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.


pkane said...

Looks like we will have a new "A" pilot for the team challenge this year. Great flying! I am envious. Thanks for posting everyone’s progress. Keep up the great flying! Peter

Ray's blogger said...

Congrats on yet, another great flight! !