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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Straight Out

Last Sunday was my chance to fly last weekend and Leah had offered to chase if I decided to fly straight out.  She was partially motivated by the strong A/C in the pickup and the 103 degree forecast high temp.  The forecast looked iffy but better to the west so I decided to take off and head west, hoping to connect with the good weather. My first launch, along with most of the other single seaters in the club, was at 2 PM and we all fell out.  I tried again at 3 and got a decent climb to 5000 so headed out.  After the first (long!) glide I nearly had to land west of Hutchinson but found a thermal and hung on for dear life. It got better and I tip toed to the Northwest.  It never got really good although the lift did get a little stronger as I went along and higher. I managed to get a good save over the town of Lyons and back up to around 5000 and then near Claflin caught a good one to 6900, my high point for the day. I was hopeful that that was a good sign of things to come, but it turned out that, for me at least, that was the end of the day. I found a few more weak climbs for a few hundred feet each but never any major gain, and ended up landing in a nice cut wheat field North of Susank, KS.  Total distance was 74 miles in about 2 hrs 20 minutes.  Leah was right behind me and we were back on the road for ice cream in Hoisington and home in Wichita around 10 PM.  Not a bad days work.

I've got some trailer work and glider work to do in preparation for the 13.5 meter contest down in Midlothian, Texas which starts on July 9.  My rental PowerFLARM unit for the contest came early so I've built another shelf like I had last year to hold that. Matt has been working nightly on the Standard Austria and we're making good progress on that.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

More flying

The weather hasn't been particularly cooperative lately.  Unfortunately for our club, we have had a "normal" to "wet" spring as far as rainfall is concerned and our soaring season is not nearly as good as it was last year.  I flew YYY on June 3rd for 3 flights which were all basically sled rides. Best was 30 minutes.

Today was my next opportunity to fly the Cherokee so I did.  The forecast was looking pretty good although there would be a strong wind out of the south at 20 knots.  Clouds were predicted though so I was hopeful for markers and streets which would help with running upwind. I bravely declared a 300km triangle and set out about 1 PM.  Unfortunately all the lift I found was torn up by the wind, unorganized, and weak.  Each successive climb was a bit better than the last but the drift was so bad that I wasn't gaining anything, I was just barely making it back to the airport after each climb.

Finally, with some help from club-mate Steve in his Zuni I found a good climb to a little over 5500 feet and set out to the south.  No other good climbs were to come though, a few turns here and there in some weak stuff. Obviously I was too picky as I was looking for something strong enough to allow me to continue to make progress rather than getting blown back to the airport.  I ended up landing in a cut wheat field 7 miles south of the airport. At least the retrieve was easy for Leah.  We got back to the airport before operations were finished for the day, visited ,and headed home, but not before a stop in Hutchinson for Ice Cream.

The flight: