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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Downwind Dash

Not a lot of time to type tonight but I had a good downwind dash today in 3Y.  Bob Whelan chased.  Ended up with about 240 miles to the airport at Goodland, KS in 5 hrs 20 minutes.  It was a lot of fun with plenty of highs and lows like any good soaring flight.  Looks like so far I am 2nd place in the US and 5th in the world with just over 600 points.  More to come.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Soaring XC

Alright!  Today the lift was much improved here in Dalhart and 3Y and I set out cross country.  The declared task was Dalhart to Dumas, TX to Clayton, NM and back to Dalhart which was basically cross wind and about 150 miles.

We launched at 2 PM.  Seems late but it essentially solar noon and we are at the western edge of the central time zone.  I found some lift off tow and climbed up near the airport and then headed out.  The entire flight to Dumas was pretty standard.  I never got particularly low, it seemed like there was lots of lift.  I was optimistic for the flight back . It was rough though!  Winds were out of the south southwest at about 20 knots and the thermals were getting torn up a bit.  By the time I got to Dumas I was hot and uncomfortable and borderline nauseous.  Thankfully after making the turnpoint I found a good smooth thermal and got some altitude and cooled off.

Unfortunatel the air was not the same on the way back.  Instead of consistent thermals there was a long smooth glide to 4900 feet MSL.  Ground is about 4000 down here!  Amazingly I hooked a thermal and had it perfectly centered up to just over 9000 feet.  Feeling better now that I had altitude, did not have to land, and figured from this height I would be able to make the next thermal, I pressed on towards Clayton.  Well it was like Deja Vu all over again, another long smooth glide.  Again at 4900 feet I felt a little lift, turned into it and...couldn't get it centered.  I fought for quite a while near the Miller airport while scratching weak lift and drifting downwind until finally giving up and landing there.

The good news is I was only perhaps 5 or 8 miles from Dalhart!  I called back to the airport and the towpilot came over with the Pawnee to get me.  I had the crop-duster pilot at Miller hold my wing for me.  With the wind today a wing run wasn't really necessary.  We towed back over to Dalhart and I released near the airport.  My goal for the rest of the afternoon was to have an enjoyable local flight.  The rest of the guys were out flying XC and at least one had already landed out. I figured if any more reported in I could land and go retrieve.  Meanwhile the Ventus also landed at Miller so I sent the towpilot over to get him.

I caught a nice thermal over the airport and climbed to my best for the day, 10,200!  Nice!  After that I delayed the descent a few times but the day was starting to die.  I landed after 1:20 aloft the second time around.  The first flight was about 2:40.  not too shabby.

Here are the traces.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Dalhart Report

Finally something to report from Dalhart!

Saturday I took two sled rides.  The lift was all to the south and southwest of the field about 15-20 miles and even that started late in the day.  Everyone else, except Doug, fell out too so I didn't feel to bad. Doug made a make or break run for the clouds, connected, and had a really good flight

Sunday was a blow out.

Today a cold front passed overnight and we were optimistic.  However I don't think it warmed up as much as it was supposed to and the soaring as a result was a struggle.  I took two flights of about an hour each, maxed out at 7200 and 7400 feet (ground is 4000 here) respectively.  There was a brisk wind out of the northeast and it was a struggle to stay upwind of the airport let alone make progress into the wind.  I didn't feel too bad though because no one else had any real success making progress either.

Besides the Cherokee there is an LS-4, ASW-19B, Discus CS, Ventus, and two Grob 102's here.  One of the 102's belongs to the Soaring Society of Boulder.  The Boulder club also sent their Pawnee towplane down here which is really nice.

Hopefully tomorrow it will heat back up around 100 or better and we will get some good thermals.  In the meantime my SPOT will be on if you want to follow along.

Here are my flights from today:

Thursday, June 23, 2011


Well as usual I haven't gotten as much done on 3Y as I wanted but it is ready enough for the trip to Dalhart.  I'll be packing like a madman tonight so that tomorrow after work all I have to do is hook up and head out.  Ol' Blue is at the shop right now getting the A/C checked out. Hopefully it can get fixed, forecast highs are above 100 in Dalhart at least through Tuesday.  Saturday forecast currently is 105 with thermals above 18,000. hopefully that keeps up all week.

I'll have the SPOT on for the drive and all flights.

I'll do my best to post flight reports and OLC links here through the week.

Monday, June 13, 2011


Been a while so i figured i should document what I've been up to.  Last week was awful hot so I didn't get much done in the garage. We had 5 straight days of 100+.  I did manage a really good flight last Sunday, but not in the Cherokee.  I decided to take the NG-1 out and ended up barely finishing a 300 km FAI triangle!  I've submitted the flight for Diamond Goal as well as 4 Kansas state records.  I was hoping to do all Diamonds in 3Y but after the 6.5 hr flight and just barely making it home I felt I had earned it.  Don't worry I still will have 300 km on the mind when I get 3Y back out of the garage.  Here is the writeup I put on Soaring Cafe:

3Y has been in the garage.  I started doing a little practice fiberglass work by making a cap for the rudder.  It turned out alright and is a much more complicated shape than the wing wheel which will be the next project.  I have the fuselage and left wing in the garage now.  I need to get some more felt before I get too deep into that project.  I also have plans to work more on the seat back and I need to get the voltmeter wired up properly so that it works.  I also would like to do some touch up painting in a few spots as well as perhaps getting the "YYY" Contest ID painted on the wing and tail.  But to do that I will have to (finally!) get my air compressor wired up and running.

I did take the opportunity to do a small fabric patch on the left aileron of 3Y.  There has been a hole on the top of the aileron for a little while now, not sure when that wound was inflicted, but a piece of wing tape has been sufficient until now.  With the wing on the stand I figured it was a good time to do it right.  I glued it in last night and brushed on some ekofill tonight.  There is also the patch that we did down by the skid that will need paint when that time comes.

On 3T I have not made a whole lot of progress but have gotten a few things done.  I did get the nicopress tool from Harry and tonight made my first nicopress joint.  I need to make sure i'm doing it right but hopefully control cables will start to go back in the glider this week.  It is supposed to cool off a little (90 instead of 100) for the next few days and the late sunsets are awesome.

I also did a little more Super Fill work on the right wing root, that job is almost done.

Summer soaring plans have gotten firmed up a bit.  I'm going to try to get a few more flights in the NG-1 before the annual Kowbell Klassic free distance contest on July 16.  With its L/D in the low 30's it will be my bird of choice this year I think.  However between now and then I'm planning on going to a cross country camp in Dalhart, TX during the last week of June.  I'll take 3Y there as I'm viewing it as a week of practice for the Region 10 contest in Llano in August where I intend to fly 3Y.  Once Kowbell is over I will probably focus most of my efforts on contest prep, be that ground handling equipment or flying stuff.  I still have a few bugs to work out of my Oudie/Nano setup.  On the flight in the NG-1 the battery on the Oudie didn't last as long as it should've so I need to investigate that.  It was hooked up to the external battery pack which kept powering the Nano for the 6.5 hr flight.

So that is what I have been up to lately, will be sure to post pictures as the cables go back in 3T and the wing wheel comes to life on 3Y.