Sunday, January 20, 2013

First flight of the year.

Last Sunday in Texas we had some pretty awesome weather for January. The Blipmaps were showing 6000ft for 3pm and 4000ft for noon. This is what the sky looked like at 11am on the way to Luling. It was feeling "right". Nice wind strength and direction, about right on the humidty, the dryline seemed to be right on top of us.

I didn't waste much time setting up and getting launched. I was eager to see if reality reflected the forecast.

Joel from Thermalriders towed me up in his newly tuned up Dragonfly. We flew through some good lift on the climb, and quickly got up. I pinned off after 1700ft in another climb.

It didn't take long to get to cloudbase at 4200ft. Joel came back up and joined me for a twirl.

My goal for this flight would be home at Canyon Lake. This was the original plan as it makes the retrieve easy and the scenery that way is nicer. However it would be 28miles into a moderate quatering headwind 21km/h and the sky looked better downwind. Tempting... lets see what the sky has to offer.

This flight hadn't been done before, so I'd studied the maps carefully. There's a dropzone to avoid at Fentress, and airspace around New Braunfels and San Marcos. Then there's a good stretch of trees into the hill country. I followed the San Marcos river, not really knowing how far I would make it. 

Heidi was following along below me. I was surprized to make it to the edge of the hill country. I had almost landed once, and climbed back to 5500ft. The thermal drift was a challenge given the climb rates. However I managed to get through the gap between the airspace and just when I thought I'd be landing alongside I35, I got another climb. It was a slow one and drifting towards San Marcos.

I topped out at 4300ft, it was getting late in the day and cirrus was slowing climbs farther. I went on glide toward Canyon lake. I did get one light climb, but with the drift it didn't help much.

I landed just 6 miles short after ~3 hours in the air. Awesome for January. Many thanks to Joel at Thermalriders for the tow and Heidi for the retrieve :) 

1 comment:

The Coastal Life said...

The wind seems so powerful putting obstacles in flight.