Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Its all over !!

The Final Day was a 49 mile race to goal downwind.

I had a bit of a slow start due to breaking a weak link in a roudy launch, and having to re-launch. I finally made the start line 25 mins behind the main gaggle and decided to just take the previous start time 10mins before rather than wait another 5 mins and risk sinking out. I think this was a mistake as most pilots made goal and that 10 minutes made my score pretty low for the day. Still I did make goal again for the day :)

I lost another 4 places that day putting me in a very respectable 35 out of 57.
Bruce was a couple of places behind me, and Brian did very well for his first international comp placing 46.

Friday, April 25, 2008

day 6

Day 6

An early start today, moving the gliders over to the tow paddock before breakfast.
Some nice wings in this line.
Davis giving his take on the weather for the day and how it relates to the task.
Everyone pluging the task into there GPS's.
Now it is time for action ! I'm gonna go grab my harness and get in line.

Too windy.

Day 5 was pretty windy and not very good conditions. It got worse while we were washing the dirt off our gliders and swiming in the bat shaped pool. Francisco Grand was the training place for the S.F. Giants baseball team some years ago when they were a good team.
We went to a local monument to check out the first archeological dicovery in the US. It was not that impressive.

GOAL !!!!!!!

Day4 was a great day. Although the tow paddock was a bit hectic with dust devils coming through every 8 minutes and 10-20 winds. Brian Bruce and I all left together, I almost sank out again at the edge of the start circle, then climbed from 800 feet over the ground to 10,800 feet MSL.

After getting back to a good altitude, I decided I needed to fly upwind as much as possible and stay high. This didn't work very well but I managed to stay upwind of the next turnpoint and luckly got a good climb back to 11,000 but the climb drifted me 3km opposite of the courseline. It took a while getting back on course. Pretty sound the 20 mph sidewind had gotten me low, I was flying as fast as I could crosswind in sink and slowing in lift and turning into wind. This got me just 8km of the 20km second leg. I was pretty happy with the progress and figured I would land before long. I passed over Bruce about here continuing cross wind. I was starting to set up an approach into place where I did not want to land when I got a burble. I wasn't climbing but I could drift at 400' downwind and get closer to a road. After a mile I had climbed 500 feet but the thermal turned on. I climbed back to 8400 drifting 8km off course. But I blazed into goal through glass off conditions 4000 feet over goal. (obviously way too conservative on the hieght)

This was my first ever goal in a competition and I was pretty happy.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

A rest day !!

Day1 - Brian & I flew together about 3/4 away round a triangle course. The last leg of which was into wind. It was late in the day by the time we got there, the lack of thermals and head wind put us on the ground about 6pm.

Day2 - was a fun day, we had a decent start and flew in huge gaggles, made good progress along the course flying ove quite a few other gliders. Bruce and I worked togther over a tricky section half way along the second leg of the 4 leg course. we got separated just before Picacho peak, maybe because I took this picture. Its a neat looking mountain with great walking trail to the top.

After flying over the peak many pilots got stuck in the venture, this made the waypoint easy to reach downwind, but the 180 there back into wind had us on the ground pretty quickly.

Day 3 started with poor start for Brian and I. Bruce got to start with a gaggle close to the front of the race. I almost sank out twice and the second leg put both Brian and I on the deck. Bruce did very well and made it half way throught the third leg of the triangle course.

The current standings are on this website

practise flight

Looking southwest from Casa Grande, a route which we would follow at least three times.

Drifting downwind to get the lay of the land I crossed these (I think they are slat ponds).
I also crossed this mine that looks like some kind of volcanic crater.

I landed just the other side of the Sacaton mountains.
Then I wondered around in the desert and took a few pictures. It is late spring here.

If you cover up the right half of this stump you can see a german shepherd.

finally figured out internet access

Here we are in Casa Grande Hotel, Az. Getting ready to launch on a practise day.

