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

Monday, June 29, 2009

Highland's 10th Anniversary Weekend

My U2 all dressed up and ready to play.


A few segments of my flight; rowdy tow, sweet landing.

Rowdy Tow at Highland, 6/28/09 from Cragin S on Vimeo.

I finally made it back into the sky after a way too long dry spell. I had not had a high flight since before Christmas. This weekend was the annual Highland Aerosports Fly-In and party. I missed the Saturday flying and celebration, due to a recalcitrant computer that filled my day. However, with the good wife pushing me out the door, I made an early Sunday trek across the Bay Bridge. There was no line at the toll booths, and I was at RIdgely by 8:30 a.m.

I had the U2 all set up before 10:00, but there was no hurry. The winds were a bit strong, and no one was flying. The tug drivers went for along breakfast. I heard that Saturday it had gotten blown out in the late afternoon, and earlier in the day things had been rowdy on tow.

I got to see a lot of friends there: Danny B, Mark C, Carlos W, Joe & Janet G with Mark along, Christie H and RIch, Judy McC, Bob B, John S, Janni P, JR, and met Jesse and TD, and, of course, the core Highland crowd, Sunny, Adam, Bruce, Barb, Jim, and Zack.

Actual flying finally began about noon. I watched several launches, decided they were not too scary, and got in line. Zack pulled me up a few minutes before 1:00. I knew it was windier than usual. However, i must say it was probably the rowdiest tow I have had to date. the short video gives good evidence of that experience. Was never scared, but I was working hard to stay in position behind the tug.

Zack tried to drop me in something good, but once on my own I did not find much that I could work. I headed across the airport, finally funding a light but workable thermal when I was down a bit below 1700'. I paid close attention to my vario, and crept up to 3100', drifting back away from the field. The thermal was easy to stay in for a while, but once I lost it, I headed back toward the field. lots of little thermals along the way, Some I could work, some I could not. I played around between 2400' and 2800' for about 15 minutes. then slowly succumbed to the sink.

Winds shifted on the ground, so I planned a new (for me) final leg, coming in behind the hangar. This brought me in over the access road, and I pulled of a most satisfying no-stepper about 10 yards from the wind sock.

34 minutes of flying, and a max of 3100', reached from under 1700'. It was only 1:30, but it looked like rain might be inbound, so I packed up and headed home, rather than try for another flight. Several other pilots made the same call.

Felt great to be in the air, again.
Happy 10th, Highland!