Friday, April 24, 2015

Tactical Retreat

Finally, a day without thunderstorms in the forecast!  I was the first to tow again and Paul dropped me into a weak climb upwind of the field at Wallaby Ranch.

The inconsistent climb continued to entice me to stay, even as I drifted past the field were I was joined by another pilot.

We continued climbing and drifting up our glide slope back to the field.  (We would arrive at the field with about 800 feet (240 m) even as we got further away.)

Wallaby Ranch (left of center)

Instead of drifting off downwind towards controlled airspace, we returned to the field.  The other pilot found a climb at the northeast corner of the field and I momentarily joined in but was losing more than gaining.  Since I was so low, I thought it best to make a tactical retreat to land and tow again.

The second flight was entirely different from the first.  The sky was now littered with clouds and lift was plentiful.  (I suspect the western sea breeze was creating the lift).  In almost no time I was at base.



Although the sky to the west dried out, we had no problem staying aloft.  Mike and I waited for Ken to join us before wandering to the north.

I took the opportunity to experiment with the new glider; flying fast, flying slow, trying this and that.  I used the onboard camera to see how the wing looked in different configurations.  I also took a few selfies with the new glider.

We all landed with Mike noticed the wind on the lakes was increasing.  We all had uneventful landings.  I even had a stroll through the flowers.

Flights: 2, Duration: 2:07, Distance: 19.3 km

Saturday, April 18, 2015

On Second Thought

The weather has been "tropical" lately but I thought I could squeeze in a flight before the afternoon showers and thunderstorms started.  Well, I was wrong!  After Paul dropped me off in a weak climb to the northwest I noticed a large area of showers due west of the field slowly moving east.  My current climb wasn't quick enough to give me enough maneuvering room and the closest promising climb was far enough away that if it wasn't working I couldn't make it back.  So I decided to burn off my altitude and land.  I landed next to the large tent and had enough time to slide my glider in before it started raining.

Although the afternoon soaring has been limited, there has been flying and demos in the morning, great meals, and entertainment during the evenings here at Wallaby Ranch.

Flights: 1, Duration: 0:12

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

First Date

Had the first flight on my new Wills Wing T2C at Wallaby Ranch today.  Sorry, no inflight pictures ... needed "privacy" to get acquainted.

The glider looks great, flies straight and balanced, and  lands sweetly.  I think I'm going to like it.  ;-)

Flights: 1, Duration: 1:39

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Green Swamp Sport Klassic (Day 7)

The task today was a small triangle to the south, then northeast, and back north west.  The task and results are available on Soaring Spot, while the task and tracks are available on AirTribune.

Although we had a short "barbecue" task, it was not trivial to complete especially for the pilots flying novice level gliders due to the initial leg into a brisk breeze.  I decided early on to focus my efforts on helping those pilots in my group.

I kept encouraging pilots back upwind, even within the start circle.  We were making slow, but steady, progress until the small group flying with me missed a dying climb.  I pushed forward until I heard John say he found a climb.  Since I was already low, I should have kept going forward to a promising climb, but turned around and arrived back to his position very low.  John was climbing well, but I was just too low to really dig in.

When it became apparent I was separated from John and the climb was dying for me, I tried to shuffle downwind towards the airfield.  I shortened the drive a little, but still had to call Sue for a ride.  Sigh.

Packing up my glider for the last time after such a short flight wasn't the way I wanted to part, but it was still fun and I had plenty of time to pack it neatly for its new owner.

Although I apparently didn't learn my lesson from yesterday, I took consolation that John and some other pilots in that gaggle did well for the day.

The awards dinner at Red Wing Restaurant was lively and fun.  I think just about everyone agreed the Green Swamp Sport Klassic was already a classic.

Mark and the "cream of the crop"

Trophy winners!

Flights: 1, Duration: 1:06, Distance: 8.6 km

Friday, April 10, 2015

Green Swamp Sport Klassic (Day 6)

The task was a 79.8 km triangle starting with a leg to the north (turnpike and route 33 intersection), then southwest, then back southeast to QuestAir.  The task and results are available on Soaring Spot, while the task and tracks are available on AirTribune.

It took quite awhile for pilots to climb out in the start circle.  I spent a lot of time cruising at cloud base with the other mentors waiting for the competitors.

JB and crew




The wind blew pilots downwind (east) of the course line to the north.  It was hard for some competitors to take my advice and leave a working climb to push upwind.  I had it easy bobbing around at base half way along the first leg with the mentors and a few competitors.

I left Davis in a climb and continued on to the turn point and returned to the previous climb so I could mark it for several competitors in the area.

Davis and 1st turn point

I gave Jim a big "thumbs up" when he came into the climb on his way to the turn point since he wasn't flying on my frequency and I wasn't sure he was even going to fly.


After the nearby pilots were situated, I flew west towards the next turn point.

Part way there, I saw two pilots circling but not climbing much back to the northeast.  I circled back and tried to help find lift over wet fields.  We gained altitude, but drifted away more than we climbed.

The next glide took me back to where I was before, but this time I was low and was having trouble latching into the thermal.  I floundered for awhile and left with another pilot hoping we would find something soon.

Unfortunately, we didn't find anything useable and landed short.  At least I had an audience.



After packing up we talked with the landowner, who flies sailplanes at Zephyrhills.  Looking back on the flight, I think I took too much risk trying to help other pilots.  I can't help if I'm on the ground!


Flights: 1, Duration: 2:22, Distance: 39.1 km