My friend Chris also wanted to take a warm up flight.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Santa Cruz Flats Race

Well, I have arrived in Phoenix for the much anticipated Santa Cruz Flats race in southern Arizona. One last day of work then down to this luxurious hotel. I say luxurious because this is the first hang gliding event I've been to where I haven't camped!

I am a bit nervious, but my main goal is to fly well and complete a course a few times and not worry quite so much about being fast. I will try to take pictures, though I am not sure how to attach the camera to harness with all the tow lines around that area...
Time to get to work now. More soon.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Hot weekend - 94'F !!

The forecast said west, but the wind was east, strong and hot, so I went for stroll instead. The spring flowers are probably now at their full bloom already.

Mission Peak above milpitas, not a perspective I get to see often.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Reno/Carson Fly In

This was the first meet of the year, an informal way to get a bunch of pilots together. The weather forecast was a little dubious but light winds were forecast for saturday. Gerry and I stayed at Bruce's new house in Reno which is very nice. It was pretty cold out that night, a few degrees below freezing.

The wind was pretty strong from the west in the Washoe valley, so slide was out and McClellan was still snowed in. So we headed to a locals site, a 700ft high ridge south east of Carson.
Bill, Alex and Zippy had got channel 2 TV news interested and the showed up on the hill.
http://www.ktvn.com/ has a clip called Hang gliders take off in Minden.
I was on TV :)
I love the exaduration, 100's of miles (well 60), many pilots flew to Fallon (2).
Good little slot though.
I launched first and got buffetted around a bit. I was thinking it was only going to get worse and figured I'd hold on for 20 minutes. Glad I did, after 10 minutes it smoothed out and the lift turned on. Really on I got some climbs at 1200ft/min. Pretty soon I was at 11.5k and a couple of pilots headed NW towards hiway 95. You can just make out the gliders way down there.
There was pretty strong sink between thermals so I was flying pretty fast ~50mph and a groundspeed of 70mph.
You can just make out Lake Tahoe in the top right of the picture. Launch is middle left.Looking south east - not much out that way.
Stagecoach dry lake bed, race track and runway.

Towards the end of the flight around Silversprings Bruce caught up to me, while I was waiting for Gerry.

We lucked into some really boaty air and stopped to take more pictures.
This is silver springs lake, there was a convergence cloud right over it. We both just followed that straight across the middle of the lake at abou 11k. My camelback froze.
Fallon was the next goal, and it seemed we had it on glide. The air was still very bouyant and so more pictures.

Fallon has a large Naval Airforce Base, it important to stay out of the airspace around it.

Our Goal was to be the Municiple airport. We could have gone farther but hadn't planned for a driver so we landed there for 60 miles. Not quite sure how I came 2nd and Bruce came first,
but since it was all for fun (and an evil knivel dvd) I only drunkly protested a little.

There were cold drinks and snacks in fridge there. Sweet.

Bruce landing on the asphalt, and necessarily nailing the flare. Wayne came to the rescue and retreived us. Thanks Wayne !! Gerry landed just a few miles back near Silver springs.

Later on we BBQ'd in the freezing cold and warmed up around the camp fire.

Washoe is one of my favourite campsites, it's peaceful and has an awesome moring view.

Here is slide mountain, note the low snowline and its April.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Finally I fly Diablo

This has been a few years in the planning. Diablo is not very far away, nor logistically challenging, I just hadn't got around to it. Sunday was a good day to fly there, although cloudbase was lower than forecast at 4200msl. It was the first real XC of the season and I didn't make it very far, for a few reasons, preparation probably the biggest. It was fun anyway. The only pictures are Gerry's.

Friday night I went and met up with my friend Lance who I just don't see enough these days.
He is Busy with his family and many housing projects. It was really good to see him and catch up with Molly who is growing up so fast.

After going out in Monterey Saturday had a slow start, but Lance and I still managed a good couple of flights at Marina for old time sake :)

Also Phil was in town from Hawaii, he used to own and run Western Hang gliders there on the beach, back when it was a sucessfull school. He taught me a few tricks.