(click on the pictures for a high res version). Rich sent me his picture so I was able to finish part 2.
In my last report, we got back to the top of St. John at almost midnight. There were still several pilots awake sitting around the campfire swapping stories and lies. Rich and Linda stayed the night in our tent trailer.
My wife's dog Bell is shy around people, but when she smelled breakfast being cooked, she decided that the other people were a tolerable risk. I was able to sleep in to about 7:00, which is late for me as I normally get up at 4:30am (for work).
We set up our gliders at 9:00am. This gave us a couple of hours to relax. Several pilots can be seen relaxing on the launch ramp above. The weather for Sunday did not look as good as Saturday, but was still supposed to be lift to 9,000'. The wind was predicted to be out of the south. My weather report was 2 days old so it could be off, which is was. When I released my balloon, it rose and drifted in a south wind for about 500', then it drifted to the east, not a wind direction that was in the forecast. Not wanting to get stuck on launch, I decided to launch early again, about 12:15. I have seen several days at St. John where it was only launchable for about an hour.
The meet head, Leo, call a task to Gilmore Peak, then a dogleg return to Mary's field. Mary is a local landowner who has been extremely generous in allowing us to land in her field. Today's goal was set at her field. The total distance for the task was only 18 miles, but it would prove to be harder than it looked. The task also had an added twist. If you landed on the hour, 2:00, 3:00, 4:00 etc. you would score an extra 15 points, for every two minutes early or later than the hour you would loose 1 point. You could only score the bonus points if you made the entire task.
If you compare this picture of launch with the one in part 1, you can see how much lower we were. Launch is about 6,200'. At my high point I just barely broke 7,000'. By the time we headed for Gilmore Peak to the south, we were only 6,600' compared to the 9,000' we were at on Saturday. Some pilots did get higher later in the day. I heard someone climbed to 8,000'. The air was some of the trashiest I have had at St. John in a long time. It just was not pleasant to be in the air. We did not want to stick around any longer than we had to.
Our goal field is marked by the yellow arrow.
But we have to get around Gilmore Peak first, at the yellow arrow. We headed directly toward Gilmore and noticed we had a very strong crosswind. We had to crab about 30 degrees to the right to stay on course. For the first couple of miles we hit very little sink, which was good because I don't think we could have made it with the normal sink in the area.
The bailout from St. John is Fouts Springs. There is a youth detention center in the clearing of the picture. Landing there will get you a free stay. Across the road from the youth center is a small field that the paraglider pilots land in and can also be used by hang gliders. I have never landed there and would not want to.
As you glide out from St. John, you will pass some fields that are behind the visitors center. They are landable, but you have to hike your glider up a steep dirt path for about 200 yards. You can see the road between the red arrows. If you leave the mountain with more than 5,400', you should easily make it out to better landing areas.
On the way to Gilmore (the small rocky hill along the ridge I am flying down in the picture) we thought we found some lift, but were only able to climb for 100'. We made the peak and turned for goal at Mary's field. It looked like we could make it. Unfortunately, we would get there at 1:30. About a mile after passing Gilmore, we hit big sink and it looked like we would not make goal. We sped up and flew right into some nice lift. We climbed back to 4,500' in this spot. With the lift, we both got the idea of staying in the air until 2:00 for the bonus points. My radio was still not working but I could tell Rich was thinking the same thing. He flew off to photograph the area and I looked around for more lift. What Rich did not know was his camera battery died and he did not get any more pictures after the one above.
I have about 2,100 hours in airplanes and am instrument rated. I am used to having to plan my descents so I arrive at a point at the proper altitude and time. I planned on a 300 fpm decent. I hung out in zero sink about a mile from the LZ and started my decent 10 minutes before the hour. Rich started a little earlier and landed at 1:58. I hit it pretty good and landed at 2:00:15 by my watch. The GPS time (watch the track log) showed I stopped my landing run at 2:00:36. There was no wind when I landed. My landing was so good, only 3 people witnessed it. Rich and I were the first to make goal.
About an hour later lots of pilots started landing in earnest. Only 4 more pilots made the task. Everyone else who could not make Gilmore headed straight for the goal at Mary's.
Photo by Ernie
Everyone landed safely and I believe only one or two down tubes suffered the indignity of bending. With all the pilots on the ground by 4:00, Ernie got the food cooking and we had a big barbeque.
Photo by Ernie
By 7:30 the awards ceremony began. The yellow arrow points to Mary, who's field we landed in. The Sonoma Wings club gave her a gift of a digital picture frame loaded with over 200 hundred hang gliding pictures.
Since Rich and I both flew the same distance on Saturday and completed the task on Sunday we had the same score. The tiebreaker came with the bonus points. I got the full 15 points for landing on the hour and Rich got 14 points for landing 2 minutes early, so I beat him by 1 point for first place. We had a lot of pilots this year who had never flown St. John before. It was great to see new faces. Everyone looked happy and had a great time. I look forward to the fly-in every year. Thanks again Leo, Ernie, Donna, Charlie and all the others who made it possible.
Here are the score for all the pilots who turned in there flights. A lot of pilots never reported there totals.
1) Vince Endter --142.24
2) Rich Sauer --141.24
3) Ben Dunn --98.3
4) Scot Huber --98.0
5) Kurt Bainum --64.0
6) Bruce Bousfield --61.7
7) Leo Jones --60.0
8 ) Greg Sugg --57.6
9) Joe Jackson --51.2
10) Monte Cole --46.1
11) = Charley Warren --41.0
11) = Michael O'Leary --41.0
12) Fred Clement --39.0
13) Ryan Goebel --26.0
14) Bob Stanley --25.3
15) Ken Muscio --25.1
16) Tom Elhart --21.0
17) John DeAguiar --19.2
18) Bob Newman --16.0
The rigid wing pilots were scored at .8 x distance, all the flex wings were scored at 1 x distance.
A satellite overlay of my ground track.
Vince's IGC file. I was not able to get Rich's IGC file. I will add it at a later date.