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Monday, May 14, 2012

May 12 Flight

I was able to get out to Sunflower on Saturday and get YYY back in the air.  It had spent the week assembled in the club hangar which was handy.  Leah was out of town but Matt went with me to the airport.  We hooked up the trailer, loaded up the glider, and waited. And waited some more. Finally at about 2:30 the high cirrus had burned off and some wisps were starting to form near the airport so I took off.  There was lift under the wisps but they were very short duration puffs and the lift was the same.  We would take a few turns and it would be gone, so on to the next wisp.  After about a half hour of that we landed.

The sky still was working and seemed to be improving so I tried again.  This time I paid less attention to the airport and more to the clouds, gradually creeping west and not really gaining or losing much altitude.  I got about 10-15 miles west of the airport and it was time to decide if I was going cross country or not.  I originally had planned to go to Pratt and back but it was a little late for that.  From my location west of the airport I barely or maybe not really had a glide back to the airport anyway, so I called Matt on the radio and asked if he'd come get me in Pratt.  He agreed so the flight was on.

Everything got better as I went west and overall it was an easy flight to Pratt.  There was one low point but low was relative, in the 1500-2000 ft above ground range.  I was avoiding a large overdeveloped area that started along Kansas Highway 61 and extended west, including the Pratt airport.  Out in the sunlight I was able to find lift and get within 10 miles of the airport, and have a glide to make it there.  I arrived at about 1500 feet above ground and hit the best thermal of the day, 5.5 knots to 6300 MSL!  Out ahead didn't look too promising with the overdevelopment though and I still didn't have enough to be sure of making the next airport at Haviland.  I wanted Matt to have an easy time of crewing since he was solo on his first glider chasing trip and with the late start I just wasn't in a go broke or go home for every mile sort of mood.  So I used that boost in altitude to go out another 5 miles or so and back to Pratt and pad up my OLC distance a bit.  All in all it was a very fun flight, about 2.5 hrs, and around 50 miles.

Matt got the following picture at Pratt:

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