Click on the pictures for a full size version.
This report is a little shorter than some of my past reports. My flight was only 45 minutes, but I had one great thermal. Let me back up. Linda drove Rich and me up to Elk, our usual flying site. Its close to his house so its convenient, but the LZ is not a fun place to land in the summer. We try and go XC whenever possible. This day only the two of us were at launch. We set up and waited around until there were strong cycles coming up the south launch. I did not want to get stuck hiking down to the north launch so I got ready to go at 12:30.
I launched in a strong cycle to find nothing out in front of launch. I flew back and for working every little bubble I could find and managed to average 90 fpm down. I gave up and headed over to the point at the west end of the ridge and found 150 fpm up. The lift was too close to the hill to stay in it for a full 360 so I had to fly in and out of it until I worked my way above the ridge. Rich launched and was already over me and climbing. The thermal at his level was about 500 fpm. As I worked my way into the core it turned on for me and I started climbing at 700 fpm, sometimes 800 fpm. This was great. I have not had a thermal that strong in these parts for a long time. It must have been a small core because I climbed right up through Rich and his vario never went above 500 fpm, even though it looked to me like we were making the exact same circles.
In case you have not seen this in the past, this is what it looks like from Elk to the Hull LZ on the other side of the lake in the picture. It's 9 miles of solid trees followed by 2 miles of water.
My elevator carried me 3,700 to 7,000. The wind was out of the south west at 9 mph and it looked like and easy glide to the Hull LZ. I headed over to Horse with Rich about 500 below me. My vario said I had the Hull LZ by 2,300 if I went right on glide. With the conditions I had earlier, I thought I would surely find lift along the way. I found nothing at Horse so I went on the glide to Hull. Rich was not high enough so he stayed back searching for lift. It should have been a piece of cake with the tail wind I was getting. I only averaged 14 to 1 with the 12 mph tail wind that had picked up. My ground speed was in the upper 50s (mph), but my sink rate was almost 400 fpm. I was flying fast through the constant sink. My vario showed my arrival altitude drop from 2,300 to 800. I really wanted to arrive high enough to climb up to Hull not just land. I found nothing until the boat ramp.
Over the boat ramp I hit a 90 fpm thermal but was drifting at 10 mph away from the LZ. Each 100 I climbed my arrival altitude at the LZ only increased by 10. At 4,000 I lost the thermal and I hit lots of sink. I flew in a semi-circle around the LZ over the foothills trying to find another thermal but was not successful. I resigned my self to a landing and had another nice one.
As I was bagging up my glider, Rich had headed back to Elk for some more altitude. He never found any lift at Horse but was finally able to climb to 7,800 over Elk to give him enough to make the glide over to Hull. By the time he was over the LZ I was already bagged up. He came to the ridge a little below the house and slowly sunk down to the knob at the end of the airstrip. Not wanting to join me just yet, he worked light lift back up the spine and on up over launch.
This is the view looking up toward launch at Hull. Not to many pilots start their climb up Hull from this position.
Rich took lots of pictures of other pilots in the air. If he looked like he was getting close to you, he was just trying to get a good picture.
Rich flew around for another couple of hours taking pictures of the other gliders over Hull. The lift was only to 9,000 or so and very spotty. When he landed, his harness would not rock up and he had to land with one hand on the basetube. Luckily it was windy enough and he was able to pull it off.
We try and land next to the trees in the very bottom of the picture. When the lake is full you cant land here. This time of year the LZ is about 1/2 mile wide and a mile long with the wind almost always blowing 10 mph with no turbulence.
I really like this picture Rich took over the dam.
Early in the season this pilot would be landing in 2' of water.
My ICG file.