Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Diablo at Ed Levin (take-two)

The forecast was very different for Tuesday - but offered up less hope. The road to the top was closed (according to the phone message) and it was considerably blowy up there anyway. Launching from the 600ft hill was the option. Would it be a short sled ride or soarable?It turned out to be a fine choice. Charlie was off first followed by Karl, I had been fiddling with my GoPro only to have the battery die just before launching. I gotta get a spare one of those... The thermals were broken, but the ridge lift was consistent, not huge surprizes since it was blowing the best part of 30mph, the terrain is far from flat and the cloud had fairly ragged bottoms.
Lurking in the sky were some somewhat stationary clouds, ah!?! wave cloud. At somepoint around 2pm they moved around enough to spill some good sunshine in the valley infront of launch, and boom! minutes later 800ft/min took me to cloudbase at 5k.
The edge of the cloud was growing faster than I could penetrate and the lift remained strong. A concerning few moments indeed. Just as I was getting anxious near the bottom of the growing cloud, the sun start glaring through from the top of the cloud, I was free, but I could not slow down. I was just there. Ground speed of 8mph, airspeed of 53mph, butter smooth air, still climbing at 400 or 500 fpm.
Gradually I moved away from the cloud. But still climbing and getting colder. As I climbed the wind seemed to back down back off to 30mph. I am pretty sure at the edge of the cloud the wind was 40something mph.

Somehow I had to figure my way back down, but for now things were OK, the next issue, airspace at 8k, and the fact I was still climbing through 7k.

I figured there had to be sink at the backside of the preceding wave cloud infront.

I was right by the time I had flown out to Mission Soaring I had lost 5500ft, in about 5mins. I was happy to be back below the clouds however. I flew around a bit more, while I considered my landing.

In the end it was no more bumpy near the ground than up 600feet, I chose the most open spot next to the windsock. Quite a ride! I think the new helmet brings good luck.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Diablo at Ed Levin

The windsock fooled many of us into thinking Ed Levin would be at least ridge soarable Sunday.
Tracey has a new helmet also. Apart from being super cute it also boasts CE EN1077 and even fits, which is important if one actually expects a helmet to do its job. The current range of Hang Gliding helmets offer unimpressive protection and really only two sizes large and extra large. This (Giro Revolver) helmet is intended for Skiing, and appears to offer more protection than the Hang gliding helmets I've inspected by a long shot.Traceys first flight in... many months. Textbook launch - good to knock the rust off. I through myself off, but didn't stick long.
Pretty soon I was in the LZ with everyone else.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Angel Island again

This time we found a much better place to put in. Have a protected sandy beach in Sausilito, parking and plenty of kayaks to rent. From there it is an easy paddle around Belvedere point to Angel Island (providing you time the tides right) Tide predictions here Brian and Jackie joined us for yesterdays trip. We landed on a couple of beaches, this one is designated for kayak camping through Angel Island State Park Then we went around to China cove the immigration station, it is the nicer beach.
As the tide turned we headed back across Racoon straight. Georgeous day T-shirt and shorts weather day on the water... in Febuary!
Good views unlike summer when it is freezing with a tonne of fog blasting passed. We explored some of Belvedere on the way back. There are some nice mansions along the bluff. This one had a cable car from the house to the Garage, as well as its own private jetty. Other houses are just on stilts, which made for some fun navigation. Heading back now. Round trip was about 4 relaxed hours maybe a little less. Lots of sunbathers on the beach when we got back. Febuary 5th ! Fish tacos and cervezas. MMMMmmmm

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Ground Hog Day

Feb 2nd.

And one of my favorites movies.

Today Cousin Charlie called me for a Windy Hill Flight. I don't remember how long ago I flew there, but the landing approach had me thinking that I was luckier than I was good back then.This time the glide from launch out to the trees was a little uncomfortable.I got up a little and the view was pretty. A few more weeks and the wildflowers will really be cracking.It was a short flight, but I was happy with the landing much easier than I remember, it was an easy day though. Thanks Charlie :)