Radioactive Wednesday + Valentine Saturday Spectacular

Past, present, and future flights, meeting times & places, theory.

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Radioactive Wednesday + Valentine Saturday Spectacular

Postby gracecab » Wed Feb 11, 2015 2:14 pm

Valentines Day, Saturday Feb 14 :P

2-Fer, First flight- 55 min, Second - 25, Both launches Skyport

Landings Parma (landings buoyant so good practice on burning off extra last second bumps down there, when not enough to turn and burn down to lower parma, tricky)

13ish flight from Skyport in the mts.

Thoughts on launch:
This time I waited (mainly because I wanted to make a montage with my ipad) till everyone launched. Once I spread my wing out, I found my canopy had dropped through lines so I had to unhook and untangle. I usually do the electrician looping twists on most of the line to avoid this type of last minute confusion...fortunately I was the only one on launch, so wasn't pressured. George J. launched and hung out over me for as long as possible, then had to move out to find more up. We had planned on flying together, which would have turned out bad for him, since I never made it higher than a few hundred or so over the Tit. He got lots of height over RR on his first flight...

Both launches had sweetly firm cycles. Today, both launches I got to 'slope soar' the spine above launch trying to use the
My stay ABOVE highest peaks for as long as i want.
good lift to learn the topography around the road and Eliminator, etc. One note, as I went over the launch pad, I dropped really fast in a downdraft, i did make it out again, but mental note that with great lift comes great sink... I know that, but somehow keep forgetting... one type of condition doesn't mean it will always be there, need to always keep a cushion for the pushin.

Thoughts on First choice of direction after launch
I decided both times to go right off launch towards the Tit. Having made it there a couple times from Skyport directly, I knew that would work again. And I was watching lots of folks hug the E face of RR and bump up and get over easily. I think I would have made it high enough today at the RR to actually get ABOVE it, but I still 'played it safe?' and went to what was familiar.

Unfortunately, for me that choice basically dictated my experience for the entire day. I never did make it over either RR or Thermal Factory. I guess that is good, so it gives me another goal for the future.

However, I had the Tit (ridge) and Holy Hills almost all to myself the entire flight... It was hilarious fun! Even though I was watching the high peaks painted with canopys from my lower level stakeout, there was a huge thermal hot spot (I'd even call it a house thermal) from the E end of the Tit... people would come from lower on the W end and absolutely tank up... Aaron, Tom... then a couple HGs got huge air. I would greet the flyers by, and they would fly up and over me... then I would wait for the next visitor... :lol:

It was great to watch other pilots and the routes they chose, from close up. Especially since I never tracked on the RR 'wall' , the 'fins', the green tree flat area between the Tit and the rocky RR wall. Great lessons in the trenches...literally! :lol: Fortunately, there was so much lift, making a couple attempts at benching back up the RR, and falling short didn't stop my day... I just pull into the pump and tanked up again.

Yellow line was Tom coming upwwind straight to the Tit, huge climb rate to bench back to RR East face and found another thermal to get back to TF. Makes it look too easy!

Tons of thermal practice. It is both exhilarating and exhausting. Mentally, I get spent trying to take in all the new, constantly moving data input, and process it while trying to stay up. Physically, I am tense because every movement from outside goes into my muscles and I am learning what I need to do to react. or not. I sense that the way to enjoy these flights more is to relax once I am in a thermal, since once in one and going up, you know there are only a certain amount of things you have to do, i.e. turn, adjust to stay in core, etc.

Also, starting to get 'benching up' or 'keep the high ground' as more part of my tool least the last few flights has included the attempts, though not successful yet. It will come eventually.

All in all a hugely fun time. Buzz Z4 is great wing, I've been wondering if I should trade to a larger, less wing loading, however, I am starting to think being at the highest end of the weight scale possible, is still better, teaching me to be fast in finding the next thermal, using the speed to my advantage in the search for lift, and enjoying the tremendous stability I have in the high wing loading...the Buzz is a tank and one less thing I need to worry about right now, though I will love the higher aspect ratio eventually, right now I'm fat and happy putting in my time and getting my chops up around our beautiful coastal mountain air playground.

Thanks to Tahoe Eric for the second boost at 1:30 in still very buyoant and mild conditions.


Skyport, 11:30 launch, wind-W about 5mph+ except about to 200ft in ParmaLZ which was calm.

Matt H and Tahoe Eric and I only PGs with Eagle Van. Whaaaaa? Good company. Group of 4? HGs at Eliminator.

I launched first, to get back to work soon, but was secretly hoping for a stellar climb out, and a good reason to get back late :lol: ... hey, I clocked out so I'm not getting paid anyway. Did a couple turns about even with launch but without more, had already decided I was going straight with the W wind towards antenna farm (but hopefully up face of thermal factory if lifty)... came around the corner over the road near the two tallest antennas, and basically ended up finding a constant heat source to the E of the antenna building leeside of wind.

Tried and tried and tried again to get high and finally with enough, jumped back to the lowest part of the thermal factory face... so that was kind of a first for me, that is, attempting a bench up...making some height, and heading for the wall...all on purpose with forethought and unfortunately didn't find the thermal that would get me back UP the hill :? , so kept over the antennas and finally roundhouse ridge and home. Very lifty around Monastery Ridge, and over houses and I'm having fun learning to work thermals whatever shape they come at me... also, not just giving up when I get near Parma...I'm finding there can be minutes added to my ride if I think light..and be a conservative flyer, expecting to get thermals anywhere I may be - lift is where you find it.

One thing, I don't necessarily like flying so close to the metal enema spines of antennas. I try to go around all the time, but sometimes you have to follow the thermal. It's a reminder to me that we are taking risk all the time, and to not lower my risk-threshold for convenience sake. As I find my skill and confidence grow, I must add to it a mental discipline to stay safe. Wind is blind, gravity doesn't care if I'm skilled or not, weather is just loaning me her space for now.. and that is what makes this an amazing adventure.

Also, this is the first time I continually felt the 'diving into' the thermals as they hit. I could tell definitely that I was going into a thermal even BEFORE my VARIO started beeping... I FELT it!!! That was cool. Sometimes had the left or right bump also of the drawing. Man thermals are crazy. They have their own personality, and we have a brief relationship with each one. Some are very welcoming some spank you... hope that doesn't seem too wierd. Anyways, back to work.
Chris Ballmer aka gracecab
Ventura, CA
UP Kantega XC2 / Gin Verso
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