Thursday, March 30, 2006


I got up early this morning hoping to talk to the nice people at Moyes in Sydney before they left for the day. I was never able to get the call to go through on my cell phone but I did get several nice pictures of sunrise over the airfield.

The forecasted light southeast wind turned out to be a moderate east wind so everyone quickly ditched the idea of “going long” today. Some pilots planned a long out-and-back crosswind task and some decided to rest. I decided to tune my glider which turned out to be the right thing to do. I spent the morning and early afternoon disassembling, changing, and reassembling my glider and then spent the later afternoon flying.

Since I didn’t have a driver, I decided to work upwind so I could blow back home if I got low. I spent most of the afternoon (2 hours 45 minutes) floating around at cloud base checking out changes I made to the glider, chasing birds, scoping out the scenery, and getting cold. I definitely like how the glider now handles and probably will not change anything major before the competitions.

John Chambers showed up last night and managed to get a reacquainted flight this afternoon. The weather continues to look good for the near future, so more flying is probably in my future. Life is tough. ;-)

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Around We Go

The day started early today. I was setting up my new glider for its maiden flight when Julie launched around 9:30 for what everyone thought would be a glassy sled ride. She proved us wrong by avoiding the ground for a long time. After she eventually landed I took off for a quick test flight and flew for 45 minutes and had to work to get back on the ground.

The heat is finally returning to Florida and I was ready for a nap when Ron, Paul, Lauren, Davis, Greg, and Dave told me about the day’s task. They didn’t have to twist my arm too hard so I inhaled a sandwich, drank some water, and headed back out to the flight line. There were rumors that tomorrow might be a “go long” day, so they picked a “small” 50 mile triangle to Baron, Cheryl, and back. The flight info is online.

After a slow climb-out over launch, the entire group (minus Davis) headed on course. (Davis caught up with us at the first or second climb.) We all took a long glide towards the first turn point and couldn’t find a climb when we needed one. After a long period of poking around, Paul and Davis found a good climb, but I was the furthest away and missed the party. I found the slow remnants and eventually headed on. I caught up with Lauren and then Paul. The climbs were good near the prison and clouds started forming. Other than a worrisome moment when Paul and I couldn’t find a climb near a quarry as we fell below our comfort altitude, the return trip was uneventful.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Air Coming Straight Up Out of the Ground

As I feared, I woke up sore and stiff this morning. I guess I need to fly more often. ;-)

We had another blue day with a light southeast wind that was predicted to be more southwest north of here. Aside from Bo and Davis on the single surface gliders, the rest of us decided to give the Quest – Wallaby – Deen Still and Route 33 – Quest triangle a another try. Paul and Ron Gleason launched before me and were already topped out when I released from tow; dang here I go playing catch-up again! I was a thermal behind until I spotted Ron flying back downwind to my climb. Ron and I then spent most of the flight together. Ron kept me off the deck with a quick “over here” message when I was getting ready to land near a quarry. We centered up in a strong climb that put us both back into the game. Once at Wallaby Ranch, Ron suggested we head straight back since the sky was quickly filling with cirrus and the climbs were getting weak. Paul tried to shame us into joining him on the way to Deen Still and Route 33, but we decided to wimp out and head back to reduce the chance of landing out.

The return trip was quick and easy and we were soon floating over Quest with Paul, Greg, and another half dozen pilots. The windsock was swinging all over the place and the air all around the LZ was going up. I have never had so much trouble loosing altitude in the flatlands before. (This is common in mountain valleys). One by one we fought our way down and landed. I took the chance to do some high speed glides in the rising air and did some wangs to the south with Keith. I finally worked my way down and had a nice landing near the rotating wind sock. The flight record is online.

Greg Crawford and a couple other pilots showed up from Wallaby shortly after we landed. Julie and Marilyn launched later as I was carrying my harness back to camp. After all the pictures Julie has taken of other pilots, I finally got some of her in action. I missed Marilyn’s approach and landing, but I heard it was first-class. It was a fine day for flying in Florida.

We had a nice meal in the clubhouse this evening and then everyone headed off to finish up chores and get ready for tomorrow, which looks as good or better than today.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Back in the Air, Finally

I moved from Wallaby Ranch to Quest Air yesterday. Pilots were already setup and ready to go when I pulled into the driveway. Marilyn Nichols, Dave, and Julie offered to help me rush to get ready, but I politely turned down their offer so I could pitch my tent, get some groceries, sign the necessary waivers, and anything else I needed to take care of so I could fly for the rest of the week. I watched the gang launch and float over the horizon. I found out later Russell and Campbell landed at the Florida Ridge, Bo landed near Fort Pierce, and Stan landed in Sebring Falls.

After a nice run this morning, I setup and launched after Paul Tjaden. Paul and I planned to fly Wallaby Ranch, to the intersection of Deen Still Road and Route 33, and back to Quest. We knew it might be tough with the east-northeast wind. Paul and I were climbing well until I made a bone-headed move and lost the climb while stowing my tow bridal. After floundering awhile I landed and launched again. By that time I lost track of Paul, who was having radio problems. I decided to hang around the park and play with birds and other pilots in the air. I latter found out Paul never left the area either and landed back at Quest. I flew for a little over 3.5 hours and had plenty of time to practice of number of things before landing at 5pm so we could go eat Thai food. I’m sure I’ll be sore in the morning, but I’ll manage. ;-)

(Thanks for the pictures Julie.)

Thursday, March 23, 2006


My flying season is about to begin.

I awoke at Wallaby Ranch today after a “leisurely” 19.5 hour 1320 mile trip from Littleton Massachusetts to Orlando Florida yesterday. I left at 4:00am, saw the sun rise somewhere near New York City, watched spring unfold before my eyes in a single day, and nearly got blown off a very high bridge along with the tractor-trailer rig behind me. Other than that, it was an uneventful trip and I even had enough energy left at the end of the day to chat with Aric Paulson before setting up my tent.

It rained today, so no flying and it looks blown out for the next couple of days. I got a tour of Steve Arndt’s new hut and caught up with a lot of friends.

I hope the weather cooperates soon so I can end my longest “grounding” to date. I hope I can remember how to fly. ;-)