Tuesday, August 23, 2011

St John 2011

With an emphasis on fun four truck loads of SF Bay pilots headed north to St John for the weekend. We all elected to go early Saturday morning and head straight up the mountain. Arriving just in time for the pilot briefing.
Leo set some fun tasks. Saturday's format was fly anywhere you want and for scoring purposes you could use two of any number of way-points taken during flight. Straight line distance between points was used as score.
A sailplane showed us there was enough lift to get up and going.
St John has a long glide out to convenient LZ's. Landing options in the immediate vicinity are limited and not "preferred".
A convergence set up close to where it usually does, just a little out of reach over dinosaur country toward Hull mountain
After hanging out at cloud base for a while I headed on course not really hitting much until Alder Springs road.
After a brief climb I turned around short of Paskenta returning just six miles into the headwind. Perhaps not the best strategy. Oh well, it was indeed fun.
Sunday, a similar weather day, Leo called the same task but with the requirement to land at Mary's Lz before 5pm or score Zero. This changes the strategy entirely. I do like simple rules that yield complex strategy's. I think that is the definition of elegance.
I got to cloud base and headed out toward Gilmore peak. I got a nice climb just short of there back to 7.5k It was a really slow and broken climb though with at least 3 different wind directions in different layers. A fun challenge with great view of Eastpark Lake (below) Indian Valley lake, and even lake Pilsbury
After tagging a point in the valley passed Gilmore peak I tried to head back to Launch. I guessed a 65% chance of getting up from low on the switch backs and I chickened out...
This is Abisheck landing nicely at Mary's.
The two Ernies worked hard to put on a nice BBQ feast for us right there in the LZ. Delicious as usual.
The club presented the generous and welcoming Mary (landing field owner) with a gift, and awards were presented for flights / landings / retrieves of merit.
Vince took the informal meet, with Chris Arai close behind, and me just behind him. Drivers also got awards - we were very lucky to get smart, helpful and gorgeous drivers (Mele and Julia). Thank you !
Most importantly a huge thank you to Sonoma Wings for hosting yet another successful Fly-In, and to Camelback and Flytec for sponsoring the event.  Results here

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Unforgettable weekend in memory of Crystel

It was an amazing weekend for her memorial and also the weekend she would have wanted for us.An evening view from Glacier point.An evening view of the moon from Glacier point (through a local astronomy club telescope)Standing on launch, in the morning.LaunchingAnd Flying away.Cruising by Glacier viewpoint.Greater and Little Yosemite Valleys, Nevada Falls in the background.Crossing the valley to Yosemite falls.Its really an amazing thing to fly right upto them.Back into the Valley.Over Leidig Meadows.In for a landing (watch out for holes).In the afternoon, we floated down the Merced river, a very pleasant thing to do.With Ryan and Mele, John and Charlie.And the entire gang really :) What great fun.Sunday I watched a few launches (John). Ryan on what may be a familiar Northwing Freedom ;)Charlie for the crowd.Breath-taking and unforgettable.