Tuesday, August 19, 2008

My Big Spring Video

Despite some techinical difficulties last night, I satyed up till about 2am making this video. The music is from Gov.t Mule.

Youtube has a 'higher quality' option that you can click if you go to the actual youtube page to watch it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jd6tfSG2Tjc
It's right below where it says how many views the video has.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Glover's Big Spring Video

Here is the compilation David Glover (Meet Head) put together:

I looked through my stuff last night, and while I don't have a ton of stuff, there are a couple cool clips from Big Spring. I'll try to throw everything together tonight and post it tomorrow (Tuesday).

There has been some good flying being done since I've been gone. I can't wait to foot launch again, but I think it is going to be a little while. It looks easterly for a while. Maybe tow this afternoon?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Wrap up

Big Springs is over and I'm already missing it. Mostly because I had to go straight to work and drive to Charleston 12 hours after we got back to go to a conference.

Eric had a great last day and some how the results got messed up and don't show it but he was one of the few who made it in to goal that last day. They may have gotten the wrong track log from his GPS because he didn't delete the one from the day before, but he told them that when he pinned in. If it had been any other day than the last day it would have been more likely to have been fixed. James had an incredible meet making goal every day and making the 214 mile day, but came in second behind Cambell Bowen. It was a close meet for those two.

I hope to get a video up on yotube by next week, which I'll post here too, of all the footage I took. I will also try and post updates and pictures from other flying exploits, hopefully the Team Challenge competition coming up the first week of September too!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Last Day -Big Springs

This morning was the spot landing competition and it was pretty interesting. Only about 10 pilots stepped up for it, and Eric came in 3rd! It was already honking around 20 mph this morning. O'Brien came in first. Below is the video of Eric getting third - I am going to make a video for youtube in a week or two of everything I got from this trip, but I didn't get much footage.

It sounds like its some zig zag task today, with a headwind last leg, sounds tough. It will be a 56 mile goal.

Ollie, Stump, and I aren't going to fly today. Eric and James will fly. If Eric flies and gets 125 points he'll tie with me, which I'm sure he will and more so he'll beat me for the total comp.

That's okay with me because I've accomplished much more than I thought I would at this meet: two 100-miler days, got goal twice, and finished in the top 10 yesterday (10th). But today is shaping up to be similar to the day when we chose not to fly because it was too strong (tug's on the ground were almost getting tossed).

I'm just glad to come home unhurt, and my glider in one piece. Yesterday, a glider got tossed by a dust devil on their landing and threw a wing into the ground hard enough to break the carbon fiber leading edge. The pilot was safe. The tug pilot that crashed earlier in the week is now out of the hospital and walking around fine.

Day Seven - Media

This second image is a close up of the first image so you can see all the gliders that are taking the first start time. It was cool to see that many all turn and go on glide at the same time.

The scores just came out (midnight) and I think I made the top 10 for today! Woohoo!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Day Seven - Big Springs

It was a long day! I landed at about 6:50pm and launched around 2:10pm I got about 19 miles short of the 133 mile goal today. Stump and James made goal, Eric almost got the first turn point at about 68 miles and Ollie landed out somewhere too. I had some radio problems so I had to keep unplugging my helmet from the push-to-talk and reconnect when I need to update James, our driver so I didn't know where everyone was most of the day. Once I heard that Eric was 10 miles behind me, but he had launched behind me.

Today was as close as I've come to being tumbled. I hit the edge of a 1,100 fpm climb and wow that scared the crap out of me. My nose tucked and I was free falling, diving straight down, but there was no wind noise - that's how much sink there was! Luckily I had pulled off my VG because it had already been pretty rough so I recovered better than I would have it was on. Needless to say I left that thermal and made it to the 2:45 start time. I will post a picture later of the 10 or so gliders I saw in front and above me also taking the 2:45 start time all together. It was a cool sight to see so many gliders close together going on glide.

I struggled with two other pilots for a while and watch another person sink out, so I knew today would be a tough day. I just kept trying to get high enough to cross parts of the land that looked nasty and would be a long, thorny hike out.

I had several low saves, one I was about 800 feet off the ground and caught something that allowed me to drift to the turnpoint, 68 miles out. From there on out it was me and one other glider, I think John Hesch. We were taking slower climbs and it was a good exercise in patience since earlier in the day I was going 1,100 fpm up and now, late in the day, I was having to settle for 250 fpm up and milk it with very shallow turns.

I think I ended up going just a little farther than John when we took different paths at around 6:15pm and I just lucked out and hit a 350 fpm climb that took me almost back up to cloudbase (which the clouds were getting very sparse) and when I looked over at him maybe a half mile away, he was about 2,000 feet below me even though we had left the last climb at the same altitude together.

Now we're trying to get back to 'pin in' before its too late. I will get a picture or two up later tonight. Tomorrow is the spot landing competition at 9:30am. I don't think I'll do it since we'd have to wake up at like 7:30 to get there, set up, an be in line to tow at 9:30. I may just go to film everyone else, it should be an exciting part of the comp. Apparently, tomorrow won't be as long of a task because its the last day, but it should be a stronger day than today, since it rained yesterday. Feel free to post comments or ask questions under each post there is a place to do that.

Morning Seven cont.

130 mile task today! Same course line as the 109 mile day just further, but today may be more crosswind. It's going to be a long day . . .

Morning Seven

This is a picture of the instrument mount I made so that I could put my GPS on with my vario. It's been working great! I just found the hardest kind of plastic thing at the grocery store, cut out a piece of it, drilled a hole for the vario mount (the big black circle thing at the bottom of it) and then I can just tape the GPS to it. The bed was probably a bad choice to take a picture of it on because it looks like a magic eye or something now.

There's speculation that today is going to be a long task since its the second to last day and the last day is usually not really long since people have to start leaving. James threw out the idea of another 200 miler, but I'm thinking closer to the mid 100's, we'll see in a couple hours, but if it is long it might be late before I post anything.

The other picture was on the front page of the local newspaper a day or two ago.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Day Six - Big Springs

I decided not to fly today - I am just too tired! The many hours of flying and the stressful environment of competition flying is taking a toll. Luckily for me, during the pilot's meeting this morning it began overdeveloping to the North and eventually rained at the airport so that today was called. So I enjoyed some more free ice cream!

Here's a video of the pilot's meeting going on while overdeveloping is going on outside that Davis didn't see until after the meeting was over. They postponed everything 2 hours, but called the day was it started raining.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Day Five - cont.

The picture from the "Day Five" post, the one below this one, embodies what the day was like for the early if not most of the day.

A 105 mile task was called that looked to be pretty difficult with high clouds coming in that dampened down the conditions. Many people relit, including Eric launched three times before he stuck. Ollie decided not to fly, Stump got about 4 miles out. I launched late and drifted with the little lift I had, but it was enough to be over a big gaggle (see picture). I went on glide with another glider and had a tough time getting up and I had to work upwind to hit a 600fpm, one of the best climbs of the day. Despite the high clouds there were some low cumies and some blue areas far out.

how many gliders can you see?
The quality on this blog doesn't help, but there's actually 9!

I stayed low around some big wind towers until I hit another climb that took me to cloudbase. Despite the big gaggle early, I only flew with about one other person with the most of the day. After getting back to cloud base I headed over to the biggest road to try and get up before a big scrubby area as far as the eye could see.

James said him and the flexi's that eventually made it to goal had some trouble in this area and, like me and Eric, wanted to get high to be able to cross it. James said they hit 500fpm to get over that area, that we didn't hit once we got there. I was low, maybe 1,500' over the ground and tried to work upwind, knowing that whatever I hit would drift me back over that area and the further I hit it upwind the higher I would be once it drifted me over that area. Eric was higher than me when he got there so he went for it. I never hit anything and landed on the headwind glide. Eric landed in one of the few bare spots in that no-man-land area. I went about 30 miles and Eric went about 40 miles.

Day Five

More later . . .

Day Four - Picture/Video

The two gliders off of my right wing were Dustin (higher), who's in first, and Kraig (below clouds on right), who's in 4th overall - I thought it was going to be a break through day when I was able to fly with these guys early on and I was going fast, then I just got shut down.

Here's a guy landing in the field Eric landed in:

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Day Four - Big Springs

It was a tough day to say the least. The task was a 78 mile triangle task with two cross wind legs and a 22+ mile headwind leg. I have never fought so hard! The first leg I timed really well staying upwind so that my last climb into the turnpoint took me straight downwind into the turnpoint. I met Dustin there again, I had started with him and new it would be an excellent day if I could stick with him. However, the next leg was a head wind AND there were two big blue holes right on course line. I went wide of the first blue hole, but decided to just go through the middle of the next one since I had hit lift in blue areas yesterday - that was the bad decision for the day.

I basically went on glide from 10,000 (maxed out at 11,500' today) till I hit the ground. I hit some 200-250 fpm lift that drifted me back so far that by the time I had made it back to where I had started turning, I was lower than I was when I started turning in it! Basically I would have been better off not turning in it and going on glide hoping to find something stronger, which I never did. I saw something big coming through on the ground and it was riping up the trees on the ground so I headed up wind of whatever that beast was. Last I looked at my GPS I was only going 7mph groundspeed so I knew it would be an interesting landing.

When I came into the field I tried to start running because the glider was still flying but my feet weren't touching the ground enough yet to really do anything, my nose was too high, my right wing barely lifted and I could see what was going to happen, It threw me left and I knew I was going to whack, but as it was spinning left into the ground to whack, it threw me over, doing a front flip landing on my glider upside down. Everything is fine, I only hit my quad on the downtube enough to bruise, but the glider is fine.

As we speak Eric is at 8,000 ft and 10 miles from goal, but it's already past 7pm and he's trying to work back into a crosswind - hope he makes it.

It sounds like Ollie had a rough landing out like I did and I think Mark and James made it back to goal.

It was a fun flight and I learned a lot! It would have taken 50+ flights at Lookout to learn as much as I did in this one flight. I was lulled into some false confidence by the fact I was able to fly with Dustin Martin for a short amount of time (although we were about tied at the first turnpoint!), and I made an impatient decision to fly into the blue hole because I was just mentally worn down from flying into the headwind for so long. I also learned to keep my nose down in as rowdy conditions as I landed in and maybe I wouldn't have turtled, a wind sock would have helped too, I think I was just barely angled wrong into the wind to make that happen.

I'm glad to live and learn from this flight. Tomorrow looks like rain with the hurricane coming in
, so maybe a rest day tomorrow. I will post a couple of pictures later.

Edit: Now Eric is calling saying he thinks he'll land 6 miles short, so we will pick him up soon.

Here is the photo of the crashed tug from yesterday. He was apparently practicing approaches and caught the fence, he punctured a lung, broke a rib and an arm, but is okay:

Day Three - Big Springs

Today all the Treetoppers made goal again! ! !

It was a 109.6 mile task today with a turn point 68 miles out that then put us into a cross wind for the rest of the way to goal so we would avoid airspace near Lubbock, TX. James Stinnett did make the 214 mile goal yesterday, the only rigid to do so, but today Ollie came in first for the rigids. He broke his ptt somehow so we didn't hear from him the whole flight. James and Mark seemed to be talking to each other and helping each other out.

Eric got up to 12,700' today and I stayed lower trying to catch up to him! I got low twice, but was able to get back up. I thought I was going to black out from the G's of one thermal I hit on glide. I honestly don't think I have done that many G's in a wingover before! The best climbs were around 700 fpm, but it was pretty rough getting in and out of them, especially if you were below 5,000'.

After the turnpoint it was pretty weak and sparse lift, and I was worried about making it. I landed around 6:10pm with a lot of other pilots at goal. The video below shows me racing into goal (the airport below), which I came in very high, but I made it and that's I cared about today. Jeff O'Brian was first into goal today for the flexi's.

We got word that one of the tow pilots crashed after everyone was towed up and broke his arm. Not much other information on that right now. I actually pinned off at 1,500' over because it was so rough today.

Ollie thinks it may be blown out tomorrow with maybe some rain Wednesday, both maybe a product of he hurricane headed our way.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Day Two - Big Springs

The picture on the left is explained below. The video above shows a landing of a relite into the airport LZ which also shows a little bit of how strong the winds were.

