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: