14,000, Cody began circling 2000ft below in the same lift. I hung out and flew back toward the ridge in broken lift waiting for Cody to catch up, but ironically the scenario soon flipped with Cody fifteen hundred above me whiting out in the same cloud I was in earlier. I found another good core and took it back up to 13,300ft. Cody committed to going over the back, so I hesitatingly followed even though the lift I was in was becoming less dependable. Cody was high in a great position, and continued on crossing some desolate un-landable terrain. He ended up with a 58 mile flight just shy of Little America, WY. I however landed out on top of a ridge just 13 miles from launch. Big thanks to our driver Dorothy for a quick pickup.

On Friday, Cody once again showed us how to go XC at the Crawfords. Greg, John Glime, Cody and myself set up in strong conditions at the Crawfords. I had one of the scariest launches of my flying career. After wireing everyone else off, I launched myself with Dorothy on my left wing wire. An errant gust lifted me prematurely and I felt I wouldn't get the wing back down, so I went with it. As soon as I was ten feet off the ground another strong gust from the right turned me 90 degrees to the left and toward the hill. I corrected with full right input and the wing slowly responded and flew out away from the hill. Yikes, should have had a wire crew - won't do that again.

Everyone had a great start once in the air. The conditions were very strong and with 30mph+ winds, drifting back with a thermal was very committing. I decided to stay out front and make a local day of it. Greg and John went over the back landing safely 13 miles from launch on the same ridge I landed on earlier in the week. Cody climbed out succesfully and went on to complete another great XC flight - this time 62 miles.