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

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Double Park Weekend - 11/7&8

The loving wife ran off to Texas for the weekend, to play RenFest with her brothers & sister-in-law (see KaysHappenings for a report), leaving me in charge of the house, dog, and vehicles. The weather looked clear, with moderate temps, but wind speed and direction were inauspicious for mountain flying. Clearly, the solution was flight parks and towing.

I declared Saturday to be macho day, first spending an hour at the NRA range working on my sight grouping. From there, on down to Blue Sky at Manquin.

I liked the 6-10 S forecast, perfect for the Blue Sky runway. Arrived about 12:30 and saw four glders set or setting up.

As I was in my initial conversation with Steve Wendt, a lovely and brightly smiling woman walked up. He introduced me to his wife. Tatyana and Steve were married in her home conutry of Moldova last January. Steve kept the news secret, even from his parents, as they worked on the immigration processes. The last hurdles for a spousal visa overcome, Tatyana arrived in the USA just four weeks ago. Steve said she is learning to sew, and she LOVES driving the little tractor to mow the grass at the park.

Clearly, Steve has a helpmate, in many ways. That is a very happy couple.

Winds were solid in direction, but stronger than expected; no soaring to be had. Several pilots had one flight each; I flew three times.

Good tows off the truck; I reached 1150 and 1250 on first two runs from the truck. Release popped early on the third at 600. Tow of the day was a newer pilot on a Falcon, last tow of the day, who reached close to 1800'.

I was very pleased with my three close in, no-step landings in the moderate wind

A huge and sincere congratulations to Mr. & Mrs. Steve Wendt!

Sunday, for change of pace and balance, I headed over to Highland Aerosports at Ridgely.
I first walked Daisy around the block, then headed east over the bay, Ward was there before me, so I was the second glider set up for the day. A bright and light wind day, I wathced as the crowd grew. Pilots there eventually included Christian T, Joe G, John D, John M, John and Heather S, Carlos W, Tom McG, Steve K,HUgh & Sally McE, Luis, and a few others.

Lift was close to non-existent. Only Tom McG stayed up for any significant length of time, although Christian gave it a shot in his rigid. I flew tiwce, both gentle tows to the standard 2500, with slow sleds down to the field. My second flight included about a minute of added air time by playing in very light lift at around 600' over teh swamp adn trees. One good landing, one slightly late flare. The good part is that both were in dry spots on the field. LOTS of recent rain left many soggy pools across the LZ. Part of the day's entertainment was watching landings with a splash.

After a pumpkin beer with Joe and Christian and Sally, (thanks, Joe), I was on the road back to VIrginia.

Five flights in two days, both platform and aerotowing, and a good set of landings overall. Pretty nice weekend!

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Back to the Pulpit, 10/25/09

Pulpit Sled 10/25/09 from Cragin S on Vimeo.

Left the house at 9:30 and arrived at Pulpit launch at 1130.
Was pretty much set up to fly before 1:00, but various distractions and assists delayed me entering the launch line. One of the distractions was the sight of Pete struggling like crazy to find lift in front of launch as Krys sledded down to the secondary. (We won't talk about Carlos playing happily at a grand over down by the towers as this was going on.)
There was a lot of buoyant air between 4 and 5. More on that in a moment. Having helped several other launches, we reached the point where the last two HGs set up were mine and Karen's. Some may be aware that Karen and I have a de facto tradition at the Pulpit: I launch mid to late afternoon and get 20-30 minutes, then Karen launches really late and gets 1 hour +. I decided to swap with her this time; we got her into the air at 5:00, then Bacil, Carlos, and Pete assisted me off the ramp about 5:10
Well, make note of the buoyancy window (4-5) and our two launch times. Karen had a reasonably leisurely glide out to the main LZ, and I joined her in the closest thing possible to a Pulpit sled that ends in the main - a nice fun 4 minute flight..
While breaking down by 7th Street, we decided to go back to our old launch order.

Thanks to Bacil, Carlos, and Pete for crewing for me.

Dinner afterwards was at Brewer's on Alley, Market St, Frederick.

Here I am with Alex and Carlos.

We had nearly a dozen at the exended table.

After dinner and beer in Frederick, I was home by 11:30. 14 hour day, 4 minute flight. Gotta love this sport!
And, I do!