Todays task was the longest ever called in a competition - ever. 214 miles! And I bet some people will make it too. Eric, Ollie, Stump and I were some of several pilots who chose not to fly today because the conditions were so strong. A tug almost got flipped over while it was on the ground! So that was a big indication that it might be too strong for me. Everyone was anxiously awaiting the first tow to see how it went, and the weak link broke fairly quickly. Despite that, people slowly began to start a launch line and most people launched today. James Stinnett did decide to fly and we all helped him into a cart and he got off safely, I guess we'll here if he made it when he gets home at 3am.

There were no clouds today though and some people had to relight. Where we were towing from was very close to the hangars (see picture below and notice everyone intently watching to get a clue to the conditions) and so if you locked out to the right on tow you were headed for the hangars. Yesterday we were further back on the runway so that was not an issue.

The GPS photo in the top left is from Eric's flight yesterday. He made goal and landed at the airport everyone else did, but his GPS didn't agree with him. If you look at the dotted line that comes close the the circle labeled 'Brown' it shows how close he came to the goal circle. He was supposed to fly inside the circle at some point, but since he was looking down at the airport and landed there, he assumed he had made it. In the end, he came 20 feet away from it! So he lost a lot of points there, and he says he'll never make that mistake again! Dustin Martin told him not to worry, he'll probably do that a dozen more times.

I am glad we decided not to fly today: we're safe, it will be a good rest day and we enjoyed some free Blue Bell ice cream in the pilots lounge, and Eric took a nap. He's apparently going to get me back some how for posting this picture, but it's worth it.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

BIG Springs - Day One

MADE GOAL! The task was a 76.6 mile downwind task to another airport. A lot of people made goal today. I wasn't fast but I made it, got to 800' at one point but climbed back out. Maxed out to 10,500'! Eric and I found each other about 15 miles away from goal and navigated our way through a big blue hole on course line. James, Ollie, and Stump all made it! It was a personal best in distance and altitude, it was a great time. It took Eric and I about 3 hours to make goal. The day got bigger as it went on, cloudbase went from about 7,500' to 10,500 over the three hour flight. The rigids were on the ground long before the flexi's so they didn't experience the higher cloud base. All in all it was a great day, everybody in our group made goal safely! Great way to start the trip! Now on to dinner and some sleep!

The results for the day just came in and I'm in 17th which isn't surprising considering how slow I went from climbing out from 800 feet and farting around trying to figure out how to get around a blue hole. My 'goal' for today was to make goal and I did so I am very pleased with that. My GPS said my batteries were failing only 30 minutes into the flight so I was turning on and off my GPS to see where to go. When it was off I just headed toward other gliders and then I would turn it back on to verify I was going the right way. Once Eric and I were flying together that helped me get to goal.
Flex wing results: http://soaringspot.com/bsi2008/results/flex/daily/day1.html

Friday, August 1, 2008

Practice Day

Today people were in the hangar getting their gliders set up and getting everything together. Some people got to tow before it overdeveloped for the day and the gust front hit. Ollie, James, Eric and I did not tow today. It rained pretty hard for a while and there is standing water now, so it may be a more mellow day tomorrow? I'm a bit nervous, but excited to fly high and far!

I don't think I'll be getting in the pool at all this trip . . .

Some towing and what the hangar looks like:

Practice Morning

Got to stop by Wally World to pick up knee pads so I save my knees on the concrete in case a weak link breaks and a dog stake so my glider doesn't get tossed by a dust devil.

Next up going to the airport to get some practice flights in.

I think I'm going to go with the normal release, even though I've been pro towing because on the LMFP-made release there are three points to distribute the weight (as opposed to two on pro tow) and the weak link is over a wider area than the release used for pro towing which is like a butter knife, so in my opinion the weak link will be easier to break on pro tow than with the normal release. That is a concern of mine so that my weak link doesn't break too easily coming off of the cart. Any comments, thoughts?

I will try to be posting at least once a day and give an update on the meet, so check back to get updates if you're interested.