This will be the second weekend in a row we were able to fly. It's starting to feel like a normal summer again. Once again it was back to Elk. Bill, Kathy, Linda, Rich and I met at Judy's restaurant in Upper Lake at 8:30. Linda was in pain from the accident earlier in the year and did not feel up to driving so Kathy volunteered, thanks Kathy! After breakfast it was over to Rich's and load up the gliders then up to Elk.
This was the view from launch. You can see the inversion over the lake in front of Mt. Konocti. The wind on launch was favoring the south launch. I think this was the first time this year the south launch worked for us. We were all hoping for another day like last week.
Bill and I contemplate the wind direction. If the sea breeze kicks in, it will shift to the north and we would have to hike our gliders down to the north launch. We took a chance and set up on the south launch. By 12:15 the wind changed from a steady breeze to cycles. I did not want to get stuck hiking down so I said I was suiting up and was ready to fly. Rich and Bill agreed and soon followed.
I turned right after launch and headed over to the point and found about 300 fpm. After making a few 360's it turned on to 500 fpm. Another few 360's and it was over 800 fpm. I was thinking it would take me to 8,000'. Rich had launched and was in the same thermal. 8000' was not to be, I topped out at 6,600' which was going to be my high for the day. Rich and I searched more east while waiting for Bill to launch and found nothing. We were able to stay at 6,000' while Bill climbed up to join us. I checked the wind which was out of the west. I thought that we could fly south for a while then cross over to the higher ridges and get more altitude. I was hoping we could cross over toward Stonyford and then head north and make a triangle. I mentions this on the radio and Bill and Rich agreed. As we headed south, Bill was not getting a very good glide and he headed west and got drilled. Not wanting to land in the creed bed he headed for Farmer Bob's field by Rich's house.
I was doing well, climbing over 6,000' again and heading southeast. Rich was still south over the front ridge while I was heading toward Highglade. When Bill said he was landing, Rich radioed that we should head that way to make the retrieve easier for Kathy. By the time I turned around and headed back west, I was 800' under Rich.
This the view from 6,000'. Elk launch is in the center of the picture. Hull is at the upper right.
For the rest of the flight I could not quite climb up as high as Rich. We worked our way west into a head wind.
This picture is taken looking west from the ridge south of Mid Mountain. Farmer Bob's field is marked as the LZ. He cut his hay so we no longer have to land in 4' high crops. We climbed back to 6,000' here.
This is looking south from the same spot. Clear Lake is the largest fresh water lake in California (lake Tahoe is partially in Nevada). We decided to head over to White rock to see if there was any lift there. If there was, we talked about trying to make it to the Lampson airport in Lakeport. That is where I fly into when I head up to Rich's and since my plane was there, no one would have to drive me to the airport to fly home.
As we flew over Farmer Bob's, we could see Bills glider in the shade at the corner of the field. White rock is about another mile. We got lucky and found some lift over White rock.
The blue lakes are just above my glider. The lift we found over White Rock was very broken and hard to work. I was not able to complete a 360 in lift, always dropping off to one side.
Another view looking northwest of the blue lakes. In the left side of the picture at the horizon you can see clouds that mark the ocean. At White Rock we both climed above 6,000' again. We now had a cross wind of about 10 mph. My vario said I could make the airport by 1200'. As we headed south again the margin for my arrival continued to drop.
The airport in the picture is still about 8 miles away. I was able to work some crappy thermals 2 more times, each time never getting more than 200' higher, but just enough to keep my arrival number positive. Rich was doing better. He was able to get about 400' each time and that would put him about 900' higher when we arrived at our goal.
Lampson airport, our goal. It always feels good to make goal. We don't usually land on the airport because the wind almost never blows straight down the runway. We try to land in the field across the street. In the picture it is next to the hangers and parked airplanes.
Mt. Konocti from over the airport at 2500' msl.
I arrived with just enough altitude to check the wind and make a normal approach. As I was about 10' off the ground I thought of the picture of Bill from last weeks report that showed his hands well up on the down tubes. I move my hands up a bit more to match what Bill uses. When I flared, the glider came to a stop so quickly it almost caught me off guard. It does not take much when your hands are that high. It was a no step landing in a 6 mph breeze. When Rich landed the wind was about 8mph and he also had a nice landing.
As I walked my glider toward the shade the wind picked up to about 12 mph and I was having a heck of a time. My back is still a little weak from the torn muscle. I ended up walking backwards with my glider pointing into the wind.
Before we could pack up, Kathy and Bill showed up. It was really nice only having to cross the street to start my journey home.
A satellite view of our track. I am in Red, Rich is green and Bill is blue.
The altitude graph for our flight with the same colors as above.
At the link above I used a screen capture utility to play back our flights in a program called SeeYou. I narrated what we were doing to give a better understanding of what is going on.
Rich's IGC file.
Bill"s IGC file.
Vince's IGC file.