Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Couples day at Funs Town.

The last few days I have been showing Heidi some of the touristy things around the S.F. Bay area, but Sunday the wind and weather came good for a great couple of flights at Funston.
The previous week the Olympic golf hosted a golf tournament.
This wasn't staged I swear ! The toungue was a bonus, and the picture a surprize for Heidi ;)
She had a good hour plus at the controls. Coordinating turns, linked 180's, lazy eights even. All good fun :)
Both flights were about an hour thirty. It was a georgeous day.
We had cameras all over the glider.
Fore !
It was fun flying with Brian and Chris, swooping and diving. Great to have dinner with Zac, Erin, John and Leah too, we all flew Tandem that day !

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Tres Pinos

Between teaching hillside classes for Mission Soaring on Sunday I went to fly the Tandem glider back to the storage container and stumbled into 600fpm up. The wind was strong for a falcon with landing gear but up I went to 5400ft. The view was spectacular. I could see Mt Tam and Oakland to the north, Monterey bay to the west, Pinnacles south and Fresno (I think) East. I towed up using a double stage Koch release. I am starting to like it but it sure is a lot of dangley HARD hardware.
So much fun was had Sunday, Karl, Charlie and Diver Dave decided to do it again Monday properly. No class to return for this time and retrieve organised.
 I swapped out my harness last minute to accommodate the release. Inadvertently switching radios and frequencies (D'Oh!)
The climb was a little broken by the wind but quite strong. Alas so was the inversion. I topped out at 4000ft msl. High for Tres Pinos, but not as high as the day before.
My thinking was that as I got farther south over higher terrain, the thermals would too go higher. Alas I was not able to prove that theory... Then I ended up battling the now increased headwind, time of day and venturi. That last LZ was quite a drive into wind ! - Concerningly so...
But I did make it, and the dust devil gods were kind to me.
I even made some new friends on the way out :)
The radio situation was a goof, since the was absolutely no cell phone reception in this steep canyon, mitigated only by the fact I had my spot tracker with me, and that Karl is a genius scientist, Pat had an Iphone, and Charlie a handy dose of patience. I was found before I'd got my stuff to the gate.
So I didn't make it very far but it was an interesting flight. I had researched the two routes, one south down Hiway 25 the other east to the Panoch Inn. I was kind of hedging my bets between them. Had I committed to the east route I may have done better, staying farther north, but ultimately the ceiling needed to be higher.

Lastly if anyone has tried to use the SPOT website on their Iphone, you'll probably notice it is HORRIBLE. Unusable really... so I spent some time seeing if there are other mechanisms to get the simple co-ordinates. Well there are. There's a Yahoo Map App which you can see on the top right of the blog. It works much better on the Iphone too.

I've been looking into how to display multiple people on one page. 
Good to know also is that the data only can be displayed. Handy for a slow connection.

Big Tuesday at Diablo

Last week Tuesday  5 June a crowd of pilots flew Diablo. It was a good call, and not one I had much hope for. I was expecting winds to be way too strong to launch. But as you can see conditions were very nice.
 Zac and Kevin left south first, followed by Myself and RobertM. Conditions were good, but the covergence was really off course for the whole flight. I think I got some just before Altamont pass to 7400'. You can see the shelf where cloud base is different by 1200 feet or so.
 There's the convergence line again with the two different cloud bases, well out of my reach...
 A few folks have asked about the route we took, here is my track in Google Earth. I landed 73 miles from Launch, close to RobertM & NW of Los Banos 8 miles or so.
Zac on the other hand went on to break the site record. We're guessing 180something miles, would be cool to see the route he took to the south. For the most part though it was a downwind dribble. The wind on the ground was a stiff 25mph, and it was stronger higher.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Mele's tandem at Dunlap.

After rafting, the six of us headed for Dunlap just 20 miles south. It took about 2.5hours to get there ;)
I took Ryans girlfriend Mele, up for a flight. The ramp launch is pretty exhilarating for tandem students.
With the wind as it was this was the best choice, and up we went.
Kings Canyon National Park is in the background, some good scenery :)
I think we flew for about 40mins about 1700ft over launch.
She even had a go herself :)

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Rafting the Kings River

Just had an action packed few days. Ryan had put out the word on Rafting after checking all the flow gauge report on California rivers. Its been quite dry this year, so playing with his new toy has been a challenge :)
It all came together Saturday, for what was to me the most amazing raft ride ever.
There was never a dull moment!
Good laughs in the scenic parts of the wild and scenic river.
So much fun sharing this with Ryan, Mele, Trey, Harold and John.
The run on the Kings river is undammed and about 10 miles of class 3. It was flowing at about 1500ft/sec.
Some parts were technical enough, that Ryan with his years of experience guiding wanted to research the line before charging into it.
Harold got the wildest ride, free riding some rapids for a good couple of minutes.
The river consumed us :)
Check out Treys video here :
Thanks Ryan that was awesome.