I was a Live Exhibit at the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum Dulles Annex, Udvar-Hazy Center,
March 25, 2006

Sunday, April 04, 2004

Woodstock 4/3/04 - Return to the Mountains

I just checked my logbook. Darn, my Woodstock flight yesterday was my first high flight since the day before Thanksgiving! That is just WAAAY too long between flights. It was also my first UltraSport flight since January. I just gotta get out more. (In January I had a Taylor day with 6 Falcon flights and one US flight.)
Sorry so many folks went pessimistic on forecasts. If you'd have come out, you'd have had a great day. At least, if you flew plumbing, you'd have had a great day.
I had the pleasure of throwing three H2's off, each of them displaying good solid launch runs and clean escape from the slot into the abundant lift. Ken Swingle, Wesley Comerer, and Daniel Broxterman all got well over an hour of flying, a couple of them reaching 1800' over launch. Of the three, I only saw Ken's landing, which was very good, with good approach pattern, properly adjusted for the WSW wind direction, and pretty darn close to the spot that Sparky had set out for Gene.
I launched at 4:00, and succeeded in having a nice 62 minutes, working both ridge lift and the occasional tight FAST thermal that came ripping through. By 4:30 we even had blue sky with lightly scattered clouds. What a beautiful day! I maxed out at 1300 over launch, and kept looking up at Joe Schad in his Falcon, and a couple of other pilots. I set up my approach too low, so my last turn was much too close to the ground. And then I missed the flare window by 1 second! Darn.
Sparky gets major credit for arriving early to launch Gene Towns, and then staying on the hill late to push Rance Rupp into the sky. What a dedicated Observer!
Nelson Lewis was the first to launch yesterday. He turned right and I never saw him again. Wonder how far he got?
Final comment - it was good of the H2s to have beer. However, just how respectful is it to fly longer, get higher, and have better landings than your Observer???
Good work, guys!

Off Season Training Report, Jan - Mar 04

Well, the weather and my personal schedule failed to cooperate for flying high in winter and early spring. But that did not keep me out from under a glider completely. The training hills beckoned more than once, and I was able to keep my hand (foot?) in the hang gliding game a little.
January 3 I headed down to Taylor Farm to join a mass of HG and PG pilots. John Middleton had a lesson going with several students. Chris McKee was out dusting the cobwebs off of his UltraSport. Karen Carra and Ellis Kim were there to practice with their paragliders. Winds were switchy, so I mostly worked flat runs in the LZ. However, I did get in two flights on one of John's Falcons, as well as one using Chris's UltraSport.
March was the busy month, with three training hill days. March 7 Dan Tomlinson and I met John Middleton at Taylor, and also found Juan Ortiz giving a paraglider lesson to several new students. I only took one flight that day, on my Pulse, but Dan did complete three. We were back at Taylor on March 12, where the wind was mostly cross from the left. We were able to wait out usable launch cycles, and I flew my Pulse 4 times, Dan 3.
Then on March 28, Dan and I made the longer drive to Oregon Ridge park, northwest of Baltimore. Quite a crowd! John Middleton and Richard hays each had full classes, with about six students each. Danny Brotto was there with his new-to-him 20 year old Harrier. David Rice came out for a practice day. Dan an I each got four very satisfying flights on my Pulse. We were all amazed at the amount of ground effect glide we got on landing, carrying us well in to the golf practice area to the right of the band shell. Dan and I were tired after four flights from 2/3 up the hill. Wesley Comerer completed 8 flights, all from the very top. That is a LOT of glider carries!