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

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Saturday, 9/8/2007, at Highland

With a moderate south forecast for Saturday, September 8, it was definitely a flight park day for me. I try to alternate between Blue Sky and Highland Aerosports, so, after flying Virginia last weekend, I was off to the Eastern Shore of Maryland. An early start got me there well before 11:00, where I found the tug still hangared and the entire crew socializing. Winds were much stronger than the forecast max of 9, so they had cancelled lessons. I set up, and was joined later by other pilots straggling in.

Pilots included Mark C, Carlos W, Ric N, Christian T, Chris McK, Daniel B, John M, Tom McG, Viktor, and Roger from NJ (new solo pilot). Here I am showing off my classic UltraSport with snazzy fin among a pile of U2s and Discus gliders, as well as the tandem wing. I had the only fin on the line. I just bet they are all jealous of my way cool tail fin, right?

I allowed others to test the sky before I carted up. This shot shows just how energetic the Highland ground crew is.

See Bob run! Run, Bob, run!

On this strong south wind and cloudless day, the activity was dominated by sled rides and extendos. Even Christian in his rigid wing had difficulty sticking in the sky. Ric had FotD, reaching 5K in a fast drift for a 42 minute, one thermal, 10 mile XC, not quite making it home as planned. The best entertainment was Mark's first landing. The quote from Pogo, "We have met the enemy, and he is us," was never more appropriate. Ask Mark about pogo.

I flew twice, accumulating a total of 30 minutes flight time for the day. The flights were almost identical, although on the first I did find a very light thermal when I was about 1500 AGL. I worked it from over the LZ to the north for a bit, but the drift was so fast, and the gain so light, I decided it was not worth a retrieve to where I might need to land. I left the thermal and came back to over the airport. That drift and maintain (hardly a gain) made flight #1 all of two minutes longer than #2.

I finished both flights with well positioned landings by the sock, with clean no steps. I was very pleased with both launches and landings. Fine day to be part of the sky.

Here is a short video with highlights from my flights.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Blue Sky Saturday September 1, '07

The forecast with a high pressure region bearing down on Richmond caused a light turn out of pilots for Saturday. Traffic moving south on I-95 was summer vacation heavy, so I hopped over on US 17 at Fredericksburg to take 301 down to Manquin. The trip took 3 hours instead of my usual 2.

I arrived at 1:00 as Joe was just finishing a wind check at altitude in the Dragonfly. Strong winds, not promising. Steve told me he had to make the scooter lesson earlier an abbreviated one as the winds had picked up. We all waited. Eventually, after 2:00, Peter had Joe pull him up, where he was able to stay up for quite a while and make it to 3K. However, on landing he also reported very strong winds.

Tom, Gene, Rob, and Jonathan all started some truck tows mid afternoon. No soaring, and reports of strong winds. As the wind picked up, Steve called off all flying after 3:00 for about an hour. We all visited and waited. I met Cathy, up from Florida to work on her landings using scooter tow lessons. A carload of folks arrived planning tandem lessons late. Scott and Holly arrived. Lots of socializing.

As 5:00 approached, we started flying again. The four truck tow guys flew several more times. I got on the string behind Joe at 5:10. None of us expected me to stay up, as late in the day as it was. However, Joe dropped me just next to a spot of lift over the trees north of the park, and I found light, but nicely workable lift. I had to be patient and work slowly, but I did achieve a gain of about 400 feet, and turned it into just shy of a half hour flight. My biggest problem was letting the thermal drift away from me, and having to find it again. I'm still focusing too much on the ground points when thermaling. I also gave myself way too much space when landing on the runway, resulting in a long walk back to the pavilion. Peter asked if that was my first XC at Blue Sky. :-)

Winds got better. As I left, Peter and Joe were beginning a series of tandems, hoping to get everyone into the sky before the sun dropped too low. Holly was on the truck, about to take her first flight of the day (of the year?). I took 301 home, which let me grab a slab of ribs at Johnnie's Ribs barbecue in La Plata. Nice!.

Overdue Flight Reports - July 2007

Since I failed to post my flying activity in July, this post will fill in the gap and prove I have not been totally dormant in the heat of the summer.

Saturday, July 7 I joined the large crowd at the Pulpit. Lots of fine flights took place that day, including a couple of impressive XC runs. I set up the glider and considered when I should jump into line for a ramp. However, I was also feeling a bit off my feed, and realized I was not well focused on flight. The day just did not feel right for me, and I was moving very slowly mentally. I decided I should not be in the air if not ready to respond quickly to a surprise wind gust or thermal. I didn't exactly use Robert's checklist, but did declare myself not ready to fly. Dinner in Hagerstown with Matt, Karen, and Carlos was fun, and it was great seeing everyone else fly.

A couple of weeks later, I was out at Bill's Hill on Saturday, July 22.

Five pilots with gliders - John M. David C (H2). Christie H., Mark C., me.
One pilot on a motorcycle - Rich B, cruising over from McConnellburg.
We wondered why no bag flyers were there.
Total of ten flights happened.
Beautiful cumies across the sky when we arrived. However, by the time we flew, they didn't do us much good.
Lots of cross and light cycles on launch.

First launch about 2:00 volley resulted in five sleds.
Second launch after 4:00 volley saw several sleds and a couple of hard-fought extendos.
John M, Christie H., and Mark C. all did their best to stay in the sky. David C and I demonstrated proper sled technique.

With his flights, David doubled his lifetime mountain launch count.

Dinner at Bob Evans in Breezewood afterward. Bob hisseff had passed the week before. Memorial flyer at the cash register. RIP.
BTW, they close that place at 9:00. John and Christie arrived before 9:00. David, Mark and I at 9:03. John talked the manager into letting us in. We all got to eat.