We loaded on Kip's truck at the base, along with Jeff C. The waterfall at the gate was singing its gurgling spring song.
We rigged under the blue sky along with a dozen other pilots.
My glider next to Randy's
It was lightly blowing in but there were no signs of lift. John S took off and with skill and effort worked his way above launch.
A couple other pilots launched and soared a bit but everyone, including John, eventually sunk out.
We finally got bored waiting and started launching again. Randy stood on launch a long time and was immediately rewarded with a climb. I ran off next and slid in underneath him but couldn't match his circles since the ridge was in the way! I gave up on that climb and like John an hour before, I slowly worked my way above the ridge line.
Jeff and Kip waiting to launch
Jeff joined my climb near launch.
I was comfortably above the ridge watching pilots mark climbs below me.
Instead of staying on the ridge, I flew into the valley to a climb I mistakenly thought Kip was in. Crap! I sank like a rock on the the way there and like a piano on the way back. I went from comfortably soaring to looking for a low save as I slid off the ridge into the valley.
Jeff and I played around the LZ in a broken thermal that kept tempting us but we finally had to give up and land.
Notice the orange windsock to the right of my helmet. The wind is nicely aligned so I can land next to Kip on the high (and dry) ground next to the driveway. I fly forward a bit, enter a downwind-base-final approach when I watch the windsock switch 90 degrees on my base leg. Sigh.
OK, time for plan B. Oh, there's Jeff coming in at the same time. Oh joy! Plan C. We both swing wide and land in the upper-right corner next to each other in very tall hay. Sigh. Nothing like a long hot slog through waist-high hay to soothe the pain of landing early. ;-(
Meanwhile Randy and PK were climbing out over the mountain. Randy took off while PK came back. I watched a steady stream of pilots land after brief soaring flights as I packed up. I started driving north to chase Randy but since his radio wasn't working, I didn't know how far to go. I had stopped for ice cream when I got a text message saying he had landed at the Middlebury airport. (You can read about Randy's flight on his blog). We broke up the long drive home with dinner in Keene.
It was late when I got back home. Another day with more time driving than flying. Next time I'll be more careful with my altitude and position on the ridge!
Flights: 1, Duration: 0:16