Quest: day 1
First, the "guardian
angel" award goes to Bruce Barmakian. During today’s task, he heard and felt a
pop and his control frame got a lot of slop in it. He looked up at the apex of
the control frame and
saw a bolt had come out and the right downtube was hanging loose. What would you
do? The obvious, climb in the control frame, steer with your feet, remove your
shoelaces and use them to tie the downtube in place. At least that’s what Bruce
did, and he still made it back to goal.
Since I am using Mark’s phone line, I try and limit my time on-line. I am trying
to download my email and the messages from the list. I won’t be able to reply
individually. I was asked about how many class 5 gliders are flying with tails.
Two, if I am not mistaken: Davis and the Top Secret. There are also two class 1
gliders flying with tails.
The pilots meeting went smoothly. An 80 mile out and return with two turn points
was called. The task would take us up north and slightly west and on the return
we would fly over Coleman. There would be only one start time, 1:30. Launch
opened at 12:00. By 12:00 there were no clouds. Some pilots towed up and sank
out. By 12:20 a lot of pilots were lining up.
I had my face shield up while on the cart; I should have had it closed. As the
tug accelerated, I got a face full of dried grass. Some stuck in my left eye. I
was blinking my left eye, trying to clear it. As soon as I released, I was able
to wipe my eye. I guess I will have to start the tow with my shield down from
now on. I towed up at 12:50 and got to 2000’ for the first time. I worked with a
gaggle and slowly climbed up. Just before the 1:30 start time I was still a
little low (3000’) and ½ mile short of the outer edge of the start circle. The
Flex wings had a start 3 miles ahead. The lift was good when you could find it.
I stayed above 3,000’ most of the way to the first turnpoint, several times
getting to above 5,000’.
Two miles from the first turn point (almost half way through the task) Davis and
Christian passed me below. I was 4 miles behind them. I had caught and passed a
couple of flex wing gaggles. I made a slight tactical error on the way to the
second turnpoint. The turnpoint was out in the blue and I did not think I could
glide to it and make it back under the lift, so I flew a mile away from it and
gained a thousand feet. Then I flew to it and back to the lift. I saw several
gliders go straight to the turn point and then to the lift.
I lost the gaggle I was flying with (mostly rigids). I had to find my way back
to Quest on my own. I really had to slow down and work what I could find, since
I could not tell what was ahead of me. The haze was thick enough that I could
not see any gliders ahead of me.
The sea breeze had kicked in and the lift was shutting down. I was 14 miles out
and at over 4,000’ when I went on final glide. I stopped twice and gained only
300’ each time. Six miles out my vario was still telling me I had Quest. Then I
hit some 600 down and no up. There was a lot of unlandable terrain for the last
2 miles before goal so I tried to work some small bubbles of lift and only got
lower. At 400’ I joined some buzzards circling. Five 360’s later I was at 350’.
I now had only one field to land in. It was surrounded on 3 sides by orange
grove and the fourth side had a forest with tall trees. My landing went fine,
but I had to carry my glider a ¼ mile through the orange grove to the road. I
was 1.8 miles short of goal!
A friend from the Bay Area, Adrian, drove for us today. He moved to Florida last
year and came up to watch the comp. Tonight my wife flies in and will drive for
the rest of the comp. At least now I will have my own private masseuse!
Rich landed before the second turnpoint. He had a low save earlier, from 900’ to
6000’. Rich is always well ahead of me, but today his game was off. I was
surprised to hear that he was behind me.
I thought I was transmitting my position in flight, but when I landed my GPS was
off. I don’t know if the batteries went dead, or if somehow it turned off in
flight. I will put new batteries in it tonight and try again tomorrow. Rich was
transmitting his position today, but kept getting beeps in his earphone. If he
can’t shut that off, he will not use his APRS. Ernie, could you post Rich’s call
sign so people can try to follow him as well?
The weather is supposed to be more of the same tomorrow.
My vario trace, click on it for a larger version.
PS I am still using Mark’s phone line to post this. Thanks' Mark.