Wednesday, March 18, 2009

CSS goes to Dunlap

A dozen or so Crestliners made it to Dunlap Friday. It was like seeing a family of hobbits out of the Shire.

Everyone warmed up with some good soaring flights Friday, on the main ridge.

But the real story was Saturday. Dave pointed to the West like Babe Ruth to Left Center and hit it out of the valley, landing 20 miles away down the 180. Tom and Chris got just about as far. I wimped out and turned around after pointing my nose in the general direction of XC.

Coring thermals with a wingtip down, listening to the vario howl, every few minutes as I got higher, I'd see Mark Zahn casually bop by in his Harrier, getting higher and higher.

Igor was all over the valley, the Mikes had great flights, Jack looked down on all... lots of laughing and smiling in the very green and purty LZ.

I got in a nice glass off flight Friday night on my Falcon and Saturday night on my Sport 2. Sat. night, I was pretty tired from guys' night in town the previous evening, so I made 3 mistakes setting up my wing. None critical, but I chose not to fly Sunday and just get home to the fam. I have also decided to consciously avoid conversation during set up. Yakkin' with my best man didn't help.

I also got to get a shot at my new Rotor Vulto harness, which felt more comfortable than I expected. I really need to work on getting upright and my flares in that thing. If you could only get more upright, it would be the perfect harness. It's actually easier to fly in than a cocoon, because you don't have to fight all those lines to shift your body weight. Some people call that squirrelly, I call it manueverable. Luckily for me, the twice-used (Tony D and Fast Eddie had it before me) harness fits perfectly.

Fun times... probably will become an annual thing.

Crestline Soaring Society - Dunlap Trip - Spring 2009 from knumbknuts on Vimeo.

Here's a gigapan I did of the LZ:

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The drought is over...

Winter is ending, spring is beginning, thermals are returning to Crestline. Ahh...

Today was pretty breezy, but a great lapse rate help the thermals hold their shape in the wind and I got two very fun flights in. The first was on my Falcon 3, the first time I had flown it since "blackhawk down" day. I knocked on the door to the white room above Crestline at 5,700 ft. and slowly worked it back out front.

I had to burn it down after an hour to catch the ride for my next flight on the Sport 2. By then, the wind had picked up even more and pancaked the thermals. They were still there and their tops were higher, as were the clouds. I did two laps to Crestline and Pine, getting cloudbase on the second one at 6,900 ft. I changed to warmer (but harder to grip with) gloves at this point.

It was great to dial in the sport 2 in thermals and do a few runs with the bar stuffed and vg full on.

Having flown the Sport 2 and the Falcon 3 in the same day, the advantages to each are the obvious ones. The Falcon was very easy to thermal... it's so fun to stand that thing on its wing and push out. The Sport 2 was as easy to fly or easier in just about every other way and it was great to have that VG to get me out of the canyons, with those crazy-strong winds aloft.

This flight, getting down plain 'ol took effort... I was hitting lift everywhere... heck, my vario was chirping on my downwind leg... I really had to dive for the deck. I came down because of failing light and numb fingers, but it would have been easy to stay up for hours and hours. The lift was all-you-can-eat and the only strain was from stuffing the bar.