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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Ulysses Report

Leah and I once again spent the Labor Day weekend in Ulysses with 3Y.  We had a good time even though the soaring was a bit sub-par. 

Saturday was looking the most promising but still challenging.  The challenge lie in the fact that a cold front moved through at about 8 AM.  Soaring to the south of the front was forecast to be very good but behind the front not so great.  Winds were 20 mph on average when I launched for the downwind dash.  My idea was to fight it out in any scrap of lift I could find and keep drifting downwind, eventually get to the good stuff further south and then go like the dickens.  I was even brave enough to declare Plains, TX as my goal, 314 miles.  Leah had the truck all ready to go.  I took a high tow to take advantage of the 1000 meter allowed altitude loss for the flight and to increase my chances of finding workable lift in the windy conditions.  I ended up covering a whopping 26 miles in only 36 minutes from takeoff to landing in a dust field northwest of Hugoton, KS.  I should say, a blowing dust field.  Leah wrapped a bandana around her face cowboy-style to avoid eating dirt while we were derigging.  Three dove hunters stopped by after seeing my fly over and then seeing the trailer and were very helpful derigging.  Apparently the dove weren't flying in the wind either.

Sunday I was less than inspired by the forecast as the lift was forecast to about 3000 AGL but still with 15-20 mph winds.  I wasn't looking forward to a repeat of Saturday and with the wind it would be a real struggle to fly locally.  So I helped Steve get ready for his first flight in the FJ-1, a mostly 301 Libelle modified to landing flaps only.  It was fun getting him launched and after watching him soar away and then Bruce do the same in the Grob we decided we might as well rig.  By the time the glider was together we decided that Leah was going to fly so she took off for her first flight in 3Y in a few months.  It was better than the last flight, her only complaint was a bit of a rough landing.  The conditions were not exactly in her court though with a decent wind, about a 10 knot crosswind component, and plenty of thermal activity to keep her busy on tow.

Monday Leah did two more flights in 3Y around noon and reported some zero sink.  Her landings were much better with more moderate wind conditions to deal with.  I got my parachute and launched about 1:30 and was able to climb up to 4500 AGL.  I circled with Steve (FJ-1), Jeff (Apis), and Ed (PIK-20) which was fun.  The Cherokee seemed to climb right with the FJ-1.  I was curious as I had once circled with a 201 Libelle that also climbed right with me.  Of course as expected Steve walked away from me in cruise.  I did follow him south for about 7 miles but that was as far as I dared.  I wanted to make it back!  The rest of the flight was nice and relaxing staying by the airport and just having fun playing in the thermals.  I landed about 3:30 in order to get derigged and on the road home.  Bruce and us hit the road about 5 PM and we were home right around 10.

All in all a good fun weekend was had by all.  ONce we get pictures from Leah's camera i'll try to get them posted.

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