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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

XC Adventures in 3Y

[Here is Pete's report from his flight in 3Y on Friday]
At this year's Wichita VSA Rally, Tony was kind enough to let me borrow his beloved Cherokee II 373Y again. I got to fly it last year, but the weather wasn't great so it was a short flight. The weather looked pretty good on Friday with lift to 5000' AGL, but also no clouds forecast. Since neither Tony nor I had managed to get our VSA silver coins we thought it might be possible to go on a 50km XC flight with the forecast conditions.

The WSA Ka-6 was available that day (Matt Colcasure Must have had to work :-)) so Tony decided to team fly with him in the Ka-6 and me in the Cherokee II. I took a tow to 2000' agl, and I found a good thermal almost immediately all the way up to 6000' MSL. Once up to altitude I met up with Tony, and we set off on course.

Team flying was really cool. I could see that the Ka-6 had a few less Ds than me as I tended to drop a bunch faster than Tony. True to forecast we kept finding decent lift out in the blue as we headed east towards El Dorado. At times I was struggling to get back up to altitude, but Tony managed to hang around and waited for my slow self to get back up to a decent altitude to continue onward.

I had Tony's Oudie in YYY so I was navigating and once we made 51km I signalled that we had made our goal over a feedlot just east of Rosalia, KS. As we turned back west I was starting to get lower and was on the lookout for a Thermal to get me back home. I had already picked out a nice looking plowed field next to a hay field with a bunch of round bales in case I wouldn't connect with the next thermal when Tony radioed me that he had found something right in that spot. Unfortunately I was getting rather low, when I saw that the hay field actually had a nice mowed runway running right through it. I was trying to make it to the thermal marked by Tony, but I just didn't feel comfortable so I pulled the plug at about 600' AGL, and went to land in the nice grass strip right below.

Tony got to watch me make a nice off field landing in his pride and joy (I was just glad not to do anything stupid :-)), and proceeded to get a nice thermal that almost got him back home. I radioed back to him that I was down safe and sound, at which point I realized that I had no idea on how I would get back out of there.

Well I just landed out in a borrowed glider, now what? Thankfully the better half of "Team Condon" was already on the way to the gliderport, so Tony relayed Leah's cell phone number to me. I felt a little embarrassed to have to call Leah to arrange for the retrieve, but she assured me that it would be ok. Leah made it out to the little strip about 45 minutes later, and we managed to derig 3Y without too much difficulty, and got home in time for dinner.

Turns out Tony made it back taking only one more thermal to get home. I caught a little grief from the rest of the pilots for making Leah pull my butt out of a field. Again special thanks go out to Tony for letting me have so much fun in 373Y, and especially Leah for showing up and pulling me out of that field in Rosalia, KS.

As it turns out I had both made my silver distance (51km) as well as silver altitude on this flight.

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