Sunday, February 25, 2007

Waking from Hibernation

Its been a long winter of "character building experiences" but the melting snow and sunsets after 5pm make me smile since I know flying season is just around the corner. I want to thank all the bloggers in Australia, New Zealand, and Brazil for keeping me (and the rest of the snowbound) sane with pictures and stories of their airborne adventures.

Although swamped with business issues, I spent a day last weekend talking about XC racing with five pilots ready to take the plunge into competition flying. Four of the five will be competing for the first time in the Sport class at the Florida Ridge meet in April. I wouldn't be too surprised if a couple more showed up at the last minute. I really believe the promotion of a Sport class is finally paying off. (Anyone at the East Coast Championships last year already knew that.)

Although I was thrilled with the flight at Mount Greylock at the end of last season, that flight is even more special now that I know the site will be closed for two years as they rebuild the road to the top of the mountain during the summer months.

Jeff suggested I review my 2006 track logs. Although I don't have logs for a couple dozen flights, I flew over 120 hours on 59 flights that I did have logs for. The mean duration was 2 hours. I flew 1079 straight-line miles (linear distance) and 3810 projected miles. I climbed 858,812 feet. My maximum altitude was 11,010 feet in Texas. Luckily my biggest sink (30 second average) -1353 feet/minute was offset by my biggest climb of 1501 feet/minute.

If I had to pick a single flight that still stands out, it would be the flight during the pre-Worlds in Big Spring where we flew downwind over crop land, cattle ranches, canyons, and small villages. For me it had the right combination of adventure, close-calls, stunning scenery, endless miles, and a rowdy ride home with friends.

Now its time to blow the dust off the helmet, chase the mice out of the glider bag, and recharge the electronics; spring is coming.