As I sit here it's raining hard at Wallaby. Not a good day for flying - solid overcast skies. I did manage to get a short flight to test out my gear before the rain started. The tow was easy, much easier than towing behind Hungary Joe at Crazy creek. I was let off in sink, about 100 down. I searched around for a couple of minutes and found zero sink where I was able to maintain 1500' for about 10 minutes. It looked like pilots were landing as quickly as they were being towed up. I hope this is not what Florida air is about. One thing that I really noticed is the lack of mountains. I already knew that the highest point in Florida is a little over 400', but it's still weird flying without mountains. It will take me a little time getting used to navigating without the benefit of mountains.
Rich and I started the morning building a rack for the rental car. We found an Ace hardware about 10 miles away. The guy at the counter said they could cut the pipe for us. We gave them the measurements and picked up all the fittings. When we went to check out, the guy tells us the pipe will be ready in a couple of hours. That's not going to work for us so he tells us about a Home Depot another 12 miles away. We run over there and they have no problem cutting the pipe - 1" rigid. I brought some .060 stainless aircraft safety wire and some safety wire pliers from home. I had to buy a wrench. I had shipped 4 padded cross bars in the crate with my glider. We took everything out to the parking lot and built a pretty nice rack. It even looks better than some of the racks I have seen on the locals' trucks.
The procedure here is to first sign in, pay for your tows ($150 for 10), and pick up your pilot package. You can have your GPS programmed today (which I did) with all the waypoints and goals (68 of them). There will be a pilot's meeting at 7:00 PM.
I just left the pilot's meeting. I guess you could say it was like any other big meeting. There are a few people who don't like what is going on and tie up the meeting. The biggest complaint was FAR 103.23 (distance from clouds). Some of the best pilots complained that to be competitive, they had to fly closer to the clouds than the regulation states. Even if the meet director would agree, he could not publicly say: go ahead and violate the FAA regs. But some figured if they kept complaining the meet director would somehow change his mind. It ain't going to happen. Davis Straub ran an interesting discussion about using a GPS in a comp. I picked up several items I thought were good ideas. I met Nancy (another competitor who flies flex wings and post to the bulletin board a lot). Actually I met the back of her head. She sat at the same table but never turned around. From what I can tell from the back of her head, in person she is just like she is on the list. ;-)
Rich Sauer's glider (as well as Manfred, Kari and others) arrived just as it started raining. There were 3 crates of gliders in all. The pilots who's gliders are in the crates are understandably impatient to get the crates open. If it ever stops raining I'm sure they are going to tear into them. Kari got her glider assembled in time to take a quick tow. Rich had to change his control frame so he will have to try to get a tuning flight tomorrow.
Driving here is not at all like driving in California. It seems that all the local truckers have gone to the Daytona Motor Speedway for driving instruction. They do not stay in the right lane, they seem to prefer tailgating the car in front of them at 15 mph+ over the speed limit. When they change lanes, it takes them just a little over a second and they give the car they are cutting off at least 3' of space. I thought for sure I would see them tip over.
I spent some time today walking around the flight line. I can say now for certain, no matter what the manufactures tell you, you cannot buy the same glider that some of the top comp pilots fly.
PS I met Malcolm today. I asked him about having a sign on Dean Still Rd. He said he used to have one, but he got too many tourists and they were getting in the way of hang gliding.