Friday, April 30, 2010

falling down

I've been pretty lucky recently. Today I went down in the start circle. This is a bit like falling off the sprint blocks. Still the day didn't seem to hold much promise... it gave me time to walk around and take some pictures.
I've been finding myself flying with Larry Bunner a bunch the last two weeks. I love how you can make friends in the air in this sport :)
And this is where I ended up, 8km from launch. I could have done better if had flown a falcon downwind straight off tow. But It was raining at launch...
Davis, J.D. and Alex found ourselves in the same field. Seemed appropriate to take some goofy pictures.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Race and Rally

results after task4
Well, after a hiatus from Rallying or Racing, we are rallying again northward.Today we flew from Quest to Williston. The start was a game of survival (staying in the air).I had long since stopped paying attention to time, but somehow managed to luck into getting a good start.
This start turned out to be important in the end. Here we are on glide.

Plenty of water here in Florida. After a few pretty good glides, I got a little cocky toward goal, and left on an 18:1 glide, thinking I should easily find another climb on the way in, in air that had less of a side wind. This decision very almost put me on the ground, and certainly cost my 10 places. However I made it in, and only lost out on 100 points or so. Sometimes you've got to take a chance. Tomorrow looks like a good race day, I am looking forward to it. I'm stoked to have Brian here too who is having some good flights and seeing so new scenery. He very almost made goal today at 109km. His blog is here

Also a good read is Jeff's account of wading through a Swamp

Jonny has also been making Video logs of the flights, it is still amazing to me how he flys better than most pilots while only using one hand !!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Race and Rally 2010

The weather looked pretty iffy this morning, but we set a task anyway making the best of an optimistic forecast. Only Jonny and Dustin made it in to goal. I was surprized, while it was a struggle the wind was blowing us toward goal and slow climbs would have got us there eventually.I raced off with Zac and Daniel landing with James 4.5km short. There were some pretty swampy crossings near lake Okeechobee. Rumours are some landed in this shiney grass...
As I came in on final I flew over what looked like some pretty exotic birds. I've never seen Sandhill Cranes before, but apparently there are not uncommon. You can see the chicks in the nest if you look closely. (Click on the picture to largen).
It is pouring rain, hail and lightning at the moment. Tomorrow looks iffy too. We will see what happens.

Rob Kells Memorial Competition Conclusion

We had 3 pretty good days and one great day in the end, good compared to the forecast. Here are the overall open class winners. Jonny 1st, Dustin 2nd and Jeff O.B. 3rd.This year had a very strong sport class meet, 19 competitors overall - the biggest ever.
Campbell took the Rigid wing class.
I managed an 8th. I think that would be my best result in this caliber meet.
Very fun meet. Thanks to all the tug pilots and crew that make the meet possible.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Out and Return Task

Today was a very fun task. The weather yielded awesome racing conditions. There 5 turnpoints for a zig zag and and return. 125km all around and about 4 & 1/2 hours in the air. I am a little sore today. Results are here

The start gaggle was way fun. Bobby was spinning the dragon fly, Alex looped, Jonny was videoing (see the embedded below).

I got t fly with this golden eagle for a while too.
Here is Jonny's video of the day.

Day 4 is a good watch too.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Surprizingly good

Task 2 at Florida Ridge. We followed the canal west to Fort Meyers.Quite pretty following the river, you can see the center of the thermal I am in swirling on the water (top right).
I flew the first leg with Larry Bunner. We worked well together having taken the first start.
At the Fort Meyers turn point we could see the 2nd starters catching us. Cloudbase had lifted and climbs were stronger. The sky was over developing to the south.
It wasn't too long until the Jeffs Dustin and Derreck reeled me in.

Here we are at goal.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Rob Kells Memorial Meet 2010 - so far

I finally arrived at Florida Ridge Hang Gliding Park. I happened to know the next couple of days weather was looking a bit dodgy. So I take a couple of tows on the new sail to blow away the cobwebs.Alex's Dad is driving for us this comp. We are very lucky to have such a experienced pilot and supper nice guy drive for us.
Jonny was helping Dustin see what he looked like in Jeff's new covert harness. Looks pretty slick.
Jonny, Dustin and Alex and the Dragon flies all put a show on for us.
Just before the rain started....
The first couple of days were a really quite damp. The second day a large group of us went to see the movie "How to Train your Dragon". Honestly I had no idea what I was going to see, but there are some great flying scenes in it, sometimes people ask me what Hang Gliding is like, well it actually is quite like this, really...

Today we got a short task in, the ground was super wet after all the rain yesterday. Cloudbase was really low in the morning. I didn't think we would fly. The Task was a 48km dogleg downwind. I flew with Ricker on and off. I think most folks had moments of grovelling. Only 14 made it to goal I beleive. Look how wet the ground is.
Scores are up already here . Hmmm looks like it was 13 and I was 13th... well room for improvement there. It was a tricky day, many very good pilots "splashed down" into the flooded fields.

White Sands National Monument

On my journey east I stopped briefly in White Sands National Monument.I really just wanted a change of scenery and stretch my legs a bit.
I got so much more.
It was wild and wonderful.
And quite photogenic too.

This was a tiny storm compared to the one behind me on my route. Still somewhat spectactular though.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Driving across the country

I left Daly City a week ago last wednesday, stopping briefly in Santa Cruz to pick up a couple of odds and ends and say hi to some folks. I made it another 3 hours before I couldn't stay awake and slept in a housing project. Next Day I drove to L.A. where Kraig helped me put that new sail on my Glider. Then drove to San Diego and back to pick up Glen's glider. Kraig, Jonny and I readied the Moyes trailer for the trip and I was off like a hurd of turtles. I made it into Arizona just as the sun went down, and stopped near the New Mexico border.
Next morning I woke to a gorgious spring day. Spring is really late this year in the desert and the wildflowers are abundant. After a passing the central divide (geologically fascinating section of the country to me) and a good nosh in Lordsburg I decided I needed a break from the interstate.
My plan was to drive cross country to Dallas. North at Las Cruces and over to White Sands National Monument, then up over the pass to Artisia.
When I got there I got a call to pick up a glider in San Antonio. Hmmmm that was a big detour.
Not only that I almost got struck by lightning several times. It was really pretty before the storm...

But downright scarey in it.
I slept next to an oil derreck just short of the Texas border. Next day I picked up the glider from Joel, took a shower and headed back north to Dallas getting there at dusk. Greg asked if I wanted to go for a fly - I thought he was joking until I saw the airstrip out back. It was a real treat! I got to fly some circles, stalls and even tried and approach. It was surreal.
The next morning I headed off to Rickers place in Louisana, not too far. Got there at dusk after stopping in Alexandria, just because I needed a change of scenery.
On the interstate all you really see is tree lined freeway for miles and miles in east Texas, and Louisana. After a good meal and sleep Ricker and I caravaned the last leg to southern Florida. It was fun watching the ecology change from woodland to wetland to swamp and sandy orange groves.
It was a long 9 day journey but not too exhausting.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

New sail at Marshall

Here I am at Marshall peak, in the San Bernardino Mountains. My mission was to testfly my new sail, that Kraig and Jonny helped me put on yesterday. I think this is Morton Peak to the east.
The winds really picked up through the day and there were moments of pretty textured air. Lenticular wave clouds were stacking up through the day.
I ended up just flying out infront to stay out of the high level winds and associated turbulence. I saw these two ballons swirling their way up toward me. It was surprizingly difficult to get a good shot of them. Quite fun trying though.
Nice landing on the green grass. Mission accomplished, the glider flys straight as an arrow, many pilots were drooling over the wing (including me) I am pretty stoked.
I bumped in to Jason Boehm, and Dave Aldrich while I was there. Always fun to see familiar faces far from home.