If you click on most of the pictures you will get a larger version. I put more pictures in today's report since Rich took so many on this flight. Enjoy.
It’s been a while since my last report. We (Rich and I) did not fly two weeks ago. Last week we set up on the Elk north launch and were never able to launch. Three paraglider pilots hiked up to the South launch and had great flights, topping out at 6,700’.
This last weekend we were determined not to get skunked again. Rich’s daughter Kim drove us up to the South launch at Elk. The winds looked a lot like last weekend, lots of thermals up the south side, but breaking away just before the top. Last Saturday as the south side heated up the thermals on that side got stronger and pushed back the north wind. As is the case when we set up on the South launch, it did not happen this day. The north wind was just strong enough to push the thermal away from the hill before they got to the top. I could see it happening in the trees and brush.
This is another hideous picture of me. I am pointing toward the north launch I know we will end up hiking
to. I am wearing gaiters to keep the fox tails out of my shoes and sock. I left work on Friday and headed straight
to Rich's house and forgot to pack some jeans, so I ended up wearing my Carhartt overalls that I wear to work.
With some reservation and a lot of determination, we hiked down to the North launch. I usually put my harness in the truck and just hike my glider down, but not wanting to waste a lot of time, we hiked down with all our gear on. With the glider that came to 130 pounds for me. By the time we were standing at the North launch we were both already tired.
I think you can see in this picture that Kim took that we both are tired from the hike down.
This is another nice picture that Kim look of me launching. She calls it "south end of glider heading north"
The cycles on the North launch were a little better but not much. Rich launched first and circled in zero sink to the left of launch until he could work his way west to the house thermal at the point. I launched about 5 minutes later and hit nothing but sink until the point where I hit a little bubble. Not wanting to fly too close to the hill I circled half in and half out of lift until I could work my way above the ridge and make some full 360s.
What was 200 fpm quickly turned into 500 fpm, then 800 fpm. I climbed to 6,400’ where I went from 800 fpm to 0 in about two turns. Before launch we decided to try for the Lampson airport to the south west. The winds were supposed to be too strong to the south east and Williams, our second objective.
This is over Mid Mountain heading south. Our objective is on the right side of the picture just past the west side of the lake.
The sky was very blue and clear due to the post frontal conditions. As soon as we topped out we headed on our way to Mid Mountain. I found a little lift there, enough for about two turns and 200’. Next it was an easy glide over toward Rich’s house and the Blue Lakes. Here we hit light broken lift. I was ready to give up after a few hundred feet but stayed because Rich was taking pictures (he took almost 300 pictures on this 1.5 hour flight). The lift came together and we climbed from 3,800’ to 5,600’.
I posted the series of pictures below to show what happens when you concentrate on taking pictures instead of thermaling. Rich was just circling in the lift taking pictures. I was concentrating on each and every bump. Even though we were making the same circles, I went from a hundred feet below to 50' above in just a couple of 360s. I learned how to do this while flying in comps. At first it would bother me that the best pilots would out climb me when it looked like we were making identical 360's. I soon learned it was all about a little push out here, a tighter turn there. Rich is very good at this, but not when he is concentrating on framing pictures.
My vario said we just about had the airport even though we were still 15 miles out. After a short 2.5 mile glide we found an area with multiple cores. Working an area about ½ mile in diameter we found enough to get pretty high for this time of year. My vario read 6,996’ (5,000’ agl) when we left on glide. We now had the airport by more than 3,000’ so we were able to fly along and do some sight seeing and more picture taking. We flew over the Lakeport corn maze. Then it was looking at properties and some of the big houses that are being built up in the Clear Lake area.
A picture from early in the series above.
This is one of the pictures from the series above. Rich is only about 40' away.
Another picture from the series above.
The Lakeport corn maze.
When we go on glide we like to fly about 200 yard apart.
Gliding past the town of Lakeport.
Our goal in sight.
Thermaling just north of the airport.
Looking back northwest toward Elk Mountain.
Kim is in the red truck next the to field in the picture.
This is another great picture taken by Kim of me getting set up to land.
Just shy of the airport we climbed again, not really needing to. To the west of the airport there were constant thermals breaking off and we could stay up as long as we wanted. Rich flew over to Kelseyville to get some more pictures and I just played in the lift trying to find various cores. After an hour and a half we landed. When we arrived over the airport the wind was out of the south at 7mph, but when we landed it was 0mph. It was the calmest wind I have ever landed in. Of course 10 minutes after we landed the wind picked back up to 7mph out of the south. After hiking my glider 100 yards out of the fields my legs were really shot. I have been averaging about 18 miles a week running but it did not seem to help. Kim was right there parked next to the field as we landed. It was great to get some air time and a little 20 mile XC flight.
My vario trace.
Here is a video of my landing taken from my helmet camera.
Vince's IGC file.
Rich's IGC